LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Chapter X

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
‣ Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
Letters 1802
Letters 1803
Letters 1804
Letters 1805
Letters 1806
Letters 1807
Letters 1808
Letters 1809
Letters 1810
Letters 1811
Letters 1812
Letters 1813
Letters 1814
Letters 1815
Letters 1816
Letters 1817
Letters 1818
Letters 1819
Letters 1820
Letters 1821
Letters 1822
Letters 1823
Letters 1824
Letters 1825
Letters 1826
Letters 1827
Letters 1828
Letters 1829
Letters 1830
Letters 1831
Letters 1832
Letters 1833
Letters 1834
Letters 1835
Letters 1836
Letters 1837
Letters 1838
Letters 1839
Letters 1840
Letters 1841
Letters 1842
Letters 1843
Letters 1844
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In the summer we went again to spend some months with my father at Combe Florey, which every year became more beautiful under his fostering care. His love of children I have before alluded to; and particularly of his little grandchildren, whose happiness he delighted to promote. He hardly ever dressed in a morning without having them round him to assist him; or to play at shaving his table with his shaving-brush and huge wooden bowl, which still remained, though the reign of Bunch had ceased. Amongst these grandchildren was an odd, clever little girl, about five years
old, who amused him much by her peculiarities; one of which was, that she insisted upon understanding everything she heard, and that when baffled,as she often necessarily was, she took to roaring and kicking. On one of these occasions, he was walking round his garden with his two arms swung behind over his black crutch-stick (his usual manner of walking), and hearing these sounds from his merry little favourite, he stopped under the open window, and called out, “What is the matter with my little girl?” “Oh,” said her mother, “she cannot understand something about the Hebrews. I have tried to explain it to her; but as she has lost her temper, I have told her she must wait till she is a little older.” He looked excessively amused at the mental ambition of the five-years-old, but walked off in silence. Two hours after, the mother found him closeted with the little culprit in his favourite library, in his large arm-chair, with the child on his knee, with maps, dictionary, and books piled around him; he explaining and she listening with apparently equal pleasure, till the difficulty was overcome, and the child satisfied. I must add, in justice to the little girl, that though she has retained her love of investigation, she has fortunately left off the habit of roaring and kicking under mental difficulties.

The sudden death of his youngest brother Courtenay about this time (whose debt of thirty pounds he had paid with so much difficulty at College fifty years before) without a will, put him in possession of the third part of the very large, but to himself useless, for-
tune, which he had accumulated in India; and thus, as my father has said, “in my grand climacteric I became unexpectedly a rich man.” Having the means of spending now, he spent as liberally as if he had been used to wealth all his life; for his rigid economy in poverty had never the effect of making him penurious.

This summer, when travelling through Yorkshire, I went with my children to see our old haunts at Foston; and it was very gratifying to find, though nearly ten years had elapsed since he left them, how fresh my father’s memory still was in the hearts of his villagers. From almost every cottage some one came out to greet me, and to remind me of some saying, or some act of kindness, or to show me his parting gift, or to remember how he “doctored” them, and to lament his loss. And as to old Molly Mills, who was still alive, it was quite affecting to see the mixture of joy and sorrow in her face, as she recalled old stories, or thought of her present loss,—“the smile on her lip, and the tear in her eye.” I felt these were humble, but not the less precious tributes to his character.

Each year now thinned the ranks of the great men with whom he had begun life;—men not only endeared to him by social intercourse, but by that deep interest which a struggle for the same cause during so many years usually inspires. But amongst these losses, none ever fell more deeply and heavily on his heart than that of Lord Holland. He loved him (as indeed all did who had the privilege of knowing him intimately), and
he felt deeply his debt of gratitude to him in early life. Lord Holland’s last illness was, I believe, short; and on his dressing-table were found these few lines, which were sent to me by his sister,
Miss Fox, after his death:—
“Nephew of Fox, and friend of Grey,—
Enough my meed of fame
If those who deign’d to observe me say
I injured neither name.”

In a letter to Mrs. M., one of our oldest friends, he says, speaking of Lord Holland’s death,—“It is indeed a great loss to me; but I have learned to live, as a soldier does in war, expecting that on any one moment the best and the dearest may be killed before his eyes. . . . I have gout, asthma, and seven other maladies, but am otherwise very well.—Sydney Smith.”

I see amongst my father’s papers a sketch of Lord Holland, from which I shall make some extracts, as, I trust, they can only give pleasure.

A Portrait.

“Great powers of reasoning, great quickness and ingenuity of proof, and a memory in the highest degree retentive; a knowledge varied and extensive, and hi English history and constitutional law profound. . . . An invincible hatred of tyranny and oppression, the most ardent love of public happiness, and attachment to public rights. His conversation was lively and incessant. . . .

“As a speaker, he wanted words, which he was often forced to stop for; and he was too slow; but he atoned
for these defects by sense, knowledge, simplicity, logic, vehemence, and unblemished character. There never existed in any human being a better heart, or one more purified from all the bad passions, more abounding in charity and compassion, or which seemed to be so created as a refuge to the helpless and the oppressed.

* * * * *

“He was very acute in the discernment of character; more so, I cannot help thinking, than any public man of his time whom it has fallen to my lot to observe. He was one of the most consistent and steady politicians living in any day; in whose life, exceeding sixty-five years, there was no doubt, varying, nor shadow of change. It was one great, incessant, and unrewarded effort to resist oppression, promote justice, and restrain the abuse of power.”

When Mr. Webster was Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the United States, my father heard it reported from America that an accidental mistake he had made, in introducing Mr. Webster, on his coming to this country some time before (I believe, to Lord Brougham) under the name of Mr. Clay, was intentional, and by way of joke. Annoyed that so much impertinence and bad taste should be imputed to him, he wrote a few lines of explanation to Mr. Webster, to which he received the following answer:—

Washington, 1841.
“My dear Sir,

“Though exceedingly delighted to hear from you,
I am yet much pained by the contents of your note; not so much however as I should be, were I not able to give a peremptory denial to the whole report. I never mentioned the incident to which you refer, as a joke of yours,—far from it; nor did I mention it as anything extraordinary.

