Skip to main content

Full text of "A memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith"

See other formats


3 3433 08241374 5 

Umx Library 

Dttyriunrft Vollectixm. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 


*1 OF THE 









NEW Y R K : 




It is, I think, necessary to offer some explanation of 
the part I have taken in the selection and aiTangement 
of the following Letters for the press. 

It was in compliance witli the earnest desire and re- 
peated solicitations of ]\Irs. Sydney Smith, that I under- 
took to edit the letters of her lamented, and to 
write a short memoir, the materials for which she was to 
furnish. Flattered as I could not hut be by her request, 
I was too sensible of my own incompetence to such a 
work to engage in it willingly ; and it was not till I found 
that no more competent editor (or none whom she esteem- 
ed so) was willing and able to undertake the task, that 
I yielded to the affecting importunities of my revered 

iS^ot long after I received the materials for the project- 
ed work, a dangerous illness left me in so shattered a 
state of health, that every exertion of mind or body was 
forbidden, and indeed impossible, to me ; and I begged 
]\Irs. Smith to receive back the papers she had intrusted 
to my care. Still she urged me to wait. While I wait- 
ed, she amved before me at the goal which I had so near- 
ly reached. Immediately after her death I sent the pa- 
pers to Lady Holland, to whom they had been bequeath- 
ed by her mother, telling her, that as I liad no liope of 
such a return to health as would enable me to bear the 
anxiety I should feel in writing a jMemoir of licr lionored 

iv prefacp:. 

father, I must definitively decline so grave a responsibil- 
ity. I added, that if my services in the business of se- 
lecting and arranging the letters for tlie press were of any 
value, she might command them. I ventured to believe 
that my veneration for ]\Ir. Sydney Smith's character, my 
earnest desire to set forth those high and solid qualities 
"wliich the brilliancy of his wit had partly concealed from 
the dazzled eyes of tlic pubhc, and my religious care not 
to make him do alter his death tliat which he never did 
in life — inflict causeless or envenomed wounds — might 
perhaps atone for deficiencies of which I was as sensible 
as any of his admirers could be. 

I entirely concur with Lady Holland in the opinion, 
that the conditions winch alone can justify the publica- 
tion of private letters are, " that they shall neither hurt 
the living, injure the dead, nor impair the reputation of 
the writer." Almost every contributor to this selection 
will therefore find that I have largely used my power (or 
rather fulfilled my duty) as Editor, and have omitted 
wliatever 1 thought at vanance with any one of these 
conditions. It is hardly necessary to say that not a 
Avord has been added. 

Not only is the tacit compact wliich used to j^rotect 
the intercourses of society now continually violated by 
the unautliorized pubhcation of conversations and letters, 
but there are not wanting pretended champions of truth, 
who assert the claims of the public to be put in posses- 
sion of all the transient impressions, the secret thoughts, 
the personal concerns, whicli an eminent man may Jiave 
imparted to his intimate friends. Sucli claims are too 
preposterous to be discussed. They deserve only to be 
met by a peremptory rejection. Witliout the most ab- 
solute power of suppressing whatever I thouglit it inex- 
pedient to publisli, I could not have meddled with any 
thing so sacred as private letters. I am persuaded that 


no person of honor or delicacy will regret the amusement 
which might perhaps have been purchased by treachery 
to the dead, or indifference to the feelings of the living. 

In insisting, however, on the canons Avhich ought to 
govern all editors of letters, let me, by no means, be un- 
derstood to apply them specially to the letters of Sydney 
Smith. Few editors to whom so large a mass of private 
papers have been submitted, can say, as I can, with the 
strictest trutli, that I have found nothing for which those 
who loved and honored the writer need to blush. My 
opinion of Sydney Smith's gi-eat and noble qualities — his 
courage and mxagnanimity, his large humanity, his scorn 
of all meanness and all imposture, his rigid obedience to 
duty — was very high before. It is much higher now, that 
his inward life has been laid bare before me. He lived, 
as he says, in a house of glass. He was brave and frank 
in every utterance of his thoughts and feelings ; yet, 
though I have found opinions to which I could not as- 
sent, and tastes which are entirely opposed to my own, 
I have not found a sentiment unworthy a man of sense, 
honor, and humanity. I have found no trace of a mean, 
an unkind, or an equivocal action. 

So many sketches of IMr. Sydney Smith's character 
have been written, and its more intimate parts are so viv- 
idly portrayed in his daugliter's j\Iemoir, that it would be 
worse than superfluous for me to attempt to add to them. 
I can not, however, close a work which has long and anx- 
iously engaged my attention, without adverting to a few 
of the points which have struck me during its progress. 

If the interest of a life were proportioned to the traces 
it leaves behind, few would afford richer materials to the 
biographer than that of Sydney Smith. But the field on 
which the champions of truth have to do battle is often 
obscure, the confhct doubtful, the victory unperceived 
till long after the combatants have ceased to exist. The 


stoiy of their lives is marked by none of the striking in- 
cidents which mark the career of men of action. 

To understand the full significance of such a life as 
Sydney Smith's, we must ask ourselves what he accom- 
plished. That he was the acknowledged projector of the 
Edinburgh Review, one of the early guardians of its prin- 
ciples (as appears from some of his letters to Jeffrey), 
and one of its most distinguished and powerful contrib- 
utors, would of itself afford a satisfactory answer to this 
question. It is clear that he himself, though no man 
was less inclined to overrate the value of his own pro- 
ductions, looked back with a just satisfaction on the in- 
fluence of that journal on public opinipn. In a letter to 
Lord Jeffrey, dated Foston, 1825, he says, " It must be 
to you, as I am sure it is to me, a great pleasure to see 
so many improvements taking place, and so many abuses 
destroyed — abuses upon which you, with cannon and 
mortars, and I, with sparrow-shot, have been playing for 
so many years." And again, in a letter to Mrs. Crowe 
(January 6, 1840) : " I printed my reviews to show that 
I had not passed my life merely in making jokes, but had 
made use of what little powers of pleasantry I might be 
endowed with, to discountenance bad, and to encourage 
liberal and wise principles." 

This was his own view of his vocation. In order to 
estimate his success in it, to trace the operation of his 
mind on the public mind (and hence on the public affairs) 
of England, we ought to present a complete and accurate 
view of its state at the beginning of his career. Such a 
retrospect is out of the question here. 33ut we may con- 
fidently affirm that every day more clearly shows the 
depth of stolid prejudices, stupid and malignant antipa- 
tliies, and time-honored abuses, out of which we have 

Many of the giants Sydney Smith combated are not 


only slain, but almost forgotten ; and thus the very com- 
pleteness of his success tends to eiface from the minds 
of the present generation the extent of their obligations 
to him. But it ought never to be forgotten that, at the 
time he buckled on his armor, all these had nearly un- 
disputed possession of the field. To combat them was 
then a ser^4ce of real dano-er. The men who now float 


on the easy and rapid current of reform are apt, in the 
intoxication of their own facile triumphs, to foreet the 
difficulties and the perils wliich their predecessors had 
to encounter. Those who now represent the most con- 
serrative opinions would then have passed for rash and 
dangerous innovators ; reforms long since accomplished 
would then have been regarded as visionary or danger- 
ous. The French Revolution — the fruitful parent of 
evils, of which no eye can yet discern the termination — 
had then utterly disordered the minds of men ; agitated 
by the wildest expectations of good, or terrors of evil, to 
result from that explosion of undisciplined popular will. 
It was in the midst of this universal frenzy and panic, 
that Sydney Smith's clear and sound understanding, nei- 
ther dazzled by ^^sions of impracticable good, nor alarm- 
ed by shadows of imaginary evil, seized upon those prin- 
ciples of which he was through life the dauntless and in- 
flexible advocate. 

Much has been said of the extraordinary faculties 
which he brought to this undertaking; yet the power 
which he exercised over the public mind, when his own 
powers were roused, has hardly been sufficiently insisted 
on. "What other private gentleman of our day, uncon- 
nected with Parliament, without office, rank, or fortune, 
has been able, by a few pages from his pen, to electrify 
the country as he did by the publication of " Peter Plim- 
ley's Letters V Or to excite the fecHngs of two nations, 
as he did, by his letters to the Americans ? Or to fight, 

viii PREFACE. 

single-lianded, against the combined power of tlie ]\Iin- 
istiy and of the dignitaries of the Church, a Lattle in 
which he carried public opinion along witli him "? If 
such were the effects produced by one in so obscure a 
situation, what might he not have eifected if placed in a 
position to exercise a more direct influence on the coun- 
cils and affairs of the country ? 

He was a giant when roused, and the goad which 
roused him was Injustice. He was clear from envj, 
hatred, and all uncharitableness, and incapable of any 
littleness. He was ever ready to defend the weak. He 
showed as much zeal in saving a poor village boy, as in 
aiding a Minister of State. His hatred of every form of 
cant and affectation was only equaled by his prompt 
and unerring detection of it. Without admitting that 
the vice of hyj)Ocrisy is peculiarly English, we must con- 
fess that some of the forms which simulated virtue as- 
sumes in this country are not only, in common wdth all 
simulations, offensive to the love of truth, but are pe- 
culiarly repulsive to good sense and good taste. And 
there never was a man in whom they were calculated to 
excite more disgust than the brave, frank, and high-spir- 
ited gentleman whose letters are before us. For in him 
a passion for truth was enlightened by the utmost per- 
spicacity of mind, and the most acute sense of the ludi- 
crous and unseemly. 

It must also be constantly borne in mind that Mr. 
Sydney Smith did not regard Christianity as an ascetic 
religion, but as a religion of peace, and joy, and comfort. 
We say this, not in justification of the view, which it 
would be wholly out of place to discuss here, but of the 
consistency of him who held it. It was in perfect con- 
formity Avitli tliis l)elif'.f, tliat he encouraged every social 
pleasure and every taste for innocent enjoyment. These 
things he regarded not as lamentable concessions to the 


demands of a sinful nature, but as praiseworthy endeav- 
ors to mitigate the evils and sufferings of humanity, and 
hence in perfect harmony with the character and designs 
of a benevolent Creator. 

It is needless to insist on the generous audacity Avitli 
wdiich he formed and held his opinions, or the gallantry 
with Avhich he threw himself into the breach to assert an 
unpopular truth, which others were "too timid to ex- 
press for themselves."* All this is familiar. But we 
see also that the boldness and vigor with which he pro- 
claimed his opinions were wholly without the tenacity or 
irritability of self-love: "You know that a short argu- 
ment often convinces me," he says to Lord Grey. And, 
again, where he mentions Sir Robert Peel's projected re- 
peal of the Corn Laws, how candidly he avows his pres- 
ent disapprobation of that measure! how open is his 
mind to arguments in its favor ! There is something as 
magnanimous as it is rare in this union of fearless candor 
with openness to conviction. 

When we consider the tremendous weapons with 
which he came armed into the world, what poAvers he 
possessed of inflicting pain, and of adorning falsehood or 
immorality with the dazzling gems of his wit, we can 
not w^ithhold from him a feeling of gratitude for the gen- 
erous and indulgent temper which led him to spare the 
weak, and for the high principle and taste which kept 
the precious talent intrusted to him pure, bright, and un- 
tainted. Never was wit so little addressed to the ma- 
lignant, base, or impure passions of mankind. To this 
his Letters, poured forth out of the abundance of his fear- 
less heart and high spmts, bear ample evidence. 

Lastly, I have been much struck with the perfect ar- 
rangement and symmetry of his life. He is never the 
sport of circumstances ; but througliout the battle of life 
* See letter to Mr. Bedford, of Bristol, Januarv 13, 1829. 


we find ]iim determined to do his duty in whatever cir- 
cumstances it shall please God to place him. This de- 
termination he carried into the most trifling details of do- 
mestic life. Whatever he did, he did it with all his 
might. Nothing was neglected, sluiTcd over, or left to 
chance. The order in which he kej)t his accounts might 
serve as a model to any man of business ; and we have 
seen with what energy he introduced the same order into 
the affairs of the Chapter of which he was a member. 

This is no place for a dissertation on his literary mer- 
its. Yet I can hardly omit to remark how entirely they 
bore the stamp of his character. Never was the saying, 
' ' Le style c'est I'homme, " more a2:)plicable. Prompt, fear- 
less, natural, and easy, going straightforward to the ob- 
ject, there is no laborious research or timorous hesita- 
tion as to the words in which falsehood shall be exposed, 
or tmth uttered. He was little indebted to books. His 
vigorous mind and fertile imagination su^^plied him with 
all he wanted ; and the manliness of his character gave 
force and freedom to all he wrote. 

The following remarks on Mr. Sydney Smith's style, 
by Sir Henry Plolland, which were given to me by Mrs. 
Sydney Smith, are so just and discriminating, that I 
have begged permission to print them. They were call- 
ed forth by these words, which I had quoted from the 
letter of a friend : "If ]\Ir. Sydney Smith had not been 
the greatest and most brilliant of wits, he would have 
been the most remarkable man of his time for a sound 
and vigorous understanding and great reasoning powers ; 
and if he had not been distinguished for these, he would 
have been the most eminent and the purest writer of 

" Mrs. Austin's friend," says Sir Henry Holland, "has 
admirably denoted the three eminent peculiarities of ]\Ir. 
Sydney Smith's writing — his vigorous sense, his wit, 


and the pui'e and masculine English of his style. The 
latter quality has scarcely been sufficiently noticed in 
comments on his works. Those higher qualities of rea- 
son and of humor have tended, it may be, to keep it out 
of sight. 

" I should be inclined to note two other peculiarities 
of his TVTitings, which have not been enough dv/elt upon. 
One of these is, the suddenness with which he enters on 
his subject. No distant approaches by preface or dis- 
sertation. He plunges at once into his argument, and 
never loiters or lingers in it when he has compassed his 
conclusion. In no case does he drain a subject to the 
dregs, but always leaves his readers lamenting that he 
has come to an end. 

" The other peculiarity (akin to the former, and often 
exceedingly happy in its effect) is what may be termed 
the unexjpectedness of his manner of writing. He does 
not bind himself down to any servile rules of composi- 
tion, or formal methods of argument. You always feel 
him to be a free and unshackled inquirer. He passes 
abruptly from one part of his subject to another, and, as 
suddenly, from exquisite wit to the gravest and most pro- 
found reason. 

"He was in truth equally fearless in the manner and 
method of his works, as in the opinions and conclusions 
it was his object to enforce." 

High as Mr. Sydney Smith's reputation stood during 
his life, it has unquestionably risen since his death. If 
not more wide-spread, it is more just, and more worthy 
of his great moral and intellectual qualities. Still more 
perfect justice will, doubtless, be rendered to him by pos- 
terity. Admiration of his wit will become subordinate, 
as it ought to be, to respect for the purposes to which 
it was applied, and for the good sense by wliich it was 


Already this appreciation has "begun. And it is worthy 
of remark tliat the hasty and unregarded productions of 
his pen which were only saved from the flames by the 
pious hand of affection, have tended greatly to raise his 
reputation as a sound and original thinker. 

Tlicre is one other point U23on which I feel bound by 
gTatitude to touch. Within our times, no man has done 
so much to obtain for women toleration for the exercise 
of their understandings and for the culture of their tal- 
ents, as Sydney Smith. Others have uttered louder 
complaints, and have put forward loftier claims, on their 
behalf. But in this, as in all his demands for reform, 
Sydney Smith kept within the bounds of the safe and 
the possible. To those who knew him it is unnecessary 
to declare that he had no desire to convert women into 
pedants, to divest them of any of the attributes or at- 
tractions of their sex, or to engage in the vain attempt 
to create for them a new and independent position in 

What he asked for women was, opportunity and en- 
couragement to make themselves the intelligent compan- 
ions of men of sense ; or to furnish themselves with ideas 
and pursuits which might give interest to lives otherwise 
insipid and barren. These demands, consonant with na- 
ture and reason, he urged in a way to disarm opposition 
and vanquish prejudice. Sydney Smith was too com- 
pletely above cant and imposture to deny tlie influence 
and the value of youth and beauty. But he labored to 
induce women to acquire some substitutes for beauty, 
some resources against old age, some power of command- 
ing attention and respect when the victorious charms of 
youth have fled. A new era in the moral and intellect- 
ual condition of women dates from his Lectures at the 
Royal Institution. And though it is to be regretted that 
a task which might have worthily employed the most 

PREFACE. xiii 

vigorous pen lias devolved on female liands, it is Ly llicni, 
perhaps, that this tribute of respect, aifection, and grat- 
itude is most fitly paid. 

Saeah Austin. 

Cromee, October, 1854:. 

P.S. — I have generally omitted not only the usual 
formula3 at the conclusion of letters, but many continu- 
ally recurring expressions of kindness and affection, 
friendly greetings, domestic news sought and communi- 
cated. They show his kindly recollections of great and 
small, but their repetition would occupy much space, and 
might become wearisome to the reader. 

It is not pretended that the following Letters are of 
equal merit and importance. They are, on the contrary, 
very unequal. The great object I had in view in their 
selection was, to present a true and complete picture of 
the writer under his various aspects ; to show that the 
formidable critic, the admired wit, the earnest and in- 
trepid champion of truth and freedom, the man in whom 
honor, sincerity, and principle were paramount, was also 
full of kindly affections and generous indulgence ; and 
did not think it a waste of time and wit to delight the 
weaker part of mankind — women and children — with his 
playful sallies. The Letters are intended as illustra- 
tions of a thoroughly genuine, unaffected, and many-sided 
character; and they bear the impress of the peculiar 
mood of the writer's mind, the peculiar circumstances by 
which he was surrounded, or the peculiar character and 
position of the person to whom they are addressed. 

This was the view taken by Mrs. Sydney Smith. 
"Enough there is," she says, in a letter to me, "to show 
the affectionate playfulness of his nature, his manly wis- 
dom and o-oodness, and the calm and right-minded viow 


he takes of politics and of iiuman affairs in general. His 
lionesty and his candor are aLso on every suitable occa- 
sion displayed, so we want nothing more for his just por- 

If, in my ignorance of flicts or persons referred to in 
tliese Letters, I have suffered any allusion to pass which 
can give the slightest pain, I can only say it is not alone 
unintentional, but completely at variance with my inten- 
tions. Whatever be the faults of the selection, I beg- 
that it may be distinctly understood that they are to be 
imputed to me ; and that no portion of the responsibil- 
ity rests on Lady Plolland. She has been so good as to 
continue to me the confidence which her mother was 
pleased to repose in me, and my choice (out of the ma- 
terials furnished to me) has been free. 

Lady Holland has most appropriately dedicated her 
Memoir to the memory of her Mother. Be it permitted 
to me to add my respectful tribute to that faithful and 
devoted spirit which has inspired and directed my hum- 
ble labors. To me, the foregoing selection will always 
appear her work. But for her entire confidence in the 
claims of him she had loved and revered through life — a 
confidence which no discouragements could shake — this 
volume Avould probably never have existed. It was she 
who collected, transcribed, and arranged the mass of let- 
ters out of Avliich I had to choose, and who never could 
be brought to believe that the public would be indiffer- 
ent (as many thought) to such a life, or unimproved by 
such an example. If I have any thing to congratulate 
myself upon, it is, tliat I never, for a moment, doubted 
that she was right. 

Not that I Avas blind to the difficulties. ]\Ir. Sydney 
Smith had long enjoyed a reputation perfectly unmatch- 
ed lor a gift the most dazzling, and tiie most evanescent 
of all intellectual gifts. Those who had heard ]\im talk, 


felt with a sort of despair, liow pale a sliaclow of tlic re- 
ality, any description of liim must inevitably be. ]\Iany, 
if not most, of his surviving friends and associates look- 
ed coldly on the project ; and it seemed to be the gen- 
eral opinion that there was "nothing to tell,'' and that 
any attempt to draw an enduring portrait of the most 
brilliant of conversers would be a failure. 

But all this was no answer to one who rested his 
claims to the admiration and respect of mankind on far 
higher qualities. To convey to others her own convic- 
tion of his eminent virtues, was the one remaining deep 
and earnest purpose of her life. Nothing could be more 
affecting and more venerable than this resolute struggle 
of a loving heart w^tli the difficulties in the way of the 
accomplishment of its pious wishes. Her pride in her 
husband was only equaled by her humility about her- 
self; and nothing could persuade her that she was com- 
petent to do what she so intensely longed to see done. 
I may, I hope, be excused for quoting a few sentences 
from the many touching letters I received from j\Irs. 
Sydney Smith, while this struggle was going on. 

I am encouraged to do this by some words from one 
of the few surviving early friends of ]\Ir. Sydney Smith ; 
one whose opinion is entitled to the utmost deference — 
Lord Murray. " If," he says, " you could add any thing 
to what you have already said in your Preface* respect- 
ing Mrs. Sydney Smith's urgent desire that some ac- 
count of her husband's life should be written, you would 
no way exceed the truth ; for it was a matter constantly 
weighing on her mind during the last years of her life. 
Lady Holland must therefore have felt herself bound, as 
a matter of duty, to do what she has done." 

Li December, 1845, Mrs. Sydney Smith wrote to me : 
" Most persons, of whose gopd sense and discretion 1 
* To the unpublished edition. 


have a liigli estimate, tliink that any little Memoir, illus- 
trated by genuine letters, it would he yet too soon to 
publish. I confess it is foregoing the last gratification 
that remains to me — the liope of seeing that published 
of him, which to me far exceeds all the brilliancy of head 
that the world took cognizance of, but which I least val- 
ued ; well knowing what the world knew not, the perfec- 
tion of his lieart, and his fearless love of truth. If de- 
layed, I can never hope to see it ; but I am not so selfish 
as for an instant to oppose my own gTatification to that 
which is deemed expedient for his sake. ]\Iuch did I 
w^ish Lord Jefii*ey to have done this, but his age and in- 
firmities press too hardly upon him now." 

In ]\Iarch, 1846, she writes ; "I shall never see the 
completion of the Memoir it would have been sucli an 
unspeakable satisfaction to me to see perfected. Some, 
the best judging perhaps, say, it is too soon, as the let- 
ters and incidents relate to many living persons. I have 
therefore yielded up the great and now only remaining 
delight I could have felt, at the suggestion of the wiser 
and more fastidious of my friends ; in the meantime I go 
on collecting." 

In June, 1849, 1 received the following letter: 

"My deak Mrs. Austin, 

" I hardly know how to make my request, so sensible 
am I to the liberty I am about to take with you ; but to 
waste no more of your time in words, I will at once state 
my earnest desire. 

'-'- Miick more that is excellent of my dear husband is 
deserving of notice than is derivable from his 'Works ;' 
yet who will record it ? Of his great talents, he has him- 
self taken care ; of these, no one doubts. Of the fi;r 
more admirable qualities of liis mind and heart, the 
world knows nothing I His playfellows are almost all 

PREFACE. xvii 

gone. Who that well knew him, and is capable of ap- 
preciating him, will undertake the task ? * * * * 

" I prefer writing, rather than saying my wishes to 
you, because it will be less painful to you to write ' No' 
than to speak it, should my anxious desire prove objec- 
tionable to you." 

After repeated endeavors on my part to induce Mrs. 
Sydney to seek some more competent Editor, I received 
a letter containing these words : " My days, I suspect, 
can not be many, and thence my urgency. Pray at- 
tribute it to the real motive — the desire to see that 
done which shall till up the measure of my wishes. I 
have arranged his letters by the years and months, so 
that he indirectly tells the incidents of his own life. But 
now comes my own incapacity. I think every word he 
ever wrote so precious, that my better judgment is blind- 
ed, and I should not be able to erase a line or a thought. 
Here I greatly want one on whose just perception, on 
whose right feelings of affectionate regard not only for 
him, but for his fame, I can implicitly rely." 

But though she speaks of her incapacity, the follow- 
ing passage from a subsequent letter shows what a just 
and distinct conception she Iiad formed of what ought to 
be attempted : 

"An eventless life must be made up of character, of 
comments by friends, of a narrative of the immense dif- 
ficulties through which, without interest, without con- 
nections, with the heavy weight of jDoverty on his shoul- 
ders, he dared bravely and honestly, and at all hazards, 
to struggle against bigotry, and every kind of abuse that 
militated against human happiness, but which struggle 
was sure to lessen his own chance of success. 

" Such mixed materials can not come up to the mag- 
nitude of his deserts ; yet if it be the only thing that re- 

xviii PREFACE. 

mains to his survivors to do, that the memory of so 
much that was admirable and affectionate in private life, 
as well as great and noble in the wider range of human 
interests (which he ever strenuously advocated) may not 
perish, it is surely expedient that it should be done. It 
is only in the fullness and freshness of familiar corres- 
pondence that are illustrated the genuine feelings and 

Such were the influences under which I undertook my 
task. Fortunately for the public, ill health prevented 
my attempting the more important part of it, which has 
thus fallen into the only hands competent to do it justice. 
The humbler portion which I retained has been executed 
with a constant reference to the wishes and opinions of 
her from whom I received my commission, and to whom, 
though departed, I have never ceased to consider myself 

Sarah Austin. 

Weybridge, May 21. s^, 1855. 





1.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Broomsgrove, 1801. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

Why so modest as to stand for a place in Scotland ? 
Who humbled you into a notion that you were suffi- 
ciently destitute of probity, originality, and talents to 
enjoy a chance of success ? I left you with far more 
adequate conceptions of yourself — with ingentes ani- 
Qiws angusto in coi'^ore ; I left you with a permanent 
and ingenuous blush for your venal city, and in a short 
month you deem yourself qualified in corruption to be a 
candidate for its honors.* 

Many thanks, my dear Jeffrey, for the pleasant ex- 
pressions of good-will your letter contains. The friend- 
ship of worthy, sensible men I look upon as the great- 
est blessing of life. I have always felt myself flattered 

* This was written during the dictatorship of Dundas (afterward 
Lord Melville). 


that you did not consider my society beneath your at- 

I think to be at Edinbnmh about the end of Auo-nst. 
We will pass many evenings together, arguing and jok- 
ing, amidst eating and drinking I above all, being stupid 
when we feel inclined — a rare privilege of friendship, of 
whicli I am frequently glad to avail myself. It will 
cost me much to tear myself away from Scotland, which 
however I must do when the fullness of time is come. 
I shall be like a full-grown tree transplanted — deadly sick 
at first, wdth bare and ragged fibres, shorn of many a root ! 

Remember me to the aged Horner, and the more 
aged Seymour : I love these sages Avell. I think Ley- 
den had better take Scotch preferment first, which will 
leave his chance for Indian appointments in statu quo, 
and put a hundred pounds a year in his pocket. I can 
not imagine that yom' despondency in your profession 
can be rational ; but, however, you know that profes- 
sion, and I know you, and when we meet, it will make 
a good talk over hyson. 

Remember me to little ; she is a clever 

little girl, but full of indiscretion, and inattentive to wo- 
men, Avhicli is a bad style of manners. 

Parr I know perfectly well ; his conversation is in- 
finitely beyond his books, as his fame is beyond his 
merits. Mackintosh is coming to Edinburgli, I believe, 
where I suppose you will see him. 

My dear Jeffrey, ^Irs. S. sends her best compliments. 

Sydney Smith. 

2.] To Feancts Jeffrey-, Esq. 

./«///, 1801. 

My' DEAii Jeffrey. 
After a vertigo of one fortnight in London, I am un- 
dergoing that species of hybernation, or suspended vi- 


tality, called a pleasant fortnight in tlie country. I be- 
have myself quietly and decently, as hecomes a corpse, 
and hope to regain the rational and immortal part of my 
composition about the 20th of this month. 

Xothing has pleased me more in London than tlie 
conversation of Mackintosh. I never saw so tlieoret- 
ical a head which contained so much practical under- 
standing. He has lived much among various men, with 
great observation, and has always tried his profound 
moral speculations by the experience of life. He has 
not contracted in the world a lazy contempt for theo- 
rists, nor in the closet a peevish impatience of that 
grossness and corruptibility of mankind, which are ever 
marrins: the schemes of secluded benevolence. He 
does not wish for the hest in politics or morals, but for 
the best which can be attained ; and what that is he 
seems to know well. Now what I object to Scotch 
philosophers in general is, that they reason upon man 
as they would upon a divinity ; they pursue truth, with- 
out caring if it be useful truth. They are more fond 
of disputing on mind and matter than on any thing 
which can have a reference to the real world, inhabited 
by real men, women, and children ; a philosopher that 
descends to the present state of things is debased in 
their estimation. Look among our friends in Edin- 
burgh, and see if there be not some truth in this. I do 
not speak of great prominent literary personages, but 
of the mass of reflecting men in Scotland. 

^^Lackintosh is going to India as lecturer ; I wish you 
could find a similar situation in that country, but not 
before I leave Scotland. I think it would be more to 
your taste than the Scotch Bar ; and yet you want no- 
thing to be a great lawyer ; and nothing to be a great 
speaker, but a deeper voice, slower and more simple 
utterance, more humility of face and neck, and a great- 

k; memoir of the rev. sydkey smith. 

er contempt for esj)nt, than men who have so much in 
general attain to. 

I have not the least idea when I shall return to Edin- 
burgh ; I hope, the beginning of August. There seems 
to be no belief in invasion, and none in plots, which 
are now become so ridiculous that every one laughs at 

Kead Parr's sermon, and tell me how you like it. 
I tliink it dull, with occasional passages of eloquence. 
His notes are very entertaining. You will find in them 
a great compliment to mj brother. 

Sydney Smith. 

3.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Burnt Island, June, 1802. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

With the inculpative part of your criticisms on onine 
I very much agree ; and, in particular, am so well aware 
of that excessive levity into which I am apt to run, that 
I think I shall correct it. 

Upon the point of severity^ I beg you to recollect the 
facts. That is a very stupid and a very con- 
temptible fellow no one pretends to deny. He has been 
hangman for these ten years to all the poor authors in 
England, is generally considered to be hired by Govern- 
ment, and has talked about Social Order till he has 
talked himself into £600 or £700 per annum. That 
there can be a fairer object for critical severity I can 
not conceive ; and though he be not notorious in Edin- 
burgh, he is certainly so in London. If you think that 
the violence of the attack may induce the generality 
of readers to sympathize witli the sufferer rather than 
with the executioner, in spite of the recollection that 
the artificer of death is perishing by his own art, then 


your objections to my criticism are good, for tlie very 
opposite reason to tliat you have alleged ; 7iot because 
they are too severe, but because, by diminishing the 
malice of the reader, they do not attain the maximum 
of severity. 

You say the readers will think my review long. 
Probably. If it is amusing, they will not ; if it is dull, 
I am sorry for it — but I can write no better. I am so 

desirous of attacking this time-serving , that I can 

not consent to omit this article, unless ray associates 
consider their moral and religious characters committed 
by it ; at the same time, I will, with great pleasure, at- 
tempt to modify it. 

I am very much obliged to you for your animadver- 
sions on my inaccuracies, and should be obliged to you 
also to correct them. One of the instances you mention 
is rather awkward than incorrect, but had better be 
amended. I wrote my views exactly as you see tliem ; 
though I certainly made these blunders, not in conse- 
quence of neglect, but in spite of attention. 

I will come over soon if I can, not to detect Scotti- 
cisms, but to enjoy the company of Scotchmen. Just 
now I am expecting Dugald Stewart and his spouse. 

I have been so very bitter lately against authors, and 
find so much of the infusuvi amarum still remaining 
in my style, that I am afraid you will not think my an- 
swer to your expostidation a very gracious one. If 
you do think so, pray think otherwise : you can not be 
too candid with me. You will very often find me too 
vain for correction, but never so blind to the value of a 
frank and manly character as not to feel real grati- 
tude, when it consults my good, by pointing out my 

Sydney Smith. 


4.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

TuxroRD, 1803. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

Your very kind letter I received at the very moment 
of departure. I left Edinburgh with great heaviness of 
heart : I knew what I was leaving, and was ignorant to 
what I was going. 'Mj good fortune will be very great, 
if I should ever again fall into the society of so many 
liberal, correct, and instructed men, and live with them 
on such terms of friendship as I have done with you, 
and you knoAV whom, at Edinburgh. I can not see 
what obligations you are under to me ; but I have so 
little objection to your thinking so, that I certainly shall 
not attempt to undeceive you in that opinion, or in any 
other which is likely to make you think of me more 
frequently or more kindly. 

I have found the country every where full of s^^irit, 
and you are the only male despondent I have yet met 
with. Every one else speaks of the subjugation of 
England as of the subjugation of the Minotaur, or any 
other history in the mythological dictionary. God bless 
you, my dear Jeffrey ! I shall always feel a pride and 
happiness in calling myself, and in showing myself, 
your friend. S. S. 

P.S. — I beg leave to except the Tuxford waiter, who 
desponds exactly as you do. 

5.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

77, Upper Guildford Street, November 30, 1803. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I have the pleasure of informing you that it is the 
universal opinion of all tlie cleverest men I have met 


with here, that our Eeview is uncommonly well done, 
and that it is perhaps the first in Europe. I shall re- 
turn with a million compliments, and some offers of 
assistance. I have thoroughly talked over the matter 
with , and shall give you the result of our con- 
versation. • 

If any book enjoys a greater reputation here than 
you can conjecture it would from its title, we may send 
you information of it ; and for a monthly search for 
foreign books you may depend upon us. 

I will stop such books as I want myself; but you 
had better give Horner a caution against stopping more 
books than he wants, as he is a sort of literary tiger, 
whose den is strewed with ten times more victims than 
he can devour. 

Your journey to India must entirely depend upon the 
influence of Mackintosh with Government upon literary 
topics ; he is much inclined to befriend you ; but the 
whole business is in a very glimmering state, and you 
must not think much about it. 

We are all well. I have been spending three or four 
days in Oxford in a contested election ; Horner went 
down with me, and was much entertained. I was so 
delighted with Oxford after my long absence, that I al- 
most resolved to pass the long vacation there with my 
family, amidst the shades of the trees and the silence 
of the monasteries. Horner is to come down too : will 
you join us ? We would settle the fate of nations, and 
believe ourselves (as all three or foui- men who live to- 
gether do) the sole repositories of knowledge, liberality, 
and acuteness. 

I will endeavor to send you a sheet as soon as possi- 
ble, but can not do so as soon as you mention. 

Sydney Smith. 


6.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

London (no date, hut either 1803 or 1804). 
8 Doughty Street. 

]\Iy DEAR Jeffrey, 

I send you all that YO%are to expect from me. The 
geograi^hical names, which are so badly written, you 
will be able to decipher by the assistance of Tooke's 
" Survey of the Russian Empire ;" you will exercise 
your editorial functions of blotting and correcting at 
full liberty. In my last letter I objected strongly to 
hackney writers ; I do so still ; perhaps I shall be able, 
in course of time, to discover some very useful coadju- 
tors above this rank. 

Every body speaks in high terms of the Review, and 
deprecates any idea of its extinction ; strain every nerve 
to keep it up ; it will give you reputation. 

Playfair has sup^^ed with me. Of Horner business 
has prevented me from seeing much ; he lives very high 
up in Gordon Court, and thinks a good deal about man- 
kind; I haA'c a gi-eat veneration and affection for him. 
and depend upon him for a good deal of my society. 
Yours kindly, Sydney Smith. 

7.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

London (no date, j)resumed 1803 or 1804). 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I believe I liave transmitted to you, for this number, 
as much as will make two slieets, which was the amount 
I promised. I would have been better than my prom- 
ise, but for reasons unfortunately too good. We shall 
be most truly glad to see you in England, but what will 
become of the articles in your absence ? for, situated as 
you arc, your whole life is a crisis. 


]\Irs. Sydney is pretty well and slowly recovering 
from her shock,* of which your kindness and your ex- 
perience enable you to ascertain the violence. Children 
are horribly insecure : the life of a parent is the life of 
a gambler. 

I have seen Erskine. ^lurray will tell you how he 
appears to me ; but a man coming from Dunse to Lon- 
don is of course stunned, and he must be a very impu- 
dent or a very wonderful man if he is not. Do you 
know any body who would go out Professor to a Rus- 
sian University? — about £800 per annum, coals and 
candles gratis, and traveling expenses allowed, if sent 
to Siberia. A perfect deadness in the literary world. 
Your friend Mackintosh sails early in January, to the 
universal sorrow of his friends. 

The Swintons are come to town, and are to bring me 
your portrait, as large as life I presume, as Mr. S^vinton 
says in his note, I will put in my pocket a little parcel 
I have for you. You see I am as impertinent as ever, 
and I assure you, my dear Jeffrey, as affectionate to- 
ward you. Sydney Smith. 

8.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

LoxDOK, 1804. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 
I can hardly believe my own eyes when they inform 
me that I am up, dressed, and writing by eight o'clock 
in the morning ; and as there is nobody near by whose 
perceptions I can rectify my own, the fact will probably 
be undecided through the whole of my letter. To put 
the question to an intellectual test, I have tried an act 
of memory, and endeavored to form a distinct image of 
the editor of the Edinburgh Review ; but he appears to 
me of a stature so incredibly small, that I can not ven- 
* The loss of her infant son. 


ture to say I am awake, and my mind in a liealtliy and 
vigorous state: however, you must take me as you find 
me. Talking of the Edinburgh Review, I hardly think 
the article on Dumont is much liked by those whose 
praise I should be most desirous you should obtain ; 
though it conciliates the favor of men who are always 
ready to join in a declaration of war against all works 
of speculation and philosophical enterprise ; but when I 
speak in dispraise of this article, I only contrast it with 
what you have done better ; for, in spite of its errors (if 
any such there be), it would make the fortune of any 
body else. 

I certainly, my dear Jeffrey, in conjunction with the 
Knight of the Shaggy Eyebrows,* do protest against 
your increasing and unprofitable skepticism. I exhort 
you to restrain the violent tendency of your nature for 
analysis, and to cultivate synthetical propensities. What 
is virtue ? What's the use of truth ? What's the use 
of honor ? What's a guinea but a d — d yellow circle ? 
The whole effort of your mind is to destroy. Because 
others build slightly and eagerly, you employ yourself 
in kicking down their houses, and contract a sort of 
aversion for the more honorable, useful, and difficult 
task of building well yom*self. 

I think you ought to know Horner too well by this 
time to expect his article on ]\Ialthus before you see it. 

The satire against me I have not read. One of the 
charges against me is, I understand, that I am ugly ; 
but this is a mere falsehood, and a plain ^oroof that the 
gentleman never can have seen me. I certainly am the 
best-looking man concerned with the Review, and this 
Jo]m ^Murrayt has been heard to say behind my back. 

* Francis Ilorncr, Esq. 

t Now ca Lord of Session, and one of the few early and faitliful 
friends of Sydney Smith still surviving. — Ed. 


Pray tell the said J. Murray tliat three ladies, apparent- 
ly much agitated, have been here to inquire his direc- 
tion, calling him a base, perfidious young man. 

I am extremely sorry for poor Alison ; he is a man 
of great delicacy, and will be hurt by the attack of this 
scoundrel. Dumont is certainly displeased with the 
Review. Most sincerely and affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

9.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

LoxjDox, 1801 (or 1805). 

is here, and will certainly settle in Scot- 
land next winter. She is, for a woman, well-informed 
and very liberal : neither is she at all disagreeable ; but 
the information of very plain women is so inconsider- 
able, that I agree with you in setting no very great 
store by it. I am no great physiognomist, nor have I 
much confidence in a science w^hich pretends to discover 
the inside firom the out ; but wdiere I have seen fine 
eyes, a beautifal complexion, grace and symmetry, in 
women, I have generally thought them amazingly well- 
infoi-med and extremely philosophical. In contrary in- 
stances, seldom or ever. Is there any accounting for 
this ? 

John Playfair dined here yesterday, and met Whi- 
shaw. We had a pleasant day — at least I had. 

If I can meet with any one who I think will do for 
the Review, I will certainly stimulate him. Such a 
man is Malthus — but you have many workmen of tliat 

Tell Jus Thompson that !Miss Fox thinks liis review 
of Darwin one of the most sensible in the whole book. 
Exhort him also never to forget the battle of Galen's 


head, and that I sliared with him the danger. God 
bless you, dear Jeffrey ! 

Sydney Smith. 

10.] To Francis Jeffrey^ Esq. 

No date, but believed about 1805. 

]\Iy dear Jeffrey, 

You are raving mad if you take tlie least notice of 
. Let nothing — not even the pleasantry and suc- 
cess of an answer you might write — tempt you to do it. 
It is quite out of his power to do you the least harm, 
and out of yours to do him any : he is perfectly invul- 
nerable by liis degradation, and, from the same cause, 
innoxious. I beg and entreat you to lay aside all 
thoughts of an answer. I have read through his pam- 
}Dhlet, and never read such dull trash. What is the his- 
tory of my escape ? 

I can not say I am much struck with your Reid. I 
do not quite agree with you in your observation upon 
the science of metaphysics, nor with the difference you 
have attempted to establish between observation and 
experiment ; but there is in that article quite enough 
of acuteness, good sense, and good writing to render it 
an ornament to the work, the character of which will 
not, in my opinion, suffer by the present number. The 
tvv-o articles which pleased me most were Izarn and 
D'Agnesi ; I suspect them both to be from Playfair. 

's review is too coarse — some parts absolutely un- 

gcntlemanUke. The great hoiTor of the review is the 
^e in gdidiis being made long; I was forced to break it 
to Elmsley by degrees. 

If I were to write on in the Keview, I would certain- 
ly not conceal myself, but I am much afraid it may not 
be in my power. I am engaging in my profession, and 


determined to write a "book. We shall be heartily glad 
to see you if you come here. You will take some time 

in getting acquainted with the E, s, but you will 

succeed at last, and they are really worth the trouble : 
but do not talk lightly before them on serious subjects 
— you will terrify them to death. I shall always love 
Edinbiu'gh very dearly. I know no man of whose un- 
derstanding and principles I have a higher opinion than 
I have of yours. I will come and visit Edinburgh very 
often if I am ever rich, and I think it very likely one 
day or another I may live there entirely. I write with 
a bad headache, but I write speedily to remonstrate, in 
the strongest manner, against your pamphlet. I am 
sure John ]\Iurray will agree with me : my kindest re- 
gards to him ; he is an admirable man. Adieu I 

Sydney Smith. 

11.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Fehriiary, 1805. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I thought you had enthely forgotten me, and was 
pleasing myself with the notion that you were rising in 
the world, that your income was tripling and quadrupling 
in value, and that you were going through the customary 
and concomitant process of shedding your old friends 
and the companions of your obscurity — when, behold ! 
your letter arrived, diminished your income, blunted 
youi* fame, and restored yoiu* character. 

As for me, I am plagued to death with lectures, ser- 
mons, etc. ; and am afraid I have rather overloaded my- 
self I got through my first course I think creditably ; 
whether any better than creditably, others know better 
than myself. I have still ten to read, have written two 
upon wit and humor, and am proceeding to write three 
Vol. II.— B 


■upon taste. AYliat the subject of the others will be I 
know not. I wish I had your sanity and fertility at 
my elbow, to resort to in cases of dullness and difficulty. 

I am extremely glad, however, upon the whole, that 
I have engaged in the thing, and think that it will do 
me good, and hereafter amuse me, when I have more 

I have not seen much of yoiu- friend Bell,* but mean 
to see more of him. He is modest, amiable, and full 
of zeal and enterprise in his profession. I could not 
have conceived that any thing could be so perfect and 
beautiful as his wax models. I saw one to-day, which 
was quite the Apollo Belvidere of morbid anatomy. 

Horner is a very happy man ; his worth and talents 
are acknowledged by the world at a more early period 
than those of any independent and upright man I ever 
remember. He veriiies an observation I have often 
made, that the world do not dislike originality, liberal- 
ity, and independence so much as the insulting arro- 
gance wutli which they are almost always accompanied. 
Now, Horner pleases the best judges, and does not 
oftcnd the worst. 

God bless you, my dear Jeifrey ! is the prayer of 
your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

12.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Doughty Street, April, 1805. 

]\Iy dear Jeffrey, 

1 should be very much obliged to you to transmit 

the inclosed testimonials to St. Andrew's, to pay for the 

degree, to send me word how much you have paid for 

it, and I will repay you immediately. If there be any 

* The late Sir Charles Bell. 


form neglected, then send us information how to pro- 
ceed. The degree itself may be sent to me also, by the 
mail or post, according to its size. Pray do not neglect 
this affair, as the interests of a poor and respectable man 
depend u]3on it. 

My lectures are just now at such an absurd pitch of 
celebrity, that I must lose a good deal of reputation be- 
fore the public settles into a just equilibrium respecting 
them. I am most heartily ashamed of my own fame, 
because I am conscious I do not deserve it, and that 
the moment men of sense are provoked by the clamor 
to look into my claims, it will be at an end. 

Sydney Smith. 

13.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Doughty Street, 1805. 

]\Iy dear Jeffrey, 

'Many thanks to you for your goodness. My little 
boy is, thank God, recovered. I sat up with him for 
two nights, expecting every moment would be his last. 
My great effort was to keep u.p ^Irs. vSydney's spirits, 
in which I succeeded tolerably well. I will not exer- 
cise my profession of preaching commonplaces to you ; 
I acknowledge your loss was a heavy calamity, for I 
can measure what you felt by what I felt for you. 

You have raised up to yourself here, individxially^ a 
very high and solid reputation by your writings in the 
Edinburgh Eeview. You are said to be the ablest man 
in Scotland ; and other dainty phrases are used about 
you, whicli show the effect you have produced. Mack- 
intosh, ever anxious to bring men of merit into notice, 
is the loudest of your panegyrists, and the warmest of 
your admirers. I have now had an opportunity of ap- 
preciating the manner in which the Review is felt, and 


I do assure you it has acquired a most brilliant and ex- 
tensive reputation. 

Follow it u]), by all means. On tlie first of every 
month, Horner and I will meet together, and order 
books for Edinburgh : this we can do from the monthly 
lists. In addition, we will scan the French booksellers' 
shops, and send you any thing valuable, excepting a 
certain portion that we will reserve for ourselves. We 
will, in this division, be just and candid as we can ; if 
you do not think us so, let us know. You will have 
the lists, and can order for yourselves any books not 
before ordered for you ; many catalogue articles I will 
take, to avoid the expense of sending them backward 
and forward from Edinburgh to London ; many I will 
send. The articles I shall review from No. 6 are "Ice- 
land," Goldbering's " Travels into Africa," and Segur 
upon the "Influence of Women in Society." I shall 
not lose sight of the probability of procuring assistance ; 
some, I am already asking for. You will not need from 
me more than two sheets, I presume. Pray tell me the 
names of the writers of this number. ]\Iackintosh says 
there has been no such book upon Political Economy 
as Brougham's since the days of Adam Smith. 

s. s. 

14.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 


My dear Jeffrey^ 

Many thanks to you for your attention to my diploma. 
When you send me a statement of expenses, I will give 
you a draft for the money ; by statement, I mean amount. 

I conclude my lectures next Saturday. Upon the 
whole, I think I have done myself some little good by 


I tliink your last articles in the Edinburgh Review 
extremely able, and by no means inferior to what you 
have done before. 

John Allen is come home, in very high favor with 
Lord and Lady Holland. They say he is, without ex- 
ception, the best-tempered man that ever lived, very 
honorable, and of an understanding superior to most 
people ; in short, they do him complete justice. He is 
very little altered, except that he appears to have some 
faint notions that all the world are not quite so honor- 
able and excellent as himself. I have the highest re- 
spect for John Allen. 

I wrote to Dugald Stewart, to tell him of a report 
which prevailed here, that the General Assembly had 
ordered him to drink a Scotch pint of hemlock, which 
he had done, discoursino- about the gods to Playfair 
and Darcy !* 

Best regards to Tim Thompson. When am I to see 
you again, and John Murray, and every body in the 
North whom I. love and respect ? 

Sydney Smith. 

15.] To Dr. EEEYEt — (Vienna). 

8 Doughty Street, Brunswick Square, 

October 29th, 1805. 

My dear Sir, 
I suggested every thing I could to Barnard ; told him 
that you had made three distinct efforts to come home, 

* Mrs. Dugald Stewart. 

t Dr. Reeve was a pupil of Mr. Martineau, an eminent surgeon at 
Nonvich. He afterward studied medicine at Edinburgh, where he en- 
joyed tlie friendship of Mr. Sydney Smith, JNIr. Horner, and other 
founders of the Edinburgh Review, and Avas among the early contrib- 
utors to that journal. At the time this letter was written, he was trav- 
eling on the Continent with his friend Dr. De Roches, of Geneva, who 


and had been robbed as many times by armed chaplains 
of the Austrian army ; that Dr. De Eoches had been 
wounded in the right glouteau, and you yourself thrown 
into a smart tertian by your grief and anxiety. The 
committee will not hind themselves to make a new en- 
gagement with you, but I have no doubt you will secure 
your situation uj)on your return. 

I will, in the mean time, do all I can to get you in- 
serted in the list for spring, 1807, which comes out, I 
think, about May, 1806. 

I would advise you not to fling away this occasion, 
which is no despicable one, for a physician ; because 
he must be a very clumsy gentleman if, in lecturing 
upon the moral and physical nature of man, he can not 
take an oj)portunity of saying, that he lives at No. 6 
Chancery Lane, and that few people are equal to him 
in the cure of fevers. As to the improvement you get, 
my dear doctor, in traveling abroad, credat Judoeus ! 
You have seen a skull of a singular conformation at 
Dr. Baumgarten's, and seen a toe in Suabia, which 
astonished you; but what, in the name of Dr. Greg- 
ory, can you see in Germany of a therapeutic nature 
which you can not see better in Scotland or here? 
You will do yourself more real good by superintend- 
ing one woman of quality in London, than by drink- 
ing tea with all the German professors that ever ex- 

All these events in Germany have not astonished 
me : I allowed Bonaparte twenty-eight days to knock 
both armies dunes super caput (as the vulgar have it), 
to conclude peace, make a speech to tlie Senate, and 
illuminate Paris. He is as rapid and as terrible as 

had also studied at Edinburgh. Dr. Reeve aftenvard married the elder 
daughter of Mr. John Taylor, of Norwich, and settled at that place. 
He died in the vear 1814. — Ed. 


the lightning of God; would lie were as transient! 

