LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1819

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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153.] To the Countess Grey.
January 12th, 1819.
Dear Lady Grey,

Do you know any sensible, agreeable person of the name of Allen, a bachelor, and a layman? There is likely to be a vacancy soon in Dulwich College, and no such person as I have described can be found.

I have no shyness with strangers, and care not where and with whom I dine. Today I dined with Sir Henry Torrens, the Duke of York’s secretary, and found him a very gentleman-like, civilized man, with what would pass in the army for a good understanding. I was very well pleased with all I saw, for he has six elegant, pretty children, and a very comfortable villa at Pulham; his rooms were well lighted, warmed in the most agreeable, luxurious manner with Russian stoves, and his dinner excellent. Everything was perfectly comfortable. What is the use of fish or venison, when the backbone is six degrees below the freezing-point? Of all miserable habitations, an English house, either in very hot or very cold weather, is the worst.

My little boy, whom you were so good as to inquire about, is quite well, and returned to Westminster. He has fought two or three battles successfully, and is at the head of his class.

I hope Lord Grey liked Burdett’s letter to Cobbett. It is excellent, and will do that consummate villain some mischief; he is still a great deal read.

I passed four hours yesterday with my children in the British Museum: it is now put on the best possible footing, and exhibited courteously and publicly to all. The visitors when I was there were principally
maid-servants. Fifty thousand people saw it last year. My kindest regards, if you please, to my young friends, and to the excellent Lord of Howick.

Ever my dear Lady Grey, yours most truly,
Sydney Smith.

I am going to Bath next week, to see my father, aged eighty.

154.] To the Countess Grey.
No date.
Dear Lady Grey,

Macdonald spoke extremely well, and to the entire satisfaction of all his friends. Sir Robert Wilson was a complete failure: he could lead an army in or out of a defile, but cannot speak. Mr. L ——, the jocular Yorkshire member, is supposed to be the most consummately impudent man that ever passed the Humber. Waithman, the linendraper, spoke very well, and with great propriety; he has been an improved man ever since Lord Grey gave him such a beating. Mr. Ellis, son of Lord Mendip, appears upon the London arena;—politics unknown; a very gentleman-like, sensible young man, but, I fear, a Tory.

I met Lady C—— L—— last night,—the first time I have seen her since the book: a very cold manner on my part. Four sides of paper the next morning from her, and a plain and vigorous chastisement from me; but not uncivil. I am a great man for mercy; and I told her, if she would conduct herself with prudence and common sense, her conduct would in time be forgotten.


We had a large party at the Berrys’ last night; very agreeable, and everybody there.

Antonio is married to one of the under cook-maids, which makes the French cook very angry, as an interference with his department and perquisites. They report that Pidcock, of the Exeter Change, is to take Antonio.

Tierney (not, as you know, inclined to be sanguine) is in very good spirits, and expects great divisions.

Tell my Lord, if he wants to read a good savoury ecclesiastical pamphlet, to read Jonas Dennis’sConcio Cleri,’ a book of about one hundred and fifty pages: he is the first parson who has caught scent of the Roman Catholic Bill, passed at the end of the last Parliament; and no she-bear robbed of her whelps can be more furious.

A new actor has appeared, a Mr. Farren, an Irishman; very much admired. I have not heard him, for I never go to plays, and should not care (except for the amusement of others) if there was no theatre in the whole world; it is an art intended only for amusement, and it never amuses me. We are very gay here, and S—— takes it kindly and is not afraid.

Sydney Smith.

155.] To the Countess Grey.
Holland House. No date.
Dear Lady Grey,

I write from Holland House, where all are very well, except Charles, who is returned with a fit of the jaundice; but it is not of any consequence. I scarcely ever
saw a more pleasing, engaging, natural young man.

I am truly glad to hear you are in good spirits. I believe, when any serious good quality or wise exertion is required of you, you will rummage about, and come out with it at last.

We had a large party at dinner here yesterday:—Dr. Wollaston, the great philosopher, who did not say one word; William Lamb; Sir Henry Bunbury; Palmella, the Portuguese Ambassador; Lord Aberdeen; the Exquisite; Sir William Grant, a rake and disorderly man of the town, recently Master of the Rolls; Whishaw, a man of fashion; Frere; Hallam, of the ‘Middle Ages;’ and myself. In spite of such heterogeneous materials, we had a pleasant party. Mary is becoming very handsome.