“My dear, good friend, do not think me such a —— as to quote or refer to any incident falling out between you and me to your disadvantage. The pleasure of your acquaintance is one of the jewels I brought home with me. I had read of you, and read you, for thirty years. I was delighted to meet you, and to have all I knew of you refreshed and brightened by the charms of your conversation. If any son of —— asserts that either through ill-will, or love of vulgar gossip, I tell such things of you as you suppose, I pray you let him be knocked down instanter. And be assured, my dear Sir, I never spoke of you in my life but with gratitude, respect, and attachment.

“D. Webster.”

My father wrote in answer:—

“Many thanks, my dear Sir, for your obliging letter. I think better of myself because you think well of me. If, in the imbecility of old-age, I forgot your name for a moment, the history of America will hereafter be more tenacious in its recollections—tenacious, because you are using your eloquent wisdom to restrain the high spirit of your countrymen within the limits of justice, and are securing to two kindred nations, who
ought to admire and benefit each other, the blessings of peace. How can great talents be applied to nobler ends, or what existence can be more truly splendid?

“Ever sincerely yours,
“Sydney Smith.”

I have mentioned that my father, for reasons already given, had made a collection of his writings in the Edinburgh Review and elsewhere; and retracted what little he felt he had been led by party prejudice to say unjustly; and I cannot resist inserting here a short passage from a French Review (I believe, the ‘Revue des Deux Mondes’), because I think it is a trait in his character that has been unnoticed by his countrymen.

“Quoi de plus fréquent que de se dire, au fond du cœur, j’ai été trop loin—ceci n’était pas vrai, ceci était injuste? mais quoi de plus rare que de l’imprimer? Voilà ce que Sydney a noblement fait: trente ans après ses regards rencontrent une plaisanterie qu’un juge moins sévère de ses propres fautes aurait pu croire innocente, il ne peut s’empêcher de dire, ‘Il n’y a rien qui dépare plus les lettres de Plymley que cette attaque dirigée contre M. Bourne, qui est une personne d’honneur et de talent; mais foilà où mènent les mauvaises passions de l’esprit de parti.’ Castlereagh n’était pas un homme vénal, cependant il l’avait représenté comme capable de recevoir de toutes mains; ‘Je l’ai injustement accusé,’ avoue-t-il franchement. Il est beau d’entendre de la sorte un mot fameux, et de re-
connaitre, en se condamnant soi-meme, qu’on doit surtout la verite a, son ennemi mort.”

He sent a copy of his works to each of my children in 1842, as the best memorial of himself that he could give them: alas! in how few years was it the only memorial left.

I find among the papers left me a pretty letter from his old friend Mr. Grenville, to whom my father had sent what he believed to be a rare and valuable edition of Lucan, which we had found amongst his books. The following is an extract from it.

“My dear Sir,

Lucan was first printed in 1469; but although, under these circumstances, Aldus of 1515 may not be highly estimated in bibliographical reputation, still it comes to me with all the value of a unique copy; for I know nobody else who would have so disposed of a book with a perfect indifference to its being worth one hundred pounds or one hundred pence, but with an evident wish that it might turn out to be ranked under the first of these two classes. Most gladly and gratefully therefore shall Lucan, 1515, repose upon my shelves; with the unique distinction which I am proud to attribute to it from its highly-valued donor.

“Ever most truly yours,
“Thomas Grenville.”
Hamilton Place, 1842.”

In the summer of 1843, we had a visit from Mr. Moore, a visit often before promised, but never accomplished. The weather and the place were lovely, and seemed to inspire the charming little poet, who talked and sang in his peculiar fashion, like any nightingale of the Flower Valley, to the delight of us all. In true poet style, when he departed, he left various articles of his wardrobe scattered about. On my father writing to inform him of this, he sent the following answer:—

Sloperton, 1843.
“My dear Sydney,

“Your lively letter (what else could it be?) was found by me here on my return from Bowood; and with it a shoal of other letters, which it has taken me almost ever since to answer. I began my answer to yours in rhyme, contrasting the recollections I had brought away from you, with the sort of treasures you had supposed me to have left behind. This is part of it:—

“Rev. Sir, having duly received by the post
Your list of the articles missing and lost
By a certain small poet, well known on the road,
Who visited lately your flowery abode;
We have balanced what Hume calls ‘the tottle o’ the whole,’
Making all due allowance for what the bard stole;
And hoping th’ enclosed will be found quite correct,
Have the honour, Rev. Sir, to be yours with respect.
“Left behind a kid glove, once the half of a pair,
An odd stocking, whose fellow is—Heaven knows where;
And (to match these odd fellows) a couplet sublime,
Wanting nought to complete it but reason and rhyme.
“Such, it seems, are the only small goods you can find,
That this runaway bard in his flight left behind;
But in settling the account, just remember, I pray,
What rich recollections the rogue took away;
What visions for ever of sunny Combe Florey,
Its cradle of hills, where it slumbers in glory,
Its Sydney himself, and the countless bright things
Which his tongue or his pen, from the deep shining springs
Of his wisdom and wit, ever flowingly brings.

“I have not time to recollect any more; besides I was getting rather out of my depth in those deep shining springs, though not out of yours. Kindest regards to the ladies, not forgetting the pretty Hebe* of the breakfast-table the day I came away.

“Yours ever most truly,
“Thomas Moore.”
Bowood, August, Tuesday 22nd, 1843.
“My dear Sydney,

“You said, in your acknowledgment of my late versicles, that you had never been be-rhymed before. This startled me into the recollection that I had myself once before made free with you in that way; but where the evidence was of my presumption, I could not remember. The verses however, written some three or four years ago, have just turned up, and here they are for you. I forgot, by the bye, to tell you that, a day or two after my return from Combe Florey

* Sir Henry Holland’s youngest daughter.

(I like to write that name), I was persuaded to get into a gig with
Lady Kerry, and let her drive me some miles. Next day I found out that, but a day or two before, it had run away with her!—no bad taste, certainly, in the horse;—but it shows what one gets by consorting with young countesses and frisky ecclesiastics.*

“Yours ever,
“Thomas Moore.
* * * * * * *
“And still let us laugh, preach the world as it may,
Where the cream of the joke is, the swarm will soon follow;
Heroics are very fine things in their way,
But the laugh, at the long-run, will carry it hollow.
“Yes, Jocus! gay god, whom the Gentiles supplied,
And whose worship not even among Christians declines;
In our senates thou’st languish’d, since Sheridan died,
But Sydney still keeps thee alive in our shrines.
“Rare Sydney! thrice honour’d the stall where he sits,
And be his every honour he deigneth to climb at!
Had England a hierarchy form’d all of wits,
Whom, but Sydney, would England proclaim as its primate?
“And long may he flourish, frank, merry, and brave,
A Horace to feast with, a Pascal† to read!
While he laughs, all is safe; but, when Sydney grows grave,
We shall then think the Church is in danger indeed.”