Ah ! my dear doctor, you are of a profession which 

will endure forever; no revolutions will put an end 

to Synochus and Synoche ; but what will become of 

the spoils loe gather from the earth? those cocks of 

ripe farina, on which the holy bough is placed — the 

tithes ! Adieu — God bless you ! I will watch over 

your interests, and, if any thing occur, write to you 

ao-ain. _, _, 

° Sydney Smith. 

P.S. I think, upon reflection, you had better write a 
line to the committee, stating the impossibility of your 
coming home, though you strongly wish, and begging 
to be put on the list for spring, 1807. Add also that 
you will employ the intervening time in collecting mate- 
rials for your lectures. Send it to me; never mind 

16.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

18 Orchard Street, Lontdon, 1800. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I thank you for your kind and friendly letter, which 
gave me great pleasure. I am exempted at present 
fi:om residence, as preacher to the Foundling Hospital ; 
had it been otherwise, I could, I think, have lived very 
happily in the country, in armigeral, priestly, and swine- 
feeding society. I have given up the Koyal Institution. 
My wife and children are well, and the world at pres- 
ent goes prosperously with me. I shall pass part of 
next summer at my living, and in all probability come 
over to Edinburgh. Sharp, Boddington, Philips, and 
Horner come into Parliament this session. I say no- 
thing of foreign politics in the present state of the 
world : we live and hope only from quarter-day to quar- 


ter-day. I shall probably remain nearly in the state I 
am now in till next midsummer. I have not a thought 
beyond : perha2:)s it is rash to think so far. I have 
seen Stuart once ; he seems tormented to death with 
friends, but he talked out about Paris very fairly and 

Tell [Mui'ray that I was much struck with the po- 
liteness of Miss Markham the day after he went. In 
carving a partridge, I splashed her -with gravy from 
head to foot; and though I saw three distinct brown 
rills of animal juice trickhng down her cheek, she had 
the complaisance to swear that not a drop had reached 
her ! Such circumstances are the triumphs of civilized 

I shall be truly happy to see you again. What do 
you mean by saying we shall meet soon ? Have you 
any immediate thoughts of coming to London? E-e- 
member me kindly to Murray, Thomson, Alison, Play- 
fair, etc. I am very glad you see so much of these 
latter personages. TeU Playfair I have presented the 
four copies of his book to four of the most beautiful wo- 
men of my acquaintance, with his particular compliments 
and regards. 

Sydney Smith. 

17.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Orchard Street, 1806. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
You will be surprised, after my last letter, to hear 
from me so soon again, and that my assistance in the 
next number must be left doubtful. Some circum- 
stances have occurred, of consequence only to myself, 
which will entirely occupy my time, and render it im- 
possible to do the articles well, if I can do them at all. 


I have to apologize to you for this apparent niutabilitj, 
but I am quite certain you would justify me if you knew 
my reasons. 

The present Administration have put nobody into 
Parliament : they are too strong to want clever young 

I must be candid with you, my dear Jeffrey, and tell 
you that I do not like your article on the Scotch Courts ; 
and with me think many persons whose opinions I am 
sure you would respect. I subscribe to none of your 
reasonings, hardly, about juries ; and the manner in 
which you have done it is far from happy. You have 
made, too, some egTcgious mistakes about English law, 
pointed out to me by one of the first lawyers in the 
King's Bench. I like to tell you these things, because 
you never do so well as when you are humbled and 
frightened, and if you could be alarmed into the sem- 
blance of modesty, you would charm every body ; but 
remember my joke against you about the moon : "D — n 
the solar system ! bad light — planets too distant — pest- 
ered witli comets — feeble contrivance ; could make a 
"better with great ease." 

I sincerely hope you will be up here in the spring. 
It is long since we met, and I want to talk over old 
and new times with you. God bless you ! 

Sydney Smith. 

18.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Orchakd Street, 180G. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I saw, of course, a good deal of Timotheus while he 
was here. After breathing for a year the free air of 
London, his caution struck me as rather ludicrous ; but 
I liked him very much: he is a very honest, good- 
natured, sensible man. 


I have just blinked at the Review, and that is all. 
Constable has omitted to send quarterly tributes of re- 
views to Horner and to me — to me, the original pro- 
poser of the E-eview, and to Horner, the frumentarious 
philosopher! If he is ever again guilty of a similar 
omission, he shall be pulled down from liis present 

The other day I went to the Panorama. There was 
near me a party consisting of one old and three young 
women ; and what do you think was the subject of 
then- conversation? — which was the handsomest, John 
or William ]\Iurray ! I am not joking; it is really true, 
upon my honor. There seemed to be a decided major- 
ity in favor of John, on account of his fairness. William 
]\Iurray will not believe it. 

I don't know whether you agree with mc about the 
present language and divisions of intellectual philoso- 
phy. They appear to me to be in a most barbarous 
state, and to be found nowhere in a state of higher con- 
fusion and puzzle than in the "Intellectual Powers" of 
Dr. Reid. I have got a little insight into metaphysics 
by these lectures of mine ; and though I am not learned 
enough to cope with you, I think I could understand 
you, and make myself understood by you. Do you 
agree with Stewart in his doctrine of sleej) ? in his be- 
lief of the existence of conceptions ? in his divisions be- 
tween sensation and perception ? in the propriety of the 
language he holds about ideas gained by the senses? 
I do not. Tell mc if you do ; yes or no, shnjpliciter. 

Sydney SmTH. 

19.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

18 Orchard Street, Bee. list, 180G. 

^Iy DEAR Jeffrey, 
It gives me great pleasure to think of visiting Scot- 


land in the summer ; but the drawback will be, to leave 
my wife and children, which I assure you I am loth to 
do for a single day. 

Brougham is just returned from Portugal. It is ru- 
mored that he was laid hold of by the Inquisition, and 
singed with wax-tapers, on account of the Edinburgh 
Keview. Tliey were at first about to use flambeaux, 
conceiving him to be you; but, upon recurring to the 
notes they have made of your height, an error Avas dis- 
covered of two feet, and the lesser fires only adminis- 
tered ! 

If I should be inclined to "write any thing for the 
Edinburgh Review this time, what books remain va- 
cant ? Have the goodness to send me a list, or, if that 
be difficult, send me a list of what books are appropri- 
ated ; and I will immediately determine upon some or 
none, and inform you of my determination. By what 
period must my task be completed, if I undertake it ? 

I am resolved to write some book, but I do not know 
what book. If I fail, I shall soon forget the ridicule ; 
if I succeed, I shall never forget the praise. Tlie pleas- 
ure of occupation I am sure of, and I hardly think my 
failure can be very complete. 

I have totally forgotten the Prussian monarchy since 
the third day after its destruction ; nor will I think of 
destruction till the battlements of Troy are falling round 
my head, and I see I^eptune stirring up its foundations 
with his trident! Why should we be ravished and 
ruined daily ? Sydney Smith. 

20.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

N^o date: supposed 1807. 

Dear Jeffrey, 
Concerning the Beview, I think the whole number 
exceedingly good. Playfair's article is very much liked. 


and does not owe its success to its attack upon a bishop 
against whom every body sympathizes, but has genuine 
merit. Were I to criticize it at all, I should say it ^vas 
rather Doric. Brougham's is most able, and the cen- 
sure amply merited. Locke's " Tenant" I should sus- 
pect to be very gTcen and crude, though I have not yet 
read much of it. These are all the articles of Avhich I 
have heard any opinion, or which I have noticed. There 
are several Scotticisms in Playfair's review. I like 

— very mucli, without caring about meeting him. I 

tliink his subjects of charcoal and chalk are very inferior 
ones, and that there is a good deal of bad taste in him, 
though that is in some degree atoned for by his pro- 
pensity to the good and the liberal. ^ I have no alloy to 
mingle in my approbation of Playfair. Brown is an 

impracticable, excellent creature. Of I can really 

form no tolerable opinion : contrasting hhn with his high 
character ; his ordinary nullity, with his occasional spec- 
imens of extraordinary penetration, fine taste, and com- 
prehensive observation, I am puzzled to silence : he is a 
man whom I can not make out. Brougham impresses 
me more and more with a notion of his talents and ac- 
quisitions. No change has happened to me in my pros- 
pects. I sincerely hope your joiu-ncy to the country 
will quite re-establish Mrs. Jeffrey's health ; and I beg 
you will let me know in your next letter. There is no- 
thing I long for so much as to pay you a visit in the 
North : the first acquisition of riches with which I am 
visited shall be consecrated to that object. 

Sydney Smith. 

21.] To Fjiancis Jeffrey, Esq. 

LoxDON, 1807. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I may perhaps furnish you with a sheet this time. 


Nothing but illness or occupation will prevent me. It 
is not probable that these causes of interruption will oc- 
cui*, but I beg to provide against them in case they do. 
I wish you could give Constable a lecture respecting his 
inattention to the contributors to the Eeview. Every 
body gets the Review before me by land-carriage, and I 
am defrauded with a sea Review : this is not right. 

You take politics to heart more than any man I know ; 
I do not mean questions of party, but questions of na- 
tional existence. I wish we lived in the same place, for 
many reasons ; but, among others, that we might plan 
some publication which would not be useless. These 
things are not to be despised, though they are not equal 
in importance to questions respecting the existence of 
another world, etc. 

I was much amused by hearing was at Lord 

Lauderdale's. I suppose a mutual treaty of peace was 
first signed, in which both surrendered part of their doc- 
trines ; or some mutual friend, skilled in political econ- 
omy, stepped in — probably Horner. Brougham, I am 
sorry to hear, does not come into Parliament by this va- 
cancy, occasioned by Lord Howick's elevation to the 
peerage. His loss will be grievous to the Whigs. 

Pray have the goodness to tell me, in your next let- 
ter, whether there is a man in Edinburgh whom you can 
recommend as an instructor of youth, in whose house a 
young Englishman could be safely deposited, without 
peril of marrying a Scotch girl with a fortune of Is. 6d. 

I humbly beseech you and earnestly exhort you to 
come to town this spring. You should revisit the Me- 
tropolis more frequently than you do, on many accounts. 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — I think you have spoilt many of my jokes; 


but tliis, I suppose, every Avriter thinks, whose works 
you alter ; and I am unfortunately, as you know, the 
vainest and most irritable of human beings. 

22.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Ko date: about 1807. 

Dear Jeffrey, 
Though j\Irs. Jeffrey will not let you come for any 
length of time, will she not permit you to come for two 
days, if we give bond to send you back on Wednesday ? 
Pray reply to this interrogation by return of post, and 
in the affirmative if you can. I beg leave to disagree 
both with Horner and yourself about " Etymologicon 
Magnum,*' which I think written with great spirit and 
dexterity in manner, and with acuteness and justness 
in point of argument. I think some of your expressions 
incorrect, but you are not too civil by a single bow or 
smile ; you have your imagination in very good order 
through the whole of it, and I exhort you to think ex- 
tremely well of your power of writing — a task which, 
I trust, you will not find very unpleasant or difficult. 
The other subjects of your note I will reserve till we 
meet. Sydney Si^iitii. 

23.] To Lady Holland. 

Jii/i/ Ui/i, 1807. 

My dear Lady Holland, 
Mr. Allen has mentioned to me the letters of a Mr. 
Plymlcy, which I have obtained from the adjacent 
market-town, and read Avitli some entertainment. My 
conjecture lies between three persons — vSir Samuel 
Romilly, Sir Arthur Pigott, or Mr. Horner, for the 
name is evidently fictitious. I shall be very happy to 
hear your conjectures on this subject on Saturday, when 


I hope you will let me dine with you at Holland House, 
but I must sleep in town that night. I shall come to 
Holland House, unless I hear to the contrary, and will 
then answer Lord Holland's letter. S. S. 

24.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Okchaed Street, Koveviber 18t/i, 1807. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

If you have any pleasure in the gratification of your 
vanity, you may enjoy such pleasure as much as you 
please. You have no idea how high your works stand 
here, and what a reputation they have given to you. 
Your notions of the English Constitution delight the 
Tories beyond all belief; and you have now nearly 

atoned for D 's opinions. The Whigs like that 

part of your review which attacks, or rather destroys, 
Cobbett ; but shake their heads at your general political 

I am waiting to see who is to be my new master in 
York.* I care very little whether he make me reside 
or not, and shall take to gTazing as quietly as Nebu- 
chadnezzar! Sydney Smith. 

25.] To Lady Holland. 

Batit, December 9th, 1807. 

War, my dear Lady Holland, is natural to women, as 
well as men — at least with their own sex ! 

A dreadful controversy has broken out in Bath, 
whether tea is most effectually sweetened by lumj) or 
pounded sugar ; and the worst passions of the human 
mind are called into action by the pulverists and the 
lumpists. I have been pressed by ladies on both sides 

* The Archbishop, Dr. Markliam, was just dead. Dr. Vernon, 
Bishop of Carlisle, succeeded. 


to speak in favor of their respective theories, at the 
Royal Institution, which I have promised to do. 

In the mean time, my mind is agitated by the nicely- 
balanced force of opposite arguments, and I regret that 
peaceable bigotry which I enjoy in the Metropolis, by 
living with men who are entirely agreed upon the greater 
part of the subjects which come under discussion. I 
shall regain my own tranquillity on Saturday night, and 
bid adieu to a controversy which is more remarkable for 
the ingenious reasoning by which it is uj^held, than for 
the important results to which it leads. 

The general idea here is, that we are upon the eve of 
reaping the good effects of the vigorous system of admin- 
istration ; and that the French, driven to the borders of 
insanity by the want of coffee, will rise and establish a 
family more favorable to the original mode of breakfast- 
ing. I have ventured to express doubts, but am imme- 
diately silenced as an Edinburgh Reviewer. 

I found "the preceding phenomenon" well; or, to 
speak more classically, every thing about him referable 
to the sense of seeing excited the same ideas as before ; 
the same with the co-effect, or sister. Allen would say, 
the co-sequence, but he is over-rigid : in loose, familiar 
writing we may say, the co-effect ; co-sequence looks 
(as it seems to me) stiff and affected. 

Sydney Smith. 

26.] To Lady Holland. 

8 Doughty Street, Brunswick Square. 

My dear Lady Holland, 
I told the little poet,* after the proper softenings of 
wine, dinner, flattery, repeating his verses, etc., etc., 
that a friend of mine wished to lend him some money 
* The late Thomas Campbell, Esq. 


and I "begged him to take it. The poet said that he 
had a very sacred and serious notion of the duties of 
independence, that he thought he had no right to be 
burdensome to others from the mere apprehensions of 
evil, and that he was in no immediate want. If it was 
necessary, he would ask me hereafter for the money 
without scruple; and that the knowing he had such 
resources in reserve, was a great comfort to him. This 
was very sensible and very honorable to him, nor had 
he the slightest feeling of affront on the subject, but, 
on the contrary, of great gratitude to his benefactor, 
whose name I did not mention, as the money was not 
received; I therefore cancel yoiu' draft, and will call 
upon you, if he calls upon me. This, I presume, meets 
your approbation. I had a great deal of conversation 
with him, and he is a much more sensible man than I 
had any idea of. I have received this morning a very 
kind letter from Sir Francis Baring, almost amounting 
to a promise that I am to be a professor in his new In- 

I can not conclude my letter without telling you, that 
you are a very good lady for what you have done ; and 
that, for it, I give you my hearty benediction. Ee- 
spectfuUy and sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. I have a project for Campbell's publishing this 
new volume of poems by subscription ; they are already 
far advanced. 

27.] To Lady Holland. 



You can conceive nothing like the tumult of this 
city ; it was as riotous as London in the middle of the 


night. I have seen two drunken people and one battle. 
The clergy and ladies are leaving the town. I am most 
happy to tell you that Lord Milton will, in all probabil- 
ity, get his election. I came here last night, and voted 

I forgot to send you the Chancellor's scrap. My re- 
quest to him, through my friend Sir William Scott, was, 
if any patronee of his preferred the North to the South, 
that I might be allowed to gratify so singular a wish by 
exchanging with him. 

S. S. 

28.] Notes for Lord Holland, 

The Curates Bill gives such power to the bishops, 
that, if to that be added the power they already pos- 
sess by the Bill of Residence, no clergyman who values 
his domestic comfort will ever think of differing from 
his bishop's opinions in any publication, religious, polit- 
ical, or historical ; thus a great mass of educated men 
are placed in utter subservience to those who are in 
utter subservience to the Crown. 

The true remedy is, by taking care that proper j)eo- 
ple are appointed to curacies. jS".^. let the bishops, in 
livings above a certain value, have the power of reject- 
ing any curate who has not taken a degi'ce at some En- 
glish University. The difficulty of procuring such cu- 
rates would fix the price. The condition exacted would 
be the best guarantee that the parish was well taken 
care of. It is impossible by any law to prevent me 
from agreeing privately with my curate, when I appoint 
him, that (let the Bishop order what he will) he shall 
only accept a certain sum. 

The law endeavors to prevent this, by saying such 
bargains shall not be binding ; i, e. it aims to effect its 


object by making one man to act dishonorably toward 
another, when it is for the interest of the Church that 
they should both be on the best terms ; and this very 
scoundrel who has thus broken his faith is the species 
of curate which ]\Ir. Perceval contends is to be so honor- 
able. How is his condition bettered by the Bill ? If he 
be dishonorable, will he be a useful man to his parish? 


That it comes from a school that you do not like 
should tamper with the Chmxh of England ; that wdien- 
ever the revenues of the Church are seized upon, it will 
be under the very same plea uj)on which this Bill is 
founded ; i. e, that they belong to the State, and can be 
appropriated to any person or purpose which the State 
may think proper ; and that the step is short from eccle- 
siastical to lay tithes. 

I forgot to say, that it can not be contended that this 
increase of salary is meant to act as a fine upon the 
non-resident rector ; because you first pass a law stating 
that such and sucli causes of absence are legal, and then 
you punish a man for doing what the law permits. 

Tliis law supposes that the rector is only desirous of 
putting in the cheapest curate he can get ; whereas non- 
resident rectors are commonly very deshous of putting 
in people of respectability. 

It is folly to speak of bettering the condition of the 
cm*ate, as if it were a permanent state : it is merely a 
transitory state. The grub puts up with any thing, be- 
cause it means to be an aurelia. A footman is better 
than a curate, if to he a curate were the only object of 
any man; but a man says, "I shall succeed to some 
preferment hereafter. That is my reward ; but, in the 
mean time, I shall take Avliat I can get." 

Lastly, is it worth while for the Bishop of London to 


make alterations in the Church when the world has only- 
sixty years to remain — indeed, now only fifty-nine and 
a half? 

29.] To Francis Jeffrey', Esq. 

Orchakd Street, Feb. 20th, 1808. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

Your Catholic article of the last Eeview is, I per- 
ceive, printed separately. I am very glad of it : it is 
excellent, and universally allowed to be so. I envy 
you your sense, your style, and the good temper with 
which you attack prejudices that drive me almost to 

the limits of insanity. The Duke of 's agent in 

Ireland is an Orangeman ; and in spite of all the re- 
monstrances of the Duke, who is too indolent or too 
good-natured to turn him off, he has acted like an 
Orangeman. What the Duke could not effect, you 
have done by your review ; and the man is now entire- 
ly converted to the interests of the Catholics, merely 
by what you have written upon the subject. This fact 
Lord Ponsonby told me yesterday. 

I have read no article in this number but Dugald 
Stewart's " Sallust," which is not particularly well done. 
When I have read the Review I will tell you what I 
think, and what wiser men than I think, of each ar- 

Of our friend Horner I do not see much. He has 
foui- distinct occupations, each of which may very fairly 
occupy the life of a man not deficient in activity : the 
Carnatic Commission, the Chancery Bar, Parliament, 
and a very numerous and select acquaintance. He has, 
as you perceive by the papers, spoken often and well, 
without however having as yet done any thing decided. 

I regret sincerely that so many years have elapsed 


since we met. I liope, if you possibly can, yon will 
contrive to come to town this spring : we will keep open 
house for you; you shall not be molested with large 
parties. You have earned a very high reputation here, 
and you may eat it out in turbot, at great people's 
houses, if you please ; though I well know you would 
prefer the quiet society of your old friends. 

Pray tell me whom you see most of, what you do with 
yourself, what spirits you are in, and every particular 
about yourself. 

I always think of Edinburgh with the gTcatest pleas- 
ure, and always resolve to pay it a visit every Sunday ; 
but want of time and of money have hitherto repressed 
my noble rage. 

Sydney Smith. 

30.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

March l^th, 1808. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

I have now read the whole of the Eeview. I like 
the "Mecanique Celeste;" Davy; Bowles; Hours of 
Idleness, too severe ; Sallust, not good ; Spence, pro- 
found but obscure ; Elizabeth, shocking and detest- 
able ; Carnatic, said to be very good. 

The Eeview, I understand, sold in four days. Upon 
the whole, the number is not a good one ; and I will 
trouble you to "s\Tite something in every number, or we 
shall be accused of dullness and insignificance. 

Sydney Simith. 

1.] To Dr. Eeeve— (Norwich). 

Bishop's Lydluid, Tauxtox, August 11, 1808. 

]\Iy dear Sir, 
I thank you very kindly for your invitation, and for 


your recollection of me. I sincerely wish that the little 
time I can get away from London would admit of my 
making such a visit: nothing would give me gTeater 
pleasure. You mention many inducements : I can 
want no other than the pleasure of paying my respects 
to you and to Mrs. Opie. 

The Bishop* is incomparable. He should touch for 
bigotry and absurdity I He is a kind of man who 
would do his duty in all situations at every hazard: 
in Spain he would have headed his diocese against the 
French ; at Marseilles he would have struggled against 
the plague ; in Flanders he would have been a F^nelon. 
He does honor to the times in which he lives, and more 
good to Christianity than all the sermons of his brethren 
would do, if they were to live a thousand years. As 
you will probably be his physician when he is a very 
old man, bolster him up with nourishing meats, my 
dear doctor, invigorate him with medicated possets. 
Search for life in drugs and herbs, and keep him as a 
comely spectacle to the rising priesthood. You have a 
great charge ! Sydney Smith. 

32.] To Lady Holland. 

IIowiCK, Sept. OtJi, 1808. 

Dear Lady Holland, 

I take the liberty to send you two brace of gi'ouse 
— curious, because killed by a Scotch metaphysician ; 
in other and better language, they are mere ideas, shot 
by other ideas, out of a pure intellectual notion, called 
a gun. 

I found a great number of philosophers in Edinburgh, 
in a high state of obscurity and metaphysics. 

Dugald Stewart is extremely alarmed by tlie re- 
* Bishop Bathurst. 


peated assurances I made that lie was the author of 
"Plymlej's Letters" — or generally considered so to be. 
I have been staying here two days on my return, 
and two days on my joui*ney to Edinburgh. An ex- 
cellent man, Lord Grey, and pleasant to be seen in the 
bosom of his family. I approve very highly also of his 

Ever most affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

33.] To Lady Holland. 

October 8th, 1808. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

No sooner was your back turned than I took advant- 
age of your absence to give up Harefield, and settle in 
Yorkshire. I never liked the Harefield scheme. Bad 
society, no land, no house, no salary, dear as London, 
neither in London nor out of it, not accessible to a na- 
tive, not interesting to a stranger. But the fear of you 
before my eyes prevented me from saying so. 

My lot is now fixed and my heritage fixed — most 
probably. But you may choose to make me a bishop, 
and if you do, I think I shall never do you discredit ; 
for I believe it is out of the power of lawn and velvet, 
and the crisp hair of dead men fashioned into a wig, to 
make me a dishonest man ; 'but if you do not, I am per- 
fectly content, and shall be ever gratefiil to the last hour 
of my life to you and to Lord Holland. 

is not returned : the Mufti in high leg about 

the Spaniards : Horner so extremely serious about the 
human race, that I am forced to compose my face half 
a street off before I meet him. 

Our next King of Clubs is on Saturday, where you 
and your expedition will be talked over at some length. 


I presume you have received a thundering letter from 
Lord Grey. 

You will see in the next Edinburgh Review two 
articles of mine — one on the Catholics, the other on 
the Curates Bill — neither of which, I think, you will 

I feel sometimes melancholy at the idea of quitting 
London — "the warm precincts of the cheerful day;" 
but it is the will of God, and I am sure I shall gain by 
it wealth, knowledge, and happiness. 

Sydney Smith. 

34.] To Lady Holland. 

No date. 

J\Iy dear Lady Holland, 

I have heard nothing yet of the doubts and scruples 
of the Archbishop, and hope they may be dying away. 

I have let my house at Thames Ditton very well, and 
sold the gentleman my wine and poultry. I attribute 
my success in these matters to having read half a vol- 
ume of Adam Smith early in the summer, and to hints 
that have dropped from Horner, in his playful moods, 
upon the subject of sale and barter. 

There is a very snug little dinner to-day at Bromp- 
ton, of Abercrombic, Whishaw, Bigg, and a few select 
valuables. It is not known for certain what they will 
talk about, but conjectured that it will go hard with the 
Spanish patriots in their conversation. By-the-by, a 
person with a feather and a green jacket, clearly a for- 
eigner, rode express up Pall ]\Iall yesterday evening; 
and a post-cliaise and four passed over Westminster 
Bridge about twelve o'clock to-day. I mention this for 
our friend Brougham ; he must make of it what he can. 
Slight appearances are to be looked to. 


Excuse my nonsense ; you are pretty well accustomed 
to it by this time. Sydney Smith. 

35.] To John Allen, Esq. 

Deah Allen, 

I am glad to find tliat I am mistaken respecting the 
King of Clubs. Of Lord Holland or you I never had 
any doubt, nor of Romilly, but of all the others I had ; 
that is, I thought they were of opinion that the benefit 
of Lords Grenville, Grey, etc., should not be lost to the 
country for that single question. 

I have sent my sermon to Lord Grenville. 

It is not that the politics of the day are considered 
unsuitable to the Edinbm-gh Review, but ilie perso7iali- 
ties of the day are objected to. This seems to have in- 
fiuenced Jeffrey. I thought it right, once for all, to 
make a profession of my faith ; and by that, to exempt 
myself ever after from the necessity of noticing such 
attacks as have been made upon me in the Quarterly 
E^view. I meant to do it bluntly and shortly ; if I 
have done it with levity, I am a clumsy and an unlucky 

I by no means give up my opinions respecting the 
CathoHc bishops. I have added something to that 
note, in order to explain it ; but if the electors, warned 
of the incivism of their candidate, still procure his elec- 
tion, and put him in a situation where he is dependent 
on the will, and subject to the influence, of a foreign 
power, the Government has a right, upon every princi- 
ple of self-preservation, to act with that man as I pro- 
pose. You may object to the objectors, but nobody 
else can be intrusted with such a power. 

]\Iy brethren, who tremble at my boldness, should be 
more attentive to what I really said, which concerns 
Vol. TI.— C 


not the truth or falsehood of the passage, but the ex- 
pediejicy or inexpediency of allowing it to be an interpo- 

Brougham has been extremely friendly to me about 
my sermon. 

Sydney Smith. 

36.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

October 30, 1808. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

I hear with great sorrow from Elmsley, that a very 
anti-Christian article has crept into the last number of 
the Edinbui'gh Review, inaccurate in point of history, 
and dull in point of execution. I need no other proof 
that the Review was left in other hands than yours, be- 
cause you must be thoroughly aware that the rumor of 
infidelity decides not only the reputation, but the exist- 
ence of the Review. I am extremely sorry, too, on my 
own account ; because those who wish it to have been 
written by me, will say it VMS so. 

I hear there has been a meeting between you and 
your patient Southey, and that he was tolerably civil to 
his chirurgeon. 

Do not disappoint us of your company in the spring, 
in this great city, and bring with you Timotheus, ac- 
customed to midnight carousal and soul-inspiring al- 
cohol. Brown is like the laws of the Medes and Per- 
sians, he changeth not; a greater proneness to muta- 
bility would however have been a much better thing 
for them both ; for I have no doubt but that the laws 
often have been, and that the Doctor often is, hugely 

Magnitude to you, my dear Jeffrey, must be such an 
intoxicating idea, that I have no doubt you would rather 
be gigantic in your errors, than immense in no respect 


whatsoever ; however, comfort yourself that your good 
qualities are far beyond the common size ; for which 
reason, originally, but now from long habit, I am your 
affectionate friend, 

S. Smith. 

37.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Orchard Street, 1808. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I have as yet read very few articles in the Edinburgh 
Review, having lent it to a sick Countess, who only 
^\4shed to read it, because a few copies only had arrived 
in London. 

I like very much the review of Davy, think the re- 
view of Espriella much too severe, and am extremely 
vexed by the review of Hoyle's Exodus. The levities 
it contains will, I am sure, give very great offense ; and 
they are ponderous and vulgar, as well as indiscreet. 
Such sort of things destroy all the good effect which 
the liberality and knowledge of the Edinburgh Review 
are calculated to produce, and give to fools as great a 
power over you as you have over them. Besides the 
general regret I feel from errors of this nature, I can not 
help feeling that they press harder upon me than upon 
any body ; by giving to the Review a character which 
makes it perilous to a clergyman, in particular, to be 
concerned in it. I am sure you will excuse me for ex- 
pressing my feelings upon this subject, and I know that 
you have friendship enough for me, to be more upon your 
guard in future against a style of A\Titing which is not 
only mischievous to me in particular, but mischievous 
to the whole undertaking; and without the slightest 
compensation of present amusement. The author I 
know ; and when he told me the article upon which he 
had been employed, I foresaw the manner in which he 


would treat it. Upon tliis subject Brougham entirely 
agrees with me. 

I am glad you like the ^lethodists. Of the Scotch 
market you arc a better judge than I am, but you may 
depend upon it, it will give great satisfaction here ; I 
mean, of course, the nature of the attack, not the man- 
ner in which it is executed. All attacks upon the 
^Methodists are very popular with steady men of very 
moderate understanding ; the description of men among 
whom the bitterest enemies of the Edinbui'gh Review 
are to be found. 

I do not understand what you mean by "levity of 
quotations." I attack these men because they have 
foolish notions of religion. The more absurd the pas- 
sage, the more necessary it should be displayed — the 
more m-gent the reason for making the attack at all. 

I am thinking of writing a sheet this time about the 
missions to India and elsewhere ; in short, a sort of 
expose of the present state of Protestant missions. God 
bless you! 

Sydney Smith. 

38.] To FpvAncis Jeffrey', Esq. 

YoKK, Nov. 20t/i, 1808. 

My dear Jeffrey', 
It is a very long time since I answered your letter, 
but I have been choked by the cares of the world. I 
came down here for a couple of days, to look at two 
places which were to be let, and have been detained 
here in pursuit of them for ten or twelve days. The 
place I am aiming at is one mile and a half from York ; 
a convenient house and garden, with twelve acres of 
land. This will do for me very well while I am build- 
ing at Foston, where I shall, in all human probability, 
spend the rest of my days. I am by no means grieved 


at quitting London ; sony to lose the society of my 
friends, "but wishing for more quiet, more leisure, less 
expense, and more space for my children. I am ex- 
tremely pleased with what I have seen of York. 

About the University of Oxford, I doubt ; but you 
shall have it, if I can possibly iind time for it. I am 
publishing fifty sermons at present, which take up some 
considerable share of my attention : much more, I fear, 
than they will of any other person. 

I am very glad that the chances of life have brought 
us two hundred miles nearer together. It is really a 
fortunate circumstance, that, in quitting London, where 
I have pushed so many roots, I should be brought 
again within the reach of the bed from which I was 

I return to town next Friday, and leave it for good on 
Lady-day. J\Irs. Sydney is delighted with her rustica- 
tion. She has suffered all the evils of London, and en- 
joyed none of its goods. 

Yours, dear Jeffrey, ever most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

39.] To THE Earl Grey. 

December loth, 1808. 

Dear Lord Grey, 

I had a letter fi'om Allen, and another from Lady 
Holland, dated Corunna, 1st of December. They talk 
of going to Lisbon or Cadiz by sea, and I rather think 
they will do so. Allen complains of the great remiss- 
ness of the Junta, and it is now the fashion to say here, 
that there is really no enthusiasm ; and that there never 
have been more, at any time, than seventy thousand 
Spanish troops on foot. 

Many people are now quite certain Bonaparte is an 
instrument, ect. It turns out, however, that the instru- 


ment has been baking biscuit very diligently at Bay- 
onne for three months past, and therefore does not dis- 
dain the assistance of human means. We (who prob- 
ably are not instruments) act as if we were. AYe send 
horses that can not draw, commissaries who can not 
feed an army, generals who can not command one. We 
take our enemy out of a place where he can do us no 
harm, and land him safely in the very spot where he can 
do us the greatest mischief. We are quite convinced 
that Providence has resolved upon our destruction, be- 
cause Lord Mulgrave and Lord Castlereagh have neither 
sense nor activity enough to secure oiu' safety. 

I beg my best respects to Lady Grey, and remain, my 
dear Lord Grey, 

Your obliged and obedient servant, 

Sydney Smith. 

40.] To THE Earl Grey. 

18 Orchard Street, PoRTM.\>y Square, 
Deceviher 21s/, 1808. 

Dear Lord Grey, 

Dr. Yaughan's brother is just come over, who says the 
Spaniards are quite sure of succeeding, and that it is 
impossible to conquer them. I mean to have him ex- 
amined next week by Whishaw, Brougham, and other 

Brougham and I are going next week to stay a day 
or two with a ]\Ir. Bichard Brinsley Sheridan, where we 
are to meet your friend Mrs. Wilmot, whom I am very 
curious to see. 

I am just publishing fifty discourses, which I shall 
take the liberty to send to Lady Grey ; conceiving that 
in so remote a part of England, theology is not to be 
liad so pure as here. 

Sydney S^iith. 


41.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Orchard Street, 1808. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

When you talk of tlie clamors of Edinburgh, I will 
not remind you of a tempest in a pot, for that would 
be to do injustice to the metropolis of the north ; but a 
hurricane in a horse-pond is a simile useful for convey- 
ing my meaning, and not unjust to the venerable city 
of Edinburgh. 's review is imprudent in the ex- 
pressions — more than wrong in its doctrines ; but you 
will not die of it this time, and are, I believe, more 
frightened than hurt. As for me, I am very busy, and 
question much whether I shall be able to contribute ; if 
I do, it will most probably be the Society for the Sup- 
pression of Vice. 

It is perfectly fair that any other set of men should 
set up a Review, and, in my opinion, very immaterial. 

In all probability it is all over with Spain, and if so, 
probably there is an end of Europe ; the rest will be a 
downhill struggle: I can not help it, and so will be 
merry to the last. AUen writes word that the Junta 
has been very remiss, and Moore, that there is no en- 
thusiasm at all ; in addition, it is now said that there 
never have been more than seventy thousand men in 

Yours, my dear Jeffrey, in great haste, and very sin- 

Sydney Smith. 

42.] To Lady Holland. 

London, Decemhcr, 1808. 
Why, dear Lady Holland, do you not come home? 
It has been all over this montli. Except in the IIol- 


land family, there lias not been a man of sense for some 
weeks who has thought otherwise. Are you fond of 
funerals ? Do you love to follow a nation to its grave ? 
What else can you see or do hy remaining abroad? 
Linen-drapers and shoemakers might perhaps save Spain 
— in the hands of dukes and bishops, it is infallibly 

Our friend has been bolting out of the course 

again in the Edinburgh Keview. It is extremely difficult 
to keep him right. He should always have two tame 
elephants, Abercrombie and Whishaw, who might beat 
him with their trunks, when lie behaved in an unwliig- 
like manner. 

I have bought a book about drilling beans, and a 
greyhound puppy for the Malton meeting. It is thought 
I shall be an eminent rural character. Do not listen to 
any thing that is written to you about a change of ad- 
ministration. There may be a change from one Tory to 
another, but there is not the slightest chance for the 

The very worst possible accounts from Ireland. I 
shall be astonished if they do not begin to make some 
stir. They will not rebel just now, but they will 

We are expecting every day the destruction of the 
English army by Bonaparte. You may hear that Lord 
Melville is in opposition upon the question of Spain, 
and that he entirely agrees with Lord Grenville upon 
that point. This is not understood. 

I have assisted at a great many dinners during this 
Christmas, and have been staying with Sheridan at his 
house in the country. 

Kindest regards to Lord Holland and Allen. 

Sydney Smith. 


43.] To Lady Holland. 

January lOth, 1809. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

Many thanks for two fine Gallicia hams ; hut as for 
boiling them in wi7ie, I am not as yet high enough in 
the church for that ; so they must do the best they can 
in water. 

You have no idea of the consternation which Brough- 
am's attack upon the titled orders has produced : the 
Eeview not only discontinued by many, but returned to 
the bookseller from the very first volume : the library 
shelves fumigated, etc. ! 

The new Eeview of Ellis and Canning is advertised, 
and begins next month. 

We have admitted a Mr. Baring, importer and writer, 
into the King of Clubs, upon the express condition that 
he lends £50 to any member of the Club, when applied 
to. I proposed the amendment to his introduction, 
which was agreed to without a dissenting voice. 

You know Mr. Luttrell is prisoner in Fez. !Mufti 
has been ill, but the rumor of a Tory detected in a 
job has restored him. Horner is ill. He was desired 
to read amusing books : upon searching his library it 
appeared he had no amusing books — the nearest of any 
work of that description being T/ie Indian Trader''s 
Convplete Guide ! 

I can not tell you how much I miss you and Lord 
Holland ; for besides the pleasure I have in your com- 
pany, I have contracted a real regard and affection for 
you — wish you to get on prosperously and wisely — 
want other people to like you, and should be afflicted if 
any real harm happened to you and yours. 

Sydney Smith. 


44.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Orchard Street, Feb. 20th, 1809. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

Nothing can be better written than Burns. The 
Bishop's Spanish America opens badly. We shall talk 
over this subject much better than we can write upon 

I by no means say I will not go on with the Edin- 
burgh Review — by no means say that I will not contrib- 
ute more copiously, and articles of better stamp, than 
I yet have done ; but whether I will do so or not, will 
depend upon the result of our conference. Meet we 
must, as I shall be either where you are coming to, or 
where you will pass through ; in which of these two 
places, I do not know. My first object is to sell my 
house : if I do it before Lady-day, I will quit London 
at that period. It is very improbable, however, that I 
shall do so now ; and I guess that I shall stay in Lon- 
don till the birth-day. 

I beg you very seriously to take a little pains with 
youi* handwriting : if you will be resolute about it for a 
month, you will improve immensely: at present your 
writing is, literally speaking, illegible, and I have not 
now read one-half of your letter. You talked of review- 
ing my sermons, now published: I should be obliged 
to you to lay aside tlie idea; I know very well my 
sermons are quite insignificant. 

Spain is quite gone. In all probability the En- 
glish army will be entirely destroyed: and though the 
sti-uggle will be long, the greater chance surely is 
that this country will at lengtli be involved in the gen- 
eral ruin. 

Sydney Smith. 


45.] To John Allen, Esq. 

February 2lst, 1809. 

Dear Allen, 

I have received from you two or three very kind let- 
ters, for which I thank you; and should have done so 
before, had I not taken a gay turn lately, and meddled 
much in the amusements of the town. 

I am glad to find that it has pleased Providence to 
restore you to your reason, and that you are coming 
home. You may depend upon it, there is no country 
hke this for beauty, and steadiness of climate, as well as 
for agremens of manners ; we are a gay people, living 
under a serene heaven. 

I have had thoughts of writing a political pamphlet, 
but have adjourned it to another year. From time to 
time I will make a resolute and lively charge upon the 

The Edinburgh Eeview for February is come. It is 
the best, I think, that has appeared for a long time ; 
"Bm-ns and Warbm'ton," by Jeffrey; "Code de la 
Conscription," by "Walsh, Secretary to the American 
Embassador; "Spanish America," by a Mr. Mill;* 
" Society for the Suppression of Vice," by a Mr. Syd- 
ney Smith; "West Indies," by Brougham; "Steam 
Engine," by Play fair ; " Sanscrit Grammar," by Hamil- 
ton ; " Copenhagen," I believe, ditto. The Quarterly 
Review is out also ; not good, I hear. 

The division upon the Orders in Council has sur- 
prised every body, and St. Stephen told Brougham 
he thought it decisive of their repeal. Three bishops 
voted with Lord Grenville. Something of this division 
may be attributed to Mrs. Clarke and the Duke. The 

* James Mill, Esq., author of "British India." Mr. Mill was in- 
timately acquainted with General Miranda, from whom he doubtless 
derived much infoiTnation about Spanish America. — En. 


conversation of the town for the last fortnight has, as 
you may suppose, been extremely improper. I have 
endeavored as much as I can to give it a little tinge of 
propriety, but without effect, I think the Duke of York 
must fall. Believe me, my dear Allen, ever yours most 

Sydney Smith. 

46.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

March 7tli, 1809. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I will review, if you please, " Coelebs in search of a 
Wife," and must beg the favor of an early answer to 
know if it is at my disposal. I may, perhaps, review 
something else; but at present I know of nothing. 
Suggest something to me. 

Would you like a review of Fenelon by Mr. Butler,* 
of Lincoln's Inn ? Has a Mr. Blomfield,t of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, offered you any classical articles ? 
Do you want any? and will you accept any ffom Dr. 
Maltby?t I think I will review Cockburn's attack 
upon the Edinburgh Review — why not ? What do you 
think of the Quarterly ? I have written twice to John 
Murray, to beg the favor of him to make some inquiries 
for me. Will you have the goodness to find out whether 
my letters have been received, and whether it is incon- 
venient to him to do what I have ask him to do ? Pray 
answer these queries punctually, and by retiu'n, because 
time presses for the next number. 

Mrs. S. begs to be kindly remembered. It will, I 
am sure, give her great pleasure to see you again. 1 

* Charles Butler, Y^sq., the celebrated Real Property Lawyer, 
t Tlie i)resent Bishop of London. 
t The ])re.sent Bi.sliop of Durliani. 


am extremely pleased with your articles, and with the 
Code of Conscription. Ever your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

47.] To Lady Holland. 

June 2ith, 1809. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

This is the third day since I arrived at the village of 
Heslington, two hundred miles from London. I missed 
the hackney-coaches for the first three or four days in 
York, but after that, prepared myself for the change 
from the aurelia to the grub state, and dare say I shall 
become fat, torpid, and motionless with a very good 

I have laid down two rules for the country : first, not 
to smite the partridge ; for if I fed the poor, and com- 
forted the sick, and instructed the ignorant, yet I should 
be nothing worth, if I smote the partridge. If any 
thing ever endangers the Church, it will be the strong- 
propensity to shooting for which the clergy are remark- 
able. Ten thousand good shots dispersed over the 
country do more harm to the cause of religion than the 
arguments of Voltaire and Rousseau. The squire never 
reads, but is it possible he can believe that religion to 
be genuine whose ministers destroy his game? 

I mean to come to town once a year, though of that, 
I suppose, I shall soon be weary, finding my mind grow- 
ing weaker and weaker, and my acquaintance gradually 
falling off. I shall by that time have taken myself 
again to shy tricks, pull about my watch-chain, and be- 
come (as I was before) yom* abomination. 

I am very much obliged to Allen for a long and 
very sensible letter upon the subject of Spain. After 
all, surely tlie fate of Spain depends upon the fate of 


Austria. Pray tell the said Don Juan, if he comes 
northward to visit the authors of his existence, he must 
make this his resting-place. 

]\Irs. Sydney is all rural bustle, impatient for the par- 
turition of hens and pigs ; I wait patiently, knowing all 
will come in due season ! 

Sydney Smith. 

48.] To Lady Holland. 

No date. 

]\Iy dear Lady Holland, 

I hope you are quite well, dining with, and giving 
dinners to, agreeable people ; free from all bores, and 
not displeased wdth yourself. 

I am told jMr. Allen is quite miserable at being de- 
feated by the Archbishop. The trial of skill was re- 
markable, and it is now quite clear that the atoms have 
no real power and influence in this world. 

My life for the summer is thus disposed of: — I walk 
up and down my garden, and dine at home, till August ; 
then come my large brother and my little sister; then 
I go to Manchester, to stay with Philosopher Philips, 
in September; LLorner and Murray come to see me in 
October ; then I shall go and see the Earl Grey ; tlien 
walk up and down my garden till March. 

Sydney Smith. 

49.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Heslikgton, Sept. 3d, 1809. 

j\Iy dear Jeffrey, 
Are we to see you? — (a difficult thing at all times 
to do). Have you settled your dispute with Consta- 
ble, and in Avliat manner ? It is almost superfluous to 


praise what you write, for you write every thing in a 
superior manner ; the rule therefore is, that you are to 
be highly praised, and the blame is the exception. I 
admire your temper : it is a difficult thing to refute so 
many follies, and to rebuke so many villainies, and still 
to keep yourself within bounds ; you have the merit of 
doing this in an eminent degTee, and have exemplified 

your talent in the review of R . You speak, I 

can not help thinking, rather too carelessly of economy 
in your "Parliamentary Reform ;" in the present war, 
threatening a diu'ation of thirty years, every thing will 
turn upon it. I object rather to your tone than to any 
of your opinions ; nor is it only that economy will de- 
cide the contest, but that English habits, and preju- 
dices, and practices are not favorable to this humble 
political virtue. I must be pardoned for suspecting the 

praise of to be overdone, and for pronouncing the 

review of Lord to be neither short nor highly en- 
tertaining, nor wholly free from that species of political 
animadversion which is resorted to in the daily papers. 
The review of Davy I like very much. 

The European world is, I think, here at an end : 
there is surely no card left to play. 

Instead of being unamused by trifles, I am, as I well 
know I should be, amused by them a great deal too 
much ; I feel an ungovernable interest about my horses, 
or my pigs, or my plants ; I am forced, and always 
was forced, to task myself up into an interest for any 
higher objects. When, I ask, shall we see you? I 
claim, by that interrogation, an answer to a letter of 
special invitation, written to you from Philips's, and 
which I cordially renew, and would aggravate, if I could, 
every syllable of invitation it contained. Pray lay an 
injunction upon Tim Thompson, that he in nowise 
journey to or from the ^Metropolis witliout tarrying here. 


Though you are absent, jokes shall never fail ; 
I'll kill the fatted calf, and tap the foaming ale ; 
We'll settle men and things by rule of thumb, 
And break the lingering night with ancient rum. 

Sydney Smith. 

50.] To Lady Holland. 

Hesllsgtox, Sejit. dth, 1809. 

My dear Lady Holland, 
I hear you laugh at me for being happy in the coun- 
try, and upon this I hai^e a few words to say. In the 
first place, whether one lives or dies, I hold, and have 
always held, to be of infinitely less moment than is gen- 
erally supposed ; but if life is to be, then it is common 
sense to amuse yourself with the best you can find 
where you happen to be placed. I am not leading pre- 
cisely the life I should choose, but that which (all things 
considered, as well as I could consider them) appeared 
to me to be the most eligible. I am resolved, there- 
fore, to like it, and to reconcile myself to it ; which is 
more manly than to feign myself above it, and to send 
up complaints by the post, of being thrown away, and 
being desolate, and such like trash. I am prepared, 
therefore, either way. If the chances of life ever enable 
me to emerge, I will show you that I have not been 
wholly occupied by small and sordid pursuits. If (as 
the greater probability is) I am come to tlie end of my 
career, I give myself quietly up to horticulture, etc. In 
sliort, if it be my lot to crawl, I will crawl contentedly ; 
if to fly, I will fly with alacrity ; but, as long as I can 
possibly avoid it, I will never be unliappy. If, with a 
pleasant wife, three children, a good house and farm, 
many books, and many friends, who wish me well, I can 
not be happy, I am a very silly, foolish fellow, and 
what becomes of me is of very little consequence. I 


liave at least this chance of doing well in Yorkshire, 
that I am heartily tired of London. 

I beg pardon for saying so much of myself, but I say 
it upon this subject once for all. 

"VYe had a meeting of our Club last Saturday, and a 
very agi'eeable one, where your journey to Spain was 
criticised at much length. Some incHned to this opinion, 
others to that — but upon my mentioning that several 
agreeable dinners at Holland House were irretrievably 
lost, there was a perfect unanimity of opinion. Shai-pe 
said„ "It was a blow."' 

I met in the Strand to-day. He had the two 

hrst sheets of his poem in his pocket, and I beheve no- 
thing else, for he told me he had spent aU his money, 
and was rather put to it. 

Poor Dumont has lost his sister, and is in great af- 
fliction ; but he dines with me on Saturday, and I hope 
to raise up the pleasures Xos. 13 and 24. 

No news of any kind, except that this pert and silly 
answer of Cannino-'s to the citizens has made a consid- 


erable impression in the City. Some say that Lord 
Hawksbuiy attempted this piece of pertness in imitation 
of Canning. 

I have read the Eeview, and like the review of Kose 
exceedingly. How can any one dislike it? Parlia- 
mentary Reform exceedingly good, with some objec- 
tions ; Miss Edgeworth over-praised ; Strabo, by Payne 
Knight, excellent ; the Bakerian Lectures very good ; 
Lord Sheffield dull and hot. I am glad you liked Parr. 

I am about to open the subject of classical learning 
in the Eeview, from which, by some accident or other, 
it has hitherto abstained. It will give great offense, and 
therefore be more fit for this journal, the genius of which 
seems to consist in strokmg the animal the contrary 
way to that which the hair lies. 


I dare say it cost you much to part with Charles ; 
but in the present state of the world, it is better to 
bring up our young ones to war than to peace. I bui*n 
g-unpowder every^ day under the nostrils of my little boy, 
and talk to him often of fighting, to put him out of con- 
ceit with civil sciences, and prepare him for the evil 
times which are coming! 

Ever, respectfully and affectionately, your sincere 

Sydney Smith. 

51.] To Lady Holland. 

Heslixgton, Sq)t. 20th, 1809. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I shall be extremely happy to see , and will 

leave a note for him at the tavern where the mail stops, 
to say so. Nothing can exceed the dullness of this 
place : but he has been accustomed to live alone with 
his grandmother, which, though a highly moral life, is 
not an amusing one. 

There are two Scotch ladies staying here, with whom 
he will get acquainted, and to whom he may safely 
make love the ensuing winter ; for love, though a very 
acute disorder in Andalusia, puts on a very chronic 
shape in these northern latitudes ; for, first, the lover 
must prove metaj)/iee3icaU?/ that he oii^/U to succeed ; 
and then, in the fifth or sixth year of courtship (or rath- 
er of argument), if the summer is tolerably warm, and 
oatmeal plenty, the fair one is won. 