Sir Henry Halford told me that the Queen’s property was estimated at £150,000, including jewels of every description. The £28,000 of jewels she received from the King at her marriage, she has given back to him.

It is reported that the Chancellor wishes to retire, if a successor could be found to exclude Leach, whom he hates. The seals are said to have been offered to, and refused by, Sir William Grant; and the Irish Chancellor is talked of. Lord —— is suspected to have written some verses himself. He went out a calculator, and is returned a child of Nature, and probably a lyric bard.

God bless you, dear Lady Grey!
S. S.

156.] To the Countess Grey.
20, Saville-row, Feb. 5th, 1819.
Dear Lady Grey,

Tierney made a very good speech, very well calculated to get votes. Frankland Lewis did very well. Mr. Maberley introduced some very striking arguments, but got wrong toward the end. This is the Augustan age of aldermen. Alderman Heygate has far exceeded Waithman, who spoke very well.

Nothing will, I believe, be said, by way of eulogium, upon Romilly and Elliott; a foolish, parading practice, very properly put an end to.

When you come to town again, pray see the new Custom-house. The attractive objects in it are the long room, one of the finest I ever saw in my life; and the facade, towards the river. I have also seen, this day, the Mint, which I think would please you. Lord Grey’s Miss O’Neil is accused of ranting.

Antonio at last ran away and offered himself to Lady C—— L——. She has taken two days to consider of it.

Lord Grey will like that article in the Edinburgh Review upon ‘Universal Suffrage:’ it is by Sir James Mackintosh. There is a pamphlet on Bullion, by Mr. Copplestone, of Oxford, much read; but bullion, I think, is not a favourite dish at Howick.

Sydney Smith.

157.] To the Earl Grey.
Saville-row, Feb. 19th, 1819.
My dear Lord Grey,

I am heartily glad that it has all ended so well, and
Lady Grey’s misery and your anxiety are at an end; and I do assure you, it has diffused a universal joy among your friends here. Pray say everything that is kind from me to Lady Grey.

I was on the hustings the greater part of the morning yesterday, with the Miss Berrys and Lady Charlotte Lindsay. Hobhouse has some talent for addressing the mob. They would not hear Lamb nor Hunt. Lamb’s election is considered as safe.

Lauderdale is better today. I cannot make out what the attack has been, but I suspect, to speak the plain truth, apoplectic. His memory was almost entirely gone from about one o’clock to six; in the course of the evening he completely recovered it, and is now getting rapidly well. In future he must be more idle, and think less of bullion and the country; with these precautions, he has a good many years before him.

It is generally thought that Government would have been beaten last night, if letters had been sent on the side of Opposition, as they were on the other side.

You must read Cobbett’s Grammar; it is said to be exceedingly good. I went yesterday to see the Penitentiary: it is a very great national work, and well worth your seeing; and tell Lady Grey, when she comes to town, to walk on that very fine terrace between Vauxhall and Westminster Bridge. It is one of the finest things about London.

I agree with you in all you say about the democrats; they are as much to be kept at bay with the left hand, as the Tories are with the right.

Ever yours very sincerely, dear Lord Grey,
Sydney Smith.

158.] To the Countess Grey.
Dear Lady Grey,

It is now generally thought that the Chancellor will stay in. The Chancellor of Ireland would not take the office if offered to him. If Lord Eldon does give up, Baron Richards is thought to be his most probable successor.

When Lord Erskine was ill at Oatlands,* Mr. Dawson dressed himself up as the new Lady Erskine, and sent up word that she wished to see the Duchess. Lord Lauderdale, who was with her, came out to prevent the intrusion of the new peeress; who kicked, screamed, and scratched, and vowed she would come in. At last, Lauderdale took her up in his arms, and was going to carry her downstairs; but Lord Alvanley, pretending to assist Lauderdale, opened the door. Lady Erskine extricated herself from the Scotch Hercules, and, with torn veil and dishevelled hair, flung herself at the Duchess’s feet! Lauderdale stamped about like one mad, expecting every moment the Duchess would go into hysterics. The scene was put an end to by a universal roar of laughter from everybody in the room; and the astonished Lauderdale beheld the peeress kicking off her petticoats, and collapsing into a well-known dandy! In the meantime, poor Lord Erskine lies miserably ill; and if he does not die from the illness, will probably die from the effects of it.

The Hollands have read Rogers’s poem, and like it. The verses on Pæstum are said to be beautiful. The whole poem is not more than eight hundred lines. Luttrell approves: I have not seen it yet.

