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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1809
Sydney Smith to Francis Jeffrey, 3 September 1809

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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Heslington, Sept. 3rd, 1809.
My dear Jeffrey,

Are we to see you?—(a difficult thing at all times
to do). Have you settled your dispute with
Constable, and in what manner? It is almost superfluous to praise what you write, for you write everything in a superior manner; the rule therefore is, that you are to be highly praised, and the blame is the exception. I admire your temper: it is a difficult thing to refute so many follies, and to rebuke so many villanies, and still to keep yourself within bounds; you have the merit of doing this in an eminent degree, and have exemplified your talent in the review of R——. You speak, I cannot help thinking, rather too carelessly of economy in your ‘Parliamentary Reform;’ in the present war, threatening a duration of thirty years, everything will turn upon it. I object rather to your tone than to any of your opinions; nor is it only that economy will decide the contest, but that English habits, and prejudices, and practices are not favourable to this humble political virtue. I must be pardoned for suspecting the praise of —— to be overdone, and for pronouncing the review of Lord —— to be neither short nor highly entertaining, nor wholly free from that species of political animadversion which is resorted to in the daily papers. The review of Davy I like very much.

The European world is, I think, here at an end; there is surely no card left to play.

Instead of being unamused by trifles, I am, as I well knew I should be, amused by them a great deal too much; I feel an ungovernable interest about my horses or my pigs, or my plants; I am forced, and always was forced, to task myself up into an interest for any higher objects. When, I ask, shall we see you? I claim, by that interrogation, an answer to a letter of special invitation, written to you from Philips’s, and which I cordially renew, and would aggravate, if I could, every
syllable of invitation it contained. Pray lay an injunction upon Tim Thompson, that he in nowise journey to or from the Metropolis without tarrying here.
Though you are absent, jokes shall never fail;
I’ll kill the fatted calf, and tap the foaming ale;
We’ll settle men and things by rule of thumb,
And break the lingering night with ancient rum.

Sydney Smith.