LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 10 July 1818

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
London, July 10, 1818.

It is time to say something of what has been passing in our own country, which has been a scene of great interest ever since you left us.1 The season

1 Mr. and Mrs. Smith were travelling on the Continent.

Romilly and Westminster
closed with great éclat on the part of the Opposition.
Romilly in particular distinguished himself, and pronounced a memorable and most appropriate funeral oration over the expiring Parliament. This circumstance probably suggested the fortunate thought of starting him as a candidate in the Whig interest for Westminster—a project rather hazardous at the time, but fully justified by the event, and a great triumph has been gained, on the part of rational liberty, over the Court of Rabble, the parties of St. James and St. Giles. Such, one may say, is the fanaticism of the latter party, that Bentham, who has been intimately connected with Romilly near forty years, refused to support him and gave no vote. Mill voted singly for Burdett; and Ricardo at first hesitated, but at length voted for Romilly, and gave him a cordial support. Douglas Kinnaird was a competitor with Hobhouse for the honour of being proposed by the Westminster committee as Burdett’s colleague, and fortunately for Hobhouse succeeded in his object.
“By merit raised
To that bad eminence.”

After three days, at which Burdett was constantly losing at the poll, the committee found it necessary to throw Kinnaird overboard, and were obliged to resort to what they term the art of corruption, and to spend money and use every effort on behalf of Burdett, whom they were not able to place at the head of the poll. Kinnaird vented his spleen in a very discreditable manner, by a series of petulant
The Elections
speeches on the hustings against the Whigs. The election of three Opposition candidates for the City, and of
Sir Robert Wilson for the Borough, the defeat of the veteran Curtis, and Barclay the great brewer, are prodigious triumphs for the popular cause, and were wholly unexpected by Government. The return of Lord Ebrington for Devonshire, and Mr. Phillips, of Garendon Park, for Leicestershire, counties hitherto devoted to the Tory interest, must also be enumerated amongst the “signs of the times”; and it must be observed in general that the contested elections in which Tories have succeeded have been carried by great exertions and expense.

It is highly gratifying to think that this series of ministerial failures is mainly to be attributed to the opinions entertained by the great body of the electors to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus and the other strong measures of the late Parliament. I hope that the Opposition will conduct themselves prudently, and make a rational and proper use of the important advantages they have gained. Changes of Ministry in consequence of votes of Parliament are now out of the question; but the Court has received a useful lesson, and may perhaps be taught by experience the impolicy of harsh proceedings and the solid advantages of a mild system of government.

It may be worth mentioning that the Saints have suffered greatly in the last elections. Three or four of their strenuous adherents have been thrown out, none of whom is at all to be lamented, except Babington. The rest of the party are the devoted supporters of Lord Castlereagh.