Sydney Smith. 

52.] Fro:si Lord Holland to Eey. Sydney Smith. 
Dear Sydney, 
Pray exert yourself with such fi-iends as your hete- 
rodox opinions on Longs and Shorts have left you in 


Oxford, in favor of Lord Grenville for the Chancellor- 
ship. I am sure you would do it con mnore if you had 
heard our conversation at Dropmore the other day, and 
the warm and enthusiastic way in which he spoke of 
Peter Plymley. I did not fail to remind him that the 
only author to whom we both thought he could be com- 
pared in English, lost a bishopric for his wittiest per- 
formance ; and I hoped that if we could discover the 
author, and had ever a bishopric in our gift, we should 
prove that Whigs were both more grateful and more 
liberal than Tories. He rallied me upon my affectation 
of concealing who it was, but added that he hoped Peter 
would not always live in Yorkshire, where he was per- 
suaded he was at present ; for, among other reasons, we 
felt the want of him just now in the state of the press, 
and that he heartily wished Abraham would do some- 
thing to provoke him to take up his pen. But I must 
write some more letters to Oxford people. Yours ever, 

Vassal Holland. 

53.] To THE Earl Grey. 

October 3J, 1809. 

Dear Lord Grey, 
I have been meditating a visit to Howick Castle, and 
was meditating it before Lord Castlereagh shot Mr. 
Canning in the thigh, which will make you Secretary of 
State. If they do not choose to surrender, and attempt 
to patch up an Administration, then you will remain in 
the country ; and I purpose to stay with you a few days, 
if you will accept my company, toward the end of the 
month, I suspect, however, before that period you will 
be evacuating Walcheren, contracting for bark and port- 
wine, selling off the transports, and putting an end to 
that system of vigor which, when displayed by individ- 


iials instead of nations, is usually mitigated by a strait 
waistcoat and low diet. 

There is no man w^ho thinks better of what you and 
your coadjutors can and will do ; but I can not help 
looking upon it as a most melancholy proof of the miser- 
able state of this country, when men of integrity and 
ability are employed. If it were possible to have gone 
on without them, I am sure they would never have been 
thought of. Yours ever most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

54.] To Lord Holland. 

HoAviCK, Nov. \st, 1809. 

My dear Lord Holland. 

I would have answered your kind note sooner, but 
that it followed me here, after being detained for a day 
or two at York. 

Whatever little interest or connection I may have 
shall be exerted in favor of Lord Grenville, to whom I 
sincerely wish success. 

It wiU be doing a good action, I conjecture, if his 
lordship ever brings Peter Plymley out of Yorkshire ; 
because, though the said Peter does not by any means 
dislike living in the country, he would, as I understand, 
prefer that the country in which he does live were nearer 
his old friends. I should not be in the least surprised 
if this grave writer, in some shape or another, made his 
appearance next spring, if the then state of affairs should 
enable him to write with effect and utility. 

The noble Earl here is in perfect health, and so are 
all his family. I have been spending a fortnight with 
lilm, and think him in appearance quite another person 
from what he was last year. 

I have a project of publishing in the spring a pam- 
plilet, which I tliink of calling "Common Sense for 


1810 ;" for which I will lay down some good doctrines, 
and say some things which I have in my head, and 
which I am sure it will be very useful to say. If I do, 
I will write it here, and improve it when I obtain fur- 
ther information from you in town. But what use is 
there in all this, or in any thing else ? Omnes ibimus 
ad Diabolum, et Bonaparte nos conquerabit, et dabit 
Hollandiam Domum ad unum corporalium suorum, et 
ponet ad mortem Joannem xillenium. 

Yours ever most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

55.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

November 4:th, 1809. 

]\Iy dear Jeffrey, 

I liave just returned from Lord Grey's, and have 
only leisure to reply to the business part of your letter. 
You may write to Payne Knight without scruple, and, 
using your old illustration of Czar Peter, you may men- 
tion money ; or rather leave that to me, and I will write 
to him about it. I hope you will not be affronted if I 
seriously advise you to dictate a letter to him. Your 
motto is, JIe?is sme manu. 

Blomfield is an admirable scholar. Publish his re- 
view, and Payne Knight will ^vrite you something else ; 
but this just as you please ; I have no wish really upon 
the subject. I will write soon at length. God bless 
you! Sydney Smith. 

56.] To John Allen, Esq. 

York, Nov. 22d, 1809. 

Dear Allen, 
I am much obliged to you for your book, to which I 
see but one objection, and that is, that tlierc will be an 
end of Spain before the Cortes can be summoned, or the 


slightest of your provisions carried into execution — ad- 
mirable rules for diet to a patient in the article of death. 
I shall read it however, as a Utopia from your romantic 

I beg my congratulations to the Lord and Lady of 
the Castle on the event which your postscript announces 
to me for the first time. Let the child learn principles 
from Dumont, Sharpe shall teach him ease and nature, 
Lauderdale wit, my own Pybus shall inspire his muse, 
and shall show him the way to heaven. 

As for the Opposition, if they give up the Catholics, 
I think their character is ruined. Lreland is much en- 
dangered, and the King will kick them out again after 
he has degraded them. A politician should be as flexi- 
ble in little things as he is inflexible in great. The 
probable postponement of such a measure in such times 
for ten years — how is it possible for any honest public 
man to take oflice at such a price? I have no doubt 
that the country would rather submit to ]\Iassena than 
to ^Yhitbread. If the King were to give the opposition 
carte hlanche to-morrow, I can not see that they could 
form an administration in the House of Commons. I 
have not promised, as you say, to y^iio. a pamphlet 
called Common Sense, in the spring ; it is of very little 
or no consequence whether I do write it or not, but I 
have by no means made up my mind to do it. 

We have a report here that the measles and hooping- 
cough have got among the new Administration ; it is 
quite foolish to make such young people ministers. 

Yours most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — 1 will send you in return for yom* pamphlet a 
sermon against horse-racing and coursing, judiciously 
preached before the Archbishoj) and the sporting clergy 
of Malton. 


57.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

November 2dth, 1809. 

]\Iy dear Jeffrey, 

I have not yet written to Payne Knight, nor do I 
think any man but yourself has sufficient dehcacy and 
felicity of expression to offer a man of ten thousand a 
year a few guineas for a literary jeu d^esjprit ; I think, 
therefore, I must turn it over to you, with many apolo- 
gies for the delay occasioned Iby the mis-estimation of 
my own powers. 

I should like to review a little pamphlet upon Public 
Schools, Pinkey's "Travels in the South of France," 
and Canning's Letter, if published in a separate pam- 
phlet, as I believe it is. 

I have just published a sermon, which I will send 
you — ^very commonplace, like all the others, but honest, 
and published for a particular reason. 

The question in poKtics is, if the Catholics will be 
given up ? That the whole business will be brought to 
that issue I do not doubt ; that every thing (in spite 
of Lord Wellesley's acceptance) will be offered to the 
late Administration, if they will give up the gentlemen 
of the crucifix. 

Nine bishops vote for Lord Grenville at the Oxford 
election ! and the Archbishop of York has written and 
circulated a high panegyric upon his (Lord G.'s) good 
dispositions toward the Church ; I mean, circulated it 
in letters to his correspondents. 

Ever, my dear Jeffrey, your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

58.] To Lady Holland. 

Heslingtox, Dec. Stii, 1809. 

Dear Lady Holland, 
I have been long intending to write you a letter of 


congratulation. There is more happiness in a multitude 
of children than safety in a multitude of counselors ; and 
if I were a rich man, I should like to have twenty chil- 

It seems to me that Canning would come in again 
under Lord Wellesley, and the whole of this eruption 
would end with making a stronger Ministry than be- 

My wishes for Lord Grenville's success are, I confess, 
not veiy fervent : it would he exceedingly agreeaWe, 
considered as a victory gained over the Court, hut it 
would connect Lord Grenville personally with high To- 
ries and Chui'chmen, and operate as a very serious check 
to the liberal views which he now entertains ; and as I 
consider Lord Grenville as a j\Iagdalene in politics, I al- 
ways suspect there may be a hankering after his old 
courses, and wish therefore to keep him as much as pos- 
sible out of bad company. Tlie Archbishop of these 
parts not only votes for him, but writes flaming pane- 
gyrics upon him, which he has read to me. There are 
eight other bishops who vote for him. It seems quite 
unnatural — like a muri'ain among the cattle. 

I hear you have a good tutor for Henry, which I am 
exceedingly glad of. Lord Grey has met with no tutor 
as yet ; tutors do not like to go beyond Adrian's Wall. 
You are aware that it is necessary to fumigate Scotch 
tutors : they are excellent men, but require this little 
preliminary caution. They are apt also to break the 
chuixh windows, and get behind a hedge and fling 
stones at the clergyman of the parish, and betray other 
little symptoms of irrcligion ; but these you must not 
mind. Send me word if he has any tricks of this kind. 
I have seen droves of them, and know how to manage 
them. Yery sincerely yours, 

Sydney Simith. 


59.] To Feancis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Heslin'gton, Decemher, 1809. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

Will yoTi be so good as to send me the names of the 
origmal contributors to the Eeview ? 

I have scarcely any belief in a change of Administra- 
tion if they get Canning ; if they do not, they are sure- 
ly as blamable as a man who, intending to go a journey 
with great expedition, does not hire a chaise-and-four. 

I like Playfair's review, though I comprehend it not ; 
but, as a Dutchman might say, who heard Erskine or 
you speak at the bar, "I am sure I should be pleased 
with that man's eloquence, if I could comprehend a 
word he said." So I give credit to Playfair for the 
utmost perspicuity and the most profound information, 
though I understand not what he says, nor am at all 
able to take any measure of its importance. 

God bless you, my dear Jeffrey ! Your affectionate 

Sydney Smith. 

60.] To John Allen, Esq. 

Heslixgtox, Dec. 18M, 1809. 

My dear Allen, 

Whoever wants a job done, goes to ; whoever 

wants sense and information on any subject, applies to 

Do you think Canning's pamphlet a fit subject for the 
Review? Does it appear to you, as it does to me, a 
very inefficient and unsatisfactory answer ? Don't you 
think, even from his own account, that he used Cas- 
tlereagh ill in endeavoring for the first two months to 
ascertain whether or not he was informed of his (Can- 
ning's) objections ? Did he not behave very ill to the 
country in remaining so long a time in office with this 
VoL> IT.-D 


(as lie thought) bad minister? and in suifering him to 
retain the management of such an expedition ? Do you 
not think that Lord Wellesley was waiting the result of 
this intrigue ? I shall be very much obliged to you to 
give me your opinion on these points as soon as you can, 
tliat I may (if it shall aj^pear expedient after the receipt 
of your letter) prepare a proper mixture for my friend. 
Yours, dear Allen, most truly, 

Sydney Siniith. 

61.] To John Allen, Esq. 

Heslington, Dec. 2StI/, 180a. 

Dear Allen, 

I fear you will think me capricious, but in the interval 
between my letter and yours, I received a letter from 
Jeffrey, strongly pressing me to give up the idea of re- 
viewing the pamphlet, as derogatory to the Review ; 
coming after a letter from Abercrombie, in answer to one 
of mine, strongly to the same purpose. To the union 
of such authority, and the arguments with which they 
supported it, I gave up, and not hearing from you, 
finally relinquished the idea, which now to resume would 
appear light and inconsiderate. 

I have received four or five letters from some of our 
friends respecting my sermon ; not a word about per- 
severance in the Catholic question : I see plainly the 
Protestant religion is gaining ground in the King of 

I have sent my sermon to John the Silent, and 
should be obliged to him for the living of St. Paul's, 
Covcnt Garden, in return. Scire potestatcs herbarum 
usumque — I should take for my motto. 

I have had a long letter from Brougham upon the 
subject of my sermon. Do you not tliink his conduct 
of the war admirable? I would not for the earth tell 


you the complimentaiy simile I have made to him upon 
it. Ever youi's, dear Allen, very faithfully, 

Sydney Smith. 

62.] To Lady Holland. 

No date: about 1809. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I have no doubt of Lord ^Morpeth's good disposition 
toward me, but he is afraid of introducing such a loqua- 
cious personage to his decorous parent. This how- 
ever is very fair ; and I hope my children will have the 
opposite dread, of introducing very silent people to me 
in my old-age. 

I like Lord ]\Iorpeth — a man of excellent understand- 
ing, very polished manners, and a good heart. 

I take it this letter will follow you to Burgos, as I 
conclude you are packed up for Spain. Dumont, Ben- 
tham, and Horner sail in September, with laws, consti- 
tution, etc. A list of pains and pleasures, ticketed and 
numbered, already sent over; with a smaller ditto of 
emotions and palpitations. 

I mean to make some maxims, like Rochefoucauld, 
and to preserve them. My first is this : After hav- 
ing lived half their lives respectably, many men get 
tired of honesty, and many women of propriety. 

Yours very affectionately, 
Sydney Smith. 

63.] To John Murray, Esq. 

Hesles-gtox, Jan. 7th, 1810. 

Dear j\Iurray, 
I have not been unmindful of your commission ; but 
no estate of the atheistical or tithe-free species has 


occuiTed since you were here, witli the exception of 
one, the ^particulars of which are traveling to you via 

I believe Horner's speech to have been very sensible, 
and full of good constitutional law ; and, upon the whole, 
without amounting to any very luminous display, to 
have done him great credit. Leach is the man who has 
distinguished himself the most. 

Your grouse are not come by this day's mail, but I 
suppose they will come to-morrow. Even the rumor of 
grouse is agreeable : many thanks to you for your kind- 
ness. I should certainly have come on to Edinburgh, 
but it was Christmas ; and at that season, you know, 
there are divers family dinners to be eaten. Ever, my 
dear Murray, very sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

64.] To Lady Holland. 

January 27th, 1810. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

I always thought Lord Grenville would give up the 
Catholics, and I think Earl Grey right about the veto. 
I can not say how much I like the said Earl; a fine 
nature, a just and vigorous understanding, a sensitive 
disposition, and infirm health. These are his leading 
traits. His excellences are courage, discretion, and 
practical sense; his deficiency, a want of executive 

Poor • ! pray remind him of my existence, of my 

good wishes toward him, of our common love of laughter, 
and our common awkwardness in riding. 

Many thanks to John Allen for his letter in answer 
to my first imputation, of the horrid crime of Protestant- 
ism having crept into the King of Clubs. He is forced, 


at last, to reduce himself to Lord Holland, to E,oinilly, 
the atrocious soul of Cato, and that complex bundle of 
ideas which is popularly called Allen. As for Eomillj, 
he has no merit in not changing; les priiicvpes are eter- 
nal, and totally independent of events. Benthamism is 
supposed to have existed before time and space ; and 
goes on by immutable rules, like freezing and thawing. 
To give up the Catholics, would be to confound the 
seventeenth pain with the eighteenth. 

Farewell, my dear Lady Holland ; for I should go on 
scribbling this nonsense all night, as I should talking 
it, if I were near you. 

Sydney Smith. 

65.] From ;Mrs. Sydney Smith to Francis 
Jeffrey, Esq.* 

Heslingtox, 1810. 

My dear Mr. Jeffrey, 

I have scarcely a moment in which to tell you — what, 
by -the -by, I ought to have done a week since, and 
should have done, but that I have been too ill to write 
a single word that I could avoid — that Sydney comes 
home the 17th; and therefore, as soon as you can re- 
solve to come to us, tant tnieitx 2^out nous. It will 
make us both sincerely happy to see you, for as long a 
time as you can contrive to spare us ; and I hope you 
will give us the satisfaction of seeing you qliite well. 

We have been a sad house of invalids here, but we 
are all cheering up at the prospect of Sydney's return. 
The other day, poor little Douglas was lying on the 
sofa very unwell, while Saba and I were at dinner ; and 

* This letter is so complete and faithful a family picture that I have 
not been able to resist the temptation to insert it. The joyous and 
joy-giving father, the tender and devoted wife and mother, the happy 
children, sensible of their happiness, are all placed before ixs in these 
few words. — Ed. 


I said, " Well, dear little Chuifj, I don't know wliat is 
the matter with us both, but we seem very good-for- 
nothing!" "Why, mamma," said Saba, '-^ Til tell you 
what the matter is : you are so melancholy and so dull 
because papa is away; he is so merry, that he makes 
us all gay. A family doesn't prosper, I see, without a 
papa ! " I am much inclined to be of her opinion : and 
suspecting that the observation would please him quite 
as well as that of any of his London flatterers, I dis- 
patched it to him the next day. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Catharine Amelia Smith. 

%^.'\ To Lady Holland. 

Heslln'GTOX, April 21s^, 1810. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

I found all here quite well, after some illness and 
much despondency ; of which, if my absence were hot 
the cause, my return has been the cure. 

Letters awaited me here from his Smallness Mr. 
Jeffrey, stating his extreme lack of matter for the ensu- 
ing number of the Edinburgh Beview. The time allotted 
is so short, that I shall have no opportunity of introduc- 
ing any of those admirable and serious papers of which 
your ladyship has so unjust an abhorrence, but in which 
mj forte really consists. 

I hope you like Holland House after dirty Pall Mall. 
You will only have a few real friends till about the 15th 
of !May. As soon as the lilac begins to blossom, and 
the streets to get hot, even Fish Crawford will come. 
I am sure it is better for Lord Holland and you to be 
at Holland House, because you both hate exercise (as 
every person of sense does), and you must be put in 
situations where it can be easily and pleasantly taken. 


Even Allen gets some exercise at Holland House, for 
Horner, Sheridan, and Lord Lauderdale take liim out on 
tlie gravel-walk, to milk liim for bullion, Spain, America, 
and India ; whereas, in London, he is milked in that stall 
below stairs. 

I hope your dinner at Rogers's was pleasant, and 
that it makes not a solitary exception to the nature and 
quality of his entertainments. 

I will saj nothing of poor Mr. Windham. Lord Hol- 
land and you must miss him, in every sense of the word, 

I am sorry the Opposition have taken such a strong 
part in favor of the privileges of the House, for I am 
sure it is the wrong side of the question ; and the dem- 
ocrats have chosen admirable gi'ound to fight the other 
political parties upon, and will, in the end, defeat them. 

There is nothing, I think, good in the Edinburgh 
Eeview this time, but Allen's two papers on Spanish 

Sydney Smith. 

67.] To Lady Holland. 

June, 1810. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 
I am truly glad that Tierney is better from those 
nitrous baths. Can so much nitrous acid get into the 
human frame without producing some moral and intel- 
lectual eifect as well as physical? If you watch, I 
think you will find changes. You have done an excel- 
lent deed in securing a seat for poor Mackintosh, in 
whose praise I most cordially concur. He is very great, 
and a very delightful man, and with a few bad qualities 
added to his character, would have acted a most con- 
spicuous part in life. Yet, after all, he is rather aca- 


clemic than forensic. A professorship at Hertford is well 
imagined, and if he can keep clear of contusions at the 
annual peltings, all will be welL The season for lapi- 
dating the professors is now at hand j keep him quiet 
at Holland House till all is over.* 

If I could envy any man for successful ill-nature, I 
should envy Lord Byron for his skill in satirical nomen- 

Nothing can exceed the evils of this spring\ All agri- 
cultural operations are at least a month behindhand. 
The earth, that ought to be as hard as a biscuit, is as 
soft as dough. We live here in great seclusion ; happi- 
ly and comfortably. My life is cut up into little patches. 
I am schoolmaster, farmer, doctor, parson, justice, etc., 

I hope you have read, or are reading, Mr. Stewart's 
book, and are far gone in the philosophy of mind ; a 
science, as he repeatedly tells us, still in its infancy : I 
propose, myself, to wait till it comes to years of dis- 
cretion. I hear Lord Holland has taken a load of fish- 
ing-tackle with him. Tliis is a science which appears ta 
me to be still* in its infancy. 

Do not let Allen stay too long at home ; it will give 
him a turn for the domestic virtues, and spoil him. 

We are all well, and unite, my dear Lady Holland, 
in the kindest regards to you and the noble fisherman. 

Sydney Smith. 

68.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Heslixgtox, July^ 1810. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
Respecting my sermons, I most sincerely beg of you 

* This refers to some outl)reaks of insubordination nmong the stu- 
dents at ILxileybury College. — Ed. 


to extenuate nothing. Treat me exactly as I deserve. 
Eemember only what it is yon are reviewing — an ora- 
tion confined by custom to twenty or thirty minutes, 
before a congregation of all ranks and ages. Do not 
be afraid of abusing me, if you think abuse necessary : 
you will find I can bear it extremely well from you. 

As for the Quarterly Eeview, I have not read it, nor 
shall I, nor ought I — where abuse is intended, not for 
my correction, but my pain. I am however very fair 
game : if the oxen catch the butcher, they have a right 
to toss and gore him. 

I can only trifle in this Review. It takes me some 
time to think about serious subjects, not having my head 
fuK of all arguments on all subjects, like a certain friend 
of mine — to whom all happiness ! 

Sydney Smith. 

I get my hay in on Monday. 

69.] To Lady Holland. 

Heslington, Nov. 3d, 1810. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

I hope you are returned quite well, and much amused, 
from your Portsmouth excursion ; for I presume you are 
returned, as I see Lord Holland has been speaking in 
the House of Lords. 

We had a brisk run on the road — Horner, Murray, 

Jeffrey, Mrs. , my brother Cecil. We liked Mrs. 

. It was wrong, at her time of life, to be circum- 
vented by 's diagTams ; but there is some excuse 

in the novelty of the attack, as I believe she is the first 
lady that ever fell a victim to algebra, or that was geo- 
metrically led from the paths of discretion. 

I had occasion to write to Brougham on some indiffer- 
ent subject, and stated to him (as I knew it would give 



Ilim pleasui'e) the bullion glory of Horner ; every 
ounce of him being now worth, at the Mint price, 
£3 17s. 4:id. ! Brougham expresses himself in rap- 

Sydney Smith. 

70.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Novemher 29th, 1810. 

Dear Lady Grey, 

Thank you very kindly for your obliging invitation 
to me and Mrs. Smith. Nothing would give Mrs. Syd- 
ney more pleasure than to make your acquaintance, and 
I am sure you would not find her unworthy of it ; but 
the care of her young family, and the certain convic- 
tion, if she leaves them for a day, that they are all dead, 
necessarily confines her a good deal at home. Some 
lucky chance may however enable her hereafter to pay 
her respects to you ; and she will, I am sure, avail her- 
self of it with great pleasure. 

If you and Lord Grey (little tempted by rareeshows) 
can be tempted to see York Minster, you must allow us 
to do the honors. We are on the road. We are about 
equal to a second-rate inn, as ]\Irs. Sydney says ; but I 
think, myself, we are equal to any inn on the North 
Road, except Feny-bridge. 

The Archbishop of York not only votes for Lord 
Grenville, but has passed upon him and his ecclesias- 
tical propensities a warm panegyric, which he has read 
to me, has sent to Oxford, and dispersed every where. 
There are eight bishops who vote for him. I call them 
the Sacred Nine ! 

My discourse will be finished to-morrow, and shall 
be forthwith sent. I am obliged to you for your oj)in- 
ion of my orthodoxy, which I assure you is no more 


than I deserve. As for being a bishop, that I sliall 
never be ; but I shall, I believe, be quite as happy a 
man as any bishop. 

I remain, dear Lady Grey, very sincerely and respect- 
fully yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — 1 am performing miracles in my parish witli 
garlic for hooping-cough. 

71.] To Lady Holland. 

Decemher 5tli, 1810. 

]\1y dear Lady Holland, 

I have understood that Sir James Mackintosh is 
about to return, of which I am very glad. I shall like 
him less than I did, when I thought J^/iiloiasop/iee to 
be of much greater consequence than I now do ; but I 
shall still like him very much. 

Bobus is upon the eve of his return, and I rather 
think we shall see him in the spring. 

Lord Holland is quite right to get a stock of eat- 
able sheep ; but such sheep are not exclusively the 
product of Scotland, but of every half-starved, ill-cultiva- 
ted country; and are only emphatically called Scotch, 
to signify ill-fed ; as one says Roman, to signify brave. 
They may be bought in Wales, in any quantity ; and 
every November, at Helmsley, in Yorkshire : the mut- 
ton you ate at my house was from thence. Helms- 
ley is two hundred and twenty miles from London. 
I am, my dear Lady Holland, yours sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 


72.] To THE Earl Grey. 

Uccember 2dth, 1810. 

My dear Lord, 

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in 
sending me the pheasants. One of my numerous in- 
firmities is a love of eating pheasants. 

1 am always sorry for any evil that happens to Lady 
Grey, he it only a sick finger; no light malady, when 
it prevents those who respect her as much as I do from 
receiving a letter from her. I shaM have great pleasure 
in criticising the flower-garden next year, but still have 
a hankering for a little bit of green in the middle. 

I wish I could write as well as Plymley : but if I 
could, wdiere is such a case to be found ? When had 
any lawyer such a brief? The present may be a good 
brief, but how can it be so good ? 

To write such letters as you require, it would be 
necessary (supposing, as you politely suppose, that I 
could do the thing well under any circumstances) that I 
should be near you, and in London : materials furnished 
at such a distance from you and the press would never 
do ; especially in a production that must be hasty, if it 
is at all. You may depend upon it, I will be as good as 
my word, and write one or two pamphlets. I shall never 
own them, and you will probably read them without 
knowing them to be mine ; but it will be contributing 
my mite to a good cause. It is foolish to boast that I 
intend to subscribe a mite ; it is better to do it, and 
be silent ; but I speak it between the hours of six and 
eight, and to the leader of the Whigs. 

I dare say you are right about 's declaration ; 

and as I never find you averse to reason a matter with 
a person so politically ignorant as myself, were I in 
Ilowick library, I dare say I should soon yield to your 
explanations. It appears to me that the little Methodist 


says, " Tliere is a vacancy in the Government ; I will 
proceed to fill it up, in a manner which appears to me 
(and has before appeared to ]Mr. Pitt) the most eligible. 
In the mean time, as there is no executive government, 
the public service must not suffer. We (not J) will: 
perform every function of the Executive, and then come 
for a bill of indemnity." 

Now, if his plan for a Eegency is right, how is his 
declaration blamable ? Somebody 7mist act till the va- 
cancy is filled up ; and if not the Ministers, who be- 
sides ? But they have not filled up this vacancy in the 
most expeditious manner. True — they are blamable ; 
not for acting executively in the interval, but for not 
making that interval as short as possible. 

Excuse my heresies : you know that a short argument 
often teaches me. 

Ever, my dear Lord, yours most sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

73.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Heslington, 1810. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 
I have just had a letter from Horner, who is inclined 
to think Perceval Avill make a struggle against the 
Prince. I wish he may, and so thoroughly disgust the 
said Prince, that no future meanness will be accepted 
as an atonement. The best news that Horner sends is, 
that the Prince has behaved extremely well. It is 
nonsense, however, to look about in England for polit- 
ical information. The most delicate and sensitive turpi- 
tude is always to be met with in Scotland: there are 
twenty people in Edinburgh whose manners and conduct 
are more perfect exponents of the King's health than the 
signatures of his physicians. 


I am obliged to you for the kind things you say to 
me about myself. There is nobody, my dear Jeffrey, 
whose good opinion I am more desirous of retaining, or 
whose sagacity and probity I more respect. Living a 
good deal alone (as I now do) will, I beheve, correct mc 
of my faults ; for a man can do without his own appro- 
bation in much society, but he must make great exer- 
tions to gain it when he lives alone. Without it, I am 
convinced, solitude is not to be endured. 

I have read, since I saw you, Burke's works, some 
books of Homer, Suetonius, a great deal of agricultural 
reading, Godwin's ''Enquirer," and a great deal of 
Adam Smith. As I have scarcely looked at a book for 
five years, I am rather hungry. 

God bless you, dear Jeffrey! Ever your sincere 

S. S. 

74] To THE Eael Grey. 

January 2d, 1811. 

Dear Lord Grey, 

I congratulate you very sincerely upon the safety of 
Lady Grey ; and I beg you will convey, also, vcij kind 
congratulations to her. I think now you will not be 
ashamed to speak with your enemies in the gate. 

I have just been reading Allen's account of your Ad- 
ministration. Very well done, for the cautious and 
decorous style; but it is quite shameful that a good 
stout answer has not been written to your calumnia- 
tors. The good points of that Administration were, 
llie Slave Trade, Newport's Corn Bill, Eomilly's Bank- 
rupt Bill, the attempt at Peace, and the efforts made 
for the Catholics. The disadvantages under which the 
Administration labored were, the ruin of Europe — the 


distress of England — and the hatred of King and people. 
The faults they committed were, not coming to a thor- 
ough understanding with the King about the Catholics 
— making a treasurer an auditor, and a judge a politician 
— protecting the King's money from decimation — and 
increasing the number of foreign troops. 

Balancing the good and the evil, I am sure there has 
been no such honest and enlightened Administration 
since the time of Lord Chatham. God send it a speedy 
return ! 

Ever yours, my dear Lord, with most sincere respect 
and regard, 

Sydney Smith. 

75.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Heslington, Yoek, Jan. 13th, 1811. 

Dear Lady Grey, 
This comes to say that you must not be out of spir- 
its on account of I^ord Grey's going to town; but 
rather thank Providence that you did not marry one 
of those stupid noblemen who are never sent for to town 

on any occasion. Mrs. never loses Mr. ; 

Mr. lives with Mrs. ; and why ? Who wants 

their assistance ? What good could they do in any hu- 
man calamity? Who would send for them, even to 
consult about losing a tooth ? So that the temporary loss 
of Lord Grey is Ms glory and yours, and the cominoji 
good. And you are bound to remain quietly in your 
Eed Bell* till you become strong enough for traveling. 

If you are haunted by scruples too difficult for Mr. 

(alas ! how easily may any thing be too difficult for ^Ir. 
!), then pray send for me. 

* A room of Lady Grey's, so called by Mr. Sydney Smith, exactly 
the size of the large bell at Moscoav. 


As I know what a pleasure it is to you to hear 
or read any good pi-aisc of Lord Grey, I send you 
an extract from ]\Ir. Horner's letter to me this day. 
"Lord Grey's absence, though scarcely excusable, has 
done no harm. He is decidedly at the head of the 
great aristocracy, including not only Whigs, but a 
great many Tories. I wish he were * * * 
he wants only that, to give him the power of doing 
more good, and commanding greater influence, than 
any man has done since the time of Fox. He de- 
serves all the praises bestowed upon him. A more 
upright, elevated, gallant mind there can not be ; but 
* * * and will not condescend to humor 

them, and pardon them for their natural infirmities; 
nor is aware that both people and Prince must he treated 
like children.'''^ 

You may fill up the blanks as you like ; but if you 
valued Mr. Horner's understanding and integrity one-half 
as much as I do, you would, I am sure, value this praise. 

A pheasant a day is very fattening diet: such has 
been my mode of living for these last few days. I was 
poetical enough, though, to think I had seen them 
out of my window, at Howick, while I was dressing, 
and to fancy that I liked eating them the less on that 

Health and happiness, and every good wish, dear Lady 
Grey, to you and yours ! 

Sydney Smith. 

76.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Heslington, York, Jan. 2ith, 1811. 

Dear Lady Grey, 
Thank you for your obliging and friendly letter. I 
believe every word you say as implicitly as I sliould 


if you liad never stirred from Howick all your life. 
And this is much to say of any one who has lived as 
much in the high and gay world as you have done. I 
shall be glad to hear that you are safely landed in Port- 
man Square, with all your young ones ; but do not set 
off too soon, or you will be laid up at the Black Swan, 
Northallerton, or the Elephant and Castle, Borough- 
bridge, and your bill will come to a thousand pounds, 
besides the waiter, who will most probably apply for 
a place under Government. 

We are all perfectly well, and panting to show you, 
in the summer, ourselves and York Cathedral. I had 

occasion to ^vrite to , and gave her a lecture upon 

humility, and against receiving me with pride and grand- 
eur when I come to town ; I give you no such lecture, 
for I should accost you with as much confidence if 
you were Queen of Persia, because I am quite sure you 
are power-proof. But you will not be put to the test, 
for the King will recover. The late majorities against 
the Prince are, I think, quite decisive that the King's 
health is improving; but this you know better than I do. 

Never was such a ferment as Pall J\Iall and Holland 
House are in! John Allen, wild and staring — An- 
tonio, and Thomas, the porter, worked off their legs 
— Lord Lauderdale sleeping with his clothes on, and a 
pen full of ink close to his bedside, with a string tied 
on the wrist of his secretary in the next room ? Ex- 
presses arriving at Pall Mall every ten minutes from 
the House of Commons, and the Whig nobility and com- 
monalty dropping in at all hours to dinner or supper ! 
Is not your Bell better than this ? Nevertheless, get 
well, and quit it. There is great happiness. in the coun- 
try, but it requires a visit to London every year to reas- 
sure yourself of this truth. 

Sydney Smith. . 


77.] To Lady Holland. 

January 24M, 1811. 

Dear Lady Holland, 

You will read (perhaps not) — but there will be of 
mine — in the Edinburgh Keview a short account of the 
Walcheren Expedition, observations upon Lord Sid- 
mouth's project against Dissenters, and Walton's Span- 
ish Colonies. 

If there be a Regency, I guess the following Ad- 
ministration . Lord Grey, First Lord of the Treasury ; 
Lord Grenville, Foreign Office ; Lord Holland, Home 
Department ; Erskine, Chancellor ; Lord ]\Ioira, Com- 
mander-in-Chief; Lord Spencer, Admiralty; Romilly 
and Leach, Attorney and Solicitor ; Pigott, Exchequer 
or Common Pleas ; Tierney, Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer ; Lord Lansdo^vne, Ireland ; Whitbread, Sec- 
retary-at-War and Colonies ; Abercrombie, Secretary 
of State ; Lord Morpeth, Board of Control ; Lord 
Robert Spencer, National Woodsman. The President 
of the Council and the Privy Seal I can not guess, un- 
less Lord Stafford should be the former; and it would 
be much better if Lord Holland were Secretary for For- 
eign Affairs, and Lord Grenville for the Home Depart- 

The drawing-room in Pall Mall must have been an 
entertaining scene for some weeks past : the crowds be- 
low waiting upon Allen for facts, and acquaintances of 
1806 'calling above. Lord Lauderdale has, I hear, not 
had his clothes off for six weeks. Pray remember me 
very kindly to him : I can not say how much I like him. 

I hope to see your Ladyship early in April, by which 
time the tumult will be Imslied, and you will be either 
in full power, or in perfect weakness. 

Sydney Smith. 


78.] To Lady Holland 

February^ 1811. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I was terribly afraid at first that the Prince had gone 
over to the other party ; but the King's improved con- 
dition leaves a hope to me that his conduct has been 
dictated by prudence, and the best idea he can form of 
filial piety from books and chaplains ; for that any man 
in those high regions of life cares for his father, is what 
I can not easily believe. That he will gain great popu- 
larity from his conduct, I have no doubt ; perhaps he may 
deserve it, but I see through a Yorkshire glass darkly. 

I am exceedingly glad Lord Holland has taken up 
the business of libels ; the punishment of late appears 
to me most atrocious. If libels against the public are 
very bad, they become sedition or treason ; new crimes 
may be punished as such ; but as long as they are only 
libels, such punishments as have been lately inflicted 
are preposterous, and seem to proceed from that hatred 
which feeble and decorous persons always feel against 
those who disturb the repose of their minds, call their 
opinions in question, and compel them to think and 
reason. There should be a maximum of imprisonment 
for libel. No man should be imprisoned for more than 
a year for any information filed by the Attorney-Gen- 
eral. Libels are not so mischievous in a free country, 
as Mr. Justice Grose, in his very bad lectm-es, would 
make them out to be. Who would have mutinied for 
Cobbett's libel? or who would have risen up against 
the German soldiers ? And how easily might he have 
been answered ! He deserved some punishment ; but 
to shut a man up in jail for two years for such an offense 
is most atrocious. Pray make Lord Holland speak well 
and eloquently on this subject. Sydney Smith. 


79,] To Francis Jeffrey^ Esq. 

Heslington, Feb. Idth, 1811. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

Tt is long since I have TV^itten to you — at least, I 
liope you think so. Where is the Review? We are 
come to the birth, and have not strength to bring forth. 
It is very possible that I have not done justice to your 
article upon the Catholics, but the subject is so worn 
out that I read it hastily ; and though I like almost 
every thing you like, I was not violently arrested by 
any passage. Their exclusion from office is, I perceive 
by the papers, rather strongly put in the last CathoHc 
debate, by enumerating, not the classes of offices from 
which they are shut out, but the total number of indi- 
vidual offices — thirty-five or forty thousand. This is a 
striking and popular way of putting the fact. 

Do you believe that the Prince made this last change 
with the consent of the Whigs ? I much doubt it ; but 
if not, his information seems to have been better than 
theirs ; for, with such an immediate prospect of the 
King's recovery, a change in the Administration would 
have been quite ridiculous. I hope you will make some 
stay with us on your way to town, that Mrs. Sydney 
may see something of you. I know you are fond of 
riding, and I can offer you the use of a dun pony, which 
Murray knows to be a very safe and eligible convey- 
ance. This revival of his Majesty has revived my slum- 
bering architecture, and I think I shall begin building 
this year ; yet I get heartily frightened when I think 
of it. Kirkpatrick's " Embassy to Nepaul" is not yet 
published ; so I can not tell how much it will take up. 
Tell me some subjects for the next number; I have 
none in contemplation but an article in favor of the 
Protestant Dissenters ; and this is premature, as I think 


their case sliould be kept in the background till that of 
the Catholics is disposed of. 

And yet what folly to talk in this manner ! Are we 
not, like Brook Watson's leg, in the jaws of the shark ? 
Can any sensible man — any human being, but a little 
trumpery parson — believe that we shall not be swal- 
lowed up? It is folly not to gather up a little, while 
it is yet possible, and to go to America. We are all 
very well, engaged in the mystery of gardening, and 
other species of rural idleness, for which my taste grows 
stronger and stronger. 

Ever, dear Jeffrey, affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

80.] To Lady Holland. 

81 Jermtn Street, May 2M, 1811. 

How very odd, dear Lady Holland, to ask me to dine 
with you on Sunday, the 9th, when I am coming to stay 
with you from the 5th to the 12th ! It is like giving a 
gentleman an assignation for Wednesday, when you are 
going to marry him on the preceding Sunday — an at- 
tempt to combine tlie stimulus of gallantry with the 
security of connubial relations. I do not propose to be 
g-uilty of the slightest infidelity to you while I am at 
Holland House, except you dine in town ; and then it 
wiU not be infidelity, but spirited recrimination. 

Ever the sincere and affectionate friend of Lady Hol- 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — I believe no two Dissenting ministers will re- 
joice at Lord Sidmouth's defeat more than Lord Hol- 
land and myself. 


81.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Heslixgton, June 22d, 1811. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

Having quitted Capua, I must now to business. 

I liave received the Review, and am extremely 
pleased with the article upon the Liberty of the Press, 
and with the promise of its continuation. The re- 
view of Jacob's Travels I do not like ; it is fidl of old 

You over-praise all Scotch books and writers. Ali- 
son's is a pretty book, stringing a number of quota- 
tions upon a false theoiy, nearly true, and spun out to 
an unwarrantable size, merely for the sake of intro- 
ducing the illustrations. I have not read your review, 
for I hate the subject ; and you may conceive how 
much I hate it, when even your writing can not recon- 
cile me to it. 

I am now hardening my heart, and correcting my 
idleness, as quickly as possible ; I mean to be most 
penitently diligent. 

I saw John Playfair in town — grown thinner and 
older by some years. JMrs. Apreece and the Miss Ber- 
rys say, that, on the whole, he Is the only man who 
can be called irresistible. 

Sydney Smith. 

82.] To Lady Holland. 

IIeslixgton, Juli/ lltJi, 1811. 

jMy dear Lady Holland, 

Wc have had Dugald Stewart and his family here 

for three or four days. We spoke much of the weather 

and other harmless subjects. He became however once 

a little elevated ; and, in the gayety of his soul, let out 


some opinions which will doubtless make him writhe 
with remorse. He went so far as to say he considered 
the King's recovery as very problematical. 

The Archbishop says that Lord Ellenborough said 
to liim, " Take care of Lord Holland, and I will take 
care of Eomilly. The one wants to attack the Church, 
the other the Law." I assured his Grace it was a 

Sydney Smith. 

83.] To John Murray, Esq. 

Heslingtox, Dec. Gth, 1811. 

LIy dear Murray, 

I can not say how much mortified I am not to have 
reached Edinbm-gh ; nothing should have prevented me 
but fraternity, and to that I was forced to yield.* 

I went to Lord Grey's with young Vernon, the Arch- 
bishop's son, a very clever young man — genus, Whig ; 
species, Whigista Mitior; of which species I consider 
Lord Lansdowne to be at the head, as the Lords Hol- 
land and Grey are of the Whigista Truculentus Anac- 
tophonus. I heard no news at Howick. Lord Grey 
sincerely expects a change. I taxed him with saying 
so from policy, but he assured me it was his real opin- 
ion : perhaps it was. 

I am reading Locke in my old-age, never having read 
him thoroughly in my youth : a fine, satisfactory sort 
of a fellow, but very long-winded. 

You do not know, perhaps, that among my thousand 
and one projects is to be numbered a new metaphysical 
language — a bold fancy for any man not born in Scot- 
land. Physics, metaphysics, gardening, and jobbing 
* Mr. Cecil Smith had lately returned from India, 


are the privileges of the North. By-the-by, have you 
ever remarked that singular verse in the Psalms, " Pro- 
motion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, 
neither from the south ?" 

I rather quarrel with you for not sending me some 
Edinburgh politics. I have a very sincere attachment 
to Scotland, and am very much interested by Scotch 
news. Five of the most agreeable years of my life were 
spent there. I have formed many friendships which I 
am sure will last as long as I live. 

Adieu, dear Murray I Pray write to me. 

Ever your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

84.] To Mrs. Apreece.* 

Heslington, Dae. 2^th, 1811. 

My dear ]\Irs. Apreece, 

I am very much flattered by your recollection of me, 
and by your obliging letter. I have been following the 
plow. My talk has been of oxen, and I have gloried in 
the goad. 

Yom- letter operated as a charm. I remembered that 
tlicrc were better things than these ; that there was a 
Metropolis ; that there were wits, chemists, poets, splen- 
did feasts, and captivating women. Why remind a 
Yorkshire resident clergyman of these things, and put 
him to recollect human beings at Rome, when he is fat- 
tening beasts at Ephesus ? 

Tlie Edinburgh Review is just come out — long and 
dull, as usual ; to these bad results and effects I have 
contributed, in a review of Wyvill's "Papers on Toler- 

* Afterward Ladv Davy. 


I shall be in London in March. Pray remain single, 
and marry nobody (let him be whom he may) : you will 
be annihilated the moment you do, and, instead of an 
alkaK or an acid, become a neutral salt. You may very 
likely be happier yourself, but you will be lost to your 
male friends. 

My brother is a capital personage ; full of sense, 
genius, dignity, virtue, and wit. 

God bless you, dear Mrs. Apreece I Kind love from 
aU here. S. S. 

P.S. — That rogue Jeifrey will have the whip-hand 
of me for a month ; but I will annihilate him when I 
come up, if he gives himself airs, and affects to patron- 
ize me. Mind and cultivate Whishaw, and Dumont, 
and Tennant. 

85.] To Feancis Jeffeey, Esq. 

Jwiuarij, 1812. 

Dear Jeffrey, 
I certainly am very intolerant and impatient, and I 
will endeavor to be less so, but do not be hurt by my 
critiques on your criticisms ; you know (if you know 
any thing) the love and respect I have for you ; this is 
not enough — add also, the very high admiration. But 
it is the great fault of our Eeview that our wisdom is 
too long ; it did well at first, because it was new to find 
so much understanding in a journal. But every man 
takes up a Review with a lazy spirit, and wishes to get 
wise at a cheap rate, and to cross the country by a 
shorter patli. Health and respect 1 

Sydney Smith. 

Vol. II.— E 


86.] To Francis Jeffrey^ Esq. 

June, 1812. 

My dear Jeffrey^ 

I feel tliat I owe you an apology for troubling you so 
often about the Review ; but I am really desirous of 
doing something for it, and, in my search for new books, 
they turn up at different times, and compel me to make 
these different appeals to you. The subjects I have 
already mentioned are: 1st. Sir F. Burdett on the 
Law of Imprisonment for Libel ; 2d. The Statement of 
the late Negotiations ; 3d. The Duke of Sussex's speech ; 
4th (and now for th^ first time), Halliday's "Observa- 
tions, on the Present State of the Portuguese Army ;" 
in which I propose to include some short statement of, 
and observations upon, Lord Wellington's campaigns in 
Portugal. The last undertaking is the only one to 
which a fresh answer is required from you. 

Homer is, I think, getting better. There never was a 
period when the hopes of good AVliigs were so cruelly dis- 
appointed. I dare say Lords Grey and Grenville meant 
extremely well, but they have bungled the matter so, as 
to put themselves in the wrong, both with the public 
and Avith their OAvn troops. The bad faith of the Court 
is nothing. If they had suspected that bad faith, they 
should have put it to the proof, and made it clear to all 
tlie world that the Court did not mean them well ; at 
present they have made the Court the object of pub- 
lic love and compassion, made Lord Yarmouth appear 
like a virtuous man, given character to the Prince, and 
restored the delapidation of kingly power. 

I write from Cambridge, and shall be at York on 
Friday to dinner. Adieu ! and believe me ever your 
sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


87.] To THE Earl Grey. 

Heshngton, August llth, 1812. 

Dear Lord Grey, 

I really think you are unjust to . He may be 

capricious, unjust, fickle, a thousand faults ; but, if you 
mean by discreditable motives, any love of office or con- 
cern about it, I sincerely think him exempted from any 
feelings of that natm^e. 

I suppose you know by this time the nature of Can- 
ning's last negotiation ; if not, he was to have come in 
with two members in a cabinet of fifteen ; and Lord 
Liverpool, who negotiated the aiTangement, conceived it 
to be agreed between Lord Castlereagh and Canning 
that they were to enjoy co-ordinate power and import- 
ance in the Commons — at least, as much as any Min- 
isterial arrangement could confer equal power upon such 
unequal men. Li a subsequent explanation however, 
it turned out that Lord Castlereagh had no such inten- 
tions ; that he intended to keep the lead in the House 
of Commons, and to be considered as the Minister of 
the Crown in that assembly. This put an end to the 

I do not know whether you like praise, but I can not 
help saying how much I was struck with your style of 
writing in the State Papers published by Lord JMoira. 
It is impossible that any thing can be more clear, man- 
ly, and dignified ; it is a jperfect Tiiodel for State-paper 
writing. After saying thus much of the mode, it is 
right to add, I am the critic in the Edinburgh Ee- 
view upon the substance of the negotiation. I have 
given reasons for my opinion, preserving, as I hope 
and intended and felt, the greatest possible respect 
for you ; but I am foolish in supposing that you 


heed or read the obsciu-e speculations of revicAvers and 

I remain ever, my dear Lord Grey, very truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

88.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

September, 1812. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I have to thank you for many kind letters, which I 
would have answered sooner, but that I have been ex- 
pecting the Review, upon which I wish to offer you my 

I like the review of ]\Ialcolm very much ; there is 
such an appearance of profound knowledge of the sub- 
ject, joined to so very gentlemanlike a spirit of forbear- 
ance, that it gives me considerable pleasure. I liked 
very much the article on Peace, and the review on IMiss 
Edgeworth ; John Knox I have not yet read. I am 
very glad you like my review of the Negotiation ; pray 
tell me if it is much complained of by the Whigs. I 
shall not regret having written it if it is ; but if I rec- 
oncile the interests of truth with the feelings of party, 
so much the better ; I am sure it is the good sense and 
justice of the question. 

While I write, our poor, amiable old friend is mould- 
ering in her tomb ; I had a most sincere affection for 
her, and such a friend I shall not soon replace, and I 

feel the loss with very sincere grief. ]\Iiss is 

deeply affected : she is made up of fine feelings, and her 
mother filled her whole heart and soul. 

I know not how to rejoice in the useless splendor of 
Lord Wellington's achievements, for I am quite a dis- 
believer in his ultimate success ; but I am incapable of 


thinking of any thing but building, and my whole soul 
is filled up by lath and plaster. 

Mrs. rietclier has been here and dined with us — self 
and spouse. I was sui*prised to find her unaffected, and 
more sensible than Irom her blazing sort of reputation I 
had supposed to be the case ; more handsome, too, tlian 
I had judged her in Edinburgh : in short, she produced a 
very agreeable impression both upon Mrs. Sydney and me. 

I see Seymour is selling his Scotch place. I am glad 
to find you are in the country, for then I am sure you 
are happy. Yours afiectionately, 

Sydney S^iith. 

89.] To John Allen, Esq. 

December 29fJi, 1812. 

My dear Allen, 

I thank you sincerely for your friendly and consider- 
ate communication respecting the opinion of the Arch- 

You may easily imagine that I have reflected a good 
deal upon the expediency of an undertaking so very 
serious as that of building. I may very likely have 
determined wrong, but I have determined to the best 
of my judgment, anxiously and actively exerted. I 
have no pubHc or private chance of changing my situ- 
ation for the better; such good fortune may occur, 
but I have no right to presume upon it. I have 
waited and tried for six years, and I am bound in 
common prudence to suppose that my lot is fixed in 
this land. That being so, what am I to do ? I have 
no certainty of my present house ; the distance is a 
great and serious inconvenience; if I am turned out 
of it, it will be scarcely possible, in so thinly inhabited 
a country, to find another. I am totally neglecting 


my parish. I ought to build ; if I were bishop, I 
would compel a man in my situation to build, and 
should think that any incumbent acted an ungentle- 
manlike part who compelled me to compel him, and 
who did not take up the money which is lent by the 
Governors of Queen Anne's bounty for the purpose of 

Such, I conceived, would be the Archbishop's opin- 
ion of me had I availed myself of his good-nature to 
apply for perpetual absence from my living, and for 
permission to live in hired houses. In all conversa- 
tions I have had with him, he has never discouraged 
the idea of building, but, on the contrary, always ap 
peared to approve and promote it. I am therefore sur- 
prised not a little at what you tell me, and can only 
interpret it to mean that he would not absolutely have 
compelled me to build, but that he would have thought 
it mean and unfair in me not to have made an ex- 
ertion of that kind. His mere forbearance from the 
use of authority is an additional reason for beginning. 
Lastly, I have gone so far that even if the communi- 
cation were more authorized and direct, I could hardly 
recede. To kick down the money I have been saving 
for my family has cost me a great deal of uneasiness, 
and at one time I had thought of resigning my living. 
Having now decided according to the best means of 
an understanding extremely prone to eiTor, nothing 
remains but to fight through my difficulties as well as 
I can. 

