LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
Henry Hallam to John Whishaw, 28 April 1828

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
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Rome, April 28, 1828.

My dear Whishaw,—Murray’s apologies would be more satisfactory if I could reconcile them with the rest of his behaviour. But he has not written to me, though he evidently told you that he would do so; and under all the circumstances this is really an unparalleled neglect. Were it a mere matter of business as to the publication of the octavo edition and the sale of the present, I might expect to be consulted by my publisher; much more by a person who professes to value my acquaintance, after what he admits himself, gives me a strong prima facie ground of complaint against him. I am also much dissatisfied at the delay in printing the second edition. It was commenced as early as last April; and Taylor had the whole corrected copy in his hands before I left England in August. It is plain that Murray must purposely have checked him. Pray do not give yourself so much trouble about my affairs as to correct the proofs; this ought not to be required if the printer is tolerably careful; and I shall arrive in England in time, I hope, to put forth the edition early in the summer. What you tell me of M.’s subjection to Lockhart had occurred to me, and is probably in great part true; though I can hardly think he can have lost the power of remonstrance in such a case as the present. This is like what sometimes happens in the management of private property, a weak man employs a very cunning one, and ends by being in the power of his own agent. Murray took Lockhart just as you
would take your servant, though probably with a worse character; it was one of his very silly speculations, and he expected wonders from the support of
Scott. I believe, however, that the Review is declining, and such articles as Southey’s will not restore it. I shall certainly (unless my friends in England advise the contrary) limit myself to a few pages prefixed to the second edition. From some expressions of yours, I judge that others as well as the Quarterly reviewers take exception to some of my opinions. These, I presume, are almost entirely ecclesiastical objections, for I think real Tory doctrines do not at all prevail among the laity. I have not the slightest alarm about my ultimate success. The slow sale I attribute chiefly to the high price, which was owing to Murray, and to the general expectation that an octavo edition would be published. I had calculated that by far the greater part of the quarto edition of my former work must be in private libraries, and that the owners would wish to add the present in the same form, but probably the book clubs had taken a larger proportion than I had supposed.

Guizot, I am told, is translating the whole work with notes, which I hold no slight honour. I am also reviewed in a new journal, La Revue Universelle, so that I really have much more honour out of my country than in it. I am sorry for Macaulay’s inability to finish his critique, which would better have fallen to Empson.

Nothing could give me more unexpected pleasure than the repeal of the Test Act, chiefly as it most essentially affects the Catholic question. I believe
From Hallam
some of the bishops, &c., fancy they shall now have a stronger support of the dissenters on that point; but it is evident that the Houses see it differently. They are aristocratic assemblies, and have always had a greater dislike, if not a greater jealousy, of the dissenters than of the others.

I am, in somewhat a less degree, but still very much delighted with the Manchester Bill.1 This House of Commons is really an excellent one. I fear, however, that the present Cabinet will be as little able to master the Tories in one House as the Whigs in another. This is, I expect, the opening of a new era in our Constitution, and of such a collision between the aristocratic and popular parties as has hitherto been prevented by the strength of Government. A strong Government we neither have nor shall again see—at least, unless more commanding talents should appear than seem to be producible at present. The Corn Law is, on the other hand, a complete triumph of the aristocracy, and makes Huskisson pass sub jugo.

Foreign affairs are, as you say, immensely embarrassing; but I cannot blame Canning about Portugal.2 On the other hand, the present men, by giving way to Miguel’s usurpation, have exchanged an ancient ally

1 The Manchester Bill, 1828, was for transferring from the borough of Penryn in Cornwall to the town of Manchester the right of returning two members to Parliament. Under the auspices of Lord John Russell it passed through the Commons, but was negatived without a division in the Lords on June 20, 1828.

2 In 1824 the King of Portugal had applied to England for assistance. Canning was unwilling to send troops to Lisbon, but thought a squadron might be sent to the Tagus; by this means he frustrated the coup d’état planned by Don Miguel, the son of the Queen of Spain.

for an interested enemy, and lowered the dignity of Britain all over Europe. Perhaps they could have done nothing, which I own seems rather a military question; for if we were strong enough, I really think we should have been warranted in seizing the persons of Miguel and his mother; and yet I am much for the law of nations, and did not like the Greek treaty, as I have told you before. As it is we must not dream of interfering against Russia. Perhaps the duty of her possessing Constantinople has been overrated, as dangers from abroad usually are. Her Empire is already unwieldy, and if a younger branch should reign in Turkey, as will probably be preferred, it may not in the long run be injurious to the rest of Europe. At all events we cannot prevent it without exciting a war that may be almost as long as the last.

Yours most truly,
H. H.