About this time the very valuable living of Edmonton fell vacant, by the death of my father’s fellow

* Mr. Smith had driven Mr. Moore with a somewhat frisky horse. Mr. Moore got out of the gig. and walked home.

† “Some parte of the ‘Provinciales’ may be said to be of the highest order of jeux d’esprit.”—Note by Mr. Moore.

Mr. Tate; and by the rules of the Chapter of St. Paul’s, it lay with my father either to take it himself or present it to a relation or friend. Remembering the honest intrepidity of his old colleague, who, in spite of poverty and many children, had many years before joined him in a minority of two against the clergy of Yorkshire, under a Tory administration, in favour of Catholic Emancipation; and grieving at the poverty his family would be reduced to by his death; he determined to bestow the living on his eldest son, who had acted as his father’s curate, if he found on inquiry that he was fitted for it by his character. He has given a most touching account of his interview with the unhappy widow and her family on this occasion, in a letter to my mother, from which I shall give some extracts.

Green-street, October 23.
“Dearest Kate,

“I meant to have gone to Munden today, but am not quite stout, so have postponed my journey there till next Saturday, the 28th. I went over yesterday to the Tates at Edmonton. The family consists of three delicate daughters, an aunt, the old lady, and her son, then curate of Edmonton; the old lady was in bed. I found there a physician, an old friend of Tate’s, attending them from friendship, who had come from London for that purpose. They were in daily expectation of being turned out from house and curacy. . . I began by inquiring the character of their servant;
then turned the conversation upon their affairs, and expressed a hope the Chapter might ultimately do something for them. I then said, ‘It is my duty to state to you (they were all assembled) that I have given away the living of Edmonton; and have written to our Chapter clerk this morning, to mention the person to whom I have given it; and I must also tell you, that I am sure he will appoint his curate. (A general silence and dejection.) It is a very odd coincidence,’ I added,’that the gentleman I have selected is a namesake of this family; his name is Tate. Have you any relations of that name?’ ‘No, we have not.’ ‘And, by a more singular coincidence, his name is Thomas Tate; in short,’ I added, ‘there is no use in mincing the matter, you are vicar of Edmonton.’ They all burst into tears. It flung me also into a great agitation of tears, and I wept and groaned for a long time. Then I rose, and said I thought it was very likely to end in their keeping a buggy, at which we all laughed as violently.

“The poor old lady, who was sleeping in a garret because she could not bear to enter into the room lately inhabited by her husband, sent for me and kissed me, sobbing with a thousand emotions. The charitable physician wept too. . . . I never passed so remarkable a morning, nor was more deeply impressed with the sufferings of human life, and never felt more thoroughly the happiness of doing good.

“God bless you!
“Sydney Smith.”

On this act becoming known, my father received an address from the principal parishioners of Edmonton, stating that they had intended to address the Dean and Chapter, respectfully soliciting their patronage in favour of the son of their late vicar, and adding: “But what shall we say, Reverend Sir, of that munificent act of liberality on your part, by which the necessity of such a memorial is superseded? Though however that necessity is superseded, we feel, Reverend Sir, bound in gratitude to present to you personally our united thanks, for the great benefit you have bestowed on our parish, and the high gratification you have afforded us.” To which my father replied:—


“I am very much pleased by the address you have done me the honour to send me. . . . In the choice of a clergyman for the parish of Edmonton, I was actuated by many considerations. I had to consult the character and dignity of the Chapter, which would have been compromised by the nomination of a person merely because he was my friend and relation. I was to find a serious and diligent man, in the prime of life, able and eager to fulfil the burdensome duties of so large a parish; and I was to seek in him those characters of gentleness and peace which are of such infinite importance to the character of the Church, and the happiness of those who live under the beautiful influence of these qualities. Lastly, I had to
show my strong respect for the memory of one of the kindest and
best men that ever lived; and to lift up, if I could, from poverty and despair, his widow and his children.

“The address I have the honour to receive from you today convinces me that I have succeeded in combining these objects; and makes me really happy in thinking that my conduct has obtained the approbation of so many honourable men, so well acquainted with the circumstances of the case.

“I am, Gentlemen, with great respect,
“Your obedient humble servant,
“Sydney Smith.”

I must add a touching little note from his old friend Mrs. Marcet, to my mother, on this occasion.

“What a happy woman you must be, my dear Mrs. Smith, to have such a husband! All the world know his talents, but it is not many who know that heart, so overflowing with generous and magnanimous feelings, with tender mercies, and Christian charities. God bless him! . . . I will write it, though it makes my hand ache;* it fills my heart with joy, and my eyes with tears.

“Ever affectionately yours,
“J. Marcet.”

The following letter was very kindly sent to me

* Mrs. M. had sprained her wrist.

by the
Bishop of London, from which I give extracts:—

“My dear Lord,

“I am very glad you approve of my choice. Every one of the persons who have pews in his church have concurred in the same sentiment, as I learn from a memorial sent to me to that effect. I never saw a greater scene of distress than when I went down to them;—the poor mother ill in bed of a fever, three delicate sisters, a poor and aged aunt, and the curate—all expecting to be turned out of house and curacy, with £100 per annum between them all. The transition from despair to joy was awful; I shall never forget it. . . . Have mercy, my dear Lord, and take £100;* it leaves only £700 per annum to the Vicar of Edmonton and his brothers; this will make W—— Hill equal to Southgate, where the curacy is made up £200 per annum.

“Yours, my dear Lord, very sincerely,
“Sydney Smith.”

It is beautifully said somewhere:—“Happiness is what all men seek; all men have the jewel in their casket, but how few find the key to open it!” The following paragraph, which, I find my mother says, “was cut out of our papers and preserved by Sydney,” shows at least that he had not sought for the key quite in vain.

* The Bishop of London had wished to divide the Living.

Receipt for making every Day Happy.

