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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1820
Sydney Smith to Edward Davenport, 3 January 1820

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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Foston, York, Jan. 3rd, 1820.
My dear Davenport,

I sincerely hope your clerical friend will publish his statement; at the same time, it must not be dissembled that a true and candid narrative of what he saw, would for ever put an end to his chance of preferment. My opinion is the same as yours upon the Peterloo business. I have no doubt everything would have ended at Manchester as it did at Leeds, had there been the same forbearance on the part of the magistrates. Either they lost (no great loss) their heads, or the devils of local spite and malice had entered into them, or the nostrils of the clerical magistrates smelt preferment and Court favour; but let it have been what it will, the effects have been most deplorable.

I do not know who Morier is, unless he writes about Persia; my acquaintance is principally confined to sheep and oxen.

Have you read ‘Ivanhoe’? It is the least dull, and the most easily read through, of all Scott’s novels; but there are many more powerful. The subject, in novels, poems, and pictures, is half the battle. The representation of our ancient manners is a fortunate one, and ample enough for three or four more novels.

There are four or five hundred thousand readers more than there were thirty years ago, among the lower orders. A market is open to the democrat writers, by which they gain money and distinction. Government cannot prevent the commerce. A man, if he know his business as a libeller, can write enough for mischief, without writing enough for the Attorney-
General. The attack upon the present order of things will go on; and, unfortunately, the gentlemen of the people have a strong case against the House of Commons and the boroughmongers, as they call them. I think all wise men should begin to turn their faces reform-wards. We shall do it better than
Mr. Hunt or Mr. Cobbett. Done it must and will be.

Mrs. Sydney sends her kind regards; in revenge, I beg to be remembered to your family, and remain, dear Davenport, very truly yours,

Sydney Smith.