LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 8 January 1814

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Jan. 8, 1814.

IT seems to me that Tennant has done rather too much honour to your friend Hobhouse1 in the quotation made from his travels.2 The remark cited is a very natural and obvious one; and Mr. Hobhouse’s work, though sensible and in some respects useful and instructive, is not entitled to so great

1 John Cam Hobhouse, afterwards Lord Broughton.

2 In his lecture at Cambridge, “Journey through Albania.”

a distinction. Tennant’s exotic propensities lead him to regard foreigners and travellers with a peculiar sort of partiality. But the habit of lavish and indiscriminate praise, especially coming from such a quarter, is at all times to be guarded against. It is true that this error cannot often be imputed to Tennant; and I may be inclined to notice this instance of it rather strongly, from having been so much displeased by the late critiques in the
Edinburgh Review, in which this passion for praising (Diabætes Mellitus, it has been called) has been carried to such preposterous lengths.

The security which civilised nations derive from the scientific art of war, occasioned by the discovery of gunpowder (the subject to which Hobhouse’s remark applies), is very fully considered by Gibbon in his general observations at the end of the thirty-eighth chapter of his history. The passage is worth looking at, if Tennant did not refer you to it at the time of composing this part of his lecture.

I doubt whether Lord Bacon has any just title to be enumerated among the founders of chemical science. Giving all just praise to his great talents, I have always thought it doubtful whether he contributed practically in any essential degree to the vast changes in philosophical reasoning which had begun in his time, but were carried to so great an extent in the age which succeeded. Those parts of Lord Bacon’s works which relate to chemical experiments, of which he seems to have been very fond, are strongly marked with the credulity and bad reasoning which belonged to that age. Pray look at that part
Foreign Affairs
of his work which goes under the title of “Natural Philosophy.”

I shall desire Tennant to make honourable mention of the great heroes of civilisation (to whom we owe so much of our greatness), Watt, Wedgwood, and Arkwright
“Inventas et qui vitam excoluere per artes.”

The present state of things on the Continent is in the highest degree interesting; and I cannot help entertaining great hopes of peace, though more from the apparently settled determination of Austria than from the wisdom and moderation of our own Government. I hope that the advance of the Allies is more for the quickening the negotiation, than with a view to direct hostilities; and they will, I trust, establish themselves on the French territory (imitating in this respect the conduct of Buonaparte under similar circumstances), till the actual signing of the definite Treaty.