“When you rise in the morning, form a resolution to make the day a happy one to a fellow-creature. It is easily done;—a left-off garment to the man who needs it, a kind word to the sorrowful, an encouraging expression to the striving; trifles in themselves light as air will do it, at least for the twenty-four hours; and, if you are young, depend upon it it will tell when you are old; and, if you are old, rest assured it will send you gently and happily down the stream of human time to eternity. By the most simple arithmetical sum, look at the result: you send one person, only one, happily through the day; that is three hundred and sixty-five in the course of the year; and supposing you live forty years only after you commence that course of medicine, you have made 14,600 human beings happy, at all events for a time. Now, worthy reader, is this not simple? It is too short for a sermon, too homely for ethics, and too easily accomplished for you to say, ‘I would if I could.’”

I know that my mother thought her husband’s life the best comment on these precepts. I see amongst his scattered notes on this subject, “The haunts of Happiness are varied, and rather unaccountable; but I have more often seen her among little children, home fire-sides, and country houses, than anywhere else; at least I think so.”

On his return to Combe Florey, in July, he spent
a few days at Nuneham, on a visit to his former diocesan, the
Archbishop of York. He met there a large and agreeable party; and a discussion arising, amongst other subjects, on hardness of character, my father, at the request of Miss G. Harcourt, wrote the following definition of it.

Definition of Hardness of Character.

Hardness is a want of minute attention to the feelings of others. It does not proceed from malignity or a carelessness of inflicting pain, but from a want of delicate perception of those little things by which pleasure is conferred or pain excited.

“A hard person thinks he has done enough if he does not speak ill of your relations, your children, or your country; and then, with the greatest good-humour and volubility, and with a total inattention to your individual state and position, gallops over a thousand fine feelings, and leaves in every step the mark of his hoofs upon your heart. Analyse the conversation of a well-bred man who is clear of the besetting sin of hardness; it is a perpetual homage of polite good-nature. He remembers that you are connected with the Church, and he avoids (whatever his opinions may be) the most distant reflections on the Establishment. He knows that you are admired, and he admires you as far as is compatible with goodbreeding. He sees that, though young, you are at the head of a great establishment, and he infuses into his manner and conversation that respect which is so
pleasing to all who exercise authority. He leaves you in perfect good-humour with yourself, because you perceive how much and how successfully you have been studied.

“In the meantime the gentleman on the other side of you (a highly moral and respectable man) has been crushing little sensibilities, and violating little proprieties, and overlooking little discriminations; and, without violating anything which can be called a rule, or committing what can be denominated a fault, has displeased and dispirited you, from wanting that fine vision which sees little things, and that delicate touch which handles them, and that fine sympathy which this superior moral organization always bestows.

“So great an evil in society is hardness, and that want of perception of the minute circumstances which occasion pleasure or pain!”

Towards the end of this year (1843) my father sent a petition to the American Congress, for payment of the debt due to England by the repudiating States.

It was said of Régnault St. Jean d’Angely, President of the French Institute, “qu’il avait passé la vie en venant toujours au secours du plus fort.” The reverse might justly be said of my father: he passed his life in minorities, and in the cause of the oppressed. He says, in speaking of his motives for undertaking the one in question: “I am no enemy to America; I loved and admired honest America when she respected the laws of pounds, shillings, and pence, and I thought the United States the most magnificent picture of
human happiness. I meddle now in these matters because I hate fraud; because I pity the misery it has occasioned; because I mourn over the hatred it has excited against free institutions.”

This petition and the letters which followed it produced a most extraordinary sensation, and brought upon him much abuse from the American press; though we had reason to believe, from many sources, that they spoke the feelings of every honourable man in America.

“And all this storm,” says the editor of the ‘Morning Chronicle’ of the time, “has been raised by a few words from a private English gentleman! Why is it that his words have had such a talismanic effect? It is true, they were words of choice and singular excellence; but no mastery of language or weight of literary reputation could so have moved America, if they did not happen to be employed in the utterance of home truths, which are, or ought to be, sharper than a two-edged sword. We repeat, that the power of these letters lies mainly in the deep moral feeling that pervades them; and one proof of this is, the warm response they have called forth from those in America, in whom the moral sense is strong enough to make them speak out.”

As one specimen of this, I shall insert a speech or letter of Mr. Ticknor’s, extracted from the ‘Boston Semi-weekly Advertiser,’ and sent to my father by Mr. Everett.

“The short and pungent petition to Congress of the Rev. Sydney Smith, in relation to his claim on the state of Penn-
sylvania, for interest-money due to him, has already excited no little remark among us, and is likely to excite yet more. This is probably one of the effects its author intended it should produce; perhaps it is one of the effects that we ourselves, as honest men and patriots, ought to desire; for the subject of his petition is a grave one, that cannot excite too much discussion in any part of the United States. But we should be careful, for our own sakes, to assume the right tone when speaking of a man like Mr. Smith, who only asks to be paid that to which he is as justly entitled as any one of us is entitled to anything he possesses.

“It has therefore appeared to many persons unseemly that the ‘Boston Courier’ should speak of Mr. Smith’s petition, to have payment made to him of the interest, which has been solemnly promised on the faith and honour of the State of Pennsylvania, merely as ‘impudence, bombast, and impertinence.’ The claims of a creditor are not always welcome to his debtor, and, when other means have failed, they are not always set forth by the injured party in the most civil and gracious words; writs and executions, for instance, are not drawn up in terms chosen for the sake of pleasing ‘ears polite.’ Mr. Smith would, no doubt, have much preferred to use the good set terms of these instruments of established authority; and nobody would then have fancied he was doing anything unreasonable, since he would be doing just what everybody else does who cannot in other ways get his rights. But the great and rich State of Pennsylvania, like the other States of our Union, has taken some pains to place herself above the reach of such vulgar processes for coercing her to be honest. She cannot be sued: her creditor therefore is compelled to use his own words, instead of the more stringent words of the law. No doubt Mr. Sydney Smith, when doing this, does not present himself with a very cringing air: he uses strong
phrases, stronger than we like to hear, stronger than is respectful; hut the real difficulty in the case is, that the strongest words he uses are true words; for just so long as the Pennsylvanians refuse to lay a tax of one cent on every hundred dollars of their wealth to pay their honest debts, just so long they may be called ‘men who prefer any load of infamy, however great, to any pressure of taxation, however light;’ and this is the hardest and sharpest phrase in Mr. Smith’s petition. To be sure, it would not be easy, on the same subject, to say anything more cutting or more terse; but, after all, the bitterness of the words lies in their truth.

