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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1814
Sydney Smith to John Allen, 20 March 1814

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
Letters 1802
Letters 1803
Letters 1804
Letters 1805
Letters 1806
Letters 1807
Letters 1808
Letters 1809
Letters 1810
Letters 1811
Letters 1812
Letters 1813
Letters 1814
Letters 1815
Letters 1816
Letters 1817
Letters 1818
Letters 1819
Letters 1820
Letters 1821
Letters 1822
Letters 1823
Letters 1824
Letters 1825
Letters 1826
Letters 1827
Letters 1828
Letters 1829
Letters 1830
Letters 1831
Letters 1832
Letters 1833
Letters 1834
Letters 1835
Letters 1836
Letters 1837
Letters 1838
Letters 1839
Letters 1840
Letters 1841
Letters 1842
Letters 1843
Letters 1844
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
March 10th, 1814.
Dear Allen,

I cannot at all enter into your feelings about the Bourbons, nor can I attend to so remote an evil as the encouragement to superstitious attachment to kings, when the proposed evil of a military ministry, or of thirty years more of war, is before my eyes. I want to get rid of this great disturber of human happiness, and I scarcely know any price too great to effect it. If you were sailing from Alicant to Aleppo in a storm, and, after the sailors had held up the image of a saint and prayed to it, the storm were to abate, you would be more sorry for the encouragement of superstition than rejoiced at the preservation of your life; and so would every other man born and bred in Edinburgh.

My views of the matter would be much shorter and coarser: I should be so glad to find myself alive, that I should not care a farthing if the storm had generated a thousand new, and revived as many old saints. How can any man stop in the midst of the stupendous joy of getting rid of Buonaparte, and prophesy a thousand little peddling evils that will result from restoring the Bourbons? The most important of all objects is the independence of Europe: it has been twice very nearly destroyed by the French; it is menaced from no other quarter; the people must be identified with their sovereign. There is no help for it; it will teach them in future to hang kings who set up for conquerors. I will not believe that the Bourbons have no party in France. My only knowledge of politics is from the York paper; yet nothing shall convince me
that the people are not heartily tired of Buonaparte, and ardently wish for the cessation of the conscription; that is, for the Bourbons.

I shall be in my house by the 25th of March, in spite of all the evils that are prophesied against me. I have had eleven fires burning night and day for these two months past.

I am glad to hear that the intention of raising a statue to Playfair and Stewart is now reported to have been only a joke. This is wut, not wit; by way of pleasantry, the oddest conceit I have heard of; but you gentlemen from the North are, you know, a little singular in your conceptions of the lepid. I quoted to Whishaw the behaviour of —— ——, under similar circumstances; I wonder if Stewart and Playfair would have behaved with as much modesty, had this joke dropped down into a matter of fact.

We are all well; but Douglas alarmed us the other night with the croup. I darted into him all the mineral and vegetable resources of the shops,—cravatted his throat with blisters, and fringed it with leeches, and set him in five or six hours to playing marbles, breathing gently and inaudibly.

Pray send me some news when there is any. It is very pleasant in these deserts to see the handwriting of an old friend; it is like the print in the sand seen by Robinson Crusoe.

I am reading Neale’sHistory of the Puritans;’ read it if you have never read it, and make my Lady read it. Ever yours,

Sydney Smith.