It will give me sincere pleasure to tliink tliat you 
take an intercut in my well-doing (not that I doubted 
it), but a partir.ular instance (like this) is more cheering 
than a general belief. 

Health, hajipiness, and as many new years as you 
wisli ! Sydney Smith. 

lp:ttees and correspoxdexce. 103 

90.] To John Allen, Esq. 

January \st, 1813. 

My dear Allen, 

* ***** 

As to politics, every thing is fast setting in for arui- 
traiy power. The Coui't will grow holder and holder ; a 
striio-o-le will commence, and if it ends as I wish, there 
will he Whigs again, or if not, a Whig will he an ani- 
mal descrihed in hooks of natural history, and Lord 
Grey's hones will he put together and shown, hy the 
side of the monument, at the Liverpool ]\Iuseum. But 
when these things come to pass, you ^vill no longer he 
a Warden, hut a hrown and impalpahle powder in the 
tomhs of Dulwich. In the mean time, enough of liberty 
will remain to make our old-age tolerably comfortable ; 
and to your last gasp you will remain in the perennial 
and pleasing delusion that the Wliigs are coming in, and 
will expire mistaking the officiating clergyman for a 
King's messenger. 

But Avhatever your feelings he on this matter, mine 
for you will be always those of the most sincere respect 
and regard. Yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

91.] To Lady Holland. 

Jannary Mth, 1813. 

My dear Lady Holland, 
I have innumerable thanks to return to you for the 
kind solicitude you have displayed respecting my rural 
architecture. I have explained myself so fully to Allen 
upon the convenience and necessity of this measure, 
that I will not bore you any more with tlie subject ; but 
I must add a word upon the ArcJibishop's conversation 


with Abercrombie. Is it not a little singular, tliat his 
Grace, in all the various conversations I have had with 
him on this subject — on the promise I made to him to 
build — on the complaints I have frequently made to 
liim of the gi'cat hardships and expense of building, 
when I laid before him my plans — that he should never 
liave given me the most distant hint, directly or indi- 
rectly, that sucli a process could be in honor dispensed 
with ? Is it not singular that he should have reserved 
this friendly charge of supererogation, till I had burnt 
my bricks, bought my timber, and got into a situation in 
which it was more prudent to advance than to recede ? 
The Archbishop is a friendly, good man; but such is 
not the manner of laymen. It would be a bad com- 
fort to an Indian widow, who was half-burnt, if the 
head Brahmin were to call out to her, "Remember, it 
is your ovjn act and deed; I never ordered you to burn 

We have had meetings here of the clergy, upon the 
subject of the Catholic question, but none in my district ; 
if there be, I shall certainly give my solitary voice in 
favor of religious liberty, and shall probably be tossed 
in a blanket for my pains. 

Conceive the horror of fourteen men hung yesterday I 
And yet it is difficult to blame the Judges for it, though 
it would be some relief to be able to blame them. The 
murderers of Horsefall were all Methodists ; one of them, 
I believe, a preacher. 

I hope you will take a ramble to the North this year. 
You want a tour; nothing does you so much good. 
Come and alarm the village, as you did before. Your 
coming has produced the same impression as the march 
of Alexander or Bacchus over India, and will be as long 
remembered in tlie traditions of the innocent natives. 
Tlicy still believe Antonio to have been an ape. Pray 


accept a Yorkshire liam, wliicli set off yesterday, di- 
rected to Lord Holland, St. James's Square, by wagon 
which comes to the Bull and Mouth ; it weighs twenty 
pounds. I mention these particulars, because, when a 
thing is sent, it may as well be received, and not be 

Sydney Smith. 

92.] To John Allen, Esq. 

Bath, January 2ith, 1813. 

My DEAR Allen, 

Vernon* has mistaken the object of my letter, and I 
have written to tell him so. I had no otlier object in 
writing to him than to say this : " Do not let the Arch- 
bishop imagine that I have either conceived or repre- 
sented myself to be the martyr of his severity. I never 
thought I should be compelled, though I had no doubt 
I should be expected, to build, and fairly expected ; 
and when any man who can command me to do a just 
thing, does not command me because he is afraid of 
appearing harsh, his forbearance is, and ought to be, as 
powerful as any mandate." 

Vernon's reply to my first letter contains an express 
permission from the Archbishop to recede from my 
engagement, if I think fit. To this I have answered 
(with every expression of gratitude for the intention) 
that it comes too late ; that I have incurred expenses 
and engagements which render it imprudent and impos- 
sible to retreat ; that had I known myself two years 
ago to have been a free agent, as I now find I might 
have been, I would have set myself sincerely to work 
to find out some habitation without building; that I 
am convinced his Grace was misled by my liglit man- 
* Mr. Vcnion Harcourt, son of the Archbishop. 


ner of talking of these matters, and never imagined me 
to loe in earnest, or he would have expressed to me, 
when I made my promises, his opinion, which I have 
now received, and through the same friendly channel ; 
lastly, that I believe, after all, I have done the wisest 
thing, and that by doing and suffering, I have no doubt 
of scrambling through my difficulties. This, said in as 
kind and civil a manner as I could adopt, was the sub- 
stance of my answer to Vernon, and is, of course, my 
answer to the very kind and friendly remonstrances I 
have received from you. 

When I say that I shall pass my life at Foston, I 
by no means intend to take a des2)onding view of my 
situation, or to doubt the kindness of those friends 
whom I love so sincerely, and from whom I have al- 
ready received obligations which I never can forget 
while I can remember any thing. But their power to 
do me good depends upon accidents, upon which it 
would be folly in any man to found a regular calcula- 
tion. Those accidental visitations of fortune are like 
prizes in the lottery, which must not be put into the 
year's income till they turn up. My fancy is my own : 
I may see as many crosiers in the clouds as I please ; 
but when I sit down seriously to consider what I shall 
do upon important occasions, I must presume myself 
rector of Foston for life. 

I shall be in town Wednesday night late, and stay 
only four or five days. 

What you say about the Whigs, the measure you 
take of their usefulness, and of the share of power they 
may enjoy, is fair and reasonable. 

Ever most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


93.] To EoBEiiT Smith, Esq. 

March 17 th, 1813. 

It seems to me a lono- time since I heard from vou. 
Pray "vrrite to me, and if you are vexed, or uneasy, or 
dispirited, do not be too proud to say so. 

I have heard about you from various good judges, 
all of whom concur in the statement made to me from 
Holland House ; that the coach appeared to be made 
of admirable materials, and that its breaking down was 
a mere accident, for which it is impossible to account. 
I see you have spoken again, but your speech is only 
given in my three days' paper, and that very concisely. 
If you said what you had to say without a fresh attack 
of nei'vousness, this is all I care about. If the body 
does not play you these tricks, I have no fear of the 
mind. By-the-by, you will laugh at me, but I am con- 
vinced a worlving senator should lead a life like an 
athlete. I wish you would let me send you a horse, 
and that you would ride every moniiaig ten or fifteen 
miles before breakfast, and fling youi'self into a profuse 
perspiration. Xo man ever stopped in a speech that 
had perspired copiously that day. Do you disdain the 
assistance of notes ? 

I am going on prosperously with my buildings, but I 
am not yet out of sight of land. We most earnestly 
ho]3e nothing Avill prevent you this year fi'om coming 
down into Yorkshire. I have learnt to ride backward 
and forward to my living since I saw you, by which 
means I do not sleep away from home ; and I have 
found so good a manager of my accounts, that one day 
a week is sufficient for me to give up to my build- 

When you liave done any thing tliat pleases yourself, 


Avritc mc word ; it will give me the most unfeigned 
pleasure. Whether you turn out a consummate orator 
or not, will neither increase nor diminish my admiration 
for your talents or my respect for your character ; but 
when a man is strong, it is pleasant to make that 
strength respected ; and you will Ibc happier for it, if 
you can do so (as I have no doubt you will soon). 

My very kind love to Caroline and the children, and 
believe me ever your affectionate brother, 

Sydney Smith. 

94.] To FiiANCis Jeffeey, Esq. 

Ajn-ilGlIi, 1813. 

Dear Jeffrey-, 

You write me a letter dated the IGth, in Avhich you 
tell me you have sent me something; doubtless you 
suppose you have done so, but you have not. How 
goes on the next number ? I am always afraid to ask 
this question, because I always expect to hear that the 
Heview is dead or dying. I have but one occupation 
now — building a house, which requires all my time and 
attention : I live trowel in hand. 

I am much disappointed at . I had expected 

liim to turn out a second Demosthenes, or even a second 
Jeffrey ; how very much it must surprise you that any 
body stops who has begun to speak! 

I long very much to see you: we are old friends, I 
have a great affection for you, and admiration of your 
understanding, yet we never meet; some spell binds 
you to Edinburgh — that town where so many philos- 
ophers "think unknown, and waste no sweetness on 
the desert air." 

The Miss are to come down to us in the month 

of June ; why not come and marry ? I will an- 


swer for it slie will liare you ; by-tlie-by, I hear you 
are going to be married, but that I have heard so many 
times, that it produces no impression on me. Mackin- 
tosh says you are the cleverest man he ever met with 
in his life. 

Sydney Smith. 

95.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Bath, 181G. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

I have a fancy to know how you do, and w^liat has 
befallen you since your journey to Foston. I write this 
from Bath, where I am living, on a visit to my father. 
I shall not be in London before the month of ^lay ; 
have I any chance of seeing you there ? 

Lord and Lady Byron are, you know, separated. 
He said to Rogers, that Lady Byron had parted with 
him, apparently in good friendship, on a A^sit to her 
father, and that he had no idea of their being about 
to part, wdien he received her decision to that effect. 
He stated that his own temper, naturally bad, had 
been rendered more irritable by the derangement 
of his fortune — and that Lady Byron was entirely 
blameless. The truth is, he is a very unprincipled 

Leach will be Chancellor : I had heard last year that 
he was strongly solicited, by that bribe, to desert his 
party, and at last I see his virtue has given way. I 
have heard nothing of 's success ; but what suc- 
cess can any man obtain — on what side (Ireland ex- 
cepted) can the Administration be assailed with any 
chance of success ? 

Madame de Stael is at Pisa, attending Bocca, who 
is dying. Have you read Stewart's preliminary disscr- 


tation ? What do you think of it ? He is an excellent 
man. How does Bro-»vn's new f)oem turn out ? 

I beg, my dear Jeffrey, you will not class me among 
the tribe of in'itable coiTespondents ; unless I write to 
you upon points of business, I hold it to be perfectly 
fair for you to answer me or not, and that you may keep 
the most profound silence, " salva amicitia," but it al- 
ways gives me sincere pleasure to hear from you. I 
shall be here till about the 20th. Pray remember me 
very kindly to ^lurray and all friends. 

Sydney Smith. 

96.] To Robert Smith, Esq. 

HESLrs'GTOx, York, Mai/ 10th, 1813. 

My dear Bobus, 

Maria writes IMrs. Sydney word that you are not 
quite so stout as you used to be. Pray take care of 
yourself. Let us contrive to last out for the same or 
nearly the same time : weary will be the latter half 
of my pilgrimage, if you leave me in the lurch!* By- 
the-by, I wish ]\Irs. Smith and you would promise to 
inform me if you are ever seriously ill. I should come 
up to you at a moment's warning, and should be very 
unhappy if the opportunity were not given me of do- 
ing so. 

I was very mucli pleased with Canning's additions to 
Grattan's Bills ; tlicy are very wise, because they give 
satisfaction to the great mass of fools, of whom the pub- 
lic is composed, and who really believe there is danger in 
conceding so much to the Catholics. 

I can not lielp detailing to you a remark of Douglas's, 
which in Scotland Avould be heard as of high metaphys- 

* Mr. Robert Smith died witliin a fortnight of his brother. See Me- 
moir, ]>af/o 301. — Ki). 


ical promise. Emily was asking wliy one flower was 
blue, and another pink, and another yellow. ''"Why, 
in short,*' said Douglas, "it is their nature ; and when 
we say that what do we mean ? It is only another word 
for mystenj ; it only vieajis that ice hnoio nothing at all 
ahorit the matter.'' This observation from a child eight 
years old is not common. 

T\'e are threatened with a visit from the excellent 
Greek, I understand, who is conducting his young war- 
rior to the north. How contemptible our modern way 
of arming must appear to him ! He will doubtless speak 
to the Colonel about the lighting in Homer, and the mode 
of it. 

God bless you, dear Bobus ! Love to your dear 

Sydney Smith. 

97.] To Francis Jeffrey. Esq. 

EJESLis'GToy. Xo date: supposed ahorit \B\Z. 

]My deae Jeffeey', 

It is with great concern that I hear of yoiu- illness, 
and should be much obhged to you, if you have leisure, 
to write me a hue to say how you are. I need not say 
how very happy we should be to see you here ; and I 
wish you seriously to consider whether some time passed 
in the country- will not tend more than any thing else to 
establish your health. I know it is the season of law 
business, but Editoris salus^ siqyreraa lex. 

I have been passing some weeks of dissipation in 
London ; and was transformed by Circe's cup, not into 
a brute, but a beau. I am now eating the herb raoly 
in the countr}\ Xear as the time approaches to the 
Review, I should not have been an idle contributor, 
but that I am forced to do many thingrs for mv brotli- 


er Cecil, who lias come from India in consequence of 
a quarrel with Sir.G. Barlow, and w4io has much to 
arrange and settle with res23ect to the state of affairs 
there, and of Indian intrigues here. If I send you one 
or two light and insignificant articles, it will be all that 
I can possibly contribute. Do you mean to send me the 
lucubrations of Playfair and Knight touching Mi\ Cop- 
plestone ? 

I am sure you will excuse me for saying that I was 
struck with nothing in your " State of Parties" but its 
extreme temerity, and with the incorrectness of its state- 
ments. I was not struck with the good writing, be- 
cause in you that is a matter of course ; but I believe 
there never was so wrong an exposition of the political 
state of any country : to say we ai'e approximating to- 
ward it, may be true ; and so is a child just born ap- 
proximating to old age. I believe you take your no- 
tions of the state of opinion in Britain from the state 
of opinion among the commercial and manufacturing 
population of your own country ; overlooking the great 
mass of English landed proprietors who, leaning always 
a little toward the Crown, would still rally round the 
Constitution and moderate principles, whenever the state 
of affairs came to be such as to make their interference 
necessary. If this notion of your review were merely 
my own, I should send it with more of apology, but it 
is that of the most sensible men I have met. 

And why do you not scout more that pernicious cant, 
that all men arc equal? As politicians, they do not 
differ, as Locke thinks they do ; but they differ enough 
to make you and all worthy men sincerely wish for the 
elevation of the one, and the rejection of the other. 

God bless you, my dear Jeffrey I Get well ; come 
here to do so. Accept my best wishes, and believe me 
affectionately yours, Sydney Smith. 


98.J To John ]\Iurray, Esq. 

Heslixgton, Juhj I2th, 1813. 

My dear Murray, 

I understand you are one of the Commissioners for 
managing the Edinburgh Review, in the absence ot our 
small-bodied, gTcat-minded leader. He has made to me 
an affecting appeal for assistance, and, for such as I can 
afford, shall not make it in vain ; the difficulty is to find 
books, and I will review any two of the following : Clark- 
sou s " Life of Penn," Buchanan's " Colonial Establish- 
ment," Thompson's "Travels in Sweden," Graham's 
" Residence in India," or Horsley's " Speeches." Have 
the goodness, if you please, to tell me which of these I 
shall take, and at what time I shall send them, giving 
me all the time you can, for I really am distressed for 
that article. 

My situation is as follows : I am engaged in agricul- 
ture without the slightest knowledge of the art ; I am 
building a house without an architect ; and educating a 
son without patience ! Nothing short of my sincere af- 
fection for Jeffrey, and pity for his transatlantic loves, 
should have induced me to draw my goose-quilL 

]\Iy new mansion springs up apace, and then I shall 
really have a pretty place to receive you in, and a pleas- 
ant country to show you. Remember me very kindly 
to all my friends, and believe ^e, my dear j\Iurray, ever 
most sincerely yours, Sydney Smith. 

99.] To John Murray, Esq. 

August 18th, 1813. 

Dear j\Iurray, 
It is my serious intention to lend such aid as I can 
lend to the Review, in Jeffrey's absence. To render 


this intention useful, I hope he has left somebody who 
will look after the temporal concerns of the EeYie^Y, and 
return an answer to those questions which a distant con- 
tributor must necessarily put. It was my intention to 
review Ferrier's " Theory of Apparitions ;" but it is such 
a null, frivolous book, that it is impossible to take any 
notice of it. I request therefore the choice of these sub- 
jects : Milne's Controversy with ]\Iarsh, Pouqueville's 
"Travels in the l^Iorea," Broughton's "Letters from a 
Mahratta Camp," or Sir J. Porters "Account of the last 
Russian Campaign.*' I should prefer the first and the 
last. Pray let me know whether I may do them, or ob- 
tain, if you will be so good, an immediate answer for me 
from those with whom the power rests. I will take the 
first opportunity of returning Fenier's "Apparitions" to 

j\Iy brother and all his family are with me. 

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your old friend ; such 
losses are seldom or never repaired ; a friend made at a 
middle period of life is never like a friend made at its be- 
ginning. I am sure a run in the country in England 
would do you good. It is the misfortune of Edinburgh 
men, that they see no fools and common persons (I mean, 
of clever men in Edinburgh) ; I could put you on a sal- 
utary course of this sort of society. J']ver most sincere- 
ly yours, Sydney S:\iitii. 

100.] To John 'Murray, Esq. 

Heslixgton, Sept. 1st, 1813. 

]\Iy dear Murray, 
Barring accidents, I undertake for Broughton's "Let- 
ters from a !Mahratta Camp," and Porter's "Russian 
Campaign ;" perhaps also !Milncr and ^larsh. I would 
with pleasure comply with your request about AValpole, 


but find a most alarming good-nature increasing upon me 
from year to year, wliich. renders me almost incapable of 
the task ; but I will try. 

I do not want the proofs, if any of the Commissioners 
will be so o'ood as to attend to the corrections ; for, I as- 


sure you, little Jeffrey sometimes leaves the printing in 
such a state of absolute nonsense as throws me into tlie 
coldest of sweats. 

Yours, my dear ]\Iurray, very sincerely, 

Sydxey Smith. 

101.] To Lady Holland. 

Sqjtemher I7tk, 1813. 

Dear Lady Holland, 
Few events are of so little consequence as the fecund- 
ity of a clergyman's wife ; still your kind dispositions 
toward me justify me in letting you know that ^Irs. Syd- 
ney and her new-born son are both extremely well. His 
name Avill be Grafton, and I shall bring him up a J\Ieth- 
odist and a Tory. 

Affectionately yours, Sydney Smith. 

102.] To John Murray^, Esq. 

October loth, 1813. 

My dear Murray, 

I am quite ashamed of not having better fulfilled my 
promise ; but, first, ]\Irs. Sydney has been confined ; sec- 
ond, I am building a house ; third, educating a son ; 
fourth, entering upon a farm ; fifth, after reading half 
through Porter's "Russian Campaign,"! find it such an 
incorrigible mass of folly and stupidity, that nothing could 
be said of it but what was grossly abusive. 

I have read the controversy about the Auxiliary Bi- 


ble Society, and -will speedily send you an article upon 
it. Sydney Smith. 

I can giye you no account of ]Mackintosli, nor tell you 
how lie is to be stimulated. 

103.] To John Murray, Esq. 

November 20th, 1813. ' 

My dear ^Iurray, 

I am sorry the editors of the Eeyiew should so con- 
strue my article as to suppose it inimical to the free 
circulation of the Scriptures. I do not dissuade any 
body from circulating the Scriptures ; but merely say to 
a particular body of men, "You are bound in con- 
sistency to circulate the Scriptures with the Prayer- 
book, in preference to any other method." Xothing 
can be more ridiculous than the whole contest ; but as 
it exists, I thought it riglit to notice it. Pray regidate 
the pecuniary concerns of the Review as you think best, 
and I shall be obliged to you to return my reyiew when 
you have an opportunity of procuring a frank. 

I am ashamed to say I have not read Brougham's 
article upon education ; but I stated my argument to 
him in the summer, and he completely acquiesced in it. 

I remain, dear 3Iurray, in haste, yours very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

104.] To John Allen, Esq. 

IIkslixgton, Jan. IZth, 1814. 

j\Iy dear Allen, 

I did not know before your letter that Lord Holland 

had been ill, and I received tlie intelligence, as you 

may suppose, with sincere regret. It is very easy and 

old-womanish to offer advice, but I wish he would leave 


oil wine entirely, after the manner of tlie Sharp and 
Rogers school. He is never guilt j of excess ; but there 
is a certain resj^ectable and dangerous plenitude, not 
quite conducive to that state of health which all his 
friends most wish to Lord Holland. 

What can you possibly mean by lamenting the resto- 
ration of the Bourbons ? What so likely to promote 
renewed peace, and enable the French to lay some slight 
foundation of real liberty ? for as to their becoming free 
at once, it is a mere joke. I think I see your old 
Edinburgh hatred of the Bourbons ; but the misfortunes 
of the world have been such as to render even these 
contemptible personages our hope and om* refuge. 

We are all well, and I persevere in my intention of 
entering on my new house on the 25th of IMarch. 

I hear great complaints of ^Mackintosh's review of 
^ladame de Stael, as too laudatory. Of this I can not 
judge, as I have not read the original; but the review 
itself is very splendid, though (as is the case with all 
these polishers of precious stones) I remember of old 
many of the phrases and many of the opinions. 

I am going to educate my little boy till he is twelve 
years old, being at present nine ; and if I could get a 
clever boy to educate with him, I should be glad to do 
so. I would not take any boy Avho was not quick and 
clever, for such (unless the ordinary partiality of a 
parent mislead me) is Douglas ; but I rather suppose it 
is too far from to^^^i for these sort of engagements. 

There is a bad account of , and no wonder ; the 

loss has been very severe, and he has never met with 
any check, but gone away before the wind all his life. 

It will be very kind of you to write me a line now 
and then, and if you will have the goodness to do this, 
])ray let me know how ^lackintosh's speech went off: I 
have only the account of an honest citizen of York. 


Pray tell Lady Holland I am a Justice of the Peace 
— one of those rural tyrants so deprecated by poor 
Wmdham. I am strike into the line of 
analogous punishments. 

Ever most tiaily yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

105.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Heslingtox, March, 1814. 

My DEAR Jeffrey, 

When I tell you this is the last week of my old 
house, and that we are in all the agonies of departure 
and of packing up, you will excuse me that I have not 
written to you before. Accept my sincere congratu- 
lations, offered deliberately and upon reflection. The 
heart of man must have its cravings satisfied, as well 
as those of his belly. You have got a wife — that is, 
something to love — and you will be all the happier for 
it ! I pronounce my benediction on the whole business. 

I am obliged to you for the Review, which I have 
not had time to read. Brougham is, I believe, at 
York ; but I have been away since the Circuit entered, 
and living at my farm-house lodgings, to superintend 
my' buildings. 

Pray explain to me what is or was intended, respect- 
ing the statues of Play fair and Stewart. I object to 
the marble compliment: it should have been a compli- 
ment in oil-paint, or, if marble, should have come down 
only to the shoulders ; for if Playfair and Stewart 
(excellent men and writers as they arc) arc allowed 
marble from top to toe, what is there left for Newton, 
Washington, and Lord Wellington? ^ly dilemma in 
this laudatory scheme is this : if Playfair and Stewart 
do not see the error and impropriety of the plan, they 


are not worthy of a statue ; and if tliey do, it would be 
exceedingly 'v\T:ong to erect one to them ! People in 
England have a very bad habit of laughing at Scotch 
economy ; and the supposition was that the statue was 
to be Januform, with Playfak's face on one side, and 
Stewai't's on the other ; and it certainly would effect a 
reduction in price, though it would be somewhat singu- 

I have not read a paper for these four days ; but this 
lingering war will not do for Bonaparte. The white 
cockade will be up, if he do not proceed more rapidly. 
I have no doubt but that the Boiu-bons must have a 
very large party in France, consisting of all those who 
love stability and peace better than eternal war and 
agitation ; but these men have necessarily a great dread 
of Bonaparte — a gTeat belief in his skill, fortune, and 
implacability. It will take them years after he is killed 
to believe that he is dead. 

Can I be of any service for the next number of the 
Review ? I shall be very happy to be so, if any thing 
occur, and if (as I now think I shall have) I have leisure 
to attend to it. We are all extremely well ; ]Mrs. Syd- 
ney, never better. 

Pray remember me, dear Jeffrey, and say a good word 
for me if I die first. I shall say many for you in the 
contrary event ! 

When shall I see Scotland again ? Xever shall I for- 
get the happy days I passed there, amidst odious smells, 
barbarous sounds, bad suppers, excellent hearts, and most 
enlightened and cultivated understandings ! 

Ever yom* most sincere friend, 

s. s. 


106.] To John Allen, Esq. 

March }Oth, 1814. 

Dear Allen, 

I can not at all enter into your feelings about the Bour- 
bons, nor can I attend to so remote an evil as the encour- 
agement to superstitious attachment to kings, when the 
proposed evil of a military ministry, or of thirty years 
more of war, is before my eyes. I want to get rid of 
this gTcat disturber of human happiness, and I scarcely 
know any price too great to effect it. If you were sailing 
from Alicant to Aleppo in a storm, and, after the sailors 
had held up the image of a saint and prayed to it, the 
storm were to abate, you would be more sorry for the en- 
couragement of superstition than rejoiced at the preser- 
vation of your life ; and so would every other man born 
and bred in Edinburgh. - -- 

i\Iy views of the matter would be much shorter and 
coarser : I should be so glad to iind myself alive, that I 
should not care a farthing if the storm had generated a 
thousand new, and revived as many old saints. How 
can any man stop in the midst of the stupendous joy of 
getting rid of Bonaparte, and propliesy a thousand little 
peddling evils that will result from restoring the Bour- 
bons ? The most important of all objects is the inde- 
pendence of Europe : it has been twice very nearly de- 
stroyed by the French ; it is menaced from no other 
quarter ; the people must be identified with their sover- 
eign. There is no help for it ; it will teach them in fu- 
ture to hang kings wlio set up for conquerors. I will not 
believe that the Bourbons have no party in France. My 
only knowledge of politics is from the York paper ; yet 
notliing shall convince me that the people are not heartily 
tired of Bonaparte, and ardently wish for the cessation of 
the conscription ; that is, for the Bourbons. 


I shall be in my house by the 25th of March, in spite 
of all the evils that are prophesied against me. I have 
had eleven fires burning night and day for these two 
months past. 

I am glad to hear that the intention of raising a statue 
to Playfair and Stewart is now reported to have been only 
a joke. This is wut^ not wit ; by way of pleasantry, 
the oddest conceit I have heard of; but you gentlemen 
from the North are, you know, a little singular in your 
conceptions of the sijpid. I quoted to Whishaw the be- 
havior of , under similar circumstances ; I 

wonder if Stewart and Playfair would have behaved with 
as much modesty, had this joke dropped down into a 
matter of fact. 

We are all well; but Douglas alarmed us the other 
night with the croup. I darted into him all the mineral 
and vegetable resources of the shops, cravatted his throat 
with blisters, and fringed it w^ith leeches, and set him in 
five or six hours to playing marbles, breathing gently 
and inaudibly. 

Pray send me some news when there is any. It is 
very pleasant in these deserts to see the handwriting of 
an old friend ; it is like the print in the sand seen by 
Bobinson Crusoe. 

I am reading Neale's ' History of the Puritans ;' read 
it if you have never read it, and make my Lady read it. 
Ever yours, Sydney S:\rrTii. 

107.] To John Allen, Esq. 

FoSTON, Aprils 1814. 

Dear Allen, 
I write you a short note to thank you sincerely for 
your friendly advice on going into my house, ^[y great 
Vol. II.— E 


dread is not of damp, but of cold damp ; and therefore I 
tmst to excellent fires, to be kept np night and day ; and 
the first week has justified my confidence. I am very 
much pleased with my house. I aimed at making a snug 
parsonage, and I think I have succeeded. I hope, one 
day or other, you will criticise from the spot. I am sorry 
to see the war degenerating into a war of dynasties — the 
great evil to be dreaded from a weak Administration, and 
into which they seem to have completely fallen. 

I should be very glad to come to town a little this 
spring, but I am afraid I can not ; I shall, however, make 
an effort. I wish you had said a word about Lord and 
Lady Holland. Pray give to them my best and kindest 
regards. Yours, etc., Sydney Smith. 

108.] To Lady Holland. 

FoSTON, June 2oth, 1814. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

I set off on Tuesday morning, and reached home on 
Wednesday night by ten o'clock, finding every body very 
well, and delighting them not a little next day by the dis- 
play of your French presents ; but of this Mrs. Sydney 
will speak herself. 

I liked London better than ever I liked it before, and 
simply, I believe, from water-drinking. Without this, 
London is stupefaction and inflammation. It is not the 
love of wine, but thoughtlessness and unconscious imita- 
tion : other men poke out their hands for the revolving 
wine, and one does the same, Avithout thinking of it. All 
people above the condition of laborers arc ruined by 
excess of stimulus and nourishment, clergy included. I 
never yet saw any gentleman who ate and drank as little 
as was reasonable. 


I am uneasy, dear Lady Holland, at your going abroad. 
Consider what it is to be well. If I were you, I would 
not stir from Holland House for two years ; and then, as 
many jolts and frights as you please, which at present 
you are not equal to. I should think you less to blame 
if the world had any thing new to show you ; but you 
have seen the Parthian, the Mede, etc., etc., etc. ; no va- 
riety of garment can surprise you, and the roads upon the 

earth are as well known to you as the AATinkles in 's 


Be wise, my dear lady, and re-establish your health in 
that gilded room which furnishes better and pleasanter 
society than all the wheels in the world can Avhirl you to. 

Beheve me, dear Lady Holland, your affectionate 


Sydney SjMITH. 

109.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

]\Iy DEAR Jeffrey, 

I am much obliged to you for the Eeview, and shall 
exercise the privilege of an old friend in making some 
observations upon it. I have not read the review of 
Wordsworth, because the subject is to me so very un- 
interesting; but, may I ask, do not such repeated at- 
tacks upon a man wear in some little degree the shape 
of persecution ? 

Without understanding any thing of the subject, I 
was much pleased with the " Cassegrainian Telescope," 
as it seemed modest, moderate in rebuke, and to have 
the air of wisdom and erudition. The account of Scotch 
husbandry is somewhat coxcombical, and has the fault 
of digressing too much into political economy ; but I 
should guess it to be written by a very good farmer — I 


mean, by a man thoroughly acquainted with the method 
in which the art is carried on. I delight in the article 
on Carnot ; it is virtuous and honorable to do justice to 
such a man. I should guess that the travels of the 
l\*enchman in England are those of your friend and rela- 
tion, M. Simond. 

With respect to what you say of your occasional feel- 
ings of disgust at your office of editor, and half-formed 
intentions of giving it up, I think you should be slow to 
give up so much emolument, now that you are married 
and may have a family ; but if you can get as great an 
income by your profession, and the two can not be com- 
bined, I would rather see you a great lawyer than a 
witty journalist. There can be no doubt which is the 
most honorable and lucrative situation, and not much 
doubt which is the most useful. 

It will give us the greatest pleasure to see you in 
the spring, or, if not then, in your excursion to France. 
I like my new house very much ; it is very comfort- 
able, and, after finishing it, I would not pay sixpence 
to alter it ; but the expense of it will keep me a very 
poor man, a close prisoner here for my life, and render 
the education of my children a difficult exertion for 
me. My situation is one of great solitude ; but I pre- 
serve myself in a state of cheerfulness and tolerable 
content, and have a propensity to amuse myself with 
trifles. I hope I shall Avrite something before I gTOW 
old, but I am not certain whether I am sufficiently in- 

I shall never apologize to you for egotism ; I think 
very few men, writing to their friends, have enough 
of it. If Horner were to break fifteen of his ribs, or 
marry, or resolve to settle in America, he would never 
mention it to his friends ; but would write with the 
most sincere kindness from Kentucky, to inquire for 


your welfare, leaving you to marvel as you cliose at the 
post-mark, and to speculate whether it was Kentucky or 

I think very highly of " Waverley," and was inclined 
to suspect, in reading it, that it was written Iby Miss 
Scott of Ancram> ^ 

I am truly glad to read of your pleasure from your 
little girl and your chateau. The haunts of Happiness 
are varied, and rather unaccountahlc ; but I have more 
often seen her among little children, and home firesides, 
and in country houses, than any where else — at least, I 
think so. God bless you ! 

Sydney Smith. 

110.] To Lady Holland. 

February 1st 1815. 

IIy dear Lady Holland, 

Many thanks for your letter. I think you very for- 
tunate in having Eogers at Eome. Show me a more 
kind and friendly man ; secondly, one, from good man- 
ners, knowledge, fun, taste, and observation, more agree- 
able ; thirdly, a man of more strict political integrity, 
and of better character in private life. If I were to 
choose any Englishman in foreign parts whom I should 
wish to blunder upon, it should be Eogers. 

Lord paid a visit to a family whom he had not 

visited since the capture of the Bastile, and apologized 
for not having called before ; in the mean time, the es- 
tate had passed through two different races. 

We have staid at Castle Howard for two or three 
days. I found Lord Carlisle very good-natured, and 
even kind ; with considerable talents for society, a very 
good understanding, and no more visible consequence, 
as a nobleman, than he had a fair right to assume. 


Lady Carlisle seems thoroughly amiable. I soon found 
myself at my ease at Castle Howard, which will make 
an agreeable variety in my existence. Lord Moi'peth 
and Lady Georgiana called upon us ; we have, in short, 
experienced very great civility from them. Lord and 
Lady Carlisle called upon us twice, and were overwhelm- 
ed in a plowed field! Sydney Smith. 

IIL] To Lady Holland. 

FosTox, 1815. 

Dear Lady Holland, 

I thought you. would have written me a line upon 
your first coming, but I thought also you were ill ; and 
as I get older, I make more and more allowance for the 
omnipotence of indolence, under whose dominion friend, 
lover, client, patron, satirist, and sycophant so often 
yield up their respective energies. 

I am not always confident of your friendship for me, 
at particular times ; but I have great confidence in it, 
from one end of the year to another: above all, I am 
confident that I have a great affection for you. 

I hear that Ward is in London. He follows you 
across Europe, and you him, but you never meet ; I sup- 
pose your mutual gratification is to be in the same city — 
the purest and least sensual passion I ever heard of, and 
such as I did not suppose to exist but in the books of 
knights-errant. ' ' Sydney Smith. 

112.] To Lady Holland. 

No date: about 1815. 

I. hope the Lady Holland finds herself well, and brings 
with her a gay and healthy train ; that all are well, from 
Cleopatra the queen to Antonio tlie page. 


Though I have no great affection for poverty at any 
time, it is on such occasions as these that I owe it the 
greatest grudge. If I were a Dean, I certainly would 
congratulate you in person, and not by letter. I missed 
you all very much in my last visit to London, which in 
other respects was a very agreeable one. 

I will not say a word about politics, or make the 
slightest allusion to a small rocky island in the middle 
of the Atlantic, the final cause of which now seems to 
be a little clearer ; but I may say he gives up too soon 
— his resistances are not sufficiently desperate. I may 
say also, that I admire him for not killing himself, which 
is, in a soldier, easy, vulgar, and commonly foolish ; it 
shows that he has a strong tendency to hope, or that he 
has a confidence in his own versatility of character, and 
his means of making himself happy by trifling, or by 
intellectual exertion. 

Now pray do settle in England, and remain quiet ; 
depend upon it, it is the most agreeable place. I have 
heard five hundred traveled people assert that there is 
no such agreeable house in Europe as Holland House : 
why sliould you be the last person to be convinced of 
this, and the first to make it true? 

-Affectionately yours, 

Sydney S^iith. 

113.] To Lord Holland. 


IMy DEAR Lord Holland, 
I am totally unacquainted with the two tutors I re- 
commended to B , but they were recommended to 

me from a quarter in which I could perfectly confide. 
!My desiderata were, that they should possess a good 
deal of knowleds^c, and that they should be -s-irtuous and 


good-tcmpcrecl men. B 's son I understood to be an 

ordinary young man, and not requiring a person of more 
than common judgment and dexterity ; and therefore as 
much was proved to me as I required to "be proved, be- 
fore I recommended. I can satisfy you in the same par- 
ticulars by the same inquiry ; but whether the individ- 
ual asked for may possess the sense, firmness, and 
judgment necessary to manage such a clever boy as 
, I can not determine, as I have not sufficient confi- 
dence, upon points of this nature, in the person to whom 
my questions are addressed. 

If the Universities were well sifted and swept for you, 
the best person to get would be a Cambridge man, or, 
at least, some man from an English university ; but then 
he would require a great deal of attention, would be troub- 
lesome from the jealousy of being slighted, and would be 
altogether an unpleasant inmate. I therefore put English- 
men out of the question. All things considered, they 
would not do for you. I look upon Switzerland as an 
inferior sort of Scotland, and am for a Scotchman. A 
Scotchman full of knowledge, quiet, humble, assiduous, 
civil, and virtuous, you will easily get ; and I will send 
you such a one per coach, or (which he will like better) 
per wagon, any day ; but will he command the respect of 

? Will he acquire an ascendency over him ? Will 

he Ijp a man of good sound sense and firmness ? Here 
I can not help you, because I know nobody nnyself ; 
and, in a recommendation I should have so much at 
heart, I should choose to judge for myself. 

I do not know the name of the ex-tutor, or where he 
is ; but w^ill write to-night, inquire every particular, state 
generally what is wanted, without mentioning names, 
and send you the answer. 

It will be hardly possible for you and Lady Holland 
to consent to such a plan ; but I should have tliought that 


a tutor witli three or four pupils, forty or fifty miles from 
London, would be the best arrangement. They abound, 
their characters are accessible, they are near, and among 
five hundred schoolmasters it may not be impossible 
to find a man of sense. But perhaps health would be 
an objection to this ; though I must observe that the 
health of very delicate children very often improves, in 
proportion as they are removed from the perilous kind- 
ness of home. 

]\Ir. always seemed to me an excellent and ac- 
complished, but a very foolish man. There is very lit- 
tle mother-wit in the world, but a great deal of clergy. 

I remain always, my dear Lord Holland, with the 
most sincere attachment and affection, 

Sydney S^iith. 

114.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, 1816. 

Dear Jeffrey, 

I should have set off this day for Lord Grey and you, 
but Douglas was seized with typhus fever, and Mrs. 
Sydney hurried up to London. He is much better, and 
will do well if there is no relapse ; in the mean time, I 
am prisoner here, because I must be jailer to my three 
remaining children. I was a good deal surprised to see 
in the " Times" a part of my review on the Abbe Georgel 
quoted before the Review is published; is this quite 
right on the part of Constable? I am truly sorry to 
lose my visit to you, and the more so, because I know 
you are not quite well. Pray say how that is, and 
promise me amendment in this respect. 

I liavc two short reviews to write of two French 
books — Madame d'Epinay and ^ladame de Genlis, and 
then I am at a loss for a subject. The trial of Home 


I relinquished on account of the invincible candor of my 
natui'e. Pray answer all my queries distinctly; and 
how happy should I he if you would dictate your letters, 
and not write them yourself I I can scarcely ever read 

I have just now received your letter, and am truly af- 
flicted to receive so melancholy an account of your 
health ; and the more so, as I had not a suspicion, be- 
fore Murray's letter, that your were at all ill. For 
God's sake be wise and obedient and meek to your bloody 
butchers, and let me hear from you very soon. I have 
a letter from Mrs. Sydney this morning ; Douglas very 
weak, and I hardly think will remain in London. 

Sydney Smith. 

115.] To Lady Holland. 

February 2 J, 18 IG. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

!My father seems to bear his great misfortune with 
equanimity. He is as well as he was fifteen years ago, 
and as young, at the nominal age of seventy-six. !My 
sister was a most amiable and enlightened woman ; she 
had run through all the stamina of constitution nature 
had allotted her, and died of old age, in youth. The 
loss of a person w^iom I would have cultivated as a 
friend, if nature had not given her to me as a relation, 
is a serious evil. 

I thank you most sincerely for your very handsome 
and delightful present, of Madame de Sevigne, which 
will beguile many a Yorkshire liour. 

Sydney Smith. 


116.] To LOKD Holland. 

August, 1816. 

Dear Lord Holland, 
I can buy you some sheep by means of the agent I 
employ for myself; but, then, there is a history to tell. 
I live only " from hand to mouth" (as the common peo- 
ple say), and for weeks together I am not master of ten 
pounds, nor do I know where to get as much ; therefore 
you must give me a power of drawing on your bankers 
for any sum not exceeding ninety pounds, which will 
more than cover every possible expense, though I hope 
they will be bought much more advantageously. You 
will, I am sure, excuse my frankness ; but it may very 
possibly happen, when the time comes for buying the 
sheep, that I may be entirely without money. I will 
write to Johnson ; but I think the better way would be, 
to send them at once to Holland House. God bless 
you! ■" Sydney Smith. 

117.] To THE Countess Grey. 

York, Nov. 3d, 181G. 
If you and Lord Grey will consider yourselves as 
solemnly pledged to me not to reveal the contents of the 
inclosed note, open it, and you will read a marriage 
which will make you laugh. If you can not give that 
pledge, fling it into the fire. I am quite serious in ex- 
acting the pledge, and as serious in assuring you, dear 
Lady Grey, of my great regard and respect. 

Sydney Smith. 

\Inclosed JVoie.'] 
Sorry to treat with apparent harshness one whom I 
so mucli respect, but can not gTant your Ladyship the 


slightest indulgence. On the contrary, must prohibit, 
in the severest manner, the disclosure of the secret, ei- 
ther to aliens or your own blood. 

Though necessity compels me to this vigor, I feel for 
your situation, and am not without fears for your health ; 
you should avoid meat and wine, and live with the great- 
est care, till relief can be gained by disclosure. I assure 
you tliat the information is no joke on my part. I sin- 
cerely believe it myself, for it comes to me from a source 
that I must consider to be unquestionable. 

I remain, dear Lady Grey, most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

118.] To Lady Holland. 

November 8th, 181G. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

I found and left Lord Grey in very good health. He 
is extremely pleased with the match, and most probably 

rightly pleased. We had, at Ho wick. Sir , 

Avith whom I was much taken ; quick, shrewd, original, 
well-informed, eccentric, paradoxical, and contradictory. 

It is not possible to sj^eak of Horner ! I have a most 
sincere affection for him. 

I found every where in jSTorthumberland and Scotland 
wretched crops, failing tenants, and distressed landlords 
(unlike Atlas), bending down with the weight of land 
suddenly flung upon their shoulders. 

Lord Morpeth called here the other day. I esteem 
myself most fortunate in being near so excellent and en- 
lightened a man, and will cultivate him as much as he 
will let me. I am concerned to hear of Lord Holland's 
gout. I observe that gout loves ancestors and genealo- 
gy ; it needs five or six generations of gentlemen or no- 
blemen to give it its full vigor. Allen deserves the gout 


more than Lord Holland. I have seen the latter person- 
age resorting occasionally to plain dishes, but Allen pas- 
sionately loves complexity and artifice in his food. 

I suppose Samuel Kogers is mortgaged to your La- 
dyship for the autumn and the early part of the winter. 
Perhaps you would have the goodness to say, that ^liss 

thinks him charming! Next to the Congreve 

rocket, he is the most mischievous and powerful of mod- 
em inventions. 

I have now read three volumes of ]\Iadame de Sevigne, 
with a conviction that her letters are very much over- 
praised. ]\Ir. Thomas Grenville says he has made sev- 
en vigorous attacks upon j\Iadame de Sevigne, and has 
been as often repulsed. I presume you have read " Rho- 
da ;" if not, read it, at my peril. I was pestered into 
reading it, and felt myself very much obliged to my per- 

I think of my visit to Holland House last summer 
with the greatest pleasure, and hope to renew it again 
this year, if I am rich enough. I promise to be agree- 
able. Always youi- grateful and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

119.] To Lady Holland. 

FosTOX, Nov. IGth, 1816. 

!My dear Lady Holland, 
I am as sensible of the advantages of bringing my 
children to London as any one can be. I like to be 
there myself, and nobody enjoys more sincerely the so- 
ciety of friends ; but the duties of economy are para- 
mount. Such slender means as mine admit of no im- 
prudence and no excess. 

Yours, dear Lady Holland, most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 


120.] To Fkancis Hornek, Esq. 

FosTON, Nov. 2r>th, 1816. 

My dear Horner, 

Since I saw you, I have paid a visit to Lord Grey. 
I met there Lambton, the about-to-be son-in-law — a 

clever person. To him add Sir , and Sir 

, with whom I was very much pleased. I 

have seldom seen a more original or a quicker man ; ec- 
centi'ic, and affecting to be more so than he is, as is 
the case commonly with eccentric persons. From Lord 

Grey's I went to visit , whom I found unchanged, 

except that they are become a little more ^lethodistical. 
I endeavor in vain to give them more cheerful ideas of 
religion ; to teach them that God is not a jealous, child- 
ish, merciless tyrant ; that he is best served by a regu- 
lar tenor of good actions — not by bad singing, ill-com- 
posed prayers, and eternal apprehensions. But the lux- 
wcy of false religion is, to be unhappy ! 

I went in quest of schools for Douglas. At Hipon I 
found an insignificant man, in melancholy premises, and 
boys two in a bed. At Richmond I was extremely 
pleased with IMr. Tate, who takes thirty boys, and ap- 
pears to be a very enlightened man. Westminster costs 
about £150 or £200 per annum. I have little to do, 
and am extremely poor. Wliy not keep Douglas at home 
till he is sixteen, send him for tln-ee years to Mr. Tate, 
then to Cambridge ? I can not think that liis moral or 
literary improvement will be less ; at the same time, if 
it were my duty to make the sacrifice, of course T would 
make it, but, after all the attention I can give to it, I 
can not discover a better plan, even if I had £10,000 per 
annum ; of course it is taken for granted that I am able 
to teach him well, and that I shall stick to my duty.* 
* Mr. Homer was Douglas's godfather. 


It gives us the greatest pleasure to find you have got 
so far so well. Oiu: kindest affections and warmest good 
wishes move on with you, and hang like a dew on the 
glasses of your carriage. God bless you, my dear Hor- 
ner! Sydney Smith. 

121.] To Francis Horner, Esq. 

FosTox, 181G. 

^Iy dear Horner, 

"We are tolerably well pleased with the account you 
give of yourself. It would have been unreasonable to 
expect that you could gain any thing during the fatigue 
of traveling ; it is much that you have not lost. Now 
is your beginning ! I hope you will have the resolution 
to withstand the importunities of friends, and hermetic- 
ally to seal yourself. Dear little F A has the 

best heart in the world, but you must not let her excite 

you to much talking. If were at Pisa, you would 

of course order horses. 

I have just read Dugald Stewart's " Preliminary Dis- 
sertations." In the first place, it is totally clear of all 
his defects. No insane dread of misrepresentation ; no 
discussion put off till another time, just at the moment it 
was expected, and would have been interesting ; no un- 
manly timidity; less formality of style and cathedral 
pomp of sentence. The good, it would be trite to enu- 
merate : the love of human happiness and virtue, the ar- 
dor for the extension of knowledge, the command of fine 
language, happiness of allusion, varied and pleasing lit- 
erature, tact, wisdom, and moderation ! Without these 
high qualities, we all know Stewart can not write. I 
suspect he has misrepresented Home Tooke, and his si- 
lence respecting Hartley is very censurable. I was amaz- 
ingly pleased with his comparison of the Universities to 


enormous Imlks confined with mooring-cliains, every 
thing flowing and progressing around them. Nothing 
can be more happy. 

I speak of hooks as I read them, and I read them as 
I can get them. You are read up to twelve o'clock of 
tlie preceding day, and therefore must pardon the stale- 
ness of my subjects. I read yesterday the e\ddence of 
the Elgin Marble Committee. Lord Elgin has done a 
very useful thing in taking them away from the Turks. 
Do not throw pearls to swine ; and take them away from 
swine when they are so thrown. They would have been 
destroyed there, or the French w^ould have had them. 
He is underpaid for them. Flaxman's evidence (some 
little ostentation excepted) is very ingenious. Payne 
Knight makes a very poor figure — unshaken confidence, 
upon the most scanty foundations. 

We are all perfectly w^ell. Corn is rather bad than 
dear, but makes good unleavened bread ; and the poor, 
I find, seldom make any other than unleavened bread, 
even in tlie best seasons. I have seen nobody, and heard 
from nobody, since I last wrote. Seven years' absence 
fi'om London is too severe a trial for correspondents. 
Even Asti'ea Whishaw has given way. 

I remain always your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

122.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

FosTOX, November, 1816. 

Dear Lady Mary, 

I liave not written to you, because I have been very 
busy ; but I always felt that I ought, and that I wished, 
to write to you. 

We pressed to stay longer, but she is a great 

politician, and has some mysterious reasons for return- 


ing, which I could not fathom, though I let down my 
deep-sea line ; probably they are connected with the pres- 
ent precarious state of the Bourbons, and the lingering 
and protracted war carried on in the Spanish colonies. 
The natives admired her eyes very much, and said they 
were very different from Yorkshire eyes. They indeed 
express every soft and amiable virtue, with just as much 
of wickedness as is necessary to prevent insipidity. 