“The ‘New York Evening Post’ is more severe on Mr. Smith than the ‘Boston Courier.’ His petition is there treated as the ‘ravings of one who had been disappointed in reaping that profit from his speculations which he expected and desired;’ and, because he has told us that we are ‘unstable in the very foundations of social life,’ the writer in the ‘Post’ inquires, whether ‘the Bible used by the reverend gentleman teaches him that dollars and cents are the very foundation of social life?’ Now, it is disagreeable to witness such injustice coupled with such violence of language; the thing is wrong in itself, and it does us much harm. The Rev. Sydney Smith is no more a speculator than every man is who lends money to his neighbour at the regular rate of interest; nor does he rave any more than every man raves, who insists, in round terms, that he will be paid what is plainly and lawfully due to him. Then, too, as to the ‘foundations of social life,’ the New York assailant of Mr. Smith really does not seem to suspect that honesty and good faith are among them, and that all the English clergyman asks of Pennsylvania is to be honest, in the lowest and commonest sense of that reproachful word which we can no longer, as one would think from the tone
of this writer in the ‘Post’ bear to have uttered in our presence.

“But let us now look at the matter just as it really stands. The Rev. Sydney Smith, as anybody may learn who will inquire, is a man known throughout Europe for his wit, logic, and the general vigour of his mind. He was, above forty years ago, one of the founders and main supporters of the Edinburgh Review; and he is now one of the most popular and powerful writers of his time, read alike on both sides of the Atlantic. He is an old Whig; and for the sin of maintaining manfully, against all his worldly interests, the cause of free institutions, the cause of Irish emancipation, and the cause of Parliamentary reform, he was kept low in the Church, as long as the Tories had power; and supported himself and his family, in no small degree, by his pen. He was, in fact, for many years a very poor parson, in a very poor parish in Yorkshire, where he was much loved by his parishioners for his active goodness; taking pains, among other things, to study medicine, in order to be able to practise it gratuitously among them, as there was no physician in their neighbourhood, and they could not afford to send abroad for one. When he was about sixty years old, the Whigs came into office, and gave him a good living. From this, it seems, he made in his old-age some savings: and, having confidence in free institutions and American honesty, he invested a part, or the whole, of these savings in Pennsylvania stocks. But his interest there is not paid, and his capital is shrunk to a merely nominal value. He of course complains. He tells us even that we are not honest. We answer, you ‘rave,’ you are ‘impertinent,’ you are ‘impudent,’ you are ‘a reverend slanderer.’ But what, in the meantime, do honourable men everywhere say better about us? and how comfortably does an American, always before so proud to call
himself such, feel, who is now travelling in any part of the world out of his own country! Nay, how do we ourselves feel about our conduct and character in our own secret hearts at home?

“One word more. The Rev. Sydney Smith is, after all, only the representative of a very large class of men, chiefly in England, but also to be found scattered more or less over the best portions of the continent of Europe, who now think and talk of the indebted States of America exactly as he does. They are men of moderate property and much intelligence. They have had greater confidence in free institutions than the rich and the powerful around them. They have looked upon us Americans especially with kindness, respect, and cheerful trust; when others, of more worldly consideration than themselves, have looked upon us with aversion and contempt. They have been, in short, our sincere friends; and partly because they were our friends, and believed in us and our forms of government, they have lent us their money to the amount of above a hundred millions of dollars; perhaps more nearly two hundred. And how have we requited their confidence? Mr. Smith’s petition may inform us. We may learn from it, too, that we must do something to regain for ourselves the decent consideration among mankind which we have forfeited,—and forfeited, too, merely to save ourselves from paying a certain number of ‘dollars and cents,’ as the writer in the ‘Evening Post’ would say, which we are quite aware we honestly owe.

“The people of Massachusetts and New England, and indeed the people of the majority of these States, are not called upon to take to themselves any more of the censures of Mr. Smith than a man is obliged to take of the censures that fall on a disgraced community with which he is intimately associated. We may therefore well be thankful,
and in some degree proud, that these States have committed no injustice towards their creditors; but while we are thankful for this, we must also be careful not to countenance the dishonest States in their dishonesty, nor to seem eager to rebuke a foreign creditor who comes among us boldly demanding his dues.”

But what gratified my father most was a private letter he received, shortly after his American letters were written, from his friend Mr. Wainwright, giving an account of the arrival of a steamer at New York, with a Sydney Smith on board. Mr. Wainwright’s letter best states what happened.

New York, July 15th, 1844.
“Rev. and dear Sir,

“Upon the recent arrival of the ‘Great Western,’ in the list of passengers published, was Sydney Smith! The next morning the newspapers trumpeted throughout the land that ‘the founder of the Edinburgh Review,’ ‘the distinguished Prebendary of St. Paul’s,’ ‘the man of a thousand of the happiest sayings of the age,’ and, above all, ‘the scourge of repudiating Pennsylvania,’ had actually arrived in this remote hemisphere! What was to be done? Should he be tarred and feathered, or lynched? Quite the contrary! He was to be fêted, rejoiced in, and even Pennsylvania was to meet him with cordial salutations. A hundred dinners were arranged at the moment, and the guests selected. When, lo! he who had caused this great excitement turned out to be some humble New York trader, of whom nobody had ever heard before! Now he might have signed himself S. Smith, and all would have been well; it would have passed for Samuel, Simeon, or Shearjashub. But in an evil hour he had the vanity or presumption to
write in full, and hence have come upon us disappointments without end. As a proper reparation, we must insist upon his applying to the Legislature to have an agnomen, with which he has no business, changed.

“Among the disappointed were numbers of my congregation, who, seeing a very dignified clerical-looking stranger in my pew at St. John’s, the day after the ‘Western’ arrived, jumped at the conclusion, and stared a worthy ecclesiastic almost out of countenance as he went out of church; and his only consolation is, that he came nearer to passing for a wit than he ever did before, or ever will again. But the most disappointed person was your old schoolmate, and my excellent friend, Moore; who, being confined to the house, and hearing the Sunday report from his family, was momentarily expecting, for three hours after service, to take his Winchester friend by the hand.

“Now, would it be possible for you to give us the only solace for these disappointments? The ships and steamers are admirable, the passage in summer and autumn by no means arduous, the greeting awaiting you the heartiest possible, and the country and people—you will judge of them when you come. In New York you will find a home prepared in my house; and to show you that you will not want others in other places, I send you a letter which I received from the Bishop of New Jersey, from his beautiful place, Riverside.