* The Duke of York’s house, near Walton.


I went yesterday to see the national monuments in St. Paul’s, and never beheld such a disgusting heap of trash. It is a disgrace to a country to encourage such artists. Samuel Johnson’s monument, by old Bacon, is an exception. I have seen today, at the Prince’s Riding-house, the casts from the Florence Gallery, of Niobe and her Children, arranged by Cockerell’s son upon a new theory. They give me very great pleasure; pray see them when you come to town. Afterwards I went over Carlton House, with Nash, the architect. The suite of golden rooms, 450 feet in length, is extremely magnificent; still, not good enough for a palace.

Brougham, I think, does not look well. He has been too busily engaged. If he would stint himself to doing twice as much as two of the most active men in London, it would do very well.

We talked at Holland House tonight of good reading, and it was voted that Charles Earl Grey was one of the best readers in England. Lord Holland proposed the motion, and I seconded it. But it is one o’clock in the morning, and I must go to bed.

Ever, dear Lady Grey, yours very affectionately and sincerely,

Sydney Smith.

159.] To the Countess Grey.
Dear Lady Grey,

Opposition seems to get stronger and stronger every day. The most sanguine think the Ministry will be
beaten; the least so, that
Vansittart and the Doctor will be thrown overboard.

I have read Rogers; there are some very good descriptions,—the Mother and Child, Mr. Fox at St. Ann’s Hill, and several more. The beginning of the verses on Paestum are very good too. I am going to dine with the Miss Berrys today, where I am in high favour, and am reckoned a wit.

Very bad accounts of Lord Erskine,—very ill and languid from the attack, though out of danger.

I am glad to hear from Sir Charles Monck, that rents begin to be paid again in Northumberland; I thought the practice had been lost altogether.

Sydney Smith.

160.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, April 2nd, 1819.
My dear Jeffrey,

In talking of subjects, why should I not take up that of Tithes? It is untouched in our Review, and of general English interest. My doctrines upon it are, that they should be commuted for corn payments; but I will undertake to make a good article upon it and a liberal one.

It pleases me sometimes to think of the very great number of important subjects which have been discussed in so enlightened a manner in the Edinburgh Review. It is a sort of magazine of liberal sentiments, which I hope will be read by the rising generation, and infuse into them a proper contempt for their parents’ stupid and unphilosophical prejudices.


We have all been making a long stay in London, and succeeded very well there.

You see this spirited House of Commons knows how to demean itself when any solid act of baseness, such as the ten thousand pounds to the Duke of York, is in agitation. Scarlett has made a very great character as a speaker. Mackintosh made a prodigious speech on the reform of the criminal law. I wish you would come into Parliament and outdo them both, as I verily believe you would. God bless you, dear Jeffrey!

Sydney Smith.

161.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, May 17th, 1819.
My dear Jeffrey,

I wrote to you some time since, proposing for myself an article upon Tithes, to which you immediately consented. I learn from Brougham (through Allen however) that he had, above a twelvemonth since, with your consent, engaged this subject. Is this so? If it is, would it not be better to keep some memorandum of these sort of engagements?—(excuse the impertinence of the suggestion.) If it is not so, I will proceed. In the meantime, I will proceed upon an article of Mr. Dennis and the Church, and I have finished a short article of Heude’sTravels across the Desert, from Bagdad to Constantinople.’ I shall proceed with such sort of books till some interesting subject occurs to me of greater importance. I have already your consent to Mr. Dennis.

Poor Seymour!* Every year thins the ranks of

* Lord Webb Seymour, brother to the Duke of Somerset.

our old friends. Those who remain must take closer order.

I have read no article but Ross, which I like, and Laney, which I do not dislike, though I think it might have been more entertaining.

What a singular Parliament this is! It all proceeds from paying when they are not frightened. The severe scrutiny into evaded taxes has thickened the ranks of Opposition.

I long to see you, but locomotion becomes every year more difficult, because I get poorer and poorer as my family grows up. God bless you!

Sydney Smith.

162.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Saville-row, June, 1819.
My dear Jeffrey,

This number of the Review is much liked, in spite of the nonsense I have contributed; particularly, I think, Mackintosh’s paper on Universal Suffrage.

The Opposition expect to muster strong. Tierney, who is always the reverse of sanguine, talks of one hundred and eighty or two hundred.

