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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1832
Sydney Smith to Lady Grey, 17 May 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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Combe Florey, Aug. 27th, 1832.
My dear Lady Grey,

Are you gone to Howick? You must have great pleasure, the greatest pleasure, in going there triumphant and all-powerful. It must be, I fear, a hasty pleasure, and that you cannot be long spared.

One of your greatest difficulties is the Church; you must positively, in the course of the first session, make a provision for the Catholic clergy of Ireland, and make it out of the revenues of the Irish Protestant Church. I have in vain racked my brains to think how this can be avoided, but it cannot. It will divide the Cabinet and agitate the country, but you must face the danger
and conquer, or be conquered by it. It cannot be delayed. There is no alternative between this and a bloody war, and reconquest of Ireland. I hope you will, if possible, make the Bishops bring in their own Reform Bill. They will throw it on the Government if they can. I foresee the probability of a Protestant tempest; but you must keep the sea, and not run into harbour: such indeed is not your practice. The Tories are daunted and intimidated here, and, I think, the members returned will be Reformers. Pray put down the unions as soon as Parliament meets.

We are all well. Cholera has made one successful effort at Taunton, and not repeated it, though a month has elapsed. Lord John Russell comes here on Saturday, and the Fazakerleys on Friday; so we shall be a strong Reform party for a few days. My butler said, in the kitchen, “he should let the country people peep through the shutters at Lord John for a penny apiece.” A very reasonable price. I wonder what he would charge for Lord Grey, if he should come here.

The cholera will have killed by the end of the year about one person in every thousand. Therefore it is a thousand to one (supposing the cholera to travel at the same rate) that any person does not die of the cholera in any one year. This calculation is for the mass; but if you are prudent, temperate, and rich, your chance is at least five times as good that you do not die of the cholera,—in other words, five thousand to one that you do not die of cholera in a year; it is not far from two millions to one that you do not die any one day from cholera. It is only seven hundred and thirty thousand to one that your house is not burnt down any one day. Therefore it is nearly three
times as likely that your house should be burnt down any one day, as that you should die of cholera; or, it i3 as probable that your house should be burnt down three times in any one year, as that you should die of cholera.

An enormous harvest here, and every appearance of peace and plenty. God bless you, dear Lady Grey! My very kind regards to Lord Grey and Georgina.

Sydney Smith.