“Most truly your obedient friend and servant,
“J. M. Wainweight.”
From the Bishop of New Jersey.

Though my father made his own claims the plea for undertaking this cause, he was now become, through private sources, a rich man, and what he lost was a mere trifle. But during the excitement his letters caused, it was curious that, whilst abuse flowed in from the other side of the Atlantic by every packet, which he used to read to us at breakfast with great good-humour, on this side he was regarded as the lion’s mouth at Venice. He writes on one occasion, evidently much amused:—

Letter after letter poured in by every post; of gratitude, encouragement, thanks, tales of losses and miseries occasioned by this want of faith in the repudiating States, as if these aggrieved persons looked upon
him as the champion of public faith throughout Christendom.

I ought, in justice, to mention, that together with the abuse, there came frequently from America little offerings, such as apples, cheese, etc., from unknown individuals; unwilling, as they said, to share the public shame, and offering their quota towards the payment of the Pennsylvanian debt.

I have, in the first part of this Memoir, given some few extracts, to show the deep impression he then produced in the pulpit; I shall now give one, written on hearing him in his old-age, by a medical man, of eminence in his profession.

“My dear Mr. Smith,

“Not being ‘a brown man of Pennsylvania,’ I pay my just debts; and I offer to you the tribute of my sincere thanks for one of the most impressive and eloquent discourses, delivered yesterday at St. Paul’s, that it has ever fallen to my lot to hear. I wish I could read it. There is a magic in your name, which, if it was published, would incite everybody to read it, and no one is too good or too bad not to derive profit from such an appeal to his reason and his conscience. To pass by your merits of style and elocution,—peculiar, and beyond my praise,—the simple, straightforward method of treating your subject, delighted me. It is a rare and refreshing gratification to listen, in these times of discord and strife on matters of faith, to a preacher whose improvement of his text is not encumbered by references to historical or traditional details; and whose style, clear, logical, and fervid, carries with him the reason as well
as the feeling of his audience, by making their intellects a party to their conviction. The mystical phraseology of scriptural preachers (so called) always appears to me a hindrance, rather than a help, to serious piety; and I should hail the day of salvation for the Church, not of this nor of that denomination, but of Christ, when such sermons were heard in every cathedral throughout the country, as that which you delivered in the metropolitan last Sunday; which, I will undertake to assert, no hearer did not feel to be a spiritual gain and encouragement.”

Another short sketch, lately sent me by my friend Mrs. Austin, I shall also insert; giving her impressions on hearing my father for the first time preach in St. Paul’s. She went there at his invitation, in consequence of a previous conversation, in which Mrs. Austin, after expressing her surprise at the feeble effect generally produced in the pulpit, attributed it in part to the vague generalities to which preachers too often confined themselves. Standing there, as they do, with the enormous advantage of duty, reason, and religion commanding them to speak, she thought that they ought to make each moral evil which afflicts society the object of special and energetic attack.

“For example,” she said, “why do you not preach a sermon against the love of war?” My father, who most warmly coincided with these feelings against war, as may be seen in many of his letters, exclaimed, “You are right; it shall be done; come and hear me.” She went, and shall tell her own impressions.

“I was immediately struck, as I have frequently
been since, at the peculiar character and aspect of the congregation at St. Paul’s; and at the remarkable sympathy that appeared to exist between the pastor and his flock. The choir was densely filled, yet it would have been difficult to detect in the crowd any of those diversities of station which are usually but too strongly marked in a London church. It appeared one homogeneous body of sedate, earnest, respectable citizens and their families,—no obtrusive air of fashion, no painful look of poverty.

“I must confess that I went to hear Mr. Smith preach, with some misgiving as to the effect which that well-known face and voice, ever associated with wit and mirth, might have upon me, even in the sacred place. Never were misgivings more quickly and entirely dissipated. The moment he appeared in the pulpit, all the weight of his duty, all the authority of his office, were written on his countenance; and without a particle of affectation (of which he was incapable), his whole demeanour bespoke the gravity of his purpose.* Perhaps indeed it was the more striking to one who had till then only seen him delighting society by his gay and overflowing wit. As soon as he began to speak, the whole choir, upon which I looked down, exhibited one mass of upraised, atten-

* I cannot resist adding here how often and how strongly I have felt this sudden and impressive change in my father. On entering the pulpit, the calm dignity of his eye, mien, and voice, made one feel that he was indeed, and felt himself to be, “the pastor standing between our God and his people,” to teach his laws, to declare his judgments, and proclaim his mercies.

tive, thoughtful faces. It seemed as if his deep, earnest tones were caught with silent eagerness; and I could not but feel that the perfect good sense, the expansive benevolence, the plain exposition of Christian duty, which fell from his lips, found a soil well fitted to receive it. His hearers looked like men who came prepared ‘to mark,’ and able ‘inwardly to digest,’ the truths and the counsels he so clearly and emphatically placed before them. I remember no religious service which ever appeared to me more solemn, more impressive, or more calculated to bear its appropriate fruit,—the subjugation of fierce and restless passions, and the culture of a just, humane, and Christian temper.”

This winter Miss Edgeworth visited London for the last time. During her visit she saw much of my father; and her talents, as well as her love and thorough knowledge of Ireland, made her conversation peculiarly agreeable to him. I wish I had kept some notes of these conversations, which were very remarkable; but I have only a characteristic and amusing letter she wrote to me soon after her return home, from which the following is an extract.

“I have not the absurd presumption to think your father would leave London or Combe Florey, for Ireland, voluntarily; but I wish some Irish bishopric were forced upon him, and that his own sense of national charity and humanity would forbid him to refuse. Then, obliged to reside amongst us, he would see, in
the twinkling of an eye (such an eye as his), all our manifold grievances up and down the country. One word, one bon mot of his, would do more for us, I guess, than Mr. ——’s four hundred pages, and all the like, with which we have been bored. One letter from
Sydney Smith on the affairs of Ireland, with his name to it, and after having been there, would do more for us than his letters did for America and England;—a bold assertion, you will say, and so it is; but I calculate that Pat is a far better subject for wit than Jonathan; it only plays round Jonathan’s head, but it goes to Pat’s heart,—to the very bottom of his heart, where he loves it; and he don’t care whether it is for or against him, so that it is real wit and fun. Now Pat would doat upon your father, and kiss the rod with all his soul, he would,—the lash just lifted,—when he’d see the laugh on the face, the kind smile, that would tell him it was all for his good.