Rogers’s poem is just out. The Hollands speak very highly of it. Crabbe is coming out with a poem of twelve thousand lines, for which, and the copy of his other works, Murray is to give him three thousand pounds,—a sum which Crabbe has heard mentioned before, but of which he can form no very accurate numerical notion. All sums beyond a hundred pounds must be to him mere indistinct vision—clouds and darkness.


Lord Byron’s satires, brought over by Lord Lauderdale, are sent back for mitigation down to the standard law level. Murray is afraid of his ears. Lord John Russell is coming out with the Memoirs of Lord Russell, and Miss Berry with those of Lady Russell.

Ever, my dear friend, yours most truly,
Sydney Smith.

163.] To John Allen, Esq.
Fasten, July 7th, 1819.
Dear Allen,

I have never a cold in winter, by any accident or any carelessness; in summer, no attention can preserve me from them; and they come upon me with a violence which is extremely distressing: no determination to the lungs, no cough, merely catarrh, but catarrh which prevents me from hearing, seeing, smelling, or speaking for weeks together, indeed all the summer; and this has been the case for many years. Can you do me any good?

Can you give me any subject, or tell me any book, for the Review? I have sent a long article upon Botany Bay.

Pray tell me how Lord Holland is, and how my brother is. My eldest son Douglas (whom you may remember at Holland House) has succeeded in the trial at Westminster, and Hall* has promised to remember him in the election to Christchurch. This is very well if he does not succeed in the attempt to go to the West Indies,—a much more certain road to independence than any he is likely to get into in this

* Dean of Christchurch, Oxford.

country; but
Baring, in the immensity of his transactions, is hardly likely to keep in mind anything so unimportant.

What are your plans for the summer?

I have read Galiano’s letters, but they are so utterly insignificant, that there is nothing more to be said of them than that they are not worth speaking about. I scarcely ever read a more insignificant collection of letters. He wrote a little tract in the beginning of life about the importation of corn; and the recollection of that is the subject of the letters, for twenty years, to Madame D’Epinay; or, if there is any variation, of his trumpery commissions to the good-natured woman.

‘Lettres à l’auteur d’un ouvrage ayant pour titre, Superstitions et Prestiges des Philosophes du 18 siècle, dans lequel on examine plusieurs opinions qui mettent obstacle à l’entier établissement de la Religion en France; par M. Deleuse. 8vo.’ Do you know anything of this book?—and of ‘Campagne de l’Armée Francaise en Portugal, 1810-11; avec un précis de celles qui l’ont précédé; par un Officier supérieur employé dans l’état-major de cette armée’?

Yours, my dear Allen, very truly,
Sydney Smith.

164.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, July 30th, 1819.
My dear Jeffrey,

I hear you are going to Brougham’s. I should like most exceedingly to meet you there, but it is hardly possible. Poor Playfair!

You have never told me how your little girl is.


What do you think will become of all these political agitations? I am strongly inclined to think, whether now or twenty years hence, that Parliament must be reformed. The case that the people have is too strong to be resisted; an answer may be made to it, which will satisfy enlightened people perhaps, but none that the mass will be satisfied with. I am doubtful whether it is not your duty and my duty to become moderate Reformers, to keep off worse.

We are upon the eve here of a good harvest, and I have just finished twenty acres of hay. I am far gone in agriculture. God bless you, my dear friend!

Ever yours,
Sydney Smith.

165.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, August 7th, 1819.
My dear Jeffrey,

You must consider that Edinburgh is a very grave place, and that you live with philosophers who are very intolerant of nonsense. I write for the London, not for the Scotch market, and perhaps more people read my nonsense than your sense. The complaint was loud and universal of the extreme dulness and lengthiness of the Edinburgh Review. Too much, I admit, would not do of my style; but the proportion in which it exists enlivens the Review, if you appeal to the whole public, and not to the eight or ten grave Scotchmen with whom you live. I am a very ignorant, frivolous, half-inch person; but, such as I am, I am sure I have done your Review good, and contributed to bring it into notice. Such as I am, I shall be, and
cannot promise to alter. Such is my opinion of the effect of my articles. I differ with you entirely about
Lieutenant Heude. To do such things very often would be absurd; to punish a man every now and then for writing a frivolous book is wise and proper; and you would find, if you lived in England, that the review of Lieutenant Heude is talked of and quoted for its fun and impertinence, when graver and abler articles are thumbed over and passed by. Almost any one of the sensible men who write for the Review would have written a much wiser and more profound article than I have done upon the Game Laws. I am quite certain nobody would obtain more readers for his essay upon such a subject; and I am equally certain that the principles are right, and that there is no lack of sense in it.

