LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
George Robinson to Lady Melbourne, [21 November 1802]

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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Dear L[ad]y Melbourne,

I am very foolish in not having written to you before, not that there is much here worth writing about, but it would have entitled me to a letter from you, which at all times, & particularly while I am at such a distance, would be most interesting. I am much obliged to you for your letter to M[a]d[am]e Recamier. She is just come to Paris, & I have left it at her house, but have not yet seen her. L[ad]y Elizabeth Foster] will probably have written you all the news of the society here, & of publick news we have very little, the people seem satisfied with their present government, more from a fear of the horrors which might attend another change than from attachment to Bonaparte. I observ’d at the play a few nights ago that two or three passages which might be obviously applied were very much applauded. One of the passages was (in Voltaire’s Œdipe):
Un prêtre quelqu’il soit, quelque Dieu qui l’inspire,
Doit prier pour ses rois, et non pas les maudire.
And another which is very strongly mark’d:
Comme il était sans crainte, il marchait sans défense:
Par l’amour de son peuple il se croyait garde.
. . . There was another line of a very different tendency, which was very much applauded, speaking of the priests:
Notre crédulité fait toute leur science.

They probably never will get over their aversion to priests though they may to Kings, & I daresay if they cou’d slide quietly into a limited monarchy they wou’d have no objection, though very few wou’d wish to risque another revolution—& France compared to what it was four or five years ago, is in a state of happiness and prosperity. I hope a rupture with England will not take place but from what I hear, le petit bon homme is very sore about english newspapers & the speeches which will probably be made at the meeting of parliament will irritate him. Mr. Fox has been illiberally treated in a Jacobinical paper printed here in English called the Argus, but it is too contemptible a gazette to pay any regard to it, and I hope there is no one here now, who wou’d think it right to answer it. I saw Mr. Fox several times during the short time he staid here after our arrival, & am very sorry he & Mrs. Fox are gone. The D[uche]ss of Gordon has taken their apartments; she has been very courteous to L[ad]y Elizabeth and ask’d all our petite société to a party on Thursday & a ball tomorrow,—‘pug of late so kind is grown’ However this is fortunate, for if she had been for war Ly. E[lizabeth Foster] wou’d
have had the worst of it without the Duchess and her Minerva to protect her.”