“Your father would lead Pat (for he’d never drive him) to the world’s end, and maybe to common sense at the end,—might open his eyes to the true state of things and persons, and cause him to ax himself how it comes that, if he be so distressed by the Sassenach landlords that he can’t keep soul and body together, nor one farthing for the wife and children, after paying the rint for the land, still and nevertheless he can pay King Dan’s rint, aisy,—thousands of pounds, not for lands or potatoes, but just for castles in the air. Methinks I hear Pat saying the words, and see him jump to the conclusion, that maybe the gintleman, his rever-
ence, that ‘has the way with him,’* might be the man after all to do them all the good in life, and asking nothing at all from them. ‘Better, sure, than Dan, after all! and we will follow him through thick and thin. Why no? What though he is his reverence, the Church, that is, our cleargy, won’t object to him; for he was never an inimy any way, but always for paying them off handsome, and fools if they don’t take it now. So down with King Dan, for he’s no good! and up with
Sydney—he’s the man, king of glory!

“But, visions of glory, and of good better than glory, spare my longing sight! else I shall never come to an end of this note. Note indeed! I beg your pardon.

“Yours affectionately,
“Maria Edgeworth.”

Miss Edgeworth says, in one of her letters to her sister, after one of the evenings spent in my father’s society:—“Delightful, I need not say; but to attempt to Boswell Sydney Smith’s conversation would be out-Boswelling Boswell indeed.” I have felt the truth of this observation most strongly in writing these Me-

* This expression, “that has the way with him,” refers to a conversation my father had with Dr. Doyle, at a time he was anxious to learn as far as possible what effect the measures he was proposing would have upon the Catholics. He proposed that Government should pay the Catholic priests. “They would not take it,” said Dr. Doyle. “Do you mean to say, that if every priest in Ireland received tomorrow morning a Government letter with a hundred pounds, first quarter of their year’s income, that they would refuse it?” “Ah, Mr. Smith,” said Dr. Doyle, “you’ve such a way of putting things!”

moirs, and should have flung down my pen in despair had I not had brighter and better, though easier things to tell, than the effusions of his wit.

I shall now give a short correspondence between my father and Sir Robert Peel, as it does equal honour to both:—

May 5, 1844.

“I am informed there will be a vacancy in July of a clerkship in the Record Office, in that department of it over which Mr. Hardy, I believe, presides. There is a family of the name of ——, residing in ——, who have formerly been in affluence, but have fallen with the fall of the West Indies. The mother and daughter are teaching music. The son is an excellent lad, understanding and speaking French and German, and is a humble candidate for this situation of Clerk of the Records, worth about eighty pounds per annum. Mr. Hardy, a very old friend of the family, is very desirous of getting the young man into his office. A better family does not exist, or one fighting up more bravely against adversity. The mother has been repeatedly to me, to beg I would state these things to you. I stated to her that I had so little the honour of your acquaintance, that, though I had met you, I should hardly presume to bow to you in the street. But the poor lady said I had evidence to give, if I had not influence to use; and at last I consented to do what I am doing. I beg therefore to observe, I am not asking anything of you (no man has less right to do so); I am merely
stating facts to you respecting an office of which you have the disposal. I have no other acquaintance with the family than through their misfortunes, borne with such unshaken constancy.

“I beg you will not give yourself the trouble to answer this letter. If my evidence induces you to make any inquiries about the young lad, that will be the best answer. If not, I shall attribute it to some of the innumerable obstacles which prevent a person in your situation from giving way to the impulses of compassion and good-nature.

“I have the honour to be, etc.,
“Sydney Smith.”
Whitehall, May 6th, 1844.

“I do not recollect that I ever made a promise of an appointment not actually vacant. I try to defer as long as possible the evil day which brings to me the invidious duty of selecting one from a hundred candidates, and disappointment to ninety-nine of them.

“But I am so sure that, when the particular vacancy mentioned in your letter shall occur, there will be no claim which it will give me greater satisfaction to comply with, than one brought under my notice by you, from such kind and benevolent motives as those which alone would induce you to write to me, that I do not hesitate a moment in making an exception from my general rule, and in at once giving you a promise, either that Mr. —— shall have the appoint-
ment you name, or one equally eligible; and not at a more distant period, if possible.

“All the return I shall ask from you is the privilege of renewing, when we meet, the honour of your acquaintance.

“I am, Sir, with sincere esteem,
“Your faithful servant,
“Robert Peel.”

The office was granted, and he had the satisfaction to hear that the young man was found most efficient in it. He shortly after sent Sir Robert Peel his works, with the “sincere respect and esteem of the author” written on the title-page. He received the following answer:—


The following are a few notes from the journal of a lady, since distinguished, both by her talents and the use she has made of them, who formed the acquaintance of my father many years ago. She gave them to me, adding, prettily, the pleasure it gave her to be able, by so doing, to throw one more stone on my father’s cairn. With these I have mingled some few anecdotes from other sources.

“If I recollect right, it was about the year 1812 that I first had the gratification to meet Mr. Sydney Smith,—it was at the house of Mr. Josiah Wedgewood. He arrived about the middle of the day, with his wife and children. He entered, and in an instant made everybody feel at their ease, and infused a portion of his own animation into all around him. I remember him standing with his back to the fire, or leaning over the back of his chair, conversing with us for several hours. The conversation turned, amongst other things, on politics. ‘I consider the Whigs as shipwrecked for ever; no chance of my being made even a dean; so I have laid down my plan of life. I will make myself, if not as rich as others, at least as rich and happy as an honest man can be.’ The next morning he took a long walk over the hills with us; and most agreeable he was, giving out his mind with a variety and abundance of ideas which delighted us, and showed how little need he had of external excitement to call forth his powers of wit and wisdom. He was at this time stout-made, his face handsome, with that pale
embonpoint which always distinguished him, and his remarkable deep dark eye, which I think retained its character even to the last;—indeed, I should say, never was the external appearance of any man less altered by years than his. When speaking of the impression made by his manner and appearance, his delightful laugh must not be forgotten,—so genuine, so full of hearty enjoyment, that it was a source of gaiety only to hear it. It was his custom to stroll about the room in which we were sitting, and which was lined with books, taking down one lot after another, sometimes reading or quoting aloud, sometimes discussing any subject that arose. He took down a sort of record of those men who had lived to a great age. ‘A record of little value,’ said
Mrs. W., ‘as to live longer than other people can hardly be the desire of anyone.’ ‘It is not so much the longevity,’ he answered, ‘that is valued, as that original build and constitution, that condition of health and habit of life, which not only leads to longevity, but makes life enjoyable whilst it lasts, that renders the subject interesting and worth inquiry.’

