LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 22 December 1815

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Dec. 22, 1815.

It is some time since I last wrote, but I have had very little to communicate. London has been very empty and society very stagnant. Lord and Lady Holland were absent for a long time at Woburn. Since their return I have been at Holland House once, and am going there again for a few days at Christmas, and afterwards to Lord King’s. No particular intelligence has been received from France by Lord Holland, except a distinct confirmation of the hardships inflicted on the Protestants in the South. It is very true, as the Courier states, that this rancour is connected with political opinions; but it is no sort of excuse for the charge of disaffection being always brought in such cases by the ruling ecclesiastical faction, and often with good reason, as they take care by their mode of treating them that the charge shall at length be true. Witness the primitive Christians and the heretics of early ages, the French Protestants during the League, and the Irish Catholics of our own times.

I am glad you were pleased with Dr. Holland, who seems also to have been successful at Bowood and with the Carnegies. The defects of his manner are very apparent, and extend in some degree to his character. They have excited a strong prejudice against him in the minds of some of our friends. I allude particularly to Abercromby and Warburton. But I can pardon these defects on the ground of his great information, and general good temper and agreeableness. I might have been more vigorous
Lord Holland and Duke of Wellington
some years since; but it is time for me to ask myself the question of
“Lenior et melior fis accedente senecta?”1

Somewhat of this temper is necessary in advanced life, to counterbalance its other unavoidable defects.

The Duke of Norfolk’s death has made our friend’s brother2 the premier peer of England, and, in consequence of a settlement made some time since, gives an annuity of £1,500 to our friend for his life, and a handsome provision for his children. But the Duke left him nothing by his will, having for a considerable time past been on bad terms with him. The Duke saw Dr. Milner, the Catholic, frequently during his illness, and appeared to show some partiality for the faith of the family; but he was not reconciled to the Church by any overt act.