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The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 19 February 1821

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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Cambridge, Feb. 19, 1821.

The place is crowded with students, and altogether much improved. Downing College and the Fitz-

1 This person is the same Bragge of whom Canning wrote in his “Ode to the Doctor.” In 1803 Addington had promoted his brother, Hiley Addington, and his brother-in-law, Mr. Charles Bragge, to the rank of Privy Councillors. He had named one Paymaster of the Forces and the other Treasurer of the Navy; on the other hand, they were expected to strain their lungs in his defence. Canning’s ode contained these lines:—

“When the faltering periods lag,
Or his yawning audience flag;
When his speeches hobble vilely,
Or the House receives them drily,
Cheer, oh, cheer him, brother Bragge!
Cheer, oh, cheer him, brother Hiley!
Each a gentleman at large,
Lodged and fed at public charge,
Paying with a grace to charm ye,
This the fleet, and that the army.
Brother Bragge and brother Hiley,
Cheer him when he speaks so vilely;
Cheer him when his audience flag,
Brother Hiley, brother Bragge.”
(Stanhope’sLife of Pitt,” vol. iv. p. 59.)
william collection of pictures and engravings are a very great addition.

The Cambridge Whigs (those few that remain) partake with you in your disappointment on the late Parliamentary divisions. They expected, not indeed that the Ministers would be outvoted, but that the minorities would be strong and formidable. The late motions have shown that, when the safety of an Administration is concerned, the influence of public opinion is still less over the Commons than the Lords. The minorities could not number more than ten persons on any of the late questions who were not regular voters with the Opposition; and Wilberforce’s speech, on Mr. J. Smith’s motion, does not appear to have influenced a single vote.1 These events have opened the eyes of many persons to the necessity of Parliamentary Reform who were before very incredulous as to the abject and servile state of the House of Commons; and the Whigs, for the present, seem to be cordially united with the people.

It is some consolation that the Whigs have distinguished themselves so greatly on the present occasion. Never were speeches or arguments more triumphant. Mackintosh, in particular, has been most successful, and has shown powers of regular debate which he was not supposed to possess. He is expected to make a great display on Wednesday upon the important question of Naples.

Tierney has spoken very well, but is declining in

1 Mr. John Smith, M.P. for Midhurst, brought forward a motion for restoring the Queen’s name to the Liturgy. It was rejected by 298 votes to 178.

vigour. His health is quite unequal to these late nights. What will be the final result it is impossible to say; but many events must take place before there can be any change of Ministry. At present we seem to be much nearer a censorship of the Press than a reform of Parliament. The affair of the
Queen may perhaps subside; the new discontents must be expected to arise, and the country will continue to be in an irritable and dangerous state till some material change takes place.