“‘I think a good life of Erasmus much wanted; the mild conciliating temper of the subject would make it no unfit theme for a lady’s pen.’

“‘You must preach, Mr. Smith,’ said Mrs. W. (it was Saturday). ‘We must go and try the pulpit, then,’ said he, ‘to see if it suits me.’ So to the church we walked; and how he amused us by his droll way of trying the pulpit, as he called it;—his criticisms on
the little old-fashioned sounding-board, which seemed ready to fall on his head, and which, he said, would infallibly extinguish him! ‘I can’t bear,’ said he, ‘to be imprisoned in the true orthodox way in my pulpit, with my head just peeping above the desk. I like to look down upon my congregation,—to fire into them. The common people say I am a bould preacher, for I like to have my arms free, and to thump the pulpit. A singular contretemps happened to me once, when, to effect this, I had ordered the clerk to pile up some hassocks for me to stand on. My text was, ‘We are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.’ I had scarcely uttered these words, and was preparing to illustrate them, when I did so practically, and in a way I had not at all anticipated. My fabric of hassocks suddenly gave way; down I fell, and with difficulty prevented myself from being precipitated into the arms of my congregation; who, I must say, behaved very well, and recovered their gravity sooner than I could have expected. But my adventure was not so bad as that of a friend of mine. A tame raven had got into the church; no sooner did he begin his sermon, than the raven, in high caw, rushed at his book, seized it in his bill, and had almost effected his escape with it, before the astonished preacher was aware of his danger. He caught at it however;—the bird pulled and cawed, he tugged and scolded;—the congregation were to a man with the bird, who fought valiantly for his prize; and it was not till after a severe struggle, in
which victory remained for a long time doubtful, that my friend rescued his sermon and banished his enemy, amidst the roars of laughter of his congregation.’

“I have never seen any one who approached Sydney Smith in power of thought, united with the greatest candour. He was one who saw subjects on all sides from the height of an elevated genius. His reputation has been much founded on his powers of entertaining, which are very great, indeed unrivalled; yet I prefer his serious conversation. One morning, seeing me lounging in the library, looking at idle books, he took down ‘Berkeley on Vision,’ and advised me to read it, as excessively ingenious and well worth making myself acquainted with.

“‘Live,’ said he, ‘always in the best company when you read. No one in youth thinks on the value of time. Do you ever reflect how you pass your life? If you live to seventy-two, which I hope you may, your life is spent in the following manner:—An hour a day is three years; this makes twenty-seven years sleeping,—nine years dressing,—nine years at table,—six years playing with children,—nine years walking, drawing, and visiting,—six years shopping,—and three years quarrelling.’ I did not then perhaps value these marks of interest in the progress of a young girl’s mind as I have learned to do since.

“In 1816 I had again the happiness to pass a few days with Mr. Smith in the same family, and we found him, if possible, still more delightful than before: he would sit for hours with us by the fire, discoursing
and making us all wiser and better, and of course most proud and happy, by his notice. One day he took a walk by the canal; he put a case of morality:—a man digging a canal discovers some limestone-rock, waits till the land comes into the market, purchases it, and makes a great deal of money by his discovery. I doubted whether the man was right; he maintained the man had a right to profit by his own discovery. The discussion lasted long, but I only recollect the patience he had with my arguments; and though he did not succeed in converting me to his opinion at that time, he did not make me feel afraid to own it to him.

“‘Keep as much as possible in the grand and common road of life; patent educations or habits seldom succeed. Depend upon it, men set more value on the cultivated minds than on the accomplishments of women, which they are rarely able to appreciate. It is a common error, but it is an error, that literature unfits women for the everyday business of life. It is not so with men: you see those of the most cultivated minds constantly devoting their time and attention to the most homely objects. Literature gives women a real and proper weight in society, but then they must use it with discretion; if the stocking is blue, the petticoat must be long, as my friend Jeffrey says; the want of this has furnished food for ridicule in all ages.’

“‘Never give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach. I once gave a lady two-and-twenty recipes against melancholy: one was a
bright fire; another, to remember all the pleasant things said to and of her; another, to keep a box of sugar-plums on the chimneypiece, and a kettle simmering on the hob.’ I thought this mere trifling at the moment, but have in after-life discovered how true it is that these little pleasures often banish melancholy better than higher and more exalted objects; and that no means ought to be thought too trifling which can oppose it either in ourselves or others.

“‘Oh! I am happy to see all who will visit me; I have lived twenty years in the country, and have never met a bore.’

“‘Industry! you may do anything with industry. A friend of mine has mastered Greek, Latin, mathematics, and music, in an extraordinary degree, together with all the ologies; and yet without any remarkable abilities, by industry alone.’

“‘The Law is decidedly the best profession for a young man, if he has anything in him. In the Church a man is thrown into life with his hands tied, and bid to swim; he does well if he keeps his head above water. But then in the law he must have a stout heart and an iron digestion, and must be regular as the town clock, or he may as well retire. Attorneys expect in a lawyer the constancy of the turtle-dove.’

“Some one said it was fool-hardy in General Fitzpatrick to insist upon going up alone in the balloon, when it was found there was not force to carry up two. ‘No,’ he said, ‘there is always something sublime in sacrificing to great principles; his profession was courage.’


“Many years after, I met him at the house of a relation in London. He called in on his way from some dinner-party or other; he was in high spirits, and never, I think, did such a torrent of wit, fun, nonsense, pointed remark, just observation, and happy illustration, flow pellmell from the lips of a man. That is the only time in my life that I ever saw him in what is called full force, and it made an impression on me which I can never forget.

“I saw him again after the appearance of my first book. How kind he was! how happy and polite were the things he said upon the occasion! How few have the art to do such things so well! He made me sit by him, and paid me the refined compliment of letting me feel that he thought my mind worth inquiring into. After this I saw him only as one of the general circle, collected around him in a London drawing-room, where he kept up the ball of conversation by his irresistible and inexhaustible fun and fancy; but I still, as in early life, continued to prefer his serious conversation,—his wisdom to his wit.”