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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1832
Sydney Smith to Lady Grey, [March] 1832

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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Supposed 1832.
My dear Lady Grey,

I did not like to say much to you about public affairs today, because I thought you were not well, but I must take the weight off my soul! I am alarmed for Lord Grey; so are many others.

Is there a strong probability, amounting almost to a certainty, that the Bill will be carried without a creation of Peers? No.—Then make them. But the King will not.—Then resign. But if the King will create, we shall lose more than we gain.—I doubt it. Many threaten, who will not vote against the Bill.—At all events, you will have done all you can to carry it. If you do create, and it fail, you are beaten with honour: and the country will distinguish between its enemies and its friends.

The same reason applies to dissensions in the Cabinet, of which (though perhaps unfounded) I have heard many rumours. Turn out the anti-Reformers; you will then be either victorious, or defeated with honour. You are just in that predicament in which the greatest boldness is the greatest prudence. You must either carry the Bill, or make it as clear as day that you have done all in your power to do so. There is not a moment to lose. The character of Lord Grey is a
valuable public possession. It would be a very serious injury if it were destroyed, and there will be no public man in whom the people will place the smallest confidence. Lord Grey must say to his colleagues tomorrow: “Brothers, the time draws near; you must choose this day between good and evil; either you or I must perish this night, before the sun falls. I am sure the Bill will not pass without a creation: it may pass with one. It is the only expedient for doing what, from the bottom of my heart, I believe the country requires. I will create, and create immediately; or resign.”

Mackintosh, Whishaw, Robert Smith, Rogers, Luttrell, Jeffrey, Sharpe, Ord, Macaulay, Fazakerley, Lord Ebrington—where will you find a better jury, one more able and more willing to consider every point connected with the honour, character, and fame of Lord Grey? There would not be among them a dissentient voice.

If you wish to be happy three months hence, create Peers. If you wish to avoid an old-age of sorrow and reproach, create Peers. If you wish to retain my friendship, it is of no sort of consequence whether you create Peers or not; I shall always retain for you the most sincere gratitude and affection, without the slightest reference to your political wisdom, or your political errors; and may God bless and support you and Lord Grey in one of the most difficult moments that ever occurred to any public man!

Sydney Smith.