I ought to apologize to you for not having said any 
thing of the Princess. Youth and fertility quenched by 
death is a melancholy event, let the rank of the victim 
be what it may ; but her death is not of any political 
importance ; the root remains deep in the earth, and it 
matters not which becomes the leading shoot. 

I shall bring up your friend Douglas to Westminster 
after Easter, when I hope, my dear little friend, to see 
you in town. I shall have a mean idea of your powers, 
if, between coaxing, scolding, plaguing, and reasoning, 
you can not make Lord Tankerville take a house. 

I always tell you all the books worth notice that I 
read, and I rather counsel you to read Jacob's " Spain," 
a book with some good sense in it, and not unentertain- 
ing ; also, by all means, the first volume of Franklin's 
Letters. I will disinherit you if you do not admire ev- 
ery thing written by Franklin. In addition to all other 
good qualities, he w^as thoroughly honest. 

We have had Sir Humphry Davy here. A spurious 
Aladdin has sprung up in Northumberland, and pretends 
that the magical lamp belongs to him. There is no end 
to human presumption and arrogance, thougli nobody 
has as yet pretended to be Lady Mary Bennett. 

Sydney SxMitii. 


123.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

Sedgeley, Jan. Gth, 1817. 

Dear Lady Mary Bennett, 

I think it was rather bad taste on my part to speak 
of the Princess as a royal person, when you were lament- 
ing her loss as an acquaintance ; but I am very jealous 
of the monarchical feelings of this country. 

I do not know whether you are acquainted with the 
Philips with wliom I am now staying ; he is very rich, 
the discoverer of cotton, and an old friend of mine. I 
am going to preach a charity sermon next Sunday. I 
desire to make three or four hundred weavers cry, wliicli 
it is impossible to do since the late rise in cottons. 

And now, dear Lady ]Mary, do you want any thing 
in the flowered cotton, or Manchester velvet, or chintz 
line? Remember, this is not a town where there are 
only a few shops, but it is the great magazine from which 
flow all the mercers' shops in the known world. Here 
tabbies and tabinets are first concocted! Here muslin 
— elementary, rudimental, early, primeval muslin — is 
meditated ; broad and narrow sarsnet first see the light, 
and narrow and broad edging! Avail yourself, dear 
lady, of my being here, to prepare your conquering ar- 
mor for your next campaign. 

I shall be in town by the end of ]\Iarch, and sliall 
liave real pleasure in seeing you. I think you begin 
to feel at ease in my company ; certainly, you were 
much improved in that particular the last time we met. 
God bless you ! I admire you very much, and praise you 

Sydney Smith. 


124.] To Lord Holland. 

March IZth, 1817. 

My DEAR Lord Holland, 

Nobody, I assure you, is more desirous of living at 
ease than I am ; but I should prefer the approbation of 
such men as the Duke of Bedford and yourself, to the 
most unwieldy bishopric obtained by means you would 
condemn and despise. Doubtless, when you think of 
that amorous and herbivorous parish of Covent Garden, 
and compare it with my agricultural benefice, you will 
say, " Better is the dinner of herbs where love is, than 
the stalled ox," etc., etc. Be this as it may, my best 
thanks are due to you for your kind exertions in my fa- 
vor ; but you and Lady Holland are full of kindness to 
me on all occasions : you know how sincerely I am at- 
tached to you both. 

I entirely agree to, and sympathize with, your oppo- 
sition to the suspension: nothing can be more childish 
and more mischievous. Christianity in danger of being 
written down by doggerel rhymes! England about to 
be divided into little parcels, like a chess-board ! The 
flower and chivalry of the realm flying before one armed 
apothecary ! 

How can old ]\Iother G and j\Iother F swal- 
low such trash as this ? 

I say nothing of the great and miserable loss we have 
all sustained. He will always live in our recollection ; 
and it will be useful to us all, in the great occasions of 
life, to reflect how Horner would act and think in them, 
if God had prolonged his life. 

Ever, my dear Lord Holland, most truly and affec- 
tionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

140 me:\ioir of the rev. Sydney smith. 

125.] To John Whishaw, Esq. 

March 2Gth, 1817. 

;My dear Whishaw, 

* * * * * * 

It "will give us the most sincere pleasure to see you 
here, if it is in your power to reach us. Let us detain 
you (if you do come) as long as your other avocations 
will permit. 

I am not without hopes of being in town, but do 
not like leaving the country without collecting the 
little rents that are due to me ; indeed, if I omitted 
that ceremony before leaving my friends, I most prob- 
ably should never see them again. Lord Holland has 
told you the danger I was exposed to, of becoming 
rector of Covent Garden, of hortescortical notoriety. I 
think this is placing a clergyman in the van of the 

I had a letter yesterday from Philips ; he begins to 
tremble for IManchester. In this part of the country, 
there is not the slightest degree of distress among the 
poor. Every body is employed, and at fair wages ; but 
we are purely agi'icultural. I was surprised to find Bo- 
bus among the anti-alarmists ; he does not always keep 
such good company. 

"We saw Jeffrey on his way down. I should be glad 
to know Avhether he made a good figure in the House of 
Lords, and produced any effect. I had not seen him for 
some time, and found him improved in manner; in essen- 
tials he can not improve. 

Ever, dear Whishaw, most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


126.] To George Philips, Esq., M.P. 

FosTON, July 2oth, 1817. 

My DEAR Philips, 

Your letter gave Mrs. Sydney and me great pleasure. 
Once out of London you will rapidly recover ; and here, 
my dear Philips, let me warn you against the melan- 
choly effects of temperance. You will do me the justice 
to remember how often I have entered my protest against 
it : depend upon it, the wretchedness of human life is 
only to be encountered upon the basis of meat and 

Poor Ponsonby is numbered with the just. I had a 
letter last week from Lord Grey, lamenting his loss in 
very feeling terms. 

Brougham is here, that is, at York. Scarlett is de- 
tained in town, and does not come for the first week. I 
hope you are pleased with the spirit of the magistrates. 

Lord has lived long among them, and they knew 

him to be a fool; this is a great advantage. At this 
distance from London no magistrate beheves that a Sec- 
retary of State can be a fool. I am much pleased with 
the St. Helena manuscript — it seems smartly written, 
and full of good sense ; it is a very good imitation of 
what Bonap)arte might have said. 

It will give us great pleasure to come to you this 
year. I hope nothing will happen to prevent it ; though 
it commonly happens, when a person is just going to 
set out for any place where he wishes to go, that he 
falls down and breaks his leg in two places ; or, having 
arrived, is seized with a scarlet fever ; or is forced to 
return, hearing that his son's eye is knocked out by a 

I sincerely hope, my dear Philips, that you are re- 
covering your strength rapidly, and that, in the enjoy- 


ment of your pretty place, you will forget your past 
severe sufferings. Ever your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

127.] To Lady Holland. 

July Z\st, 1817. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I write to you from Scarborough, with a clear view 
of the Hague and Amsterdam. 

***** -lic- 

it is very curious to consider in what manner Horner 
gained, in so extraordinary a degree, the affections of 
such a number of persons of both sexes — all ages, par- 
ties, and ranks in society ; for he was not remarkably 
good-tempered, nor particularly lively and agreeable ; 
and an inflexible politician on the unpopular side. The 
causes are, his high character for probity, honor, and 
talents ; his fine countenance ; the benevolent interest 
he took in the concerns of all his friends ; his simple 
and gentlemanlike manners ; his untimely death. 

Sydney Smith. 

128.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

Scarborough, August loth, 1817. 

My dear Sir, 
I received your note at Scarborough, where I am 
with my brother, his family, and my father. From this 
place they all go to my house at Foston, and there they 

must be packed by 's condensing machine. Under 

these circumstances, it will be quite impossible to enjoy 
the pleasure of your company. Some other time I hope 
I shall be more fortunate. I am truly obliged to you for 
your friendly intention and recollection of my invitation. 


Our friend Philips is getting mucli better, and is 
making very laudable resolutions of intemperance, hav- 
ing been very much blamed by Baillie for his abstemi- 
ous habits. 

I remain, dear Davenport, sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

129,] To John Murray, Esq. 

FosTox, Yorac, Oct. 3c/, 1817. 

Nothing can be more unjust and natural than the 
conduct of parents in placing their children. They have 
recourse to ten thousand advisers, and appeal to each 
as if their whole confidence were placed in him. Some- 
body has now advised Mr. B that Mr. is the 

best tutor in Edinburgh ; and to Mr. , I presume, 

his son will go. I am extremely sorry for all the trouble 
I have given you, but as my residence in Scotland is 
so well known, appeals to me are made from intimate 
friends ; and what can I do ? The same thing may 
happen to you about English schools, and then you 
may take your revenge upon me. 

If ever you find yourself in an idle mood, I wish you 
would send me an accurate account of what is done in 
the High School at Edinburgh. Jefirey descanted upon 
that subject : but, with all my love and respect for him, 
I found it quite impossible to believe, though I acquitted 
him, of course, of any intentional misrepresentation ; but 
every young gentleman of twelve years of age appeared 
far superior to Henry Stephens, or his footman Scapula. 

Jeffrey has thrashed happily and deservedly ; 

but is it not time now to lay up his cudgel ? Heads 
that arc plastered and trepanned all over are no longer 
fit for breaking. 


M , I see, retires from his present situation, to 

sit in judgment upon the lives and properties of his fel- 
low-creatures. When a man is a fool, in England we 
only trust him with the immortal concerns of human 

Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

130.] To Lady jMary Bennett. 

No date. 

The drawings, dear Lady, are not yet arrived, though 
I dare say they are on the road. AVe have one draw- 
ing of yours in our drawing-room, and shall be delight- 
ed to multiply such ornaments, for their own merit, and 
for the recollections they excite. 

]\Iy sermon is on the road, with other heavy baggage. 
I will read it when it comes ; and if what I have said 
of Mrs. Fry is worth extracting, I shall be happy to 
send it to you: but I am a rough writer of sermons, 
thinking less care necessary for that which is spoken, 
than that which is written ; or rather, I should say, for 
that which is written to be spoken, than that which is 
written to be read. 

Poor Bobus has, as you see, lost his election ; a trick 
played upon him by that extraordinary person who looks 
over Lincoln, and who, looking, saw that he had not his 
clerical brother with him, and so watched his opportu- 
nity to do him a mischief. 

I am heartily glad to see the elections take so favor- 
able a turn. The people are all mad ; what can they 
possibly mean by being so wise and so reasonable ? 

I recommend you to read the first and second vol- 
umes of the four volumes of the Abbe Georgel's Me- 
moirs. You will suppose, from this advice, that there 


is sonietliing improper in the third and fourth ; but, to 
spare you the trouble of beginning with them, I assure 
you I only exclude them from my recommendation be- 
cause they are dull. You will see, in the second vol- 
ume, a detailed account of the celebrated Necklace Story, 
which regaled your papa and mamma before you were 
born — an event, by-the-by, for which I always feel my- 
self much indebted to Lord and Lady Tankerville. God 
bless you ! Sydney Smith. 

131.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

FosTON, 1817. 

Dear Lady ]\Iary, 

There never was better venison, or venison treated 
with more respect and attention. Chillingham is a place 
of the greatest merit. 

I envy Brougham his trip to Paris. There is nothing 
(except the pleasure of seeing you) I long for so much 
as to see Paris, and I pray my life may be spared for 
this great purpose, or rather these great purposes. 
Easter will do for the first, as I shall be in town about 
that time. My brother and his family quit us on Mon- 
day for Bowood. A house emptied of its guests is al- 
ways melancholy for the first three or four days. Their 
loss will be supplied by Sir Humphry and Lady Davy, 
who are about to pay us a visit next week. 

I have not framed your drawing yet, because I want 
another to accompany it, and then they shall both go up 
together. I do not know whether this is exigeant or not ; 
but I have so great an idea of your fertility in these mat- 
ters, that I consider a drawing to be no more to you than 
an epic poem to Coleridge, or a prison and police bill to 
some of your relations. 

Sydney Smith. 
Vol. II.— G 


132.] To Lady Maky Bennett. 

No date. 

My deae Friend, 

I sent you liasty notice, two or three clays ago, that 
}'Our pretty and elegant drawings had arrived. They are 
hung up, and give me a ray of cheerfubiess and satisfac- 
tion whenever I look upon them. 

Lord Tankerville is very kind to me, and I am much 
flattered by his attention. I will write to 3L*. Bailey on 
the very interesting subject of venison — a subject Avhich 
is deemed among the clergy a professional one. 

I hardly know cmy nnan who deserves any v^oman; 

therefore I shall think unequally man'ied if she 

marries . It is a common, everyday sort of match ; 

and she will be occupied, as usual, by tlie rapid suc- 
cession of Tom, Peter, Harry, Susan, Daniel, Caroline, 
Elizabeth, Jemima, Duodecimus, and Tridecimus. 

There is a great difference of opinion about Scott's new 
novel. At Holland Plouse it is much run down : I dare 
not oppose my opinion to such an assay or proof-house ; 
but it made me cry and laugh very often, and I was very 
Sony when it was over, and so I can not in justice call 
it dull 

The few words I said of ]Mrs. Fry (whom God bless, as 
well as you ! ) were these : 

"There is a spectacle which this town now exhibits, 
that I will venture to call the most solemn, tlie most 
Christian, the most affecting, which any human being ever 
witnessed! To see that holy woman in the midst of 
Avretched prisoners — to see them calling earnestly upon 
God, soothed by her voice, animated by her look, clinging 
to the liem of lier garment, and worshiping her as the only 
Imman being wlio has ever loved them, or taught them, 
or noticed them, or spoken to them of God ! This is the 
siglit whicli breaks down tlie pageantry of the world — 


which tells us that the short hour of life is passing away, 
and that we must prepare by some good deeds to meet 
God ; that it is time to give, to pray, to comfort — to go, 
like this blessed woman, and do the Avork of our heavenly 
Saviour, Jesus, among the guilty, among the broken- 
hearted, and the sick ; and to labor in the deepest and 
darkest wretchedness of life 1" God bless you ! 

Sydney Simith. 

133.] To the Countess Grey. 

December 22d, 1817. 

Dear Lady Grey, 

I am afraid you will laugh the flower-garden to scorn ; 
and yet the living pattern is the prettiest thing of the 
kind I ever saw. I can not see why you should disdain 
formal and regular shapes. In small spaces of ground 
contiguous to your house, and with the blooming mid- 
summer blaze of flowers, they are surely very pretty. 
And in this mode were these gardens first brought over 
to us from Holland and France. 

I journeyed on to York with very little ennui. As 
long as the coach is in Northumberland, I think the con- 
versation turns upon the Duke of Northumberland and 
Lord Grey. A fat lady in the corner was very partial to 
the latter ; a merchant from ISTewcastle did not like his 
principles ; " All the Greys are passionate, but it is soon 
over;" "Sir Harry shot an eagle;" "Lord Grey can 
spend thirty thousand a year, clear," etc., etc. 

I found every body very well at my home, and various 
schemes laid for Christmas feasts, in which, as you may 
suppose, I shall be aiding and abetting. I am very much 
obliged to you and Lord Grey for your kindness during 
my stay with you. Amidst your lords and dukes, pray 
keep a bit, however small, in your recollection for me. 


God bless you, clear Lady Grey ! Ever, ^^-itll sincere 
respect and regard, yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

134.] To Lady Holland. 

JS'o date. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I was very glad to hear you were so well as to despise 
the south of France, and remain at Paris. 

The Duke of Devonshire told me eveiy thing woidd go 
on as usual at Castle Howard. Lord 31orpeth is very 
much liked wherever he has presented himself, and ap- 
pears to be sure of his election. The Protestants are veiy 
angiy that four Papists should be elected, but they have 
not as yet brought forward any Martin Luther against us. 

Little Du Cane has been here — a very amiable, pleas- 
ing person. I shall ask for his defects ; they are 

not apparent at a first acquaintance. Lord (in- 
nocent lamb I) has been distributing cake and wine to the 
little children of , and presiding at the Bible Socie- 
ty. If he take to benevolence, he will be the happier 
for it. 

Have you read " Matilda ? " If you have, will you not 
tell me what you think of it ? You are as cautious as 
Whisliaw. I mentioned to Lord Xormanby that it was 
the book selected as a victim for the next number of the 
Edijibm*gh Peview, and that my brethren had compli- 
mented me with the knife. Lady Xormanby gave a 
loud shriek! 

^Vll the branches of the Howards are at Castle Howard. 
The music went off very well; ^20,500 was collected. 
I did not go once. ]\Iusic for such a length of time (un- 
less under sentence of a jury) I will not submit to. 
What pleasure is there in pleasure, if quantity is not at- 


tended to, as well as quality? I know nothing more 
agreeable than a dinner at Holland House ; but it must 


not begin at ten in the morning, and last till six. I 
should be incapable for the last four hours of laughing at 
Lord Holland's jokes, eating Eaffaelle's cakes, or repelling 
Mr. Allen's attacks upon the Church. 

Sydney Smith. 

135.] To John Whishaw, Esq. 

January 7ifi, 1818. 

We have been here* for a fortnight, and stay till the 
21st. The company who come here are chieEj jp/nlo- 
sqphical, as there is an immense colony of that name in 
these parts ; they seem all good-natured, worthy peo- 
ple, and many of them in the Whig line. In these days, 
too, every body reads a little ; and there is more variety 
and information in every class than there was fifty years 
ago. About the year 1740, a manufacturer of long ells or 
twilled fustians must have been rather a coarse-grained 
fellow. It is not among gentlemen of that description I 
would at present look for all that is delightful in manner 
and conversation, but they certainly run finer than they 
did, and are (to use their own phrase) a superior article. 

The acquittal of Hone gave me sincere pleasure, be- 
cause I believe it proceeded, in some measure, from the 
horror and disgust which the excessive punishments for 
libel have excited ; and if juiymen take this mode of 
expressing their disgust, judges will be more moderate. 
It is a rebuke also upon the veiy offensive and scandal- 
ous zeal of , and teaches juries their strength and 

importance. In short. Church and King in moderation 

are very" good things, but we have too much of both. I 

* The name of the place is not given in the MS. — En. 


presume by this time your grief at the death of the Prin- 
cess is somewhat abated. Death in the midst of youth 
is always melancholy, but I can not think it of political 

I am very glad the have sent their son from 

home ; he is a very unusual boy, and he wanted to be 
exposed a little more to the open air of the world. 

Poor Mackintosh I I am heartily sorry for him ; but 
his situation at Hertford will suit liim very well (pelt- 
ing and contusions always excepted).* He should stip- 
ulate for "pebble money," as it is technically term- 
ed, or an annual pension in case he is disabled by the 
pelting of the students. By-the-by, might it not be ad- 
visable for the professors to learn the use of the sling 
{halearis hahena) ? — it would give them a great advant- 
age over the students. 

We are all perfectly well, with the usual January ex- 
ceptions of colds, sore throats, rheumatism, and hoarse- 
ness. I shall be in London in March, but pray write to 
me before if you have any leisure. 

Ever your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

136.] 'To Lady Holland. 

Fehritary Gtli, 1818. 

My dear Lady Holland, 
I can not be insensible to the loss of so sensible and 
so agreeable a man as Lord Ossory, and of one so near- 
ly related to Lord Holland ; but I know notliing which, 
for a long time, has made me so truly happy as to hear 
of your accession to fortune, which I did this day from 
Lord Carlisle. I gave three loud huzzas in Lord Caw- 

* Alluding to the frequent insurrections that used fonncrly to take 
jtlace nmong the students at Haylcybury College. 


dor's dressing-room ; making more noise in a minute 
than the accumulated sounds in Castle Howard would 
amount to in a whole year. God send you health and 
long life to enjoy it. 

Sydney Smith. 

] 37.] To Lady ^Iary Bennett. 

FoSTOX, Fchruarij, 1818. 

Dear Lady Mary, 

I have, for many weighty reasons, put off my coming 
to town till the middle of ^lay ; therefore, pray do not 
destroy yourself with dissipation between this period and 
that, so that there may remain a small portion of you 
for your lately-arriving country friends. 

I never knew any thing more horrible than the death 
of poor Croft : what misery the poor fellow must have 
suffered between the Princess's death and his own ! 

I hope you are as much rejoiced as it behoves all good 
people to be, at the increase of fortune which has accrued 
to Lord Holland. Lord Ossory seems to have enjoyed 
as much happiness as falls to the lot of human beings — 
a good fortune, rank, excellent sense and health, a love 
of knowledge, long life, and equable temper. ]\Iay all 
this be your lot I 

You said there was a young to appear soon ; 

where is it? What do you think of Pubhcola Pym 
Hampden Eunnymede , for a name ? 

I am losing my life and time in thinking and talking 
of bulls, cows, horses, and sheep ; and, Avith my time, 
my money also. God bless you ! 

Sydney Smith. 


138.] To Lady Davy. 

FosTox, April 8th, 1818. 

My dear Lady Davy, 

Infinitely gratified that you, who live in the most in- 
tellectual spot of the most intellectual place in the world, 
should think and ask when a Yorkshire parson comes to 
town. My Lord, the Thane of Cawdor, is pleased to 
disport himself sometimes with the country clergy ; jet, 
hj the grace of God, they will be equal with him when 
they come to London. 

I am astonished that a woman of your sense should 
yield to such an imposture as the Augsburg Alps — sure- 
ly you have found out, by this time, that God has made 
nothing so curious as human creatures. Deucalion and 
Pyrrha acted with more wisdom than Sir Humphry 
and you ; for being in the Augsburg Alps, and meeting 
with a number of specimens, they tossed them over their 
heads and turned them into men and women. You, on 
the contrary, are flinging away your animated beings for 
quartz and feldspar. 

The Hollands wrote with great pleasure of a dinner 
you gave them ; and certainly you do keep 07ie of the 
most agreeable houses, if not t/ie most agreeable house, 
in London. Ali Pasha Luttrell, Piince of the Albani- 
ans, allows this. 

I am impatient to see you, and am always pleased and 
flattered when I find the Lethean lemonade of London 
does not banish me from your recollections. ^Irs. Syd- 
ney unites with me in kind regards to Sir Humphry. 
Ever, dear Lady Davy, most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


139.] To John Whishaw, Esq. 

TosTOX, A2)ril 13th, 1818. 

My dear Whishaw, 

I am ver J much obliged to you for your kind oiFer ; 
I have, however, made mimerous inquiries, and believe 
I am tolerably well instructed in the ways of Westmin- 
ster school. If any of your friends have a son at West- 
minster, who is a boy of conduct and parts, I should be 
much obliged to you to recommend Douglas* to his pro- 
tection ; he has never been at school, and the change is 
greater, perhaps, than any other he will experience in 
his future life. 

]\Iy astonishment was very great at reading Canning's 
challenge to the anonymous pamphleteer. If it were the 
first proof of the kind, it would be sufficient to create a 
general distrust of his sense, prudence, and capacity for 
action. What sympathy can a wit by profession, a pro- 
voker and a discoverer of other men's weaknesses, ex- 
pect for his literary woes ? What does a politician 
know of his trade, when twenty years have not made 
him pamphlet-proof? I can not form a guess who has 
written a pamphlet that could provoke Canning to such 
a reply : I should scarcely suppose any producible per- 
son ; but I have not read it, and am therefore talking 
at random. 

Our excellent friend appears to have been some- 
what hasty upon the subject of the spy in the one-horse 
chair, drawn by the warrior ; but his conduct was very 
manly and respectable, in advocating the cause of the 
poor democrats, who by their knavery and folly are very 
contemptible, but are not tlicrcforc to be abandoned to 
their oppressors. I liave been fighting up against agri- 
cultural difficulties, and endeavoring to do well what I 

* !Mr. Smith's eldest son. 


am compelled to do ; but I believe the first recipe to 
farm well is, to be rich. 

Soon after the 12th of May I hope to see you, and 
shall be happy to converse with you upon the subject 
of our poor friend's papers ; though the general leaning 
of my mind is to have his fame where it now stands, 
upon its political base. 

Hertford College is really a paradox. 

Of Hallam's labor and accuracy I have no doubt ; I 
like and respect him as much as you do ; his success 
will please me very much. 

I remain, my dear Whishaw, very truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


To Lady 











You are of an ardent mind, and overlook the difficul- 
ties and embarrassments of life. Luttrell, before I taught 
him better, imagined muffins grew ! He was wholly ig- 
norant of all the intermediate processes of sowing, reap- 
ing, gi'inding, kneading, and baking. Now you require 
a jpro7nj^t answer ; but mark the difficulties : your note 
comes to AVeymouth Street, where I am 7iot ; then by 
the post to Holland House, where, as I am not a mar- 
quis, and have no servant, it is tossed on the porter's 
table ; and when found and answered, will creep into 
the post late this evening, if the postman is no more 
drunk than common. 

Pray allow for these distressing embarrassments, witli 
whicli Imman intercourse is afflicted ; and believe how 
happy I shall be to wait on you the 22d, being always, 
my dear Lady Davy, sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


141.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

1818. ' 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I am truly obliged by your kindness in inviting Mrs. 
Sydney and me to come and see you. I know nothing 
that would give us more pleasure ; but poverty, agricul- 
ture, children, clerical confinement, all conspire to put 
such a pleasure out of my reach. The only holiday I 
get in the year carries me naturally toward London, to 
meet my father and brother ; however, I will not despair. 
I mention these tilings explicitly now, that there may be 
no occasion to trouble you any more ; and this, I dare 
say you will agree with me, is the better plan. 

I must, however, beg the favor of you to be explicit 
on one point. Do you mean to take care that the Re- 
view shall not profess or encourage infidel principles ? 
Unless this is the case, I must absolutely give up all 
thoughts of connecting myself with it. 

Is it the custom in the Review to translate French 
extracts ? I believe not. 

I have received, and nearly read, Georgel. 

Ever, my dear friend, yours affectionately, 

Sydney Smith. 

142.] To John Allen, Esq. 

FosTox, Jii/i/ IGM, 1818. 

]My dear Allen, 
I have read Georgel, and must say I have seldom read 
a more stupid book. The first volume, in which he re- 
lates what he had seen and observed liimself, is well 
enough ; but the three last are no more than a mere 
newspaper collection of the proceedings ; lamentations 
over the Avickedness of tlie Revolution, and common par- 


sonic notions of tlie right of kings. Does the book 
strike you in any other point of view ? Such as it is, I 
shall write a re\dew of it, and I should he obliged to you 
to tell me if you think my opinion just. 

Is his explanation of the story of the necklace to be 
credited ? Could a man of the Cardinal's rank, who had 
filled the situation of Embassador at the Court of Vien- 
na, be the dupe of such a woman as !Madame La Motte ? 
or was he the rogue ? or was he the dupe ? and La ^^lotte 
the agent of the Queen ? If this is not the tiaie version, 
where is the tnie version to be found ? Is there any 
new information respecting the French Revolution in 
Georgel? there seems none such to me. Pray recom- 
mend me some new books as soon as you can. Brough- 
am seems to have made a very respectable appearance 
in point of numbers. 

The springs and the fountains are all dried up, and 
tlie land and the cattle are drinking ale and porter. But 
nothing signifies when the Whigs are so successful. 
Kind regards. Ever yours, dear Allen, most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

143.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, Anfjust Ot/i, 1818. 

My dear Friend, 

I will tell you my opinion about Hone and his prose- 
cution, and then you shall do just as you like in allotting 
the book to, or witliholding it from me. 

I think tlie Administration did j^crfectly right in pro- 
secuting him ; for he either intended to bring the religion 
of his country into ridicule with the common j^eople, or 
was blamably careless in not guarding against that con- 
sequence ; but the punishments of libel are so atrocious 
and severe, tliat T almost doubt whether his totnl ac- 


qiiittal is not better than the establishment of his guilt 
would have been, followed by that enormous and dispro- 
portionate punishment which awaited it. Lord Ellen- 
borough's conduct was very absurd ; and it was t}T:anni- 
cal and oppressive to prosecute the man three times. I 
have the same opinion which every body else has of the 
bravery and talent exemplified in his defense ; and hig 
trial is rendered memorable by the improved method of 
striking a jury. 

These are the outlines of my opinions on the subject, 
and I shall most cheerfully acquiesce in your sentence 
of Yes or No. 

I had no idea of -wTiting any thing very new upon the 
subject of the Poor Laws, but something short and read- 
able, which Chalmers has 7iot done, for it is not possible 
to read his dissertation ; but there may be some fear of 
clashing with him, and therefore perhaps I had better 
avoid the subject. I would not, of course, interfere with 
any subject you had intended to treat. 

I will bore you as little with cjuestions about the Re- 
view as possible ; but do not think it necessar}^, in writ- 
ing an answer, when you happen to be busy, to write 
more than a mere reply to the question. 

We are just beginning our harvest here — a very indif- 
ferent one ; and water is not to be had for love or money. 
Ever, my dear Jeffrey, most tnily yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

144.] To THE EapvL Gkey. 

Yopac, Aur/ust 2i:th, 1818. 

Dear Lord Grey, 
I am very desirous to hear what your vote is about 
Walter Scott. I think it excellent — quite as good as 
any of his novels, excepting that in wliich Claverhousc 


is introduced, and of which I forget the name. I read 
it with the liveliest interest ; he repeats his characters, 
"but it seems they will bear repetition. I have heard 
no votes, hut those of Lord and Lady Holland and John 
Allen against, and Lord and Lady Lansdowne for, the 

I congratulate you on the general turn of the elec- 
tions, and the serious accession of strength to the 

Brougham seems to have made an excellent stand 
against the Lonsdales ; and if Lord Thanet will back 
him again, he will probably carry his point. The Tories 
here are by no means satisfied with , who is sub- 
jected to vacillations between right and wrong. They 
want a man steadily base, who may be depended upon 

for want of principle. I think on these points Mr. 

might satisfy any reasonable man ; but they are exorbi- 
tant in their demands. 

We conquered here the whooping-cough with a pen- 
nyworth of salt of tartar, after having filled them with 
the expensive poisons of Halford. What an odd thing 
that such a specific should not be more known ! 

Adieu, my dear Lord ! Ever yours, with sincere at- 
tachment and respect, 

Sydney Smith. 

145.] To John Allen, Esq. 

FosTOK, Au(^vst 28///, 1818. 

]My Deak Allen, 
I have long since dispatched my review of Georgel 
lo Jeffrey. It is ten years since there lias been any ac- 
count in the Edinburgh Heview of Botany Bay ; I have 
a fancy to give an account of the progress of the colony 
since tliat time ; do you know any books to have re- 


course to? There is a Eeport of the House of Com- 
mons, which must throw some light on the present state 
of the colony, and there are, above all, if I could get 
at them, the Botany Bay and Van Diemen's Land news- 
papers. Do you know Manne's book, 1811 ? Do you 
know any thing else in any other books capable of throw- 
ing light upon the subject ? 

There is a Mr. Stewart in Edinburgh, a Scotch cler- 
gyman, who is said to be eminently successful in the 
cure of phthisis when somewhat advanced ; have you 
heard any thing about him, or his practice ? Do you be- 
lieve in the report ? Will you write immediately to John 
Thompson, to know what is his opinion of Stewart and 
his practice ? The anecdotes I have heard are very nu- 
merous and very strong. 

The harvest is finished here, and is not more than 
two-thirds of an average crop ; potatoes have entirely 
failed ; there is no hay ; and it will be a year of great 

I can not at all agree about Walter Scott ; it is a novel 
full of power and interest ; he repeats his characters, but 
they will bear repetition. Who can read the novel with- 
out laughing and crying twenty times ? AVhat other 
proof is needed? 

Lord Tankerville has sent me a whole buck ; this 
necessarily takes up a good deal of my time. Lord 
Carlisle gets stronger and healthier every time I see 
him. Morpeth is arrived at Castle Howard with the 
Duke of Eutland. 

What matchless impudence, to place the two 
in the frontispiece of the Education Committee ! 
Your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


146.] To John Allen, Esq. 

FosTOX, September 15ih, 1818. 

Dear Allen, 

I am exceedingly obliged by your kindness in pro- 
curing for me the Botany Bay Gazettes, but I have just 
received a letter from Longman saying, he shall be able 
to procure them : as it is better therefore to employ one 
who has a pecuniary interest in being civil, than a per- 
son who has merely a moral interest, I hasten to save 
trouble to Mr. Plumer, who probably after all is taking 
none ; but still, having said he would take trouble, the 
obligation is the same. 

Thompson* is above all jealousy, and therefore phthi- 
sis remains as incurable as it always has been ; still the 
day iJiccT/ come — ivill come, when that complaint will be 
reduced to utter insignificance by some silly weed on 
which we now trample every day, not knowing its power 
to prevent the greatest human afflictions. 

I should very much have liked a collection of letters 
of Madame d'Epinay and her friends, after her return 
from Geneva, and her friendship established with Di- 
derot. Grimm is an excellent person, not unlike Whi- 
shaw, except as he is the object of a tender passion to a 
beautiful woman. 

I question much whether Lady Holland has seen a 
real country squire, or if they grow at all within that 
distance of London. Sydney Smith. 

147.] To The Earl Grey. 

September, 1818. 

My dear Lord Grey, 
Many thanks for the important information joii have 
* Dr. Thompson of Edinburgh. 


sent me, which I have forwarded to my brother, whose 
children, I find, are better; but I hope he will not re- 
sume liis security. I shall be very much surprised if it 
turns out that Stewart can stop the progress of ulcers 
found in the lungs ; but the project of hardening the 
lungs, by hardening their case, seems worth attending to. 
Most of the viscera can be got at, and improved, by top- 
ical applications — Oliver, stomach, kidneys, etc. 

I think I shall be able to make out a joui'ney to the 
North this year. It will give me sincere pleasure to 
come to Ho-vvick ; I have no doubt of a hearty welcome. 
The Duchess of Bedford is full of amusement and sense ; 
but I need no other motive to visit Howick than the sin- 
cere respect and friendship I entertain for its inhabitants, 
whose acquaintance I find myself to have made (so hu- 
man life slips on ! ) eleven years ago. 

We have about two-thirds of a crop in this country, 
and I have a fine crop of Talavera wheat. The Gran- 
viUes are at Castle Howard, and all the ]\Ioi-peths (no 
mean part of the population of Yorkshire) fully estab- 
lished there. The old Earl is young, athletic, and merry. 

You had better write to the Duke of Norfolk about 
the seats of our friend Philips and his son, as they will 
both probably be hanged by the mob in cotton twist. 

The Commissioner will have hard work witli the Scotch 
atheists ; they are said to be numerous this season, and 
in great force, from the irregular supply of rain. 

I am by no means well this day, so I must leave ofi* 
writing ; I will write to you before I come, and hear from 
you before I set ofi". 

Ever, my dear Lord, most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


148.] To Lady Holland. 

FosTON, October Wih, 1818. 

]\Iy dear Lady HolLx\.nd, 

Allen asked when Douglas and I come to the South ; 
but I had no thoughts of coming, and Douglas has been 
at Westminster some time, fought his first battle, come 
off victorious, and is completely established. Instead of 
the soutli, I am turning mj face northward, to see Lord 
Grey and Jeifrey. John Murray and I are to meet at 
the best of all possible chateaux. 

Some surprise is excited by your staying at Ampt- 
hill ; but Rogers, I hear, has been sent for as a condi- 
ment, and Luttrell has been also in your ej^argne. 

I am sorry we can not agree about Walter Scott. ]\Iy 
test of a book written to amuse, is amusement ; but I 
am rather rash, and ought not to say I am amused^ be- 
fore I have inquired whether Sharp or !^Iackintosli is so. 
Whishaw's plan is the best : he gives no opinion for the 
first week, but confines himself to chuckling and eleva- 
ting his chin ; in the mean time he drives diligently about 
the first critical stations, breakfasts in Mark Lane, hears 
from Hertford College, and by Saturday night is as bold 
as a lion, and as decisive as a court of justice. 

The are gone to , and superfine work there 

will be, and much whispering ; so that a bhnd man 
.should sit there, and believe they are all gone to bed, 
though the room is full of the most brilliant company ! 
As for me, I like a little noise and nature, and a large 
party, very merry and happy. 

Sydney Smith. 


149.] To THE Earl Grey. 

FosTON, October 2M, 1818. 

;My dear Lord Grey, 

Douglas is a great deal better, and if lie has no re- 
lapse will do well. Mrs. Sydney is in town nursing him 
by this time, though I have not yet heard accounts of 
her arrival. I am on guard here, with three children of 
my own and one of my neighbor's, in whose house (guided 
always by the most rigid rules of vaccination and Jen- 
ner) the natural small-pox has broken out, but without 
death or ugliness. 

I am heartily sorry not to make out my visit to How- 
ick. It is not impossible, but very improbable. 

I have had a letter to-day from Lady Holland. The 
air of North Wiltshire is too keen for Henry. It is dif- 
ficult to suit him with a climate. We have, to be sure, 
very little variety of that article in England to choose 
from, and what there is, can not be called extra or super- 
fine ; yet I should not like to be near Marsh at the first 
intimation that Lady HoUand is displeased with his cli- 
mate. But pray do not repeat these profane jokes, or I 
shall see Antonio with the bowstring, or John Allen with 
a few grains of homicide-powder in a tea-cup. 

The Ministry, I hear, mean to refuse the renewal of 

the Committee. ^Ir. has been at Lord Carlisle's ; 

I should like very much to have seen him. A good deal 
depends upon what figure a liusband cuts in a room. 
Much may be conceded to income and local position, but 
not aU. I could have told in a moment whether he 
would or would not pass, but I did not see him. Lady 
Georgiana was for him, so was Lord Morpeth. I have 
written you a long letter, intending only to write three 
lines ; but garrulity with tongue and pen is my misfor- 
tune, and, this evening, yours also. Always, my dear 
Lord, your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 


150.] To THE Earl Grey. 

TosTOX, Octobe?- 29th, 1818. 

My dear Lord, 

You will be so obliging as to write me word when 
your schemes are fixed. My present plan is to be in 
London for three or four months, about the 10th of De- 
cember. I am tnily sorry to receive such accounts of 
Lady Grey. It strikes me that she has a very good 
constitution, and I have no doubt we shall have a veiy 
meny christening in Portman Square, to which, I 
strongly suspect, you will invite me ; and if Lady Grey 
(to whom my very kind regards) wishes to see a child 
gracefully held, and to receive proper compliments upon 
its beauty, and to witness the consummation of all eccle- 
siastical observances, she will invite me to perform the 

Jeffrey, to whom I was going when I left you, is very 
ill, at Glasgow, in the hands of surgeons. 

Douglas I am quite at my ease about ; many thanks 
for your kind anxiety. I have not read the Memoirs 
you allude to : your account of them makes me curious. 
Ever, dear Lord Grey, yours very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

lol.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, Nov. 23c/, 1818. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I entirely agi'ce with you respecting the Americans, 
and believe that I am to the full as much a Philo-Yan- 
keeist as you are. I doubt if there ever was an instance 
of a new people conducting their affairs with so much 
wisdom, or if there ever was such an extensive scene 
of human liappiness and prosperity. However, you 


could not know that such were my opinions ; or if you 
did, you might imagine I should sacrifice tlip-ii to effect ; 
and in either case your caution was proper. 

I go to London the 15th of December, and ^vill send 
you "America" "before then. I certainly will make you 
a visit at Edinbui-gh ; and remain ever. 

My dear Jeffrey, most sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

152.] To THE Eakl Grey. 

FosTox, Xov. SOt/i, 1818. 

Dear Lord Grey, 

I will send Lady Grey the news from London when 
I get there. I am sure she is too wise a woman not to 
be fond of gossiping ; I am fond of it, and have some 
talents for it. 

I recommend you to read Hall, Palmer, Fearon, and 
Bradling's Travels in America, particularly Fearon. 
These four books may, with ease, be read through be- 
tween breakfast and dinner. There is nothing so curi- 
ous and interesting as the rapidity with which the Amer- 
icans are spreading themselves over that immense con- 

It is quite contrary to all probability that America 
should remain in an integral state. They aim at ex- 
tending from sea to sea, and have already made settle- 
ments on the Pacific. There can be no community of 
interest between people placed under such veiy differ- 
ent circumstances: the maritime Americans, and those 
who communicate witli Europe by the ]\Iississippi are 
at this moment, as far as interest can divide men, two 
separate people. There docs not appear to be in Amer- 
ica at this moment one man of any considerable talents. 
They are a very sensible people ; and seem to have con- 


ducted their affairs, upon the whole, verj welL Bu*k- 
beck's second book is not so good as his first. He de- 
ceives himself — sajs he icishes to deceive himself — and 
is not candid. If a man chooses to say, " I will live 
up to my neck in mud, fight bears, swim rivers, and 
combat backwoodsmen, that I may ultimately gain an 
independence for myself and children,"' this is plain and 
intelligible ; but, by Birkbeck's account, it is much like 
settling at Putney or Kew ; only the people are more 
liberal and enlightened. Their economy and their cheap 
government will do some good in this country by way 
of example. Their allowance to Munro is £5000 per 
annum ; and he finds his own victuals, fire, and can- 
dles ! 

Ever yours, dear Lord Grey, most sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

153.] To THE Countess Geey. 

January 12tli, 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. To-day 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, 
pi^tty children, and a very comfortable villa at Fulham ; 
his rooms were well lighted, warmed in the most agree- 
able, luxurious manner with Russian stoves, and his 
dinner excellent. Every thing was perfectly comfort- 


able. 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 hom's yesterday with my children in 
the British Museum : it is now put on the best possi- 
ble 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 

154.] To THE Countess Geey 

No date. 

Dear Lady Grey, 
Macdonald spoke extremely well, and to tlie 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 can not speak. !Mr. L , the jocular York- 
shire member, is supposed to be the most consummately 
impudent man that ever passed the Humber. Waith- 
man, the linen-draper, spoke very well, and witli great 


propriety ; lie has been an improved man ever since Lord 
Grey gave Mm such a beating. Mr. EUis, son of Lord 
Mendip, appears upon the London arena ; politics un- 
known ; 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 hook : 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 every body there. 

Antonio is married to one of the under cook-maids, 
which makes the French cook very angry, as an inter- 
ference with his department and perquisites. They re- 
port that Pidcock of the Fxeter Change is to take An- 

Tiemey (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 savory eccle- 
siastical pamphlet, to read Jonas Dennis's " Concio 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 fimous. 

A new actor has ajjpeared, 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 amuse- 
ment 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 afiraid. 

Sydney Smith. 



155.] To THE Countess Grey. 

HoLLA>-D House. No date. 

Dear Lady Grey, 

I write from Holland House, where all are very well, 
except Charles, who is returned with a lit of the jaun- 
dice ; 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 embassador ; Lord Aberdeen ; the Ex- 
quisite ; 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. Li spite of such heterogeneous materials, 
w^e had a pleasant party. ^laiy is becoming very hand- 

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 maiTiage 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 Chancel- 
lor 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. 
Vol. IL— H 


156.] To THE Countess Grey. 

20 Saville Pvoav, Feb. oth, 1819. 

Dear Lady GpvEy, 

Tierney made a very good speecli, very well calculated 
to get votes. Frankland Lewis did very well. ]\Ir. !Ma- 
berley introduced some very striking arguments, but got 
wrong toward the end. This is the Augustan age of 
aldemien. Alderman Heygatc has far exceeded Waith- 
rnan, who spoke very well. 

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

AVhen 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, toward 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 Re- 
view upon "Universal Suffrage;" it is by Sh: James 
Mackintosh. There is a pamplilet on Bullion, by Mr. 
Copplestone, of Oxford, much read; but bullion, I think, 
is not a favorite dish at ITowick. 

Sydney Smith. 

157.] To the Earl Grey. 

Saville llow, Feb. 10 th, 1819. 

My dear Lord Grey, 
I am heartily glad that it has all ended so well, and 
tliat Lady ({rey'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 every thing that is 
kind from me to Lady Grey. 

I was on the hustings the greater part of the morning 
yesterday, with the i\Iiss 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 to-day. I can not 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 eve- 
ning he completely recovered it, and is now getting rap- 
idly 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 Peniten- 
tiary : it is a very great national work, and well worth 
your seeing; and teU Lady Grey, when she comes to 
town, to w^alk on that very fine terrace between Yaux- 
hall and AYestminister Bridge. It is one of the finest 
things about London. 

I agree with you in aU 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 suc- 

When Lord Erskine was ill at Oaklands,* Mr. Daw- 
son 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 
intnision of the new peeress ; who kicked, screamed, and 
scratched, and vowed she would come in. At last, Lau- 
derdale took her up in his arms, and was going to caiTy 
her down stairs ; but Lord Alvanley, pretending to as- 
sist Lauderdale, opened the door. Lady Erskine extri- 
cated herself from the Scotch Hercules, and with torn 
veil and disheveled hair, flung herself at the Duchess's 
feet ! Lauderdale stamped about like one mad, expect- 
ing every moment the Duchess would go into hysterics. 
The scene was put an end to by a universal roar of 
laughter from every body in the room ; and the aston- 
ished Lauderdale beheld the peeress kicking off her pet- 
ticoats, and collapsing into a well-known dandy ! In 
the mean time, poor Lord Erskine lies miserably ill ; and 
if he does not die fi'om the illness, will probably die from 
the effects of it. 

The Hollands have read Rogers's poem, and like it. 
The verses on Pa^stum arc said to be beautiful. The 
whole poem is not more than eight hundred lines. - Lut- 
trell approves : I have not seen it yet. 

I Avent yesterday to see the national monuments in 
St. Paul's, and never beheld such a disgusting heap of 
trash. It is a disgi-ace to a country to encourage such 
artists. Samuel Johnson's monument, by old Bacon, is 
an exception. I have seen to-day, at the Prince's 
Riding-house, the casts from tlie Florence Gallery, of 
* The Dtike of York's house, near "Walton. 


Niobe and her Children, arranged by CockerelFs son 
upon a new theory. They give me very great pleasure ; 
pray see them when you come to town. Afterward I 
went over Carlton House, with Nash, the architect. 
The suite of golden rooms, 450 feet in length, is ex- 
tremely 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 to-night of good read- 
ing, 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 Avill be 
beaten ; the least so, that Vansittart and the Doctor 
will be thrown overboard. 

I have read Rogers ; there are some very good de- 
scriptions — the Mother and Child, ]\Ir. Fox at St. Ann's 
Hill, and several more. The beginning of the verses on 
Passtum are very good too. I am going to dine with 
the Miss Berrys to-day, where I am in high favor, and 
am reckoned a wit. 

Very bad accounts of Lord Erskine — very ill and lan- 
guid 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 Feancis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, April 2d, 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 gen- 
ral 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 

It pleases me sometimes to think of the very great 
number of important subjects which have been discuss- 
ed in so enlightened a manner in the Edinburgh Review. 
It is a sort of magazine of liberal sentiments, w^hich 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 ag- 
itation. 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 1 

Sydney SmxH. 


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 con- 
sented. I learn from Brougham (through Allen, how- 
ever) 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 noi so, I will proceed. In the 
mean time, I will proceed upon an article of Mr. Dennis 
and the Chui'ch, and I have finished a short article of 
Heude's " Travels across the Desert, from Bagdad to 
Constantinople. " I shall proceed with such sort of books 
till some interesting subject occurs to me of greater im- 
portance. I have already your consent to Mr. Dennis. 

Poor Seymour !* Every year thins the ranks of our 
old friends. Those who remain must take closer order. 

I have read no article but Boss, which I like, and 
Laney, which I do not dislike, though I tliink 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 

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

Sydney S:\nTir. 

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


162.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Savillk Row, June, 1819. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

This number of the Keview is much liked, in spite of 
the nonsense I have contributed ; particularly, I think, 
]\Iackintosh's paper on Universal Suffrage. 

The Opposition expect to muster strong. Tierney, 
who is always the reverse of sanguine, talks of one hun- 
dred 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 coj^y of his 
other works, MuiTay is to give him three thousand 
pounds — a sum which Crabbe has heard mentioned be- 
fore, but of which he can form no very accurate numer- 
ical 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 Lauder- 
dale, are sent back for mitigation down to the standard 
law level. ]\Iurray is afraid of his ears. Lord John 
Kussell is coming out witli the Memoirs of Lord Rus- 
sell, and ^liss Berry with those of Lady Russell. 

Ever, my dear friend, yours most truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

163.] To John Allen, Esq. 

I^osTox, Julij 1th, 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 catarrli whicli pre- 


vents 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 

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

Pray tell me how Lord Holland is, and how my broth- 
er is. My eldest son Douglas (whom you may remem- 
ber at Holland House) has succeeded in the trial at West- 
minster, 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 country ; but Baring, in the 
immensity of his transactions, is hardly likely to keep in 
mind any thing so unimportant. 

What are your plans for the summer ? 

I have read GaHano'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 let- 
ters. 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 a I'auteur d'un ouvrage ayant pour titrc, 
Superstitions et Prestiges des Philosophes du 18 siecle, 
dans lequel on examine plusieurs opinions qui mettent 
obstacle a I'entier etablissement de la Religion en France ; 
par M. Deleuse. 8vo." Do you know any thing of this 
book? and of " Campagne de I'AiTnee Fran9aise en Por- 
tugal, 1810-11 ; avec un precis de celles qui Pont pre- 
* Dean of Christchurch, Oxford. 


cede ; par im Officier superieiir employe dans Tetat- 
major do cette armee '?'' 

Yours, my dear Allen, very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

164.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, July 30th, 1819. 

^Iy dear Jeffrey, 

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

You have never told me how your little erirl is. 

What do you think ^\-ill become of all these political 
agitations ? I am strongly inclined to think, whether 
now or twenty years hence, that Parliament must be re- 
formed. 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 
wiU be satisfied with. I am doubtful whether it is not 
you?' duty and 7/2?/ duty to become moderate Eeformers, 
to keep off worse. 

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

Ever vours, Sydney Smith. 

165.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, Afijust Itk, 1819. 

