LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1819
Sydney Smith to Lady Grey, [January] 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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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.