LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
John Herman Merivale to Francis Hodgson, [18 November 1834]

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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And was I not a prophet when I whispered through the hole in the rock to our good friend,1 ‘Beware of Brougham’? He has, to be sure, and I thank Heaven for it, escaped the wreck; but what a goodly and gallant vessel has foundered under the guidance of this its most splendidly gifted, but incautious and (may I not add) reckless and unprincipled steersman! I hope I shall not be accused—certainly not by you—of cant. But really, in the full confidence of friendship, I cannot but say that I see, in all that is now passing around us, the fullest confirmation of the persuasion of the utter insufficiency of man’s corrupt and degraded nature, unaided by the Divine grace, and by a deep inward conviction of its own weakness. A very

1 Denman.

strong moral principle, founded on a broad philosophical basis, may to a certain, but a very imperfect, extent, supply this grand deficiency,—but even this was wanting in the quarter to which I allude—and the fall, as it is (I am persuaded), irrevocable, so it will prove most momentous, in the shape of example, to such as are in a condition to profit by it. You, I am sure, will bear with remarks such as these, in all their sober seriousness. Very few are there, besides yourself, to whom I would breathe them.

As for the event itself, whatever may be the immediate causes—in whatever manner brought about—I have been too long impressed with the daily increasing conviction of the absolute necessity of making a firm and determined stand against popular encroachments, now to hesitate about the duty of every honest citizen, unfettered by party engagements, to rally round the throne and its chosen ministers, so long at least as they possess the essential principles of Reform in Church and State which I presume no minister at the present day can do otherwise than adopt for the colours of his administration. The only solid ground of difference between the outgoing and incoming occupiers, that I can discover, is the inviolability of
Church property; and upon this ground I am inclined to believe, though not without occasional misgivings, that the moderate Tories may, at the present period, securely take their stand. So far as the state of public feeling through the country at large may be judged of by that of the metropolis, they are in no danger whatever. Not the smallest excitement in the populace, the failure of every attempt (so far, at least) to get up the semblance of a strong public meeting, the non-depression of the Funds, the general satisfaction upon ‘Change, the unequivocal ebullitions of loyalty at the City dinner, and even such lesser indications as are afforded by the hissing of
Brougham and cheering of Lyndhurst (!!!) as they respectively left the audience chamber, besides other similar demonstrations—all these are, I think, amply sufficient to warrant the belief that a great and extensive reaction has taken place, and that the mountebank tricks and grimaces which have so long been exhibited in high quarters have produced the effect of irretrievably disgusting even the lowest of that mob which so recently threw up their caps in applause of the actor.

O but man—proud man—
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before High Heaven
As make the angels weep.

Among divers anecdotes, more or less vrais or vraisemblables, the following, which I have just heard, will amuse you—that the greeting of Majesty to Lord Melbourne, when he stated the difficulties of their position, was conveyed in the following nautical terms:—‘My Lord, you need say nothing. Lord Spencer is gone to Heaven; and my mind has long been made up that, whenever that event happened, it would be high time to send you all to the ——.’ By way of appendix I must state that one of the romances of the day is that it is all a device to get rid of Brougham, and that the new Lord Spencer is to return as Premier.