^Iy dear Jeffrey, 

You must consider that Edinburgh is a very gTave 

place, and that you live with philosophers who are very 

intolerant of nonsense. I ■v\Tite 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 dullness 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 pub- 
lic, 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 can not 
promise to alter. Such is my opinion of the effect of 
my articles. I differ with you entirely about Lieuten- 
ant Heude. To do such things very often would be 
absurd ; to punish a man every now and then for Avrit- 
ing a frivolous book is wise and proper ; and you would 
find, if you lived in England, that the review of Lieu- 
tenant Heude is talked of and quoted for its fun and 
impertinence, when graver and abler articles are thumb- 
ed over and passed by. Almost any one of the sen- 
sible men who write for the Review would have writ- 
ten 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 than the princi- 
ples are right, and that there is no lack of sense in it. 

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

I am extremely sony for ]\Ioore's misfoi*tune, but 
only know generally that he has met with misfortune. 
God bless you I 

Your sincere friend, Sydney Si^riTii. 


166.'] To THE Countess Gtiey. 

FosTON, August, 1819. 

;^Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I was just going to Avrite 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 ]\Ialvern ; 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's ; 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, pi*udent, 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 eiuiuyed with ]\Ialvern. I can thoroughly 
understand the effect which such a place would have 
upon him; I am sorry I am not near, to quiz and at- 
tack him. 

I wish you and Lord Grey would pay us a visit, and 
see how happy people can be in as mall, snug parson- 
age. I am a great farmer ; am improving, and losing 
less money than formerly. The crops are abundant every 
where, 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 IGtIi, 1819. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

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

You do me honor when you say the subjects I iin- 
dertake 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 in- 
crease, 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 ]\Ianchester riots will appear next number ; 
I am ready for them, if nobody else is. 

168.] To the Countess Grey. 

FosTON, Nov. Sd, 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 tlie 
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 approv- 
ing of the proceedings of the magistrates, and upon the 
folly and iniquity of dismissing Lord Fitzwilliam. 

I can not measure the danger ; I guess there is no 
more danger at present than what vigilance and ac- 
tivity, 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. Li which of 
these two evils it terminates, is of no more consequence 
than from which tube of a double-barreled 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. 

FosTox llKCTonv, 1810. 

My dear Douglas, 

Concerning this ]\Ir. , I would not have you 

put any trust in him, for he is not trustwortliy ; but 
so live with him as if one day or otlier he were to be 
your enemy. With such a character as his, this is a 
necessary precaution. 

In the time you can give to Englisli reading you 
should consider what it is most needful to have, what 
it is most shameful to want — shirts and stockings, be- 
fore frills and collars. Such is the history of your own 



country, to be studied in Hume, then in Rapin's His- 
tory 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's "Life of Sir Eobert Walpole," and the "Duke 
of Marlborough;" and these read with attention to dates 
and geography. Then, the history of the other tlu'ee 
or four enlightened nations in Europe. For the En- 
glish poets, I will let you off at present with Milton, 
Dry den, 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 Thom- 
son 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 accept- 
able of all presents — the information that you are im- 
proving in all particulars. 

The greatest of all human mysteries are the West- 
minster 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 Lon- 
don, and envied you A'ery 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 transjjarislied 
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, I'oRK, Dec. 3o?, 1819. 

Ml' DEAR Lord Grey, 

I am truly concerned to see you (in the papers) talk- 
ing 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 dema- 
gogues 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 difl&cult 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 

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 Bir- 
mingham and Manchester the seats in Parliament taken 
from the rottenness of Cornwall — revision of the Penal 
Code — sale of the Crown lands — sacrifice of \\\q. Droits 


of Admiralty against a new war ; any tiling that would 
show the Government to the people in some other atti- 
tude 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 transi- 
tion, to Lady Grey : how is she ? how is Lord liow- 
ick? Ai'e 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 sec 
them. They shall hear no Tory sentiments, and How- 
ick will appear to be the centre of gayety and anima- 
tion 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 vetei'is Nicolai tristia regna, Pitt uhi comhiistum 
Duiidasque videhimus omnes. 

Ever yours, dear Lord Grey, sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

171.] To Lady Maky Bennett. 

Saville Ro"\v, Decemhej\ {supposed to he) 1819. 

IsIy dear Lady Mary, 

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

I liavc brought all my children up to town ; and tlicy 


are, as you may suj^pose, not a little entertained and de- 
lighted. It is the first time they have ever seen four 
j)eople 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 tlie morning, 
having heard of a clergyman who brought himself down 
from twenty-six to sixteen stone in six months, by less- 
ening his sleep. When he began, he was so fat that he 
could not walk, and now he walks every day up one of 
the higliest 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. 

172.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

FosTOX, Y^ORK, Jan. Zd, 1820. 

]\Iy 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 
forever put an end to his chance of preferment. My opin- 
ion is the same as yours upon the Peterloo business. I 
have no doubt every thing would have ended at Man- 
chester as it did at Leeds, had there been the same for- 
bearance on the part of the magistrates. Either they 
lost (no gi*cat 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 favor; 
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 ; hut 
there are many more powerful. The subject, in novels, 
poems, and pictures, is half the battle. The representa- 
tion of our ancient manners is a fortunate one, and am- 
ple 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 or- 
ders. A market is open to the democrat writers, by 
which they gain money and distinction. Government 
can not prcA^ent the commerce. A man, if he know his 
business as a libeler, 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 borough- 
mongers, as they call them. I think all wise men should 
begin to turn their faces reform-ward. We shall do it 
better than Mi. Hunt or Mr. Cobbett. Done it 7mist 
and will be. 

i\Irs. Sydney sends her kind regards ; in revenge, I beg 
to be remembered to your family, and remain, dear Da- 
venport, veiy truly yours, 

Sydney Saiith. 

173.] To THE Earl Grey. 

TosTox, Jmu 24:tJi, 1820. 

Dear Lord Grey, 
If you want to read an agreeable book, read Golow- 
nin's naiTative of his confinement in, and escape from, 
Japan ; and I think it may do very well for reading out, 
which I believe is your practice — a practice which I ap- 
prove ratlier than follow, and neglect it from mere want 
of virtue. I think also you may read De Foe's "Life 


of Colonel Jack" — entertaining enough when his hero is 
a scoundrel, but waxing dull as it gets moral. I never 
set you any difficult tasks in reading, but am as indul- 
gent to you as I am to myself. 

I saw ]\Ir. the other night for the first time. I 

am decidedly of opinion that he is like other people. 
My neighbor, Lord Carlisle, gets younger and younger. 
I am heartily rejoiced at Mrs. Wilmot's marriage ; but 
where will Lord Dacre pass his evenings now? No- 
thing could be more generous and disinterested on his 
part than to relinquish so pleasing a society. If this is 
not devotion, what is ? 

There are no appearances here of reviving trade ; 
though many of declining agriculture. If the manufac- 
turing misery continues, there will be a reaction of the 
Radicals. Assassinations and secret swearings, a Vlr- 
landaise^ or something as bad — marking an angry and 
suffering people struggling against restrictions. ]\Iy cu- 
riosity is very much excited by Lord John's motion. 
Lord Castlereagh's assent to it must have surprised you, 
for I think his assent includes every thing that is im- 
portant ; that a disfranchised borough may be taken out 
of the surrounding Hundred, and conferred elsewhere ; 
or rather, that it need not necessarily be thrown into the 
suiTOunding Hundred. 

I hope Lady Grey and all your children arc well, and 
tliat you arc improved in health, so as to have passed 
your Christmas merrily in the midst of your family. 
You have naturally a genius for good eating and drink- 
ing — as I have often witnessed, and mean to w^itness 

We have all been ill ; I attended two of my children 
through a good stout fever of the typhus kind without 
ever calling in an apothecary but for one day. I de- 
pended upon blessed antimony, and watched anxiously 


for the time of giving bark. They are both now per- 
fectly well. Pray remember me very kindly to dear 
Lady Grey ; and believe me, my dear Lord, with sin- 
cere respect and attachment, yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

174.] To E. Davenport, Esq. 

\ January 2dth, 1820. 

Dear Davenport, 

I think (but that thinking is mere conjecture) that you 
will be time enough for this number if your packet goes 
off in a fortnight after receiving this note ; perhaps in a 
month, but the sooner the better. The publication of the 
Review is not punctual, but depends upon the kindness 
of Minerva in many parts of the island. 

Nobody of whom I know so little, and to whose accu- 
racy and fairness I would rather trust, than to those of 

Mr. Stanley.* Mr. T I do not know. Could you 

not procui'e some facts respecting the state of the late 
Incumbent at Bochdale at the Massacre of Peterloo ? 

The thing wanted for the lady in question will be the 
sober, domestic virtues of laying eggs and hatching them. 
The nest will be cotton, and a very pleasant nest it is. I 
wish you were a Yorkshire squire, keeping a large house 
of call in the pleasantest part of the North Riding. 

Sydney Smith. 

Best compliments to Miss Davenport, who, if she keep 
a list of her conquests, will be so good as to put me down 
in the clergyman's leaf. 

* AftcrAvard Bishop of Norwich. 


175.] To Miss Berky. 

FosTox, Feb. 21th, 1820. 

I thank you very mncli for the entertainment I have 
received from jour book. I should, however, have been 
afraid to many such a woman as Lady Rachel ; it would 
have been too awfuL There are pieces of china verj- fine 
and beautiful, but never intended for daily use. * * 

I have hardly slept out of Foston since I saw you. 
God send I may be still an animal, and not a vegetable ! 
but I am a little uneasy at this season for sprouting and 
rural increase, for fear I sliould have undergone the meta- 
morphose so common in country livings. I shall go to 
town about the end of March ; it will be completely 
empty, and the dregs that remain will be entirely occu- 
pied about hustings and returning officers. 

Commerce and manufactures are still in a frio^htful 


state of stagnation. 

2so foreign barks in British ports are seen, 

StufPd to the water's edge with velveteen, 

Or bursting with big bales of bombazine ; 

Kg distant climes demand our cordm-oy, 

Unmatch'd habiliment for man and bov ; 

No fleets of fustian quit the British shore, 

The cloth-creating engines cease to roar, 

Still is that loom which breech'd the world before. 

I am very sony for the little fat Duke de Ben-i, but 
infinitely more so for the dismissal of De Cases — a fatal 

I must not die without seeing Pari^. Figure to your- 
self what a horrid death — to die without seeing Paris ! 
I think I could make something of this in a tragedy, so 
as to draw tears from Donna .Vgncs and yourself. 
Where are you going to ? When do you return ? Why 
do you go at all ? Is Paris more agreeable than London ? 

We have had a little plot here in a liay-loft. God 


forbid any body should be murdered I but, if I were to 
tiuTi assassin, it slioiild not be of five or six ^linisters, 
who are placed where they are by the folly of the country 
gentlemen, but of the hundred thousand squires, to whose 
stupidity and folly such an Administration owes its ex- 

Ever your friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

176.] To THE Earl Grey. 

Saville Eoav, April loth, 1820. 

Dear Lord Grey, 

People — that is, "Whig people — are very much out of 
humor about Lord Morpeth. Lord 3Iorpetli bears it 
magnanimously ; and, I really believe, is glad he has left 
Parhament, though he does not like the mode. Lord 
Holland is very well ; Lady Holland I have not yet seen. 
I have seen Lady Grey, the General, and !Mrs. Grey. 
Brougham attends frequently at the Treasury, upon the 
Queen's business. 

The King sits all day long with Lady C , sketch- 
ing processions and looking at jewels ; in the mean time 
she tells every where all that he tells to her. It is ex- 
pected Burdett will have two years, for which I am heart- 
ily sorry. Hunt, I hope, will have six, if it is possible 
to inflict so many ; not so much for his political crimes, 
but for himself; he is such a thorough ruffian. But he 
acquitted himself with great ability on his tiial. 

A narrative is handed about here, written upon tlic 
spot by Stanley, a clergyman, brother to Sir John — a 
very sensible, reasonable man. Pead it before your first 

"Walter Scott's novel is generally thought to be a fail- 
ure : its onlv defenders I have licard of arc Lord Gren- 


ville and Sir William Grant. Furnitui'e Hope lias pub- 
lished a novel ; ]\Ialtlius, a new book of Political Econ- 
omy. I was glad to see the health of Lord John so 
firmly established ; he is improved in every respect. 
People are red-hot again about the Manchester business, 
but the leading topic is Scotch and Yorkshire riots. I 
am truly sony you do not come up, but I am not quite 
sure yet that you won't be provoked to come. Can I do 
any thing for you in town ? If any of the Ladies Grey 
want any thing in tKe dress line, I will execute it better 
than Lord Lauderdale himself. 

Ever most sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

177.] To THE Earl Grey'. 

May lOth, 1820. 

My Dear Lord Grey, 

I will try to get you a copy of Stanley's Narrative, 
which is printed, not published. I have seen your two 
daughters at Lady Lansdowne's, and at Lady Derby's ; 
they both look well, and the gowns look more like 
French gowns than other people's gowns do. I am quite 

out of patience with Lady : her fate will be to 

marry on the Bath road or the JSTorfolk road ; any other 
such offer on the North road can hardly be expected to 
occur. I think you might have talked it over with her, 
and good-naturedly attacked the romantic. The young 
man was introduced to me, or rather I to him, at Lord 
Jersey's — a very decent, creditable-looking young gen- 
tleman, and a good judge of sermons. He paid me 
many compliments upon mine, delivered last Sunday, 
against bad husbands, so that it is clear he intended to 
have made a very good one. 

The B of is turned out to be baited next 


Friday upon tlie case, wliicli appears to be one of 

great atrocity and persecution. It will end -witli their 
rejecting liis petition, upon the principle of his having 
had liis remedy in a court of law, of which he has neg- 
lected to avail himself; but the real good will be done 
by the publicity. 

The picture of Our Saviour going into Jerusalem, by 
Haydon, is very had ; the general Exhibition good, as I 
hear. I have seen West's pictures : Death on the White 
Horse — Jesus Rejected; I am sorry to say I admire 
them both. A new poem, by J\Iilman, author of " Fa- 
zio," called "Jerusalem," or "The Fall of Jerusalem, " 
very much admired, as I hear. Dudley Ward a good 
deal improved — I believe, principally by Ellis's imita- 
tion of him, of which he is aware. The Whig Queen 
revives slowly; the seditious infant not yet christened. 
Lady Jersey as beautiful and as kind and agreeable as 
ever. Long live Queen Sarah ! 

Bailey told Tiemey, Hunt would have been acquitted 
if lie had called no witnesses. Tierney well, but very 
old, and unfit for any thing but gentle work. I am 
going to dine with the Granvilles, to meet the Hol- 
lands. Lady Granville is nervous, on account of her 
room being lined with Spitalfields silk, which always 
makes Lady Holland ill ; means to pass it off as foreign 
and smuggled, but has little chance of success. Creevy 
thinks the Session opens in a very mealy-mouthed man- 
ner. I like your nephew, Whitbread, the member, very 

Lady Grey knows my regard and respect, and that I 
always send her such courtesy and kindness as I am 
capable of, whether I write it or not. 

Sydney Smith. 

Vol. 1L— I 


178.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTOX, Y'oRK, May Idth, 1820, 

My dear Jeffrey, 

You know what London is for any body ; much more 
what it is for me, who am feasted so much above my 
merits and my powers of digestion ; accordingly I have 
done nothing, which I tell you Avith all penitence. My 
Irish books, which I took with me to London, are com- 
ing back by sea ; therefore there is no chance of Ireland 
for this Review. However, I have gained oral informa- 
tion of considerable consequence. I have sent for the 
French Travels in Africa, translated and commented 
upon by Bowditch ; and as soon as it comes, shall pro- 
ceed upon it. I shall now send you a list of what I 
have offered to do, what you have allowed, and shall 
make you some fresh offers. 

I found in London both my articles very popular — 
upon the Poor Laws and America. The passage on 
Taxation had great success. 

I hope you keep a list of books gTanted. Pray do. 
No news in towji. Voting on one side, reasoning on 
the other I Every thing like economy rejected with hor- 
ror. Kindest regards to Murray. God bless you I 

Sydney Smith. 

179.] To Lord Holland. 

FosTON, Jii/>/ UM, 1820. 

My dear Lord Holland, 

I return you many thanks for your letter, and for 
the exertion in my behalf wliich you have made, with 
your accustomed friendship and kindness. 

The Chancellor is quite right about political sermons, 
and in this I have erred ; but I liave a riffht to preach 


on general subjects of toleration, and the fault is not 
mine 'if the congregation apply mj doctrine to passing 
events. But I will preach no more upon political sub- 
jects ; I have not done so for many years, from a con- 
viction that it was unfair. You gave me great pleas- 
ure by what you said to the Chancellor of my hon- 
esty and independence. I sincerely believe I shall de- 
serve the character at your hands as long as I live. 
To say that I am sure I shall deserve it, would be as 
absurd as if a lady were to express an absolute cer- 
tainty of her future virtue. In good qualities that are to 
continue for so many years, we can only hojjie for their 

The incumbent is proceeding by slow degrees to Bux- 
ton. I wish him so well, that, under other circum- 
stances, I should often write to know how he was go- 
ing on ; at present I must appear unfriendly, to avoid 
appearing hypocritical. I have spent at least £4000 
on this place ; for you must remember I had not only 
a house, but, farm-buildings, to make ; and there had 
been no resident clergyman here for a hundred and fifty 
years. I have also played my part in the usual manner, 
as doctor, justice, pacifier, preacher, farmer, neighbor, 
and diner-out. If I can mend my small fortunes, I 
shall be very glad ; if I can not, I shall not be very 
sorry. In either case, I shall remain your attached and 
grateful friend, Sydney Smith. ■ 

180.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

FOSTOX, July, 1820. 

^Iy DEAii Lady, 

'■'> ^tJ * *■ * ^J 

You see revolutions are spreading all over the world, 
— and from armies. 


Would Mr. be pleased Avith an improvement 

of public liberty, which originated from the Coldstream 
Guards ? Seriously speaking, these things are catching, 
and though I want improvement, I should abhor such 
improvers ; • besides, we shall get old-fashioned in all our 
institutions, and be stimulated, through vanity, to changes 
too rapid and too extensive. 

Lord Liverpool's message mistook the way, and in- 
stead of bringing the mitre to me, took it to my next- 
door neighbor. Dr. Carey, who very fraudulently ac- 
cepted it. Lord Liverpool is extremely angry, and I am 
to have the next ! Sydney Smith. 

181.] To John ]\Iurray, Esq. 

FosTON, York, S^pt. 3c/, 1820. 

My dear ]\Iurray, 

Many thanks for your kindness in inquiring about 
your old friends. I am very well, doubling in size every 
year, and becoming more and more fit for the butcher. 
Mrs. Sydney is much as she was. 

I seldom leave home (except on my annual visit to 
London), and this principally because I can not afford 
it. My income remains the same, my family increases 
in expense. My constitutional gaycty comes to my aid 
in all the difficulties of life ; and the recollection that, 
having embraced the character of an honest man and a 
friend to rational liberty, I have no business to repine 
at that mediocrity of fortune which I kiieio to be its con- 

Mrs. is a A^ery amiable young woman, inferior in 

beauty to Lady Charlotte Campbell, and not so remark- 
able as Madame dc Stael for the vigor of her understand- 
ing. Her husband appears to be every thing that is 
amiable and respectable. 


Tlie Queen is contemptible ; she will "be found guilty, 
and sent out of the country with a small allowance, and 
in six months be utterly forgotten. So it will, I think, 
end ; but still I think Lord Livei-pool very blamable in 
not having put a complete negative upon the whole thing. 
It would have been better for the country, and exposed 
his party to less risk than they have been already ex- 
posed to in this business. The Whigs certainly would 
have refused to meddle with the divorce. 

I am sorry to read in your letter such an account of 
Scotland. Do you imagine the disaffection to proceed 
from any thing but want of employment ? or, at least, 
that full employment, interspersed with a little hanging, 
will not gradually extinguish the bad spirit ? 

I have just read " The Abbot ;" it is far above com- 
mon novels, but of very inferior execution to his others, 
and hardly worth reading. He has exhausted the sub- 
ject of Scotland, and worn out the few characters that 
the early periods of Scotch history could supply him 
with. Meg j\Ierrilies appears afresh in every novel. 

I wish you had told me something about yourself. 
Are you well? rich? happy? Do you digest? Have 
you any thoughts of marrying ? My whole parish is to 
be sold for £50,000 ; pray buy it, quit your profession, 
and turn Yorkshire squire. We should be a model for 
squires and parsons. God bless you ! All the family 
unite in kind regards. Shall we ever see you again ? 

s. s. 

lcS2.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

Skdgelky, Octohcr, 1820. 

My dear Lady ]\Lvry, 
I can not shut my eyes, because, if I open them, I 
shall see what is disagreeable to the Court. I liave no 


more doubt of the Queen's guilt tiian I have of your 
goodness and excellence. But do not, on that account, 
do me the mjustice of supposing that I am deficient in 
factious feelings and principles, or that I am stricken by 
the palsy of candor. I sincerely wish the Queen may 
be acquitted, and the Bill and its authors may be thrown 
out. Whether justice be done to the Royal plaintiff is 
of no consequence ; indeed he has no right to ask for 
justice on such points. I must, however, preserve my 
common sense and my factious principles distinct ; and 
believe the Queen to be a very slippery person, at the 
moment I rejoice at the general conviction of her inno- 

I am, as you see, near Manchester. While here, I 
shall study the field of Peterloo. 

You will be sorry to hear the trade and manufactures 
of tliese counties are materially mended, and are mend- 
ing. I would not mention this to you, if you were not 
a good Whig ; but I know you will not mention it to 
any body. The secret, I much fear, will get out before 
the meeting of Parliament. There seems to be a fatality 
whicli pursues us. When, oh when shall we be really 
ruined ? 

Pray send me some treasonable news about the Queen. 
Will the people rise ? Will the greater part of the House 
of Lords be thrown into the Thames ? Will short work 
be made of the Bishops ? If you know, tell me ; and 
don't leave me in this odious state of innocence, when 
you can give me so much guilty information, and make 
me as wickedly instructed as yourself. And if you know 
that the Bisliops are to be massacred, write by return of 

Do you know how poor is liandled in the Quar- 
terly Review ? It bears the mark of * * * * ; I hope it is 
not liis, for the sake of liis character. Let me be duller 


than Sternliold and Hopkins, if I am to prove my wit at 
the expense of my friends I and in print too ! God bless 
you! Sydney Smith. 

183.] To Leonard Horner, Esq. 

FosTOx, 1820. 

My dear Sir, 

^ly friend (a potter), to whom we are all so deeply in- 
debted every night and morning, wishes to place a son 
at Edinburgh, and I have promised to inquire for him. 
Pray be so good as to tell me the terms of Pillans, and 
also mention some good Presbyterian body who takes 
pupils at no gTeat salary. jSTever mind whether Whig 
or Tory, philosopher or no philosopher; a potter has 
nothing to do with such matters ; all I require is that 
lie should be steady and respectable, and that the young 
fashioner of vases and basins should have an apartment 
to himself, in which he may meditate intensely on clay. 
Do me the favor to mention terms. 

Why don't you and ^Irs. Plorner come and see us, 
and hear me upon the subject of turnips ? The corn 
is half destroyed. There is no end to the luck of this 
Administration ; they were beginning to be unpopular 
with the country gentlemen, but now prices will get up. 

I am just returned from a long journey into Somer- 
setshire. Kind regards to your family, and name your 
time for coming here. 

Ever most truly yours, Sydney Smith. 

184.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTON-, October, 1820. 

My dear Jeffri:y, 
I shall be much obliged to you to print my two nrti- 


cles in the next Keview, and to inform me of your inten- 
tion on that point, under cover to G. Philips, Esq., M.P., 
Sedgeley, Manchester. 

My Ireland I have taken some pains with. The his- 
tory of the termination of the rivers of Botany Bay is 
curious, the article short, and undertaken at your special 
request that I should Avrite another article. 

Is Southey's "Life of Wesley" appropriated? Is 
Lord John Bussell's hook, called "Essays and Sketches 
of Life and Character, by a Gentlemen who has left his 
Lodgings ?" 

It is impossible but that the Queen will defeat the 
King, and throw out the Administration. The majority 
of bishops, with the Archbishop of York at their head, 
are against the divorce ; the Archbisliop of Canterbury 
is for it. 

We have had a good harvest, but there is no market 
for any thing. 

I am sorry to see the appointment of Wilson. If 
Walter Scott can succeed in nominating a successor to 
E-eid and Stewart, there is an end of the University of 
Edinburgh : your Professors then become competitors 
in the universal race of baseness and obsequiousness to 
power. Sydney Smith. 

185.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

FosTox, Nov. Wi/i, 1820 

Dear Davenport, 
The City of York have met and passed resolutions to 
address for a change of Ministers. I have not heard of 
any proposal for a county meeting, nor can I think that 
any thing has yet been done which will turn Ministers 
out of office ; almost all who supported them before will 
continue to support them ; the greater part of their 


friends who voted against them thought the Queen guilty, 
and almost all justified Ministers in beginning the pro- 
cess. The case may be different if they make it a point 
of honor to withhold her just rights from the Queen, or 
to prevent you or me from praying for her in public. 
Upon these points I have no doubt they will be defeat- 
ed ; but if they have the good 'sense to see that they are 
beaten, and not to make a stand for the baggage- wagons 
when they have lost the field, they may remain Minis- 
ters as long as Cheshire makes cheeses. I need not say 
to you that I am heartily glad the Queen is acquitted. 

As for the virtue of the lady, you laymen must decide 
upoij it. The style of manners she has adopted does not 
exactly tally Avith that of holy women in the days that 
are gone ; but let us be charitable, and hope for the best. 

The business of the Ministry is surely to prorogue 
Parliament for as long a time as possible. Some new 
whale may be in sight by that time. 

Ever yours, dear Davenport, 

Sydney Smith. 

Read, if you have not read, all Horace Walpole's let- 
ters, wherever you can find them — the best wit ever pub- 
lished in the shape of letters. Marvel with me at the 
fine and spirited things in " Anastasius ;" they are, it is 
true, cemented together by a great deal of dull matter. 

186.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

L.uiBTON Hall, Dec. loth, 1820. 

Dear Davenport, 
I am just come from Edinburgh, and was staying with 
Jeffrey when your letter arrived. He does not like his 
editorial functions interfered with, and I do not like to in- 
terfere with them ; so I must leave you and him to settle 


as to the article itself. If you write it, and send it to 
me, I will play the part of Aristarchus to you ; but re- 
member — do not accept me for an office of that nature, 
if you are afraid of truth and severity ; upon such sub- 
jects I will flatter nobody ; nor is it, I am sure, in your 
nature, or in your habits, to require any such thing. 

I shall be at Foston on Sunday, and remain there for 
the rest of my life. 

Scotland is becoming Whiggish and Radical. There 
is a great meeting at Durham to-day, in which Lord Grey 
is to bear a part. I have been staying with him. The 
Alnwick people came over with an address, and drank 
forty-four bottles of sheiTy, and fifty-two of old ])OxS, be- 
sides ale ! 

This seems a fine place in a veiy ugly country. The 
house is full of every possible luxury, and lighted with 
o:as. Sydney Smith. 

187.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FosTON, Dec. SOt/i, 1820. 

Dear Lady Grey, 

The day I left Lambton was, fortunately for me, a 
very cold day, as the stage-coach was full. We had the 
captain of a Scotch vessel trading to Russia, an Edin- 
burgh lawyer, an apothecaiy, a London horse-dealer, and 
myself. They were all very civil and good-humored ; 
the captain a remarkably clever, entertaining man. All 
were for the Queen, except the horse-dealer. 

Lady Georgiana jMoi^jDCth called here yesterday, ac- 
companied by Agar Ellis, who is on a short visit to Cas- 
tle Howard. The Morpeths are just returned from the 
Duke of Devonshire's. Ellis thinks the Ministry will 
not go out, but proceed languidly with small majorities ; 
I tliink it most probable they will be driven out. The 


appointment of is too ridiculous to be true. If Peel 

refuses, it is, I suppose, because lie does not clioose to 
accept a place in a carriage just about to be overturned. 
The good people of Edinburgli, putting together my visit 
to Lord Grej, mj ulterior progress to Edinburgh, and 
tlie political meeting in that town consequent upon it, 
have settled that Lord Grey planned the meeting, and 
that I performed the diplomatic part. 

I will fit the Lady Greys up with conversation for the 
spring, and make them the most dashing girls in Lon- 
don. Poor ! if in love before, what will he be next 

spring ? Poor B ! poor E ! poor every body ! 

The effect will be universal. 

]\Iy kindest regards to Lord Grey and your daughters. 
My children are all perfectly well, so is j\Irs. Sydney ; 
Douglas, my eldest son, has distinguished himself at 
Westminster, and is, to my great delight, become pas- 
sionately fond of books. 

Always, my dear Lady Grey, your sincere friend, 

Sydnev Smith. 

p.S. — Only think of that obstinate Lord Lauderdale 
publishing his speech ! But Lord Lauderdale, with all 
his good qualities and talents, has an appetite for being 
hooted and pelted, which is ten times a more foolish 
passion than the love of being applauded and huzzaed. 
You and I know a politician who has no passion for one 
thing or the other; but does his duty, and trusts to 
chance how it is taken. 

188.] To FiiANcis Jkferky, Esq. 

FosTON, 1820. 

^Iy dear Jeffrey, 
For the number next but one, I have engaged to wr\ie 


an article on Ireland, wliicli shall contain all the infor- 
mation I can collect, detailed as well as I know how to 
detail it. 

The Unitarians think the doctrine of the Trinity to 
be a profanation of the Scriptures ; you compel them to 
marry in your cliurches, or rather, I should say, we com- 
pel them to marry in our churches ; and when the male 
and female Dissenter are kneeling before the altar, much 
is said to them by the priest, of this, to them, abhor- 
red doctrine. They are about to petition Parliament 
tliat their marriages may be put upon the same footing 
as those of Catholics and Quakers. The principles of 
religious liberty which I have learnt (perhaps under you) 
make me their friend in the question ; and if you ap- 
prove, I will write an article upon it. Upon the receipt 
of your letter in the affirmative, I will write to the dis- 
senting king, William Smith, for information. Pray 
liave the goodness to answer by return of post, or as 
soon after as you can, if it is but a word ; as dispatch 
in these matters, and in my inaccessible situation, is im- 

Sydney S:mith. 

189.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

Bath : no date. 

Dear Davenport, 

I think Jeffrey too timid, but he says that the Edin- 
burgh Keview is watched, and that there is a great dis- 
position to attack it either in Scotland or London ; and 
you must allow that Jeffrey or Brougham in the pillory 
would be a delicious occurrence for the Tories : I think 
John Williams would come and pelt. 

Great light will be thrown upon the circumstances of 
\\\o mnssacro, bv Hunt's trial, AvhiHi of roin-se will be 


circulated widely through the country, and will furnish 
you with a good plea for the introduction of the subject. 
I heard Hunt at York, and was much struck with his bold- 
ness, dexterity, and shrewdness. Without any educa- 
tion at all, he is the most powerful barrister this day on 
the Northern Circuit ; of course I do not mean the best 
instructed, but the man best calculated by nature for 
that sort of intellectual exertion. 

You see by my letter I am in Bath — to me, one of 
the most disagreeable places in the world ; but I am on 
a visit to my father, eighty-two years of age, in full pos- 
session, not only of his senses, but of a very vigorous 
and superior understanding. 

I have written two articles in this Edinburgh Review 
— Poor Laws, and Seybert's America — but they are 
both of a dry and discouraging nature. Adieu ! I hope 
to see you soon. 

Ever truly yours, Sydney Smith. 

190.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

PosoTX, 1820. 

Dear ]\Irs. Meynell, 
It Avill give me great pleasure to hear of your health 
and continued well-doing. I suspect the little boy will 
be christened Hugo, that being an ancient name in the 
Meynell family ; and the mention of the little boy is an 
additional reason why you should write to me before he 
comes. You will never write after, for the infant of 
landed estate is so precious, that he would exhaust the 
sympathies, and fill up the life, of seven or eight mothers. 
The usual establishment for an eldest landed baby is, 
two wet nui-ses, two ditto dry, two aunts, two physi- 
cians, tw^o apothecaries ; three female friends of the fam- 
ily, unmarried, advanced in life ; and often in tlio nurse- 


ly, one clergyman, six flatterers, and a grandpapa ! Less 
than this would not be decent. 

A¥e are all well, and keep large fires, as it behoveth 
those who pass their summers in England. 

I have not seen a living soul out of my family since 
I left London. It is some consolation to think I have 
avoided the awkward dilemma about the Queen. I 
sliould have thought it base not to call, and yet 

i)T * * * * * 

j\Iy conjecture is that there will be no compromise, 
and that the Queen will be beaten out of the field. The 
chances against this are that the King's nerves will give 

way. You do not know that is in the Green 

Bag. You thought him full of poetry alone, but gal- 
lantry and treason are in his composition. The Queen 
and her handmaids have been much exposed to the 
shafts of calumny on account of that too amiable and 
seducing fellow, who is at once a Lovelace and a Pope. 
Write me a line to show we are friends, and I will an- 
nounce the event. 

Ever your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

19L] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Y'oRK, 1820. 

Dear Mrs. Meynell, 

We have all been ill — that is, all but 1 — a sort of fe- 
ver ; and they have all been cured by me, for I am deep- 
er in medicine than ever. 

Douglas is gone to school ; not with a light heart, for 
the first year of Westminster in college is severe — an 
intense system of tyranny, of which the Englisli are 
very fond, and think it fits a boy for the world ; but the 
world, bad as it is, has nothing half so bad. 


I strongly recommend you to read Captain Golow- 
nin's narrative of his imprisonment in Japan ; it is one 
of the most entertaining books I have read for a long 

time. You must also read . I would let 

you off if I could, but my sense of duty will not permit 
me to do so ; for it is, and has long been, my pro^dnce, 
to fit you wp for London conversation ; ]\Irs. Crape (your 
maid) dresses you — your other half falls to me. 

I hope your children are all well ; if they are not, I 
am sure you are not ; and if you are not, I shall not be 
so. So God bless you, my dear Gee! and remember 
me kindly to your husband. 

Ever affectionately yours, kSydney Smith. 

192.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

February 2d, 1821. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I have read Southey, and think it so fair and reason- 
able a book, that I have little or nothing to say about 
it ; so that I follow your advice, and abandon it to au}- 
one who may undertake it. What I should say, if I 
undertook it, would be very unfavorable to Methodism, 
which you object to, though upon what grounds I know 
not. Of course ]\Iethodists, when attacked, cry out, "In- 
fidel! Atheist!" these are the weapons with which all 
fanatics and bigots fight ; but should we be intimidated 
by this, if we do not deserve it ? And does it follow 
that any examination of the faults of Dissenters is a 
panegyric upon the Church of England ? But these are 
idle questions, as I do not mean to review it. I have 
■\vritten an article upon Dissenters' marriages, which I 
will send the moment I get some books from town. On 
other points I am stopped for books. 

I purpose sending you a short article upon the sav- 


age and illegal practice of setting spring-guns and traps 
for poachers. God bless you I 

Your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

193,] To Countess Grey. 

Fehrucmj ^th, 1821. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

There is an end forever of all idea of the Whigs 
coining into power. The kingdom is in the hands of 
an oligarchy, who see what a good thing they have got 
of it, and are too cunning and too well aware of the 
tatnahility of mankind to give it up. Lord Castlereagh 
smiles Avhen Tierney prophesies resistance. His Lord- 
ship knows very well that he has got the people under 
for ninety-nine purposes out of a hundred, and that he 
can keep them w^here he has got them. Of all ingenious 
instruments of despotism, I most commend a popular 
assembly w^here the majority are paid and hired, and a 
few bold and able men, by their brave speeches, make 
the people believe they are free. 

Lord Lauderdale has sent me two pamphlets, and 
two hundred and thirty pounds of salt fish. 

I hear you have taken a house in Stratford Place. 
The houses there are very good. You will be much 
more accessible than heretofore. A few yards in Lon- 
don dissolve or cement friendship. 

Sydney Smith. 

194.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

FosTON, Feh. 10th, 1821. 

My dear Davenport, 
When shall you be in town ? There is an end for- 
ever of all Whio; Administrations. 


I am glad you agree with me about "Anastasius.*' I 
am writing an article in the Edinburgh Eeview against 
Squires for using spring-guns, and d.elicately insisting 
upon the usefulness of making two or three examples 
in that line. I have Southey's "Life of Wesley.*' To 
make a salable book seems to have been a main con- 
sideration ; but it is not unreasonable, and is very well 

I have taken lodgings in York for myself and family 
during the Assizes, to enable them to stare out of the 
window, there being nothing visible wliere we live but 

Mrs. F , the liberty woman, is in York. There 

are several Scotch families staying there. No bad place 
for change, cheapness, and comparative warmth. 
Yours, dear Davenport, very sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

195.] To Mrs. Meyxell. 

FosTox, Feb. 12th, 1821. 

Dear ]\Irs. Meyxell, 

I was ver>^ glad to receive your letter, and to find 
you were well and prosperous. 

The articles written by me in the Edinburgh Review 
are, that upon Ireland, and that upon Oxley's "Survey 
of Botany Bay." 

The Archbishop of York makes me a very good neigh- 
bor, and is always glad to see me. 

I agree with you that there is an end forever of the 
Whigs coming into power. The country belongs to tlie 
Duke of Rutland, Lord Lonsdale, the Duke of Newcas- 
tle, and about twenty other holders of borouglis. They 
are our masters 1 If any little opportunity presents it- 
self, we will hang tliem, but most probably there will 


be no such opportunity ; it always is twenty to one 
against the people. There is nothing (if you will believe 
the Opposition) so difficult as to bully a whole people ; 
whereas, in fact, there is nothing so easy, as that gTcat 
artist Lord Castlereagh so w^ell knows. 

Let me beg of you to take more care of those beau- 
tiful geraniums, and not let the pigs in upon them. 
Geranium-fed bacon is of a beautiful color ; but it takes 
so many plants to fatten one pig, tliat such a system 
can never answer ! I can not conceive who put it into 
your head. God bless you I 

Sydney Smith. 

196.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FoSTON, March 27th, 1821. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

Nothing so difficult to send, or which is so easily 
spoilt in the carriage, as news. It was fresh, and 
seemed true, when you packed it up ; that is all you 
are answerable for. 

I shall be in town the 24th of April, and am very 
glad to find you are so near a neighbor. We have 
been at the Assizes at York for three weeks, where 
there is always a great deal of dancing and provincial 


I am very sorry the Hollands have left the pavement 
of London, because, wlien I come to London for a short 
time, I hate fresh air and green leaves, and waste of 
time in going and coming ; but I love the Hollands so 
much, tliat I would go to them in any spot, however 
innocent, sequestered, and rural. You have been in 
town a fortniglit, and do not tell me to whom your 

daughters arc going to be married. I suppose 

borrows the watchman's coat, and cries tlie hours up 


and down Stratford Place. How is Lord Grey V I 
hope you are on good terms with that eminent states- 
man, for you never mention his name. 

I am delighted with Hume and Creevy. You will 
have the goodness to excuse me, hut I am a Jacobin. 
I confess it, with tears in my eyes ; and I have strug- 
gled in secret against this dreadful propensity, to a de- 
gree of w^hich your loyal mind can have no idea. Do 
not mention my frailty even to my friend Lady Georgi- 
ana jMorpeth, but pity me, and employ a few minutes 
every day in converting me. 

Sincerely and affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

197.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Taunton, Av(/. 7tlu 1821. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I have traveled all across the country with my fam- 
ily, to see my father, now eighty-two years of age. 
I wish, at such an age, you, and all like you, may have 
as much enjoyment of life ; more, you can hardly have 
at any age. ]\Iy father is one of the very few people I 
have ever seen improved by age. He is become care- 
less, indulgent, and anacreontic. 

I shall proceed to write a review of Scarlett's Poor 
Bill, and of Keppel Craven's Tour, according to the 
license you granted me ; not for the number about to 
come, but for the number after that. Tlie review of 
the first will be veiy short, and that of the second not 
long. Length, indeed, is not what you have to accuse 
me of. The above-mentioned articles, with perhaps 
Wilks's Sufferings of the Protestants in the South of 
France, and the Life of Suard, Avill constitute my con- 
tribution for the number after the next {i. e. the 71st). 


The wretchedness of the poor in this part of the 
country is very afflicting. The men are working for 
one shilling per clay, all the year round ; and if a man 
have only three children, he receives no relief from the 
parish, so that five human beings are supported for 
little more than tenpence a day. They are evidently 
a dwindling and decaying race ; nor should I be the 
least surprised if a plague in the shape of typhus fever 
broke out here. 

Do me the favor to remember me to all my friends, 
and to num.ber among those who are sincerely and affec- 
tionately attached to you, Sydney Smith. 

I beg my kind regards to ]\Irs. Jeffrey, and to the 
little tyrant who rules the family. 

198.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

Lydiard, Tauntox, August, 1821. 

Dear Davenport, 

Your letter followed, and found me here this day. 
You are right to see Dugald Stewart. I have seen 
nothing of him for ten or twelve years, but am very 
glad to give him such a token of my regard and good- 
will as the introduction in question. Read the letter, 
blush, seal, and deliver ! 

There will be some distress for a year or two, but it 
will soon be over. Lay aside your Whiggish delusions 
of ruin ; leam to look the prosperity of the country in 
the face, and bear it as well as you can. 

The price of labor here all the year round is one shil- 
ling a day, and no parish relief unless the applicant has 
four children. The country is beautiful, and the com- 
mon arts of life as they were in the Heptarchy. 
Ever yours, dear Davenport, very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 


199.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FosTox, Sept. leth, 1821. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 
How do you all do ? Have you got the iron back ? 
Have you put it up ? Does it make the chimney worse 
than before ? for this is the general result of all improve- 
ments recommended by friends. 

A very wet harvest here ; but I have saved all my 
corn by injecting large quantities of fermented liquors 
into tfie workmen, and making them work all night. 

Sydney Smith. 

200.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FosTox, Xov. 1st, 1821. 

]\Iy dear IjAdy Grey, 

Pray tell me how you are, and if you are making a 
good recovery. I have long thought of writing, but 
feared you would be plagued by such sort of letters. 

An old aunt has died and left me an estate in Lon- 
don ; this puts me a little at my ease, and will, in some 
degree, save me from the hitherto necessary, but im- 
pleasant, practice of making sixpence perform the func- 
tions and assume the importance of a shilling. 

Part of my little estate is the Guildhall Coffee-house, 
in King-street, Cheapside. I mean to give a ball there. 
Will you come? 

I am very sorry for poor Sir Eobert Wilson. If he 
has been guilty of any indiscretion, I can not see the 
necessity of visiting it w4th so severe a punishment. 
So much military valor might be considered as an apol- 
ogy for a little civil indiscretion ; but if ?io indiscretion 
has been committed, why, then publish in the papers a 
narrative of his whole conduct, irom his getting up on 


that day, to his lymg down. Let him pledge his word 
for its accuracy, and challenge denial and contradiction. 
This would turn the tables immediately in his favor. 

How is Lord Grey ? Is he good friends with me ? 
If he is, give him my very kind regards, and if he is 
7wt ; for I never value people as they value me, but as 
they are valuable ; so pray send me an account of your- 
self, and whether you have got out of sago and tapioca 
into rabbit and boiled chicken. God send you may be 
speedily advanced to a mutton-chop I 

Sydney Smith. 

20L] To Mrs. Meyxell. 

FosTON, Nov. 11th, 1821. 

My dear Mrs. Meyxell, 

Mr. is a very gentlemanly, sensible man, and I 

was sure would tolerate me. My pretensions to do well 
with the w^orld are threefold: first, I am fond of talk- 
ing nonsense; secondly, I am civil; thirdly, I am brief. 
I may be flattering myself; but if I am not, it is not 
easy to get very wrong with these habits. 

The steady -writing of Lord 's frank indicates 

a prolonged existence of ien years. If a stroke to the 

^ or a dot to the i were wanting, little might have 

some chance ; but I do not think a single Jew out of 
the Twelve Tribes would lend him a farthing upon 
post-obits, if he had seen my Lord's writing. 

Agriculture is bowed down to the ground she cul- 
tivates ; the plow stands still, the steward's bag is 
empty, corn sells for nothing, but benevolent people 
will take it off your hands for a small premium. I do 
not abuse their good-nature ; but leave it to the natural, 
and now the only, animals that show any avidity for 
Gi'ain — the rats and mice. 


We are all anxious to hear something about you, and 
all recommend that it should be a girl. Kind regards 
to your husband and the baby. Sydney Smith. 

202.] To John Murray, Esq. 

FoSTox, Nov. 29M, 1821. 

]\Iy DEAR Murray, 

To see the spectacle of honor confeiTed upon a man 
who deserves it, and he an old friend, is a great tempta- 
tion, but I can not yield to it. I must not leave home 
any more this year. 

In what state is the Review ? Is Scott's novel out ? 
Be so good as to ask, or say, if you know, in what odor 
the " Encyclopaedia Perthensis" is in Edinburgh. It has 
fallen to the inconceivably low price of seven guineas. I 
do not want an Encyclopedia for dissertations and es- 
says, but for common information. How is Turkey 
leather dyed ? What is the present state of the Levant 
trade? etc., etc. 

How little you understand young Wedgewood ! If 
he appears to love waltzing, it is only to catch fresh fig- 
ures for cream-jugs. Depend upon it, he will have Jef- 
frey and you upon some of his vessels, and you will en- 
joy an argillaceous immortality. 

The rumors of to-day are, that the Ministry have given 
way to the King, and — Lord Conyngham is to be Cham- 
berlain. Ever your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

203.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

FosTON, Dec. 20th, 1821. 

My dear Lady Mary, 
In the first place I went to Lord Grey's, and staid 
with them three or four days ; from thence I went to 


Edinburgli, where I had not been for ten years. I found 
a noble passage into the town, and new since my time ; 
two beautiful English chapels, two of the handsomest 
library-rooms in Great Britain, and a wonderful increase 
of shoes and stockings, streets and houses. When I 
lived there, very few maids had shoes and stockings, but 
plodded about the house with feet as big as a family Bi- 
ble, and legs as large as portmanteaus. I staid with 
Jeffrey. ]\Iy time was spent w^ith the Whig leaders of 
the Scotch bar, a set of very honest, clever men, each 
possessing thirty-two different sorts of w4ne. ^ly old 
friends were glad to see me ; some had turned ]\Iethodists 
— some had lost their teeth — some had grown very rich 
— some very fat — some were dying — and, alas ! alas ! 
many were dead ; but the world is a coarse enough place, 
so I talked away, comforted some, praised others, kissed 
some old ladies, and passed a very riotous week. 

From Edinburgh 1 went to Dunbar — Lord Lauder- 
dale's — a comfortable house, with a noble sea- view. I 
was stmck with the great good-nature and vivacity of 
his daughters. 

From thence to Lambton. And here I ask, what use 
of wealth so luxurious and delightful as to liglit your 
house witli gas ? What folly to have a diamond neck- 
lace or a Correggio, and not to light your house with gas I 
The splendor and glory of Lambton Hall make all other 
houses mean. How pitiful to submit to a farthing-can- 
dle existence, wdien science puts such intense gratifica- 
tion within your reach ! Dear lady, spend all your for- 
tune in a gas-apparatus. Better to eat dry bread by the 
splendor of gas, than to dine on wild beef with wax-can- 
dles ; and so good-by, dear lady. 

■ Sydney Smith. 


204.] To Fkancis Jeffkey, Esq. 

December SOth, 1821. 

My dear Jeffrey, 


You must have liad a lively time at Edinburgli from 
this *' Beacon." But Edinburgh is rather too small for 
such explosions, where tlie conspirators and conspired 
against must he guests at the same board, and sleep un- 
der the same roof. 

The articles upon Madame de Stael and upon Wilks's 
Protestants appear to me to be very good. The article 
upon Scotch juries is surely too long. 

The " Pirate," I am afraid, has been scared and alarm- 
ed by the Beacon ! It is certainly one of the least for- 
tunate of Sir Walter Scott's productions. It seems now 
that he can wi'ite nothing without ^leg Merrilies and 
Dominie Samson! One other such novel, and there's 
an end ; but who can last forever ? who ever lasted so 
long ? 

We are ruined here by an excess of bread and water. 
Too much rain, too much corn ! 

God bless you, my dear friend ! 

Sydney Smith, 

205.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

jifarch 17 th, 1822. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I ]iad written three parts in four of the review I prom- 
ised you of j\Iiss Wright's book on America, and coukl 
have put it in your hands ten days since ; but your 
letter restricts me so on the subject of raillery, that I 
find it impossible to comply with your conditions. There 
are many passages in my review which would make the 

Vol. n.— K 


Americans very angry, and — which is more to my im- 
mediate purpose — make you very loath to publish it ; 
and therefore, to avoid putting you in the awkward pre- 
dicament of printing what you disapprove, or disappoint- 
ing me, I withdraw my pretensions. I admire the Amer- 
icans, and in treating of America, should praise her gi-eat 
institutions, and laugh at her little defects. The reasons 
for your extreme prudery I do not understand, nor is it 
necessary I should do so. I am satisfied that you are 
a good pilot of our literary vessel, and give you credit 
when I do not perceive your motives. 

I am at York. Brougham is here ; I have not seen 
him yet. Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

206.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

LoNDOx, May 10th, 1823. 

Dear Mrs. Meynell, 

I have got into all my London feelings, which come 
on the moment I pass Hyde Park Corner. I am lan- 
guid, unfriendly, heartless, selfish, sarcastic, and inso- 
lent. Forgive me, thou inhabitant of the plains, child 
of nature, rural woman, agricultural female! Kemem- 
ber what you were in Hill Street, and pardon the vices 
inevitable in the greatest of cities. 

They take me here for an ancient country clergyman, 
and think I can not see ! ! . . . How little they know 
your sincere and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

207.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTON, Jvve 22d, 1822. 