So I judge myself; but, after all, the practical appeal is to you. If you think my assistance of no value, I am too just a man to be angry with you upon that account; but while I write, I must write in my own way. All that I meant to do with Lord Selkirk’s case was to state it.

I am extremely sorry for Moore’s misfortune, but only know generally that he has met with misfortune. God bless you!

Your sincere friend,
Sydney Smith.

166.] To the Countess Grey.
Foston, August, 1819.
My dear Lady Grey,

I was just going to write to you or Lord Grey, to
make inquiries about you;—first, because I had not heard of you for a long time; next, because somebody told me you were at Malvern, and I wanted an explanation of the proceeding. I am very sorry to find it explained as you have explained it. God send your object may be answered in going there!

I am very fond of Malvern; the double view from the top of the hill is one of the finest things I know. My father some years had a house some four miles from Malvern—Broomsbery, Mr. Yates’; so I know all the country perfectly well.

I was extremely sorry to miss you and Lord Grey in London, but you rose above the horizon just as I sank. You are both wise, prudent, and good, so I suppose you have done right in giving up your house; but I sincerely regret any change that lessens my chance of seeing you. I smiled when I came to that part of your letter where you state that Charles Earl Grey is thoroughly ennuyed with Malvern. I can thoroughly understand the effect which such a place would have upon him; I am sorry I am not near, to quiz and attack him.

I wish you and Lord Grey would pay us a visit, and see how happy people can be in a small, snug parsonage. I am a great farmer;—am improving, and losing less money than formerly. The crops are abundant everywhere, and, as we are free from manufactures, there are no complaints. The state of the clothing counties of the North (unless the cessation of the demand be temporary) will become truly alarming.

Sydney Smith.

167.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, August 16th, 1819.
My dear Jeffrey,

Many thanks for your wise and gentlemanlike letter. Perhaps I was a little perverse. I will promise to rebel no more, but attend to your fatherly admonition, taking it as a proof that you confide in the sincere friendship and affection I bear towards you; and I am sure you have no friend in the world who loves you better than I do.

You do me honour when you say the subjects I undertake should be important; but, to omit any other difficulty, there is a difficulty in finding such subjects. If you can suggest any to me, I shall be obliged. I mention more books than I shall review, because many on inspection prove unworthy. I should like to write a short article on the Poor Laws. If trade does not increase, there will be a war of the rich against the poor. In that case, you and I, I am afraid, shall be of different sides.

Sydney Smith.

I hope the Manchester riots will appear next number; I am ready for them, if nobody else is.

168.] To the Countess Grey.
Foston, Nov. 3rd, 1819.

I am truly concerned, my dear Lady Grey, to hear Lord Grey has been so ill; and I thank you sincerely for the confidence you show in my attachment to him, by informing me of it. For himself, it would be far
better if he could remain quietly in the country, but the times will not admit of it; so do you inculcate prudence in what concerns the body, and he will go with the good wishes of all honest men.

I think if I were to talk over the matter with Lord Grey, I should hardly differ with him upon any one point;—certainly not upon the enormity of the outrage at Manchester, upon the necessity of county meetings, upon the reprehensible conduct of Ministers in approving of the proceedings of the magistrates, and upon the folly and iniquity of dismissing Lord Fitzwilliam.

I cannot measure the danger; I guess there is no more danger at present than what vigilance and activity, without any new and extraordinary coercion, may guard against. With a failing revenue, depressed commerce, manufactures, and industry, and with an Administration determined to concede nothing, there may be hereafter a struggle. If there be, it will not end in democracy, but in despotism. In which of these two evils it terminates, is of no more consequence than from which tube of a double-barrelled pistol I meet my destruction.

Yours, dear Lady Grey, with affection and respect,

Sydney Smith.

169.] To Douglas Smith, Esq.,
King’s Scholar at Westminster College.
Foston Rectory, 1819.
My dear Douglas,

Concerning this Mr. ——, I would not have you
put any trust in him, for he is not trustworthy; but so live with him as if one day or other he were to be your enemy. With such a character as his, this is a necessary precaution.