My dear Jeffrey', 
I understand from your letter that there only remains 


the time between this and the 12th of July for your 
stay in Edinburgh, and that then you go north; this 
puts a visit out of the question at present. I think, 
when I do come, I shall come alone : I should be glad 
to show Saba a little of the world, in the gay time of 
Edinburgli ; but this is much too serious a tax upon 
your hospitality, and upon Mrs. Jeffrey's time and 
health ; and so there is an end of that plan, i^s for 
myself, I have such a dislike to say Xo, to any body 
who does me the real pleasure and favor of asking me 
to come and see him, that I assent, when I know that 
I am not quite sure of being able to carry my good in- 
tentions into execution ; and so I am considered uncer- 
tain and capricious, when I really ought to be called 
friendly and benevolent. I will mind my manners in 
future, and be very cautious in making engagements. 
The first use I make of my new virtue is to say that I 
will, from time to time, come and see you in Edin- 
burgh ; but these things can not be very frequent, on 
account of expense, A^sits to London (where all my 
relations live), the injustice of being long away from 
my parish and family, my education of one of my sons 
here, and the penalties of the law. At the same time, 
I can see no reason why you do not bring ^^Irs. Jeffi.-ey 
and your child, and pay us a visit in the long vacation. 
We have a large house and a large farm, and I need 
not say how truly happy we shall be to see you. I 
think you ought to do tliis. 

Pray say, with my kind regards to Thomson, that I 
iind it absolutely impossible to ^yntG such a review on 
the Cow-Pox as will satisfy either him or myself for 
this number. I will -WTrite a review for the next, if so 
please him ; what sort of one it may be, the gods only 
know. I will -write a line to Thomson. I will send 
you the Bishop if I can get him ready ; if not, certainly 


for tlic next number. I never break my word about 
reviews, except when I am in London. Pray forgive 
me ; I am sure your readers will. 

I read Cockburn's speech with great pleasure. I ad- 
mire, in the strongest manner, the conduct of the many 
upright and patriotic lawyers now at the Scotch bar, 
and think it a great privilege to call many of them 
friends ; such a spectacle refreshes me in the Tattery 
and scoundrelism of public life. 

Allen and Fox stopped here for a day. My country 
neighbors had no idea who they were ; I passed off 
Allen as the commentator on the Book of Martyrs. 
Ever affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

208.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

FosTOX, August, 1822. 

Dear Lady Mary, 

Many thanks for the venison, and say, if you please, 
what ought to be said to my Lord. It was excellent. 
I shall make a bow to Chillingham as I pass it on the 
stage-coach on my way to Scotland, where I am going 
to see my friend Jeffrey. 

I have had a great run of philosophers thi3 summer ; 
Dr. and Mrs. Marcet, Sir Humphry Davy and Mr. 
Warburton, and divers small mineralogists, and chem- 
ists. Sir Humphry Davy Avas really very agreeable — 
neither witty, eloquent, nor sublime ; but reasonable 
and instructive. 

I remember the laughing we had together at C 

House ; and I thank God, who has made me poor, that 
he has made me merry. I think it a better gift than 
much wheat and bean land, with a doleful heart. 

I am truly rejoiced at the recovery of Duke John ; 


lie is an honest, excellent person, full of good feelings 
and right opinions, and, moreover, a hearty laugher. I 
am glad to hear of the marriage of Mi\ Russell with 

Miss . The manufacture of Russells is a public 

and important concern. Adieu ! 

Affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

209.] To Lady ]\Iary Bennett. 

FosTox, Nov. 1st, 1822. 

My dear Lady Mary, 

You will be sorry to hear that Douglas has had bad 
health ever since he went to Westminster, and has 
been taken thence to be nursed in a typhus fever, from 
which he is slowly recovering. !Mrs. Sydney set off 
for London last week, and is likely to remain there 
some time ; I find the state of a widower a very Avretch- 
ed one. 

Lady is unwell, and expects to be confined in 

February. The public is indebted to every lady of 
fashion who brings a fresh Whig into the world. 

It is a long time since you wrote to me ; the process 
by which I discover this is amusing enough. I feel 
uneasy and dissatisfied ; the turnips are white and 
globular — no blame imputable to the farm — no Dis- 
senters, no [Methodists in the parish — all right with the 
Church of England ; and after a few minutes' reflection, 
I discover what it is I want, and seize upon it as the 
sick dog does upon tlie proper herb. 


I knoAV never spares me, but that is no reason 

why I should not spare him ; I had rather be the ox 
than the butcher. 


Write to me immediately : I feel it necessary to my 
constitution ; and I am, dear Lady, 

Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

210.] To Mrs. :\Ieynell. 

November, 1822. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 

I think Adam Blair beautifully done — quite beauti- 
fully. It is not every lady who confesses she reads it ; 
but if you had been silent uj^on the subject, or even 
if you liad denied it, you would have done yourself very 
little good with me. 

Our house is full of company : Miss Fox and Miss 
Vernon ; Mr. and Mrs. Spottiswode, with their children ; 
aud Captain Gordon, an old and esteemed friend of 

I hear from all your neighbors that you are much 
liked, but that they should not have supposed you had 
written so many articles in the Edinburgh Eeview as 
you are known to have done. 

God bless you, my dear friend ! Keep for me always 
a little corner of regard. 

V Sydney Smith. 

211.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 


]\Iy dear Lady jMary', 

I shall be obliged to you to procure for me Islx. Eo- 
gers's verses upon the Temple of the Graces at Woburn : 
I thought them very pretty, and should be glad to pos- 
sess them. 

Lord and Lady (jranville have been staying at Castle 


Howard, wliere we met them. Whatever other merits 
they have, they have at least that of being extremely 
civil and well-bred ; good qualities which, being put into 
action every day, make a great mass of merit in the course 
of life. 

I am glad you liked what I said of J\lrs. Fry. She is 
very unpopular with the clergy : examples of living, ac- 
tive virtue disturb our repose, and give bnth to distress- 
ing comparisons : we long to burn her alive. 

Who knows his secret sins? I find, upon reference 
to CoUins's Peerage, I have been in the habit for some 
months past of mis-spelling Lord Tankcrville's name ; ^ 
and you have left me in this state of ignorance and im- ^ 
perfection, from which I was awakened by a loud scream 
from !Mrs. Sydney, who cast her eye upon the direction 
of the letter, and saw the habitual sin of which I liave 
been guilty. 

On account of the scarcity of water, many respectable 
families in this part of the world wash their faces only 
every other day. It is a real distress, and increasing 
rather than diminishing. God bless you ! 
Your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith 

212.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

No date. 

3Iy dear Friend, 

I am not in London, but on my way to it, at Holland 

House. The person taken for me is a very fat clergA'- 

man, but not I. So singular a letter as yours I never 

saw. You say, "I shall be on tlic banks of the Thames 

till' Tuesday, after that at C House, but before 

Tuesday you will find me at the Privy Gardens." Can 
you thus multiply yourself? If you can, pray let me 


have a copy of you at Foston ; and pray, dear Jjady 
Mary, let it be well done, and very much like the orig- 
inal ; not a hasty sketch, but minute ; and take no lib- 
erties with the pencil. The great merit of a copy is 

I should have been glad to rencAV my acquaintance 
with the Edgeworths. Sydney Smith. 

213.] To Lady Mary Bennett. 

No date. 

My dear Lady ]\Iary^, 

Having written what I had to write on Small Pox 
and the Bishop of Peterborough, I wish to discuss Mr. 
Biggs's Report of Botany Bay. ]\Ir. Bennett was so 
good as to offer me the loan of his Report ; if he re- 
mains in the same gracious intentions toward me, will 
you have the goodness to desire him to send it by return 
of post ? 

I have been making a long visit to my fi-iends in the 
neighborhood of ]\Ianchester. Their wealth and pros- 
perity know no bounds : I do not mean only the Philippi, 
but of all who ply the loom. They talk of raising corps 
of manufacturers to keep the country gentlemen in order, 
and to restrain the present Jacobinism of the plow ; the 
Hoyal Corduroys — the First Bcgiment of Fustian — the 
Bombazine Brigade, etc., etc. 

I have given the Bishop of Peterborough a good 
dressing. What right has any body to ask any body 
eighty-seven questions ? and tell me (this is only one 
question) what agreeable books I am to read. I hear 
of a great deal of ruin in distant counties ; tlierc is none 
liere, but then the soil is good. 

Your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


214.] To Lady Wenlock. 

FosTOX, Bee. lltk, 1822. 

My dear ]\lADA]\r, 
We will keep ourselves clear of all engagements tlie 
first week of the new year, and in readiness to obey 
your summons for any day of it. I care not whom I 

meet, provided it is not Sir , and to invite any 

body to meet him would be a very strong measm-e. 
Sir William and Lady Gordon are very agreeable peo^ 
pie, and indeed I should be ashamed of myself if I were 
not a good deal captivated by her ; but upon that point 
I have nothing to reproach myself with. L , I sup- 
pose, was hastening on to the Treasury, w^th the accu- 
mulation of guilty jobs that he had discovered in Scot- 
land ; he will make a very faithful servant to the public 
for two or three years, beyond which period it would be 
a little unreasonable perhaps to expect the duration of 
his public virtues. 

I remain, my dear ]\Iadam, very truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

215.] To the Countess Grey. 

FoSTOX, Jan. Slst, 1823. 

Dear Lady Grey, 
About half after five in the evening (three feet of snow 
on the ground, and all communication with Christendom 
cut off) a chaise and four drove up to the parsonage, and 
from it issued Sir James and his appendages. His let- 
ter of annunciation arrived the following morning. Miss 
^lackintosh brought me your kind reproaches for never 
having written to you; to which I replied, "Lord and 
Lady Grey know very Avell that I have a sincere regard 
and affection and respect for them, and they will attri- 


bute my silence only to my reluctance to export the stu- 
pidity in which I live." 

I am so very modest a man, that I am never afraid 
of giving my opinion upon any subject. Pray tell me 
if you understand this sort of modesty. There cer- 
tainly is such a species of that virtue, and I claim it. 
But whether my claim is just or unjust, my opinion 
is, that there will be some repeals of heavy taxes, and 
a great deal of ill-humor — probably a Whig Adminis- 
tration for a year — no reform, no revolution : if no Whig 
Administration, Canning in for about two years, till 
they have formed their plans for flinging him overboard : 
Canning to be conciliatory and laudatory for about three 
months, and then to relapse ; prices to rise after next 

You have read "Peveril;" a moderate production, be- 
tween his best and his worst ; rather agreeable than not. 

I hope you have read and admired Doblado. To get 
a Catholic priest who would turn King's evidence is a 
prodigious piece of good luck ; but it may damage the 
Catholic question. 

Lord Grey has, I hear, been pretty well. I was called 
up to London a second time this year, and went to Bo- 
wood, where I spent a very agreeable week with the 
Hollands, Luttrell, Bogers, etc. It is a very cheerful, 
agreeable, comfortable house. 

We have a good deal of company in our little par- 
sonage this year — all pure Whigs, if I may include 
in this number. That young man will be no- 
thing but agreeable — enough for any man, if his name 

were not , and if the country did not seem to have 

acquired an hereditary right to his talents and services. 

God bless you, dear Lady Grey I Kindest regards to 
Lord Grey and your children, from your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


Mackintosli had seventy volumes in his carriage ! 
None of the glasses would draw up or let down, hut 
one ; and he left his hat behind him at our house. 

216.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

FosTON, Feb. ^8tl>, 1823. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 

You are quite right about happiness. I would always 
lay a wager in favor of its being found among persons 
who spend their time dully rather than in gayety. 
Gayety — English gayety — is seldom come at lawfully ; 
friendship, or propriety, or principle, are sacrificed to 
obtain it ; we can not produce it without more effort 
than it is worth ; our destination is, to look vacant, and 
to sit silent. 

My articles in the last number are, the attack on the 
Bishop of Peterborough, and on Small Pox. If you do 
not know what to think of the first, take my word that it 
is merited. Of the last you may think what you please, 
provided you vaccinate Master and Miss Meynell. 

I am afraid we shall go to war : I am sorry for it. I 
see every day in the world a thousand acts of oppression 
which I should like to resent, but I can not afi:brd to 
play the Quixote. Why are the English to be the sole 
vindicators of the human race ? Ask Mr. ]\Ieynell how 
many persons there are within fifteen miles of him who 
deserve to be horsewhipped, and who would be very 
much improved by such a process. But every man 
knows he must keep down his feelings, and endure the 
spectacle of triumphant folly and tyranny. 

Adieu, my dear old friend. I shall be very glad to 
see you again, and to witness that happiness which is 
your lot, and your due ; two circumstances not always 
united. God bless you I Sydney Smith 

228 ME:\I0IR of the rev. SYDNEY SMITH, 

217.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FosTON, YonK, Feb. 10th, 1823. 

My DEAR Lady Grey, 

In seeing m j handwriting again so soon, you will say 
that your attack upon me for my indisposition to letter- 
Avriting has been more successful than you wished it to 
be ; but I can not help saying a word about war. 

For God's sake, do not drag me into another war ! 
I am worn down, and "worn out, w4th crusading and de- 
fending Europe, and protecting mankind ; I must think 
a little of myself. I am sorry for the Spaniards — I am 
sorry for the Greeks — I deplore the fate of the Jews ; 
the people of the Sandwich Islands are groaning under 
the most detestable tyranny ; Bagdad is oppressed — I 
do not like the present state of the Delta — Thibet is not 
comfortable. Am I to fight for all these people ? The 
world is bursting with sin and sorrow. Am I to be 
champion of the Decalogue, and to be eternally raising 
fleets and armies to make all men good and happy ? 
We have just done saving Europe, and I am afraid the 
consequence will be, that we shall cut each other's 
throats. ]^o war, dear Lady Grey! — no eloquence; 
but apathy, selfishness, common sense, arithmetic! I 
beseech you, secure Lord Grey's sword and pistols, as 
the housekeeper did Don Quixote's armor. If there is 
another war, life will not be worth having. I will go to 
■war with the King of Denmark if he is impertinent to you, 
or does any injury to Ilowick ; but for no other cause. 

"!^Iay the vengeance of Heaven" overtake all the 
Legitimates of Verona ! but, in the present state of rent 
and taxes, they must be left to the vengeance of Heaven ! 
I allow fighting in such a cause to be a luxury ; but tlie 
business of a prudent, sensible man, is to guard against 


I shall hope to be in town in the course of the sea- 
son, and that I shall find your health re-established, and 
your fortune unimpaired by the depredations of Lady 
Ponsonby at piquette. To that excellent lady do me the 
favor to present my kind remembrances and regards. 

" Doblado's Letters" are by Blanco White, of Holland 
House. They are very valuable for their perfect authen- 
ticity, as well as for the ability with w^hich they are w^rit- 
ten. They are upon the state of Spain and the Catholic 
religion, previous to the present revolution. 

The line of bad ^Ministers is unbroken. If the present 
will not do, others will be found as illiberal and un- 
friendly to improvement. These things being so, I turn 
my attention to dinners, in which I am acquiring every 
day better notions, and losing prejudices and puerilities ; 
but I retain all my prejudices in favor of my hosts of 
Howick, and in these points my old age confirms the 
opinions of my youth. 

Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

218.] To John Allen, Esq. 

March Sd, 1823. 

Dear Allen, 

I beg your pardon for my mistake, but I thought you 
had written constantly in the Review ; and, so thinking, 
I knew Spanish subjects to be familiar to you. 

Upon the absurd and unprincipled conduct of the 
French there can be but one opinion ; still I would rath- 
er the nascent liberties of Spain were extinguished than 
jro to war to defend them. I am afraid these sentiments 
will displease you, but I can not help it. We fight in 
this case either from feeling or prudence. If from feel- 
ing, why not for Greece ? why not for Naples ? why not 


for the Spanish colonies ? If from prudence, better that 
Spain and Portugal were under the government of Vice- 
roy Blacas or Chateaubriand, than that we should go to 

I object to your dying so soon as you propose ; I hate 
to lose old and good friends. I am not sure that we 
could find the same brains over again. I am not church- 
man enough to wish you away. We will live and laugh 
for thirty years to come. Yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

219.] To Lady Holland. 

FosTON, Julij llth, 1823. 

Dear Lady Holland, 
Hannibal would not enter Capua. I have got back 
all my rural virtues. Would it be prudent to demoral- 
ize myself twice in a season by re-entering the Metrop- 
olis? I will stop short at the Green ]\Ian at Barnet, 
and venture no further. Yours, S. S. 

220.] To Lady Holland. 

October Isf, 1823. 

Dear Lady Holland, 
I was prepared to set off for London, when a better 
account arrived from Dr. Bond. I think you mistake 
Bond's character in supposing he could be influenced by 
partridges. He is a man of very independent mind, with 
whom pheasants at least, or perhaps turkeys, are neces- 

* * * * * * 

Nothing can be more disgusting than an Oratorio. 
How absurd, to see five hundred people fiddling like 
madmen about the Israelites in the Red Sea! Lord 


Morpeth pretends to say he was pleased, but I see a 
great change in him since the music-meeting. Pray tell 
Luttrell he did wrong not to come to the music. It 
tired me to death ; it would have pleased him. He is 
a melodious person, and much given to sacred music. 
In his fits of absence I have heard him hum the Hun- 
dredth Psalm ! (Old Version). 

Ever yours, dear Lady, 

Sydney Smith. 

221.] To Lady Holland. 

October Wtk, 1823. 

We have been visiting country squires. I got on 
very well, and am reckoned popular. We came last from 

. ]\Irs. and I beo:in to be better ac- 

quainted, and she improves. I hope I do ; though, as I 
profess to live with open doors and windows, I am seen 
(by those who think it worth while to look at me) as 
well in five minutes as in five years. 

I distinguished myself a good deal at M. A. Taylor's 
in dressing salads ; pray tell Luttrell this. I have 
thought about salads much, and will talk over the sub- 
ject with you and Mr. Luttrell when I have the pleasure 
to find you together. 

I am rejoiced at the Duke of Norfolk's success, and 
should have liked to see Lord Holland's joy. A few 
scraps of victory are thrown to the wise and just in the 
long battle of life. 

* « ■:•::- * * * 

I could have told before that bark would not do for 
the Duke of Bedford. What will do for him is, care- 
lessness, amusement, fresh air, and the most scrupulous 
management of sleep, food, and exercise ; also, there 
must be friction, and mercury, and laughing. 


The Ducliess wrote me a very amusing note in an- 
swer to mine, for wliicli I am much obliged. All duch- 
esses seem agreeable to clergymen ; but she would really 
be a very clever, agreeable woman, if she were married 
to a neighboring vicar ; and I should often call upon her. 
Dear Lady Holland, your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

222.] IFritteJi on the first page of a Letter of his 
youngest Daughter to her friend Miss . 

FosTON, 1823. 

Dear little Gee, 
Many thanks for your kind and affectionate letter. I 
can not recollect what you mean by our kindness ; all 
that I remember is, that you came to see us, and we 
all thought you very pleasant, good-hearted, and strong- 
ly infected with Lancastrian tones and pronunciations. 
God bless you, dear child ! I shall always be very fond 
of you, till you grow tall, and speak without an accent, 
and marry some extremely disagreeable person. 
Kver very affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

223.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

About 1823. 


No pecuniary embarrassments equal to the embarrass- 
ments of a professed wdt, like Mr. : an eternal de- 
mand upon him for pleasantry, and a consciousness, on 
his part, of a limited income of the facetious ; the disap- 
pointment of his creditors, the importunity of duns, the 
tricks, forgeries, and false coin he is forced to pay in- 
stead of gold ! 


Pity a wit, and remember with affection your stupid 
friend, Sydney Smith. 

224.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

TosTox, Av(j. 2Sth, 1821. 

My dear Davenport, 

I did not write one syllable of Hall's book. When 
first he showed me his manuscript, I told him it would 
not do ; it was too witty and brilliant. He then wrote 
it over again, and I told him it would do very well in- 
deed ; and it has done very well. He is a very pains- 
taking person. 

I am very sorry I have not a single copy left of my 
first Assize Sermon. I thought I had sent you a copy : 
I would immediately send you another, if I had one to 

You will see an article of mine in this Review, No. 
80, upon America. Lady Suffolk's Letters, in No. 79, 
were reviewed by Agar Ellis. 

I hear your sister is going with a multitude of Berrys 
and Lindsays to Scotland. I hope she will be retained 
if we get leave to visit your papa. 

Yours, my dear Davenport, very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

225.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

September 23t/, 1824. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
If you mean that my article itself is light and scanty, 
I agree to that ; reminding you that lightness and llim- 
siness are my line of reviewing. If you mean that my 

notice of M 's book is scanty, that also is true ; for 

I think the book very ill done : still, it is done by an 


honest, worthy man, who lias neither bread nor butter. 
How can I be true under such circumstances ? 

Sydney Smith. 

226.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

October Ist^ 1824. 

My dear Davenport, 

I am very sorry there should be any mistake as to 
the day; but in the negotiation between the higher 
powers — Mrs. Davenport and Mrs. Sydney — the day 
mentioned was from the 15th to dinner, till the morning 
of the 17th. You will smile at this precision ; but I 
find, from long experience, that I am never so well re- 
ceived, as when I state to my host the brief duration of 
liis sorrows and embarrassments. Upon the same prin- 
ciple, young speakers conciliate favor by declaring they 
do not mean to detain the House a long time. 

Great expectations are formed of your speech. The 
report is, that you apostrophize the Shades of Hampden 

and Brutus. has a beautiful passage on the effects 

of freedom upon calico. Sir John Stanley will take that 
opportunity of refuting Locke and Malebranche ; it will 

be a great day. J W will speak of economy 

from the epargiie. Sydney Smith. 

227.] To the Countess Grey. 

FosTOx, Oct. 23c/, 1824. 

;My dear Lady Grey, 
I am just come from a visit to Lord FitzwilKam, that 
best of old noblemen ! I was never there before. No- 
thing could exceed his kindness and civility. The 
.'Uillior of the " Paradise Lost" was there also. T am 


surprised that I had heard so little of the magnificence 
of AYentworth House. It is one of the finest buildings 
I ever saw — twice as great a front as Castle Howard ! 
And how mao-nificent is the hall ! 


I took Fouche's Memoirs for genuine ; hut I have no- 
thing to refer to but ignorant impressions. 

Dear Ladj '^l ! I have more tenderness for 

Lady ^l than it would be ecclesiastical to own ; 

but don't mention it to Lord Grey, who is fond of 
throwing a ridicule upon the cloth. Li the mean time, 

Lady !M is the perfection of all that is agTceable 

and pleasant in society. 

I have sent to Bishop Doyle a list of errors common- 
ly and unjustly imputed to the Catholics, and more and 
more believed for want of proper contradiction, request- 
ing him to publish and circulate a denial of them signed 
by the Eoman Catholic Hierarchy. It would be a veiy 
useful paper for general circulation. He writes word it 
shall be done. God bless you, dear Lady Grey ! 

Sydney Smith. 

228.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTox, Xov. lOth^ 1824. 

^Iy dear Jeffrey, 

I will send you a sheet for this number upon allow- 
ing Counsel for Prisoners in cases of Felony. Your 
review of the Bumpists destroys them, but it is tre- 
mendously long for such a subject. I can not teU what 
the Scotch market may require, but Bumpology has al- 
ways been treated with gi'eat contempt among men of 
sense in England, and the macliinery you have employed 
for its destmction will excite surprise ; though every 
body must admit it is extremely well done. 

A good article upon tlir Churcli of Encrlnncl. anr] upon 


the Court of France, and in general a very good number. 
Ever, my dear Jeifrej, most sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

229.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

Noveviher^ 1824. 

My dear Davenport, 

Political economy lias become, in the hands of !^Ial- 
thus and Ricardo, a school of metaphysics. All seem 
agreed what is to be done ; the contention is, how the 
subject is to be divided and defined. Meddle with no 
such matters. Write the lives of the principal Italian 
poets, of about the same length as Macdiarmid's "Lives," 
mingling criticism and translation with biography: this 
is the task I assign you. 

The Berry s are slowly rising in this part of the world ; 
I hear of them eighty miles off, and their track begins 
to be pointed out. People are out on the hills with 
their glasses. I have written to ask them to Foston. 
Our visit succeeded very well at Knowsley. The sing- 
ing of the children was admired, and we all found Der- 
bus and Derhe very kind and attentive. What princi- 
pally struck me was the magnificence of the dining- 
room, and the goodness of heart both of the master and 
mistress ; to which add, the ugliness of the country I 

I am sorry to hear you are likely to have the gout 
again. Let it be a comfort to you to reflect, that I, wlio 
have no gout, have not an acre of land upon the face of 
tlie earth. Sydney Smith. 

No Roman vase : Ave are not worthy — it is out of our 
line. I have read over your letter again. If the object 
in writing essays on political economy is to amuse your- 
self, of course there can be no objection ; but my opinion 


is (and I will never deceive in literary matters), you will 
do the other much better. If you have a mind for a 
frolic over the mountains, you know how glad I shall be 
to see you. 

230.] To Lord Crewe. 

About 1824. 

Dear Lord Crewe, 

I can not help writing a line to thank you for your 
obliging note. I hope one day or other (wind and 
weather permitting) to pay my respects to Lady Crewe 
and you, at Crewe Hall, of goodly exterior, and, like a 
York pie, at this season filled with agreeable and inter- 
esting contents. 

To J\Ir. and Mrs. CunlifFe my kind remembrances, if 
you please. I can not tiTist myself with a message to 
]\Irs. Hopwood, but shall be very much obliged to your 
Lordship to frame one, suitable to my profession, worthy 
of its object, and not forgetful of my feelings ; let it be 
clerical, elevated, and tender. 

P 's single turnips turned out extremely well ; he 

is about to publish a tract " On the Effect of Solitude 
on Vegetables." 

I remain, dear Lord Crewe, very truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

231.] To Lord Holland. 

FosTON, July Uth, 1825. 

We staid two days with Lord Essex, and were de- 
lighted with Cashiobury. I think you and I might catch 
some fish there next summer. He darkens his house 
too much Avith verandas, and there arc no hot lun- 


cheons ; in return, he is affable, oj)en-hearted, tinafFect- 
ed, and good-lmmored in the highest degree. I am sor- 
ry I never went there before. I will always go in fu- 
ture when I can, and when I am asked. 

The northern Avorld is profoundly peaceful and pros- 
perous ; the reverse of every thing we have prophesied 
in the Edinburgh Review for twenty years. 

Sydney Smith. 

232.] To Lady Holland. 

August 25th, 1825. 
* * 

has been extremely well received, and is much 

liked. His nature is fine: he wants ease, which will 
come ; and indiscretion, which will never come. 

I had a visit from the Earl of to my great sur- 
prise. I must do him the justice to say that nothing 
could be more agi-eeable and more amiable. To him 
succeeded some Genevese philosophers — not bad in the 
cou.ntry, where there is much time and few people ; but 
they would not do in London. 

My sermon, which I send you, was printed at the re- 
quest of the English Catholic Committee. 

I do not like Madame Bertin : I suspect all such books. 
You will read a review of mine, of Bentham's "Falla- 
cies," in the next Edinburgh Keview. 

The general report here is, that is to many the 

King of Prussia. I call it rather an ambitious than a 
happy match. It will neither please Lord Holland, nor 
Allen, nor Whishaw. 

Your sincere and affectionate 

Sydney Smith. 



233.] To THE Countess Geey. 

Kewcastle, Oct. 4:th, 1825. 

Dear Lady Grey, 

I have been on a visit to Brougliam, where I met 
Mackintosh. We had a loyal week, and spoke respectful- 
ly of all existing authorities. A pretty place ; Brougham 
very pleasant ; Mackintosh much improved in health. 
Mrs. Brougham is a very fine old lady, whom I took to 
very much. 

From Brougham I went to Howard of Corby — an 
excellent man, believing in the Pope ; and from thence I 
proceeded to Ord's, over the most heaven-forgotten coun- 
try I ever saw. Ord lives in this very beautiful, inacces- 
sible place at the end of the world, very comfortably. 

I now write from a vile inn at Newcastle, where I 
can get neither beef, veal, nor sealing-wax. 

I have a great prejudice against soldiers, but thought 
^Ir. agTeeable, and with a good deal of humor. 

I am very much pleased that the Howards intend to 
live on at Castle Howard. They are very excellent peo- 
ple, and I am most fortunate in having such neighbors. 

s. s. 

234.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTOX, 1825. 

My dear Jeffrey, 
I addressed a letter to you ten days since, mention- 
ing some subjects which, if agreeable to you, I would 
discuss in the Edinburgh Keview. I know the value 
and importance of your time enough to make me sorry' 
to intrude upon you again ; but the printer, you know, 
is imperious in his demands, and limited in his time. 
Will you excuse me for requesting as early an answer 


as you can ? It must be to you, as I am sure it is to 
me, a real pleasure to see so many improvements taking 
place, and so many abuses destroyed — abuses upon 
which you, with cannon and mortars, and I with spar- 
row-shot, have been playing for so many years. 

Mrs. Sydney always sends you reproaches for not 
coming to see her as you pass and repass ; but I always 
reply to her, that the loadstone has no right to reproach 
the needle for not coming from a certain distance. The 
answer of the needle is, "Attract me, and I will come; 
I am j^assive." "Alas! it is beyond my power," says 
the magnet. "Then don't blame me," says the needle. 

Sydney Smith. 

235.] To THE Countess Grey. 

January 20th, 1826. 

j^Iy DEAii Lady Grey, 

Terrible work in Yorkshire with the Pope ! I tight 
with the beasts at Ephesus every day ! 

I liope you have lost no money by the failures all 
around you. I have been very fortunate. In future I 
mean to keep my money in a hole in the garden. 

This A^'cek I publish a pamphlet on the Catholic ques- 
tion, with my name to it. There is such an uproar liere, 
that I tliink it is gallant, and becoming a friend of Lord 
Grey's (if he will forgive the presumption of my giving 
myself that appellation), to turn out and take part in the 
aifray. I would send you a copy, but it would cost you 
three times as much as to buy it. But the best way is 
neither to buy nor receive it. What a detestable sub- 
ject ! — stale, threadbare, and exhausted ; but ancient er- 
rors can not be met with fresh refutations. 

They say it is very cold, but I am in a perfectly warm 
liouse ; and wlien I go out, am in a perfectly wann great- 
coat : the seasons are nothing to me. 


I wish Lord Ho wick would come and see me, as he 
passes and repasses : I am afraid he doubts of my Whig 
principles, and thinks I am not for the people. You 
know that Dr. Willis opposes Beaumont for the county 
of Northumberland. The sheriff has provided himself 
with a strait waistcoat. 

How did you like Lord ]\Iorpeth's answer ? It seems 
to me modest, liberal, and rational. It is very generally 
approved here. It is something, that a young man of 
his station has taken the oaths to the good cause. 

Pray tell all your family the last person burned in 
England for religion was Weightman, at Lichfield, by 
the Protestant Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, in the 
reign of James the First, 1612. God save the King! 
From your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

236.] To THE Eael Grey. 

February IGth, 1826. 

My dear Lord Grey, 
There appeared in the "Monthly Magazine" (Janu- 
ary), and was thence copied into several papers, *'^ 
Letter of Advice to the Clergy^ hy the liev. Sydney 
Smith,^^ It is a mere forgery; and I have ascertained 
that the author is a Mr. Nathaniel Ogle, of Southampton. 
May I beg the favor of you to inform me who Mr. Na- 
thaniel Ogle is ? I thought Nat. Ogle, the eldest son 
of the Dean, had been dead, and that the estate had 
passed to John. If you know any thing of this gentle- 
man, I should be obliged to you to inform me, and also 
to send me the address of the Pev. Henry Ogle. Any 
attack of wit or argument is fair ; but to publish letters 
in another man's name is contra honos mores, and can 
not be allowed. I hope you are well, and bring Avith 
you to town a lady as well as yourself. 
Vol. IL— L 


1 have published a pamphlet in favor of the Pope, with 
my name, which I would send, but that it would cost you 
more than its price, being above weight, and sine jjoii- 
clere : but I can not help writing ; facit indignatio ver- 
sus. ]\Iost truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

237.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTON, Feb. 28th, 1826. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I can make nothing of Craniology, for this reason : 
they are taking many different species of the same pro- 
pensity, and giving to them each a bump. Now I be- 
lieve that if nature meant to give any bumps at all, it 
must have been to the genus, and not to the species and 
varieties ; because the human skull could not contain 
outward signs of a tenth part of the various methods in 
which any propensity may act. But to state what are 
original propensities, and to trace out the family or gene- 
alogy of each, is a task requiring great length, patience, 
and metaphysical acuteness ; and Combe's book is too 
respectably done to be taken by storm. 

Instead of this, I will send you, as you seem pressed, 
the review of "Granby," a novel of great merit. Stop 
me, by return of post, if this book is engaged, and believe 
me always most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

238.] To Fletcher, Esq. 

York, March 25th, 1826. 

My dear Sir, 
I am truly glad that any effort of mine in the cause 
of liberality and toleration meets with your approbation. 


You have lived a life of honor and honesty, truckling to 
no man, and disguising no opinion you entertained. I 
think myself much honored by your praise. I will take 
care you have a copy of my speech as soon as I return 
to Foston from York, where I am now staying for a short 
course of noise, bad air, and dirt. 

]\Iy letter is by this time nearly out of print : a thou- 
sand copies have disappeared, and I am printing another 
thousand ; and I will take care you have one froyn the 
author^ as a mark of his sincere regard and respect. 

God bless you, my dear Sir! I wish you a fertile 
garden, a warm summer, limbs without pain, and a tran- 
quil mind. The remembrance of an honorable and use- 
ful life you have secured for yourself already. 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

239.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Ship Inx, Do\t:k,* April \Wh^ 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 
I have arrived safely at Dover, and shall cross to-mor- 
row in the Government packet. You must direct to me 

* "These letters, perhaps, are not of sufficient interest to be -worthy 
of general attention. Yet they show the pleasure he took in imparting 
to the absent the daily incidents occurring to him in a new place, and. 
the promise gi'atuitously given, and never once departed from, that he 
would write ox^xj day. He well knew how eagerly these letters would 
be read at home. The looking at every thing with a view to the en- 
joyment he should have in taking his family abroad at some future 
time — his mindfulness of all the little commissions given him — show 
him to have been as full of unostentatious domestic virtue, as he was 
conspicuous for that which is deemed greater and nobler. — C. A. S." — 
yote. to the Letters from Paris, by Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

The brief extracts which have been selected from the letters written 
by Mr. Sydney Smith to his wife, during his first visit to Paris, are not 
inserted for their brilliancy, nor because they inform us of any thing 
about Paris Avith which we are not familiar. I think them precious, as 
showing his fresh and open sense of enjoyment, and his eager desire to 
share it \vith his family. The words in italics were underlined in the 


at Messrs. Laffitte and Co., Paris. You need only write 
once a week, except in case of accidents ; I shall write, 
as I told you, every day. I think, when loe go to Paris^ 
I shall set off in the steamboat from London. 

The road from London to Dover is very beautiful. I 
am much pleased with Dover. They have sunk a deep 
shaft in the cliff, and made a staircase, by which the top 
of the cliff is reached with great case — or at least what 
they call great ease, which means the loss of about a 
pound of liquid flesh, and as much puffing and blowing 
as would grind a bushel of wheat. The view from the 
cliff, I need not tell you, is magnificent. 

I dare say a number of acquaintances will turn up. 
You shall have an exact account of the contents of the 
steam-packet. God bless you all 1 S. S. 

240.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Calais, April 15th, 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 

I am writing from a superb bedroom and dressing- 
room, at Dessein's. I wanted to order dinner, and a 
very long €a7'te, of which I understood nothing, was 
given me; so I ordered "Potage aux clioux" (God 
knows what it is), " Pommes de terre au naturel," and 
" Veau au naturel." I am afraid I shall have a fortune 
to pay for it. 

I have been walking all about Calais, and am quite 
delighted with it. It contains about half the population 
of York. What pleases me, is the taste and ingenuity 
displayed in the shops, and the good manners and po- 
liteness of the people. Such is the state of manners, 

copies made by Mrs. Sydney, and so I have left them : I would not rob 
them of the emphasis given to them by her proud and grateful affec- 
tion. — Ed. 


that you appear almost to have quitted a land of barba- 

I wish you could see me, with my wood fire, and my 
little bedroom, and fine sitting-room. My baggage has 
passed the Custom-house without any difficulty ; there- 
fore, so far, my journey has answered perfectly. 

yo^i shall all see France ; I am resolved wpon that. 
God bless you all ! S. S. 

241.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

PAiiis : no date. 

Dearest Wife, 

]\Iy dinner at Calais was superb ; I never ate so good 
a dinner, nor was in so good a hotel ; but I paid dear. 
I amused myself that evening with walking about the 
streets of Calais, which pleased me exceedingly. It is 
quite another w^orld, and full of the greatest entertain- 
ment. I inost sincerely hope^ one day or another, to 
conduct you cdl over it ; the thought of doing so is one 
of my greatest pleasures in traveling. I was struck 
immediately with, and have continued to notice ever 
since, the extreme propriety and civility of every body, 
even the lowest person ; I have not seen a cobbler who 
is not better bred than an English gentleman. I slept 
well on a charming bed, after having drunk much better 
tea than I could have met with in England. 

I found the inns excellent every where on the road, 
and the cookery admirable. The agriculture appeared 
to me extremely good ; the instruments very clumsy, 
and the sheep, cows, and pigs miserable. The horses 
admirable for agriculture and seven miles an hour. At 
Paris I drove to several hotels and could not get admis- 
sion ; at last I found rooms at the Hotel D'Orvilliers. 
I dined in a cafe more superb than any thing we have 


an idea of in the waj of coffee-house, and I send you my 
Ibill. A dinner Hkc this would have cost thirty shilHngs 
in London. At this coffee-house I was accosted by Bin- 
da, who was dining there. J\Iy dinner was not good, for, 
not knowing what to choose, and not understanding tlie 
language of the kitchen, I chose the first thing upon the 
list, and chose badly ; it is reckoned the best coffee-house 
in Paris. 

In the morning I changed my lodgings to the Hotel 
Virginie, Kue St. Honore, No. 350. My sitting-room 
is superb ; my bedroom, close to it, very good ; there 
is a balcony which looks upon the street — as busy as 
Cheapside — in short, I am as comfortably lodged as pos- 
sible : I pay at the rate of £2 2s. per week. I am ex- 
ceedingly pleased with every thing I have seen at the 
hotel, and it will he^ I thinks here we shall lodge. God 
bless you all ! Sydney Smith. 

242.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Paris, April 19th, 1826". 

Dearest Kate. 

* * * * * -* 

I called on the Duke of Bedford, who took me for /Sir 
Sidney Smith, and refused me ; I met him afterward in 
the street. 

I have bought a coat-of-aiTns on a seal for six shillings, 
which will hereafter be the coat-of-arms of the family ; 
this letter is sealed with it.* 

I called upon Dumont, who says that our hosj^itality 
to his friends has made us very popular at Geneva, and 
that ]\L Chauvet gave a very entertaining account of us. 

Paris is very badly lighted at nights, and the want of 
a trottoir is a very great evil. The equipages are much 

* Vide Memoir, p. ISH. 


less splendid and less numerous than in England. The 
Champs Elysees are very poor and bad ; but, for the two 
towns, in spite of all these inconveniences, believe me, 
there is not the smallest possibility of a comparison; 
Regent Street is a perfect misery, compared with the 
finest parts of Paris. I think, in general, that the dis- 
play of the shops is finer here than in London. 

Of course my opinions, from my imperfect information, 
are likely to change every day ; but at present I am in- 
clined to think that I ought to have gone, and that vne. 
icill go, to the Boulevards. 

There are no table-cloths in the cofiee-houses ; this 
annoys me ; (at least none for breakfast). 

I am very well ; still a little heated with the journey. 
I have written regularly every day. God bless you all ! 

Sydney Smith. 

April 20th. 

The Dulve of Bedford wrote me a note, saying there 
had been some mistake on the day I called — that I had 
been mistaken for my namesake — " as much unlike you 
as 2^ossihley This note was carried to Sir Sidney, Avho 
opened it, read it, and returned it to me, with an apolo- 
gy for his indiscretion, offering to take me to some shows, 
and begging we might be acquainted, S. S. 

243.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Paris, Apr'dlUt, 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 
I breakfasted yesterday with Miss Fox and ]\Iiss Yer- 
non. I met an ancient member of the National Assem- 
bly — a ^I. Girardin, a sensible, agreeable man, who gave 
me an introduction to-day to the Assembly, of which I 
mean to avail myself. 


I dined with Lord Holland ; there was at table Bar- 
ras, the ex-Director, in whose countenance I immediatelj 
discovered all the signs of Llood and cruelty which dis- 
tinguished his conduct. I found out, however, at the 
end of dinner, that it was not Barras, but M. de Barante, 
an historian and man of letters, who, I believe, has never 
killed any thing gi-eater than a flea. The Duke de Brog- 
lie was there ; I am to breakfast with him to-morrow. 
In the afternoon came Casimir Perrier, one of the best 
speakers in the Assembly, and Dupin, a lawyer. I saw 
young Abercrombie here, the Secretary of Legation. 

Lady Granville has invited me to her ball, which is 
to be, as they say, very splendid. 

I have hired a laquais de jplace^ who abridges my 
labor, saves my time, and therefore money. I am as- 
sailed by visitants, particularly by Sir Sidney Smith, 
who is delighted with my letter to him, and shows it 
about every where. 

God bless you all ! S. S. 

244.J To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Paris, April 22d, 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 
From IMontmartrc there is a noble panorama of Paris. 
From thence I went to the Assembly of Deputies — a 
dark, disagreeable hall. I was placed so far from them 
that I could not hear. They got up and read their 
speeches, and read them like very bad parsons. I dined 
at seven o'clock at the Embassador's ; ]\Iiss Fox carried 
me there. The company consisted of Lord and Lady 
Granville, Lady Hardy (Sir Charles Hardy's lady), Mr. 
and Mrs. Ellis, Lady C. Wortley, ]\lr. Sneyd, Mr. Aber- 
crombie, and two or three attaches ; and in the after- 
noon came a profusion of French duchesses — in general 


very good-looking, well-dressed people, with more form 
and ceremony than belongs to English duchesses. The 
house was less splendid than I expected, though I fancy 
I did not see the state apartments. There is an assem- 
bly there this morning, to see the greenhouses and gar- 
dens, to which I am invited: you know my botanic skill 
— it will be called into action this morning ; but, first, 
I am going to a dejeuner a lafourchette with the Duke 
de Broglie. 

I have renewed my acquaintance with young . 

There is something in him, but he does not know how 
little it is ; he is much admired as a beauty. 

God bless you all ! I have written every day. 

s. s. 

245.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Pakis, April 2Sdj 1826. 

Dearest ICate, 

I went yesterday, with Dumont, to breakfast with 
the Duke de Broglie. The company consisted of the 
Duke, the Duchess, the tutor, young Rocca, M. de 
Stael, brother to the Duchess, and the children. The 
Duke seems to be a very amiable, sensible man. He 
and M. de Stael are going to make a tour, and I think 
will come to see us in Yorkshire. 

After breakfast I went to see the palace of the Duke 
of Orleans. The pictures arc numerous, but principally 
of the French school, and not good ; the rooms in which 
there are no pictures are most magnificent ; in short, 
raagmficence must be scratched out of our dictionary. 
I then went to a dpjeuner a la fourchette at the Em- 
bassador's, where there was a numerous assembly of 
French and English ; it was a very pretty sight, in a 
very pretty garden. 


I dined with Lord Bath. In the evening wc wont to 
see Mdlle. Mars, the groat French actress. Her forfA 
is comedy ; she Ef^ftTna to excel in such parts as 3Irs. 
Jordan excelled in, and tias her sweetness of voice. 
She is ver\- old and ngly ; she excels also in genteel 
comedv, as 3Iiss Farren did. I certainly think her a 
very considerahle actress. 

After the play I went to Lady Holland's, where was 
Humboldt, the great traveler- — a hvely, pleasant, talk- 
ative man. 

I hke M. Gallois verv' rnueh ; he is a truly benevo- 
lent, amiable man. I have not yet liad a visit from 
the hero Sir Sidney Smith; it is his business to call 
tipon me, and I am not anxious to make acrj[uaintance 
with my coxmtrymaru 

God bless you I I have written every day, but have 
received no letters. S. S. 

246.] To -AIiiH. Sydney Smith. 

Paki«, April 21 th, 182G. 

Deakest Kate, 

Yesterday was a very bad, draggling day, and Paris 
is not pleasant at such a time. I went to the King's 
Library, containing four hundred thousand volumes ; 
they are lent out, even the manuscripts, and, I am 
afraid, sometimes lost and stolen. It is an enormous 
library, but nothing to strike the eye. I then saw the 
Palais du Prince de Conde, which is not worth seeing. 

I rlined with Lord Hollanrl, who is better. The fa- 
mous Cuvier was there, and in the evening came Prince 
Talleyrand, who renewed his acquaintance with me, and 
inquired ver^' kindly for my brother. I mean to call 
upon him. The French manners are quite opposite to 
ours : the stranger is introduced, and I find he calls 


upon the native first. This is very singular, and, I 
think, contrary to reason. 

In the evening I went to Lady Granville's ball; 
nothing could be more superb. It is by all accounts 
the first house in Paris. I met there crowds of English. 
Madame de Bourke, the widow of the late Danish Em- 
bassador, renewed her acquaintance with me. The 
prettiest girl in the room was Miss Eumbold, the daugh- 
ter-in-law of Sir Sidney Smith. 

The French Government are behaving very foolishly, 
flinging themselves into the arms of the Jesuits ; mak- 
ing processions through the streets of twelve hundred 
priests, with the King and Royal Family at their head ; 
disgusting the people, and laying the foundation of 
another revolution, which seems to me (if this man* 
lives) to be inevitable. God bless you ! 

S. S. 

247.] To ]\Irs. Sydney Smith. 

Paris, April 2%th, 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 

Yesterday was a miserable day ; it rained in torrents 
from morning to night. I employed the morning in vis- 
iting in a hackney-coach. It is curious to see in what 
little apartments a French savant lives ; you find him at 
his books, covered with snufi", with a little dog that bites 
your legs. 

I had no invitation to dinner, so dined by myself 
at a cofiee-house. I improve in my knowledge of 
Paris cookery. There were four English ladies dining 
in the public cofiee-house — very well-bred women. In 

the evening I received an invitation from Mrs. H. S 

to go with her and her son to the Opera. I went, 

♦ Charles X, 


and was pleased with the gayety of the house ; there 
is no ballet, and at present no good singer. The house 
was full of English, who talk loud, and seem to care 
little for other j^eople ; this is their characteristic, and 
a very brutal and barbarous distinction it is. After the 
Opera, I went to drink tea with Mrs. S , and so end- 
ed my day. 

This morning it is snowing. I am going to break- 
fast with the Duke de Broglie. God bless you all ! 

s. s. 

248.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Pams, April 2dth, 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 

Horrible weather again to-day ; snowing and raining 
all day. I went to breakfast with the Duke de Broglie. 
They are virtuous, sensible people, but give breakfasts 
without a table-cloth. 

I saw the Palace of the Luxembourg and the House 
of Peers ; bad pictures, fine gardens, and the noblest 
staircase in Paris. The Luxembourg gardens are vejy 
fine for the French style of gardening, which I confess I 
like very much. I am going to-mon-ow with Mr. Sneyd 
to St. Cloud perfectly and JMeudon. A fortnight is suf- 
ficient for any man to see Paris, if he meets with no 
friends and is diligent. S. S. 

249.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Paris, Mmj 1st, 1826. 
Saturday was again a horrible day. I have been 
badly advised about the time of year: the month of 
May is the time. We will set off from Yorkshire the 
1st of 31 ay. 


I dined with Talleyrand ; liis cook is said to be tlie 
"best in Paris. The Duke of Bedford took me there. 
He was very civil (Talleyrand, I mean), as was his 
niece, the Duchess de Dino. I sat near Mr. Montron, 
the Luttrell of Paris — a very witty, agreeable man, 
with whom I made great friends. In the afternoon I 
went to Lady Grantham's, where was a splendid assem- 
bly. I amused myself very much, and staid till twelve 
o'clock. I renewed my acquaintance with Pozzo di 
Borgo, the Russian Embassador ; a very sensible, agree- 
able man. S. S. 

250.] To 'Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

Pahis, May Wh, 1826. 

Dearest Kate, 

I was engaged all yesterday in seeing the proces- 
sion. The King laid the first stone of a statue to 
Louis XVI. in the Place de Louis XV. The proces- 
sion passed under my window, where were Miss Fox, 
Miss Vernon, Lady Holland, and others. There were 
about twelve hundred priests, four cardinals, a piece 
of the real Cross, and one of the nails, carried under 
a canopy upon a velvet cushion; the King, the Mar- 
shals, the House of Peers, and the House of Commons 
following. A more absurd, disgraceful, and ridiculous, 
or a finer, sight, I never saw. The Bourbons are too 
foolish and too absurd ; nothing can keep them on the 

The season is very cold ; it is a decided east wind 
to-day. I am fully a month too soon ; the foliage is not 
half out. 

You know ^Irs. II. S . On Sunday, when I 

preached, she sat near Sir Sidney Smith ; he com- 
mended the sermon very much. "Yes," said Mrs. 


S , "I think it should make you proud of your 

name I" You may easily guess how this was relished. 

I am a good deal alamied by these riots in England, 
"because I do not know how they are to end. There is 
a want of work ; when will the demand for manufactur- 
ing labor revive ? How is it possible to support such a 
population in idleness ? 

The I^ng is grown dreadfully old since I dined with 
him at the Duke of Buccleuch's, in Scotland ; I should 
not have known him again. There are some hopes of 
the Dauphin and of the Duchess d'Angouleme. If some 
change does not soon take place, there will be a revolu- 
tion. God bless you all ! S. S. 

251.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

May 5tlt, 182G. 

Dearest Kate, 

I went yesterday to the Cimetiere du Pere la Chaise. 
This is a large burying-ground of tAvo hundred acres, 
out of Paris. The tombs are placed in little gardens by 
the relations, and covered w^itli flowers. You see people 
mourning and weeping over the graves of their friends. 
I was much pleased and affected with it. 

From thence I went to the Castle of Yincennes, two 
or three miles from Paris. It w^as here that the Duke 
d'Enghien was shot by order of Bonaparte. A monu- 
ment, in very bad taste, is erected to his memory in 
the chapel. The castle is not inhabited, but by artil- 
lerymen ; it is a sort of bad Woolwich. Tlie park is 
immense ; at first they would not let me in, but a ser- 
geant of artillery, who was showing it to his friends, ad- 
mitted me to be of the party. It is not, however, worth 
seeing — only worth driving round. 