In the time you can give to English reading you should consider what it is most needful to have, what it is most shameful to want,—shirts and stockings, before frills and collars. Such is the history of your own country, to be studied in Hume, then in Rapin’s History of England, with Tindal’s Continuation. Hume takes you to the end of James the Second, Rapin and Tindal will carry you to the end of Anne. Then, Coxe’sLife of Sir Robert Walpole,’ and the ‘Duke of Marlborough;” and these read with attention to dates and geography. Then, the history of the other three or four enlightened nations in Europe. For the English poets, I will let you off at present with Milton, Dryden, Pope, and Shakspeare; and remember, always in books, keep the best company. Don’t read a line of Ovid till you have mastered Virgil; nor a line of Thomson till you have exhausted Pope; nor of Massinger, till you are familiar with Shakspeare.

I am glad you liked your box and its contents. Think of us as we think of you; and send us the most acceptable of all presents,—the information that you are improving in all particulars.

The greatest of all human mysteries are the Westminster holidays. If you can get a peep behind the curtain, pray let us know immediately the day of your coming home.

We have had about three or four ounces of rain here, that is all. I heard of your being wet through in London, and envied you very much. The whole of this
parish is pulverized from long and excessive drought. Our whole property depends upon the tranquillity of the winds: if it blow before it rains, we shall all be up in the air in the shape of dust, and shall be transparished we know not where.

God bless you, my dear boy! I hope we shall soon meet at Lydiard. Your affectionate father,

Sydney Smith.

170.] To the Earl Grey.
Foston, York, Dec. 3rd, 1819.
My dear Lord Grey,

I am truly concerned to see you (in the papers) talking of your health, as you are reported to have done. God grant you may be more deceived in that, than you are in the state of the country! Pray tell me how you are, when you can find leisure to do so.

I entirely agree with you, that force alone, without some attempts at conciliation, will not do. Readers are fourfold in number, compared with what they were before the beginning of the French war; and demagogues will, of course, address to them every species of disaffection. As the violence of restraint increases, there will be private presses, as there are private stills. Juries will acquit, being themselves Jacobins. It is possible for able men to do a great deal of mischief in libels, which it is extremely difficult to punish as libels; and the worst of it all is, that a considerable portion of what these rascals say, is so very true. Their remedies are worse than the evils; but when they state to the people how they are bought and sold, and the abuses entailed upon the country by so corrupted a
Parliament, it is not easy to answer them, or to hang them.

What I want to see the State do, is, to listen in these sad times to some of its numerous enemies. Why not do something for the Catholics, and scratch them off the list? Then come the Protestant Dissenters. Then, of measures,—a mitigation of the game-laws—commutation-of tithes—granting to such towns as Birmingham and Manchester the seats in Parliament taken from the rottenness of Cornwall—revision of the Penal Code—sale of the Crown lands—sacrifice of the Droits of Admiralty against a new war;—anything that would show the Government to the people in some other attitude than that of taxing, punishing, and restraining. I believe what Tierney said to be strictly true,—that the House of Commons is falling into contempt with the people. Democracy has many more friends among tradesmen and persons of that class of life than is known or supposed commonly. I believe the feeling is most rapidly increasing; and that Parliament, in two or three years’ time, will meet under much greater circumstances of terror than those under which it is at present assembled.

From these speculations I slide, by a gentle transition, to Lady Grey: how is she? how is Lord Howick? Are you at your ease about the young man? If ever you will send him, or any of your sons, upon a visit to me, it will give me great pleasure to see them. They shall hear no Tory sentiments, and Howick will appear to be the centre of gaiety and animation compared to Foston. I am delighted with the part Lord Lansdowne has taken: he seems to have made a most admirable speech; but, after all, I believe
we shall go ad veteris
Nicolai tristia regna, Pitt ubi combustum Dundasque videbimus omnes.

Ever yours, dear Lord Grey, sincerely,
Sydney Smith.

171.] To Lady Mary Bennett.
Saville-row, December, (supposed to be) 1819.
My dear Lady Mary,

I was much amused with your thinking that you had discovered me in the Edinburgh Review; if you look at it again, you will find reason to alter your opinion.

I have brought all my children up to town; and they are, as you may suppose, not a little entertained and delighted. It is the first time they have ever seen four people together, except on remarkably fine days at the parish church. There seems to be nobody in town, nor will there be, I presume, before the meeting of Parliament.

I am writing to you at two o’clock in the morning, having heard of a clergyman who brought himself down from-twenty-six to sixteen stone in six months, by lessening his sleep. When he began, he was so fat that he could not walk, and now he walks every day up one of the highest hills in the country, and remains in perfect health. I shall be so thin when you see me, that you may trundle me about like a mop. God bless you!

Sydney Smith.