I went to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Greathed. They 


gave me a very good dinner, particularly 2^ filet cle hoeuf 
])iqiie of admirable flavor and contrivance. There was 
a gentleman, whose name I could not learn, nor ascer- 
tain his nature ; and a very agreeable, clever woman, by 
the name of Quesnel, the widow of Holcroft, who writes 
for the stage, here ; she has six children by her first, 
and six by her second husband, and she says she is call- 
ed at her hotel la dame aux enfans ! God bless you 
aU! S. S. 

252.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

May 1th, 1826. 

I passed three hours yesterday at the Police, getting 
my passport. I think I have nearly seen all my sights. 
I have seen Sismondi and Madame Sismondi this morn- 
ing ; he is an energetic and sensible old man. My two 
reviews are very much read, and praised here for their 
fun ; I read them the other night, and they made me 
laugh a good deal. 

The Parisians are very fond of adorning their public 
fountains : sometimes water poui's forth from a rock, 
sometimes trickles from the jaws of a serpent. The dull 
and prosaic English turn a brass cock, or pull out a plug ! 
What a nation ! 

I have bought the " Cuisinier Bourgeois." I think we 
may attempt one or two dishes. We shall not be per- 
fect at first, but such an object will insure and justify 
perseverance. I meant, when first I came, to have 
bought all Paris ; but, finding that difficult, I have, for 
myself, only spent six shillings ! S. S. 


253.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith. 

LoxDox, Friday. 

Dearest Kate, 

I set off at nine o'clock on Tuesday in the diligence, 
with a French lady and her father, who has an estate 
near Calais. I found him a sensible man, with that pro- 
pensity which the French have for explaining things 
which do not require explanation. He explained to 
me, for instance, what he did when he found coffee too 
strong; he put water in it! He explained how blind 
people found their way in Paris — by tapping upon the 
wall with a stick ; what he principally endeavored to 
make clear to me was, how they knew when they were 
come to a crossing — it was when there was no longer a 
wall to strike against with their stick ! I expressed my 
thorough comprehension of these means used by blind 
men, and he paid me many compliments upon my quick- 
ness. I had fine weather for my journey, and arrived at 
Calais at four o'clock on Wednesday. I went to Quil- 
liac's Hotel, which I found less good and less dear than 
that of Dessein. 

I went to the play the day before I came away, and 
saw Talma. He is certainly a very fine actor, making 
due allowance for the vehemence and gesticulation of the 

What has struck me most is the extraordinary beauty 
of the French papers. I have bought enough to paper 
your room for £2 10s. ; the duty upon it was £5 ; total, 
£7 IO5., about as cheap as English paper at a shilling a 
yard ; but I sec no such patterns in England. 

We sailed at about eleven o'clock, and had a beauti- 
ful passage of less than three hours. A sea-voyage pro- 
duces a little terror, some surprise, great admiration, 
much cold, much ennui, and, where there is no sickness, 


mucli hunger. I got my things through the Custom- 
house here before six o'clock, and traveled all night to 
London, with a Flemish baron, his lady, and child, and 
a French physician's wife. I am very httle fatigued. 
And so ends my journey to France, which has given me 
much pleasure and amusement. God bless you all ! 

s. s. 

254.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

FosTOK, July, 1826. 

Dear Jeffrey, 
Will you allow me to remind you that it is above 
three weeks since I asked you whether I might T\Tite an 
article upon licensing ale-liouses — a great English sub- 
ject ? I should take it as a favor if you would answer 
these queries as soon as you can, by a single word, as 
follows : 

Ale-houses — ^Tes. 
Ale-houses — Xo. 
The impediment to the under workmen is serious, when 
the master will not tell them what they are to do. 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

255.] To Lord Holland. 

August Sth, 1826. 

It struck me last night, as I was lying in bed, that 
[Mackintosh, if he were to write on pepper, would thus 
describe it : 

" Pepper may philosophically be described as a dusty 
and highly-pulverized seed of an Oriental fruit ; an arti- 
cle rather of condiment than diet, Avhich, dispersed light- 
ly over the sui-face of food with no other rule than the 


caprice of the consumer, communicates pleasure, rather 
than affords nutrition ; and, bj adding a tropical flavor 
to the gross and succulent viands of the North, approx- 
imates the different regions of the earth, exj^lains the ob- 
jects of commerce, and justifies the industry of man." 

I am very glad to hear from ]\Iiss Vernon, that you 
are all so well, and that you are enjoying yourselves so 
much at Ampthill. S. S. 

256.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FOSTOX, September^ 182G. 

]My dear Lady Grey, 

We have had Mr. Whishaw and ^Ir. Jeffrey here, and 
a number of very sensible, agreeable men, coming up to 
the imperfect idea I am able to form of good society. 
You have had a brisk time of it at Howick, and all the 
organs of combativeness have been called into action. I 
hope you are cooling. We have been, ever since I have 
been here, in the horror of elections — each party acting 
and thinking as if the salvation of several planets de- 
pended upon the adoption of ^Ir. Johnson and the rejec- 
tion of Mr. Jackson. 

I think it is tlie hot weather which has agreed with 
you ; it is quite certain that it has not agreed with me. 
I never suffered so much from any species of weather ; 
but I am, you know, of the family of Falstaff. 

Pray make all my friends (meaning by that expres- 
sion your daughters) study languages on tlic Ilamilton- 
ian method. 

I hope you found Howick in high beauty. It must 
have been an affecting meeting. You left it under the 
conviction that you should see it no more, though I 
told you all the time you would live to be eighty. 

Pray road Agar Ellis's "Iron Mask;" not so much 


for that question, though it is not devoid of curiosity, 
as to remark the horrible atrocities perpetrated under 
absolute monarchies ; and to justify and extol Lord 
Grey, and, at the humblest distance, Sydney Smith 
and other men, who, according to their station in life 
and the different talents given them, have defended 

God bless you, dear Lady Grey ! 

From your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

257.] To Lady Holland. 

London, Thursday, 1826. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I have written to Maltby, and stated (in order to 
accumulate motives) that you are a considerable scholar, 
but shy, and must be pressed a good deal before you 
develop such-like knowledge ; particularly, that you 
have peculiar opinions about the preterpluperfect tense ; 
and this, I know, will bring him directly, for that tense 
has always occasioned him much uneasiness, though he 
has appeared to the world cheerful and serene. 

But how little we know of what passes in each other's 
minds ! Ever yours, S. S. 

258.] To John Allen, Esq. 

FosTox, November 9tJi, 1826. 

Dear Allen, 
Pray tell me something about Lord and Lady Hol- 
land, as it is several centuries since I have seen them. 
I was in the same house in Cheshire with , but he 


was too ill to see me; extreme depression of spirits 
seems to be his complaint, an evil of wliicli I have a full 

comprehension ; !Mrs. seems to be really alarmed 

about him. Have you finished your squabbles with 
Lingard ? The Catholics are outrageous with you, and 
I have heard some of the most violent express a doubt 
whether you are quite an orthodox member of the 
Church of England. 

I never saw Lord Carlisle looking so well. Is not 
happiness good for the gout? I think that remedy is 
at work upon him. I can not say how agreeable their 
neighborhood is to me. I am very glad to see Mackin- 
tosh is really at work upon his history : it will immortal- 
ize him, and make Ampthill classical from recollections. 

I think of going to Edinburgh in the spring with my 
family, on a visit to Jeffrey, who was with us in the 
summer. Health and respect, dear Allen ! Prosperity 
to the Church, and power to the clergy ! 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

We have seen a good deal of old Whishaw this sum- 
mer ; he is as pleasant as he is wise and honest. He 
has character enough to make him well received if he 
were dull, and wit enough to make him popular if he 
were a rogue. 

259.] To Edward Davenport, Esq. 

December 2Gth, 1826. 

Dear Davenport, 
I wish you would turn your talents and activity to 
oppose this odious war. There is no such thing as a 
"just war," or, at least, as a wise war; at all events, 
this is not one. Pray be pacific. I see you have 
broken the ice in the House of Commons. I shall be 


curious to hear your account of your feelings, of what 
color the human creatures looked who surrounded you, 
and how the candles and Speaker appeared. We must 
have a small massacre of magistrates ; nothing else will 
do. The gentleman you have mentioned shall be among 
the first. 

I wish you had added a word of the natui-e and con- 
dition of my old friend Mrs. H : breeding, of 

course; at least, the onus prohandi is with her. 

We hear nothing here but of distress, bazaars, and 
the high price of hay. I am not without alarm as to 
the state of the country : the manufacturing distress has 
lasted too long. 

For God's sake, open upon the Chancery. On this 
subject there can be no excess of vituperation and 
severity. Advocate also free trade in ale and ale-houses. 
Respect the Church, and believe that the insignificant 
member of it who now addresses you is most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

260.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq. 

HowiCK, February, 1827. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

It appears there is a great probability of war with 
Spain, and therefore with France. If the majority had 
been in favor of the Catholics, Peel and Lord Bathurst 
had settled to resign. Of this there is no doubt. Lord 
Liverpool regains neither speech nor reason, only a little 
power of locomotion ; his resignation has been given in 
by his friends. The King has taken the most decided 
part against the Catholics, and begs he may never more 
be importuned respecting a question which harasses his 
conscience ; he pleads even his Coronation Oath ! 

There is a great effort made by the High Tories to 


fling Canning overboard, but Peel is averse to try the 
experiment. But for this, it is supposed he would be 
dismissed. The alternative, I take to be, either Peel, 
or Canning, bound hand, foot, and tongue. Lord Wel- 
lington openly declares Canning to be, from his indis- 
cretion, unfit for office. 

I have not heard the slightest rumors of Lord Grey 
or Lord Lansdowne. 

Your affectionate friend, Sydney Smith. 

261.] To Mrs. Fletcher. 

Y^OKK, March, 1827. 
]\Iy dear MaDAjM, 

]\Liny thanks for your obliging note, and for the loan 
of tlic books. I really must persevere in my judgment 
of Tone's conduct. His life had been spared by the 
Irish Government, who are generous enough to let him 
off with no other condition than that of expatriation; 
and the moment their generosity has set him free, he 
plots their destruction by calling in a foreign enemy. 
I omist hold this to be bad morals. A tone of vulgarity 
pervades the whole narrative ; yet, if the first error in 
morals be overlooked, there is devotion, heroism, cour- 
age, and perseverance in his conduct. 

My sermons were little or nothing; their excellence 
is in your own desire to excel, and in your disposition 
to be pleased. 

Politics, domestic and foreign, are very discouraging; 
.Jesuits abroad — Turks in Greece — No-Poperists in En- 
gland. A panting to burn B ; B fuming to roast C ; 
C miserable that he can not reduce D to ashes ; and 
D consigning to eternal perdition the three first letters 
of the alphabet. Health and respect ! 

Sydney Smith. 


2 62. J To THE Earl Grey. 

March 2m, 1827. 

My dear Lord, 


It would have some eiFect, if the Catholics were to 
admit the expediency of excluding eveiy member from 
voting on the affairs of the Church, who would not take 
the declaration against Transubstantiation. The com- 
mon query is, Are they to assist in regulating the affairs 
of oicr Church, who will not permit us to meddle with 
their Church ? 

I remain, my dear Lord, with our kind regards, most 
truly yours, Sydney Smitil 

263.] To THE Translator of Voltaire's '' Charles 


EosTox, York, April 2Uh, 1827. 

I am extremely obliged by the honor you have done 
me in sending me your translation of " Charles XIL" 
I have no reason to alter my opinion expressed in the 
Edinburgh Heview ; all you have written confirms to 
ane the benefit of the double translation. Any tiling 
that can be done to alleviate the "wretchedness of learn-' 
ing languages, is of the highest public importance. I 
will look over your translation ; and, if any thing occurs 

* About the time at which this letter was written, public attention 
had been drawn to the so-called Hamiltonian System of interlinear 
translation, by an article in the Edinburgh Review. The book here 
referred to was translated anonymously by the Editor of these Letters ; 
and as this toilsome work was undertaken partly in consequence of the 
eulogy of the system contained in tliat article, a copy was sent to the 
author of it. It was not till long afterward that he knew to whom his 
letter was addressed, — Ed. 


to mc deserving of your consideration, will write to you 
through tlie medium of your publishers. I remain, 
Madam, your well-wisher and obedient servant, 

Sy'dxey Sr^iiTH. 

264.] To THE Dean of Chester. 

FosTOK, June 2^th, 1827. 

^Iy dear Sir, 

I can only say, that if any man asked me whether I 
was the author of an anonymous publication, in which 
his character v:as attached^ that I would immediately 
(if I were the author) own myself to be so, and pubUsh 
his defense with my own assent to, or dissent from it, 
accompanied by my reasons ; and, if I thought I had 
done wrong, I would apologize. This is tlie plain 

course; and tliis course I dare say (if he be the 

author) will pursue. I shall have occasion to ■v\Tite to 
him and Jeffrey soon, and wiU state to them the same 
opinions I have stated to you. 

As to the old quarrel with the Edinburgh Review, 
and who was light and who was wrong, you will, I am 
sure, have the goodness to excuse mc for not saying 
any thing on the subject ; twenty years have elapsed, 
and the thing is dead and gone. You and I, like wise 
and respectable men, have shaken hands, and so ends 
the matter. 

I have not read your sermon. I received a letter 
from London about th.e time it was published, taking a 
view of it as a decided anti-Catholic sermon, and desir- 
ing mc to review it. I immediately declined doing so ; 
and, as I liad the wisdom to keep out of the original 
war, I have a fair right to remain neutral in the second- 
ary dispute, and must therefore deny myself the pleas- 
ure I should derive from any production of yours. 


You have done quite riglit in writing to me. You 

maj depend upon it I will exliort (if he be the 

author) to reconsider his remarks, and to do you all the 
justice he conscientiously can, I have written nothing 
whatever in the approaching number of the Edinburgh 

Upon looking over your letter again carefully, I per- 
ceive you do not contend that your sermon, to a certain 
extent, is not anti-Catholic, but that you have always 
been anti-Catholic to the same extent ; if so, this is, of 
course, a perfect answer to the charge of inconsistency. 
I have unfortunately seen so little of you for many years 
past, that I can have no knowledge of your opinions ; but 
I had formed a loose notion that you had been a decided 
friend to Catholic emancipation, and it certainly would 

have surprised me (as it seems to have surprised ) 

to have read from you a sermon so anti-Catholic as you 
represent yours to be. I thought I had heard that you 
were almost alone in the Convocation in defending the 
Catholics. But these are mere rumors of the streets ; I 
have no kind of authority for them. 

I write in haste ; pray construe my letter in the spirit 
of kindness and good- will, or if you doubt me, or whether 
you doubt me or not, come to Foston and try me. Yours, 
dear Sir, very truly, Sydney Smith. 

265.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Julu, 1827. 

My dear Mrs. ]\rEYNELL, 
The worst political news is, that Canning is not well, 
and that the Duke of Wellington has dined with the 
King. Canning dead. Peel is the only man remaining 
alive in the House of Commons; I mean, the only man 
in his senses. 

YoL. II.— M 


The article on the new Ministry is by ; violent, 

but there is considerable power in it. 

I hope to be able to make good my excursion in 
the autumn, but it is doubtful ; we have some thoughts 
of going to Scarborough. It seems to me as if you 
wanted sea air and bathing. Persuade Mr. Meynell 
of this. He is a very affectionate husband ; and if you 
look ill and don't eat, he will immediately consent : so 
come to Scarborough, dear G. 

Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

266.] To Messes. Booksellers, . 

FosTOx, Juhj 30th, 1827. 


I have received from you within these few months 
some very polite and liberal presents of new publica- 
tions ; and, though I was sorry you put yourselves to 
any expense on my account, yet I was flattered by this 
mark of respect and good-will from gentlemen to whom 
I am personally unknown. 

I am quite sure, however, that you overlooked the 

purpose and tendency of a work called , or that 

you would not have sent it to a clergyman of the 
Established Church, or indeed to a clergyman of any 
church. I see also advertised at your house a transla- 
tion of Voltaire's "Philosophical Dictionary." I hope 
you will have the goodness to excuse me, and not to 
attribute what I say to an impertinent, but a friendly, 
disposition. Let us pass over, for a moment, all those 
nmch higher considerations, and look at this point only 
in a worldly view, as connected with you?' interests. 
Ts it wise to give to your house the character of 23ub- 
lisliers of infidel books ? Tlie English people arc a 


very religious people, and those who are not, hate the 
active dissemination of iri'eligion. The zealots of ir- 
religion are few and insignificant, and confined princi- 
pally to London. You have not a chance of eminence 
or success in that line ; and I advise you prudently and 
quietly to back out of it. 

I hate the insolence, persecution, and intolerance 
which so often pass under the name of religion, and (as 
you know) I have fought against them ; but I have an 
unaffected horror of irreligion and impiety; and every 
principle of suspicion and fear would be excited in my 
by a man who professed himself an infidel. 

I write this from respect to you. It is quite a pri- 
vate communication, and I am sure you are too wise 
and too enlightened to take it in evil part. 

I was very much pleased with the "Two Months in 
Ireland," but did not read the poetical part; the prosaic 
division of the work is very good. 

I remain. Gentlemen, yours faithfully, 

Sydney Smith. 

267.] To Lady Holland. 

November Qth, 1827. 

Dear Lady Holland, 

I was very sorry to hear from Mrs. Robert Smith 
that you were indisposed at Cheam. These three — 
November, December, and January — are the unhappy 
months. I do not expect a tnoment's happiness be- 
fore the 1st of Februar}^. Cheam was built (as it is 
now ascertained) by Chemosh, the abomination of the 
Moabites. I think it is one of the worst and most in- 
curable places I ever saw, but if it amuses poor Bobus, 
it was not created in vain. 

You know tlicsc matters better than I ; but my con- 


jecture is that Lord Grey Avill go into regular opposi- 
tion, or at least very soon slide into it. Whatever his 
intentions may be at the beginning, nobody heats so 
soon upon the road. 

Jeffrey has been here with his adjectives, who al- 
w^ays travel with him. His throat is giving way ; so 
much wine goes down it, so many million words leap 
over it, how can it rest? Pray make him a judge; he 
is a truly great man, and is very heedless of his own 
interests. I lectui'ed him on his romantic folly of wish- 
ing his friends to be preferred before himself, and suc- 
ceeded, I think, in making him a little more selfish. 

I have never ceased talking of the beauty of Ampt- 
hill, and in those unmeasured terms of which Mary 
accuses me. I am afraid I do deal a little sonjetimes 
in superlatives, but it is only when I am provoked by 
the coldness of my fellow-creatures. You see my 
younger brother, Courtenay, is turned out of office in 
India, for refusing the surety of the East India Com- 
pany 1 Truly the Smiths are a stiff-necked generation, 
and yet they have all got rich but I. Courtenay, they 
say, has £150,000, and he keeps only a cat! In the 
last letter I had from him, which was in 1802, he con- 
fessed that his money was gathering very fast. 

S. S. 


[This diverting letter requires some explanation, 
which !Mr. Howard, of Corby, has been kind enough 
to furnish. I give it in his own words. — Ed.] 

"The following letter is not dated, but the frank of 
Lord Morpeth, ' Malton, November 22, 1827,' supplies 
the omission ; it was addressed to me shortly after we 
had met Mr. Sydney Smith and Sir James Mackintosh 


at Brougham Hall. The disquisition which gave rise to 
it was a sequel of some conversation on the subject. 
It was entitled : 

" 'Accou7it of some of the Boman Legions and Cohorts 
stationed on and near the lloman Wall, with a Geo- 
graj)hical Reference to the Places from whence they 


" 'The policy of the Eomans, who governed one con- 
quered nation bj the powers of another, and made use 
of the turbulent and refractory subjects of one part of 
their empire to keep the others in subjection, was very 
fully evinced by the garrisons on the Koman Wall 
(which was the northern extremity of their possessions) 
being composed of troops from all nations, even the most 
southern extremity of their dominions. 

" ' Thus we see Numidian Moors, and troops from the 
most distant southern regions, brought to shiver in the 
bleakest parts of Cumberland and Northumberland.' 

"ISr.B. — An enumeration of the different JSTumid- 
ian, Hungarian, Thracian, and other legions, found by 
records to have been stationed at the forts along the 
E-oman Wall, was given in proof of the foregoing re- 
marks ; to which Mr. Sydney Smith sent the subjoined 

To Philip Howard, Esq., Corby Castle. 

FoSTON, Saturday. 

My dear Sir, 
My opposition to the Numidian Colony is, I assure 
}-ou, not lurking, but salient and luminous, and founded 
upon a research, I must say, rather wider than your own. 
In the first place, I object to your geographical descrip- 
tion of Mauritania, and rather suspect you have followed 


the geographers of the school of Ptolemy — at least, so I 
should expect, from your eiToneous notions of the con- 
fines of Mauritania. Upon this subject let me beg you 
to consult the learned Barkius " De E-ebus Mauritanien- 
sibus," foL Bat. 1672 ; Pluker's " Africa," cap. 2, sec. 3 ; 
the " Mauritania" of Yiger, Paris, 1679, quarto ; and the 
" Africa A^ulgata" of Scoppius. Baden, the famous Dutch 
scholar, fell into the same eiTor with yourself, but was 
properly chastised in the "Badius Flagellatus," now be- 
come a very scarce book, but which you may certainly 
borrow from ^Ir. Archdeacon Wrangham. 

Are you acquainted with the dissertation of Professor 
la Manche, than which. Gibbon says, " nothing more co- 
pious and satisfactory ever issued from the French 
press ?" The perusal of these works will, I think, give 
you new ideas upon the eastern division of the Syrtis. 
Abalaba can have nothing possibly to do with the Afri- 
cans. has shown this word to come from Ahal, 

the lord of the British chiefs. Blakarus, or Barkarus, 
can not be African words; for Tonnericus "De Rebus 
Africanis," and Crakius "De Linguis Occidentalibus," 
have shown, in all the languages of that coast, the total 
absence of the vowels a and ti, and have even produced 
great and reasonable doubts of e, i, and o. The Empe- 
ror Gordian could not have been crowned at Tidi'us. 
Nobody could imagine i/iat, who for an instant had in- 
spected and studied the late discoveries brought to light 
in the Phelian marbles. The province of Byzacum 
proper does not lie to the south of Tunis ; you are mis- 
taking it for T^yzacum. The first signifies, in the ancient 
Coptic, head of fire ^ whereas Fyzacum signifies red vnth 

I could go on for an Iiour, pointing out the mistakes 
into wliich a spirit of hypothesis has plunged your ex- 
cellent understanding. I end with seriously advising 


you to read Gait and Porringer ;* and, if you are not 
then cured of this kind of theory, I must pronounce you, 
my dear Mv. Hov/ard, to be incurable. 

Ever yours very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

269.] To TPiE Countess Grey. 

Edixburgii, 1827. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
You are so kind, that I am sure you will be glad to 
hear that j\Irs. Sydney bore the rest of her journey well, 
though she is not yet off the sofa. 

Dr. Thompson advises as follows for you : 

Broiled meat at breakfast, an egg, and chocolate. 

At twelve, a basin of rich soup. 

At two, a meat luncheon and a tumbler of porter. 

A jelly at four. 

Dinner at six ; four or five glasses of claret. 

Tea and a whole muffin. 

Hot supper and negus at ten. 

Something nourishing at the side of your bed. 
I have been to-day to an exhibition of Scotch portraits. 
High cheek-bones are not favorable to the fine arts. 

I found it dreadfully cold from Alnwick to Edinburgh. 
My companions were a captain of a man-of-war and a 
sherry merchant from Cadiz. My vendor of sherry told 
me that all the accounts of Ferdinand's sending regi- 
ments were most absurd ; that he could no more send 
men than send angels ; that he was 7iot devout ; that, 
in fact, the vSpanish nation did not exist ; that the French 
and the monks in the south of Spain were most unpop- 

* *' Gait de Colon, Roman.," Yenet. 1672 ; and Porringer's celebrated 
treatise of " JNIarc ncc liberum nee clausum ;" the London, not the 
Scotch edition. 


ular ; that the joeople at large ardently desired a Consti- 
tution ; and that he had sherry at all prices from £27 
to £57 per butt. 

And so, dear Lady Grey, God bless you! Head 
cheerful books, play at cards, look forward two hours, 
and believe me always most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

270.] To THE Countess Grey. 

FosTox, Jan, Atli, 1828. 

We were married on Xew- Year's Day,* and are gone! 
I feel as if I had lost a limb, and were walking about 
with one leg — and nobody pities this description of inva- 
lids. How many amputations you have suffered ! Ere 
long, I do not think you will have a leg to stand on. 

Kind regards to my Lord and my friends your daugh- 
ters ; as many years to you all as you wish for your- 
selves. Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

271.] Fiio^i Lady Lyndhuest. 

George Street, Jan. 2ith, 1828. 

My DEAii ]\Ir. S-aiith, 
My Imsband has just informed me that he has nomin- 
ated you to a vacant stall at Bristol ; and he was will- 
ing tliat I should have the pleasure of first communica- 
ting to you this good news. I need not say how rauch 
it has delighted me. Pray have the goodness to write 
and inforai me how you and Mrs. Sydney are, and where 
your new-married daughter is. Best regards to all you 
love. Ever yours, S. G. Lyndiiuest. 

* Marriage of Iiis youngest daughter to N. Ilibbert, Esq. 


272.] To Lady Holland. 

Bristol, Feb. 17th, 1828. 

My DEAR Lady Holland, 

An extremely comfortable Prebendal house ; seven- 
stall stables and room for four carriages, so that I can 
hold all your cortege when you come ; looks to the south, 
and is perfectly snug and parsonic ; masts of West-In- 
diamen seen from the windows. The colleagues I have 
found here are a ]\Ir. Eidley, cousin to Sir Matthew ; 
a very good-natured, agreeable man — deaf, tottering, 
worldly-minded, vain as a lawyer, noisy, and perfectly 
good-natured and obliging. The little Dean I have not 
seen ; he is as small as the Bishop, they say. It is sup- 
posed that the one of these ecclesiastics elevated upon 
the shoulders of the other, would fall short of the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury's wig. The Archbishop of York 
is forced to go down on his knees to converse with the 
Bishop of Bristol, just as an elephant kneels to receive 
its rider. 

I have lived in perfect solitude ever since I have been 
here, but am perfectly happy. The novelty of tliis place 
amuses me. 

It seems to me that Lord Wellington has made a great 
mistake in not putting a perfectly independent man, or 
an apparently independent man, over the army. The 
cry against a military governor will now be very loud. 
Your sincere and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

273.] To Lord Holland. 

FosTON, Juhj, 1828. 

]\Iy dear Lord Holland, 
I hear with great concern of your protracted illness. 


I would Lear the pain for you for a fortnight if I were 
allowed to roar, for I can not bear pain in silence and 

I have suffered no damage in corn nor liay. Several 
Dissenters have suffered in our neighborhood. Pecchio's 
marriage goes on well. The lawyers are busy on the 
settlements. I can not say how happy it makes me to 
see in port a man so clever, so honorable, and so unfor- 
tunate. I go to Bristol the middle of September, call- 
ing in my way on the two Lyttehons, Abercrombie, 
^leynell, and (but do not tell Whishaw) Lord Bathurst. 

I am reading Walter Scott's "Napoleon,'' which I do 
with the greatest pleasure. I am as much surprised at 
it, as at any of his works. So current, so sensible, ani- 
mated, well-aiTanged : so agreeable to take up, so diffi- 
cult to put down, and, for him, so candid ! There are, 
of course, many mistakes, but that has nothing to do "w-ith 
the general complexion of the work. 

I see the Duke of Bedford takes the chair for the amel- 
ioration of the Jews. It would make me laugh to see 
that excellent Duke in the midst of the Ten Tribes, and 
I think he would laugh also. But wliat will become of 
our trade of contending against religious persecution ? 
Every body will be emancipated before we die ! I say 
our trade, for I have learned it from you, and been your 
humble imitator. 

God bless you, dear Lord Holland I There is nobody 
in the world has a greater affection for you than I have, 
or who hears with greater pain of your illness and con- 
finement. S. S. 

274.] To Henry Howard, Esq. 

Bristol, Aug. 28, 1828. 

[My dear Sir, 
You will be amused by hearing that I am to preacli 


the 5th of November sermon at Bristol, and to dine at 
the 5th of November dinner with the !Mayor and Corpo- 
ration of Bristol. Ail sorts of bad theology are preached 
at the Cathedral on that day, and all sorts of bad toasts 
drunk at the Mansion House. I will do neither the one 
nor the other, nor bow the knee in the house of Rim- 

It would, I am sure, give Mrs. Sydney and myself 
gi-eat pleasure to pay you a visit in Cumberland, and 
one day or another it shall be done ; but remember, the 
diiference is, you pass near us in coming to London, and 
it must be by malice prepense if we come to you. I hope 
you have seen the Carlisles, because I wish you all sorts 
of happiness, and know none greater than the society of 
such enlightened, amiable, and dignified people. When 
does Philip come to see me ? does he fear being convert- 
ed to the Protestant faith ? Brougham thinks the Cath- 
olic question as good as carried ; but I never think my- 
self as good as carried, till my horse brings me to my 
stable-door I Still Dawson's conversion is portentous. 

Lady in former times insisted upon Lady Bessbor- 

ough having a tooth out before she herself would venture : 
probably Peel has made Dawson become a proselyte be- 
fore him, in the same spirit. What am I to do with my 
time, or you with yours, after the Catholic question is 
carried ? 

Fine weather — or, to speak more truly, dreadful heat 
— both hay and corn without a drop of rain ; while many 
Dissenters in the neighborhood have lost their crops. I 
have read Knight's pamphlet: pretty good, though I 
think, if I had seen as much, I could have told my story 
better — but I am a conceited fellow. Still, whatever arc 
my faults, I am, dear ]\Ir. Howard, most truly yours, 

Sydney S:\iith. 


275.] To Lord Holland. 

Bristol, Nov. 5tk, 1828. 

My dear Lord Holland, 

To-daj I have preached an honest sermon (5th of No- 
veniher) before the Mayor and Corporation, in the Ca- 
thedral — the most Protestant Corporation in England I 
They stared at me with all their eyes. Several of them 
could not keep the turtle on their stomachs. I know 
your taste for sermons is languid, but I must extract one 
passage for Lord Holland, to show that I am still as hon- 
est a man as when he first thought me a proper object 
for his patronage. 

"I hope, in the condemnation of the Catholic religion, 
in which I sincerely join their worst enemies, I shall not 
be so far mistaken as to have it supposed that I would 
convey the slightest approbation of any laws which dis- 
qualify and incapacitate any class of men for civil offices, 
on account of religious opinions. I consider all such 
laws as fatal and lamentable mistakes in legislation : 
they are the mistakes of troubled times and half-bar- 
barous ages. All Europe is gradually emerging from 
their influence. This country has lately made a noble 
and. successful effort for their abolition. Li proportion 
as this example is followed, I firmly believe the ene- 
mies of the Church and State will be lessened, and the 
foundation of peace, order, and happiness will receive 
additional strength. 

"I can not discuss the uses and abuses of this day; 
but I should, be beyond measure concerned if a condem- 
nation of theological errors were construed into an appro- 
bation of laws so deeply marked by the spirit of intoler- 

I have been reading the "Duke of Ilovigo." A fool, 
a villain, and as dull as it is possible for any book to be 


about Bonaparte. Lord Bathurst's place is ugly ; his 
family and himself always agreeable. Believe me al- 
ways very affectionately, Sydney Smith. 

276.] To John Murray, Esq. 

Novemher 28th, 1828. 

3ilY DEAR Murray, 

Noble weather ! I received some grouse in the sum- 
mer, and upon the direction was marked AV. M. This 
I construed to be William Murray, and wrote to thank 
him. This he must have taken as a foolish quiz, or as 
a petition for game. Pray explain and put this right. 

The Kent Meeting has, I think, failed as an example. 
This, and the three foolish noblemen's letters, will do 
good. The failure of the Kent precedent I consider as 
of the utmost importance. The Duke keeps his secret. 
I certainly believe he meditates some improvement. I 
rather like his foreign politics, in opposition to the bel- 
ligerent Quixotism of Canning. He has the strongest 
disposition to keep this country in profound peace, to 
let other nations scramble for freedom as they can, with- 
out making ourselves the liberty-mongers of all Europe ; 
a veiy seductive trade, but too ruinous and expensive. 

How is Jeffrey's throat ? 

That throat, so vex'd bv cackle and by cup, 
Where wine descends, and endless -words come up. 
Much injured organ ! Constant is thy toil ; 
Spits turn to do thee harm, and coppers boil : 
Passion and puncli, and toasted cheese and paste, 
And all that's said and swallowed, lay thee waste ! 

I have given notice to my tenant here, and mean to 
pass the winters at Bristol. I hope, as soon as you can 
afford it, you will give up the law. Why bore yourself 
with any profession, if you are rich enough to do without 
it ? Ever yours, dear Murray, Sydney Smith. 


277.] To Lady Holland. 

Dece?nhci\ ]82S. 

My' dear Lady' Holland, 

Many thanks for your kind anxiety respecting my 
health. I not only was never better, but never half so 
well : indeed I find I have been very ill all my life, with- 
out knowing it. Let me state some of the goods aris- 
ing from abstaining from all fermented liquors. First, 
sweet sleep ; having never known what sweet sleep was, 
I sleep like a baby or a plowboy. If I wake, no need- 
less terrors, no black visions of life, but pleasing hopes 
and pleasing recollections : Holland House, past and to 
come I If I dream, it is not of lions and tigers, but of 
Easter dues and tithes. Secondly, I can take longer 
walks, and make greater exertions, without fatigue. My 
understanding is improved, and I comprehend Political 
Economy. I see better without wine and spectacles 
than when I used both. Only one evil ensues from it : 
I am in such extravagant spirits that I must lose blood, 
or look out for some one who will bore and depress me. 
Pray leave oif wine : the stomach quite at rest ; no heart- 
burn, no pain, no distension. 

Bobus is more like a wrestler in the Olympic games 

tlian a victim of gout. I am glad is become so 

bold. How often have I conjured liim to study indis- 
cretion, and to do the rasliest things that he could pos- 
sibly imagine ! With what sermons, and with what 
earnest regard, I have warned him against prudence 
and moderation ! I begin to think I have not labored 
in vain. 

I disappear from the civilized world on Friday. 

s. a 


278.] To rRAN'cis Jeffrey, Esq. 

Xo date : about 1828 or 1829. 

My dear Jeffrey, 

I trust you and I hang together by other ties than 
those of Master Critic and Joui-neyman ditto. At the 
same time, since I left your employment, you have not 
written a syllable to me.* I hope you will do so, for 
among all your friends you have none who have a more 
sincere regard or a liigher admiration for you; and it 
would be wicked not to show these epistolaiy remem- 
brances of each other. 

I should be glad to know yoiu- opinion of the Corn 
Bill. I am an advocate for the principle, but would 
restrict the protection price to nine shilhngs instead of 
ten. The latter price is a protection to rents — not to 
agidcultui-e. I confess I have not neiwe enough for the 
stupendous revolution that the plan of growing oiu' 
bread in France would produce. I should think it rash, 
and it certainly is unjust ; because we are compelled to 
grow oui* lace, silk-goods, scissors, and ten thousand 
other things in England, by proliibitory duties on the 
similar productions of other countries. These views are 
probably weak, and I hold them by a slender thread, 
only till taught better ; but I hold them.f 

There is a great Peer in our neighborhood, who gives 
me the run of his library while he is in town ; and I am 
fetching up my arrears in books which ever}' body (who 
reads at all) has read ; among others, I stumbled upon 
the "Life of Kotzebue,'' or rather his year of exile, and 
read it ^Wth the greatest interest. It is a rapid succes- 

* Mr. Sydney Smith ceased to write in the Edinburgh Review when 
he became a dignitary of the Church, toward the end of the year 1827. 

t Mr. Sydney Smith held them not long. He became an advocate, 
and a very earnest one, for Free Trade. — Xote by ^frs. Si/diiey .Swu'M. 


sion of very striking events, told with great force and 
simplicity. His display of sentiment seems natural to 
the man, foolish as it sometimes is. With Madame de 
Stael's ^lemoirs, so strongly praised Tby the excellent 
Baron Grimm, I was a good deal disappointed : she has 
nothing to tell, and does not tell it very welL She is 
neither important, nor admirable for talents or virtues. 
I see your name mentioned among the writers in " Con- 
stable's Encyclopa3dia ;" pray tell me what articles you 
have written : I shall always read any thing which you 
write. Is the work carried on well? The travels of 
the Gallo-American gentleman alluded to by Constable, 
are, I suppose, those of M, Simon. He is a very sen- 
sible man, and I should be curious to see the light in 
which this country appeared to him. I should think he 
w^ould be too severe. 

We are all perfectly well. I am busy at my little 
farm and cottage, which you gave me reason to believe 
Mrs. Jeffrey and yourself would visit. Pray remem- 
ber me to Murray, and believe me ever, my dear Jef- 
frey, now, and years hence, when you are a judge, and 
the Review is gone to the dogs, your sincere and aifec- 
tionatc friend, Sydney Smith. 

279.] To Bedford, Esq.— (Bristol.) 

FosTON, Ja7i. IZth, 1829. 

Dear Sir, 

I always intended to explain to you why I declined 
to be Steward to the dinner given for tlie Charity of the 
Sons of the Clergy, but it went out of my head while I 
was at Bristol. 

I object to the Avhole plan of the thing. It aj^pears 
to me quite ridiculous to desire two men to i^ay for a 
charity dinner, where actually, in many instances, less 


is collected during the dinner tlian the dinner costs. 
Men who mean to patronize a charity should dine at 
their own costs ; the use of Stewards would then be, to 
guarantee the inn-keeper that he should not be a loser 
by providing dinner for a certain number of persons. 

If two gentlemen were to give such a guarantee to 
the extent of £15 or £20 each, this would be a fair tax 
upon their time, trouble, and pocket; but to ask any 
man to give a dinner for charitable purposes, where the 
guests coming for charitable purposes do not give the 
value of what they eat and drink, is an abuse which 
I never w^ill countenance. It is in vain to say money 
is sent afte?' dinner ; so it would be if all paid fo?' their 
dinner. If ever this alteration be made, and I am wanted 
as Steward, I will serve, or be at the expense of serv- 
ing ; but not till I have seen the amended plan. 

I write this to you, not as Secretary to the Society, 
but as a neighbor and an acquaintance ; because, though 
I have a right to say to the Society, yes or no, I have 
no right to criticise their institutions, or to propose to 
them any change in their plans. My motive for taking 
the part I have done, is, not only that I have no money 
to fling away upon institutions so faulty in their con- 
struction (however excellent their principle), but be- 
cause I believe I am expressing the opinion of many per- 
sons who are too timid to express it themselves, and 
who would feel the expense as a great and unprofitable 
burden. I remain, dear Sir, with sincere good wishes, 
yours, Sydney Smith. 

280.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Flokkt, Juli/ 13th, 1829. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
I should be very glad to hear that Lord ITowick is 


recovered, and that you passed through your London 
campaign, if not with glory, at least without defeat and 
doctor's bills. I am extremely pleased with Combe 
Florey, and pronounce it to be a very pretty place in a 
very beautiful country. The house I shall make de- 
cently convenient. I have sixty acres of good land 
round it. The habit of the country is to give dinners 
and not to sleep out, so this I shall avoid. I am read- 
ing Hall's book, but will read it through before I say a 
word about it, for I find my opinion changes so much 
between the first and third volume of a book. 

I was glad to see my Lord presiding at the democrat- 
ical College : he would do it in tlie very best manner the 
thing could be done. - ' - 

My spirits are very much improved, but I have now 
and then sharp pangs of grief.* I did not know I had 
cared so much for any body ; but the habit of providing 
for human beings, and watching over them for so many 
years, generates a fund of affection, of the magnitude of 
which I was not aware. 

Though living in a very improved climate, we have 
had fires in every room in the house. It is a bad and 
an unhappy year ! It grieves me to think, when you 
go to the Xorth, that I shall be live hundred miles from 
Howick. It is now near thirty years since I made ac- 
quaintance, and then friends, with its inhabitants. You 
must all come and sec this Yalley of Flowers when you 
visit Lady Elizabeth in the West. It is a most parsonic 
parsonage, like those described in novels. 

I can not congratulate you, dear Lady Grey, upon the 
maiTiage of your daughter. Happen it must ; but it is 
a dreadful calamity when it does happen. 

You must read Basil Hall's Travels, at all events ; 

* Mr. Sydney Smith's eldest son, Douglas, died in the previous 
April, at the age of twenty-four. 


that is inevitable. It is not a book wliicli will (to use 
Lord Dudley's phrase) blow over. 

God bless yon, dear Lady Grey ! Write me a line 
when you have any time to spare, to tell me of the wel- 
fare of all your family. Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

281.] To THE Countess of Morley. 

Combe Floret, August, 1829. 
Health and respect, dear Lady Morley ! 
I am quite delighted Avith the West of England. 

God send peace to the Empire, and particularly to the 
Church ; and may mankind continue quietly to set forth 
a tenth of the earth's produce for the support of the cler- 
gy ; inasmuch as it is known to draw a blessing on the 
other nine parts, and is wonderfully comfortable to all 
ranks and descriptions of persons. 

Yours, dear Lady Morley, 

Sydney Smith. 

282.] To the Countess of Morley. 

Combe Floret, 1829. 

Dear Lady Morley, 

I am sincerely sorry to hear of the protracted suf- 
ferings of Lord Morley; at the same time, my opinion 
always was, that the gout, entering upon a Peer of the 
realm, had too good a thing of it to be easily dispos- 

I am going on fighting with bricklayers and carpen- 
ters, and shall ultimately make a very pretty place, and 
a very good house. Nothing so vile as the artificers of 
this country ! A straight line in Somersetshire is that 


which includes the gi-eatest possible distance between 
the extreme points. I should have had great pleasure 
in paying you a visit, but the Fates will have things 
their own way. I remain, yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

283.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Florey, Sq)t. 6ih, 1829. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

The harvest here is got in without any rain. I mean, 
the wheat harvest. The cider is such an enormous crop, 
that it is sold at ten shillings per hogshead ; so that a 
human creature may lose his reason for a penny. 

I continue to be delighted with the country. !My 
parsonage will be perfection. The only visitor I have 
had here is Mr. Jeffrey, who, I believe (though he rich- 
ly deserves that good fortune), is scarcely known to 
Lord Grey and yourself. A man of rare talent and 
unbending integrity, who has been honest even in Scot- 
land ; which is as if he were temperate and active at 

Talking of honest men, I beg to be remembered to 
Lord Howick, on whom I lay great stress ; from his 
understanding, rank, and courage, he will be an im- 
portant personage in the days to come. Pat him on 
the back, and tell him that the safety and welfare of a 
country depend in a great measure on men like him- 
self. Pray tell us of some good books to send for from 
the Subscription Library. I would tell you, if I had 
looked at any other book than the "Builders' Price 
Book." They are opposing poor Sir Thomas Lethbridge 
for the county of Somerset. I mean to vote and do 
every thing I can for him : it is right to encourage con- 


Eternal rain here. Mr. Jeffrey wanted to persuade 
me that myrtles grew out-of-doors in Scotland, as here. 
Upon cross-examination, it turned out they were prick- 
ly, and that many had been destroyed by the family 
donkey. Sydney Smith. 

284.] To Lady Holland. 

CoMBK Floret, Sept. 29th, 1829. 

My deak Lady Holland, 

After thirty years of kindness, it was not necessary 
to apologize for not replying to my light and nonsensi- 
cal effusions, which really required no answer. 

I am going to Lord ^lorley's, where I was first bound 
to meet the Chancellor and Lady Lyndhurst. Nothing 
can be more insane than to make such engagements in 
my present state. I consider that every day's absence 
from home costs me £10 in the ^dllainy of carpenters and 
bricklayers ; for as I am my own architect and clerk of 
the works, you may easily imagine what is done when 
I am absent. I continue to be delighted with my house 
and place. 

The Duke of "Wellington has given, I think, the first 
signs I ever remarked of weakness, in prosecuting for 
libels ; not for libels which regard a particular fact, as 
that for which the Chancellor has prosecuted, but for 
general abuse. I am sony for the King, and for all his 
subjects upon whom the evils of age are falling. 

I told if he would have patience he would have 

a little girl at last. I might have said, he might have 
twenty little girls. What is there to prevent him from 
having a family sufficient to exasperate the placid Mal- 
thus ? I met your neighbors Mr. and !Mrs. Calcott at 
Bowood. Reasonable, enlightened people. I was also 
much pleased with Lady Louisa, Lord Lansdowne's 


daughter ; very clever and very amiable. Luttrell came 
over for a day, from whence I know not, but I thought 
not from good pastui-es ; at least, he had not his usual 
soup-and-pattie look. There was a forced smile upon 
liis countenance, which seemed to indicate plain roast 
and boiled; and a sort of apple-pudding depression, as 
if he had been staying with a clergyman. 

God bless you, dear Lady Holland ! Kindest regards 
to all. Sydney Smith. 

285.] To Jonathan Gray% Esq. — (York.) 

Combe Florey, Taukton, Oct. 10th, 1829. 

My dear Sir, 

Nobody can more sincerely wish the prosperity of the 
road from York to Oswaldkirk than I do. I wish to you 
hard materials, diligent trustees, gentle convexity, fruit- 
ful tolls, cleanly gutters, obedient parishes, favoring jus- 
tices, and every combination of fortunate circumstances 
which can fall to the lot of any human highway. These 
are my wishes, but I can only wish. I can not, from 
the bottom of Somersetshire, attend in person, as a letter 
(2s. 6d. postage) yesterday invited me to do. Perhaps 
you will have the goodness to scratch my name out of 
the list of trustees. 

You will be glad to hear that I am extremely pleased 
with this place. Friendships and acquaintances are not 
speedily replaced ; but as far as outward circumstances, 
I am quite satisfied. If ever you come into this coun- 
try I shall be very glad to see you ; and I remain, dear 
Sir, with sincere respect and good-will, yours truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

p.S. — I shall think on the 15th of my friends at the 
White Bear, Stillington. How lionorable to English 


gentlemen, that, once or twice every month, half the men 
of fortune in England are jammed together at the White 
Bear, crushed into a mass at the Three Pigeons, or per- 
spiring intensely at the Green Dragon ! 

286.] To K Fazakerly, Esq. 

CoMBK Florey, October, 1829. 

Dear Fazakerly, 

I don't know any body who would be less affronted 
at being called hare-brained than our friend who has 
so tardily conveyed my message, and I am afraid now 
he has only given you a part of it. The omission ap- 
pears to be, that I had set up an hotel on the west- 
em road,* that it would be opened next spring, and I 
hoped for the favor of yours and ]\Irs. Fazakerly's pat- 
ronage. "Well-aired beds, neat wines, careful drivers, 
etc. etc." 

I shall have very great j)leasure in coming to see you, 
and I quite agree in the wisdom of postponing that event 
till the rural Palladios and Vitruvii are chased away ; I 
have fourteen of them here every day. The country is 
perfectly beautiful, and my parsonage the prettiest place 
in it. 

I was at Bowood last w^eek: the only persons there 
were sea-shore Calcott and his wife — two very sensible, 
agreeable people. Luttrell came over for the day ; he 
was very agreeable, but spoke too lightly, I thought, of 
veal soup. I took him aside, and reasoned the matter 
with him, but in vain ; to speak the truth, Luttrell is not 
steady in his judgments on dishes. Individual failures 
with him soon degenerate into generic objections, till, by 
some fortunate accident, he cats himself into better opin- 
ions. A person of more calm reflection thinks not only 
* Mr. Smith had just settled at Combe Florey. 


of what he is consuming at that moment, but of the soups 
of the same kind lie has met with in a long course of din- 
ing, and whicli have gradually and justly elevated the 
species. I am perhaps making too much of this ; but the 
failures of a man of sense are always painful. 

I quite agree about Napier's book. I did not think 
that any man woald venture to write so true, bold, and 
honest a book ; it gave me a high idea of his understand- 
ing, and makes me very anxious about his caractere. 
Ever youfs, Sydney Smith. 

287.] To John Mueray, Esq. 

Combe Florey, Dec. lith, 1829. 

Dear John Murray, 

My house is assuming the forms of maturity, and a 
very capital house it will be for a parsonage — far better 
than that at Foston. Your threats of coming to see us 
give us great pleasure. When will you come ? Let it 
be for a good long stay. Pray remember me kindly to 
Mrs. Murray, and tell her that the only fault I find in 
her is an excessive attachment to bishops and tithes ; an 
amiable passion, but which may be pushed too far. 

I can not say the pleasure it gives me that my old and 
dear friend Jeffrey is in the road to preferment. I shall 
not be easy till he is fairly on the Bench. His robes, 
God knows, will cost him little : one buck rabbit will 
clothe him to the heels. 

I have been paying some aristocratic visits to Lord 
J3ath and Lord Bathurst. Lady Bath is a very agTce- 
able, conversable woman. Lord and Lady Bathurst, and 
Lady Georgiana, are charming. Nothing can exceed the 
beauty of this country — forty and fifty miles together 
of fertility and interesting scenery. I hardly think I 
have any news to tell you. The Duke of Bedford has 


given in liis adhesion to tlie Duke of Wellington, as Iiave 
all the Tories, except four. Eead " Les Memoires d'une 
Femme de Qualite sur Louis XVIII." It is by Madame 
du Cayla, and extremelj interesting. 

I was not at all pleased with the article in the Edin- 
burgh Review on the Westminster Beview, and thought 
the Scotchmen had the worst of it. How foolish and 
profligate, to show that the principle of general utility 
has no foundation, that it is often opposed to the inter- 
ests of the individual ! If this be not true, there is an 
end of all reasoning and all morals : and if any man asks, 
why am I to do what is generally useful ? he should not 
be reasoned with, but called rogue, rascal, etc., and the 
mob should be excited to break his windows. 

God bless you, dear Mun-ay ! 

Sydney Smith. 

288.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Combe Floret, ]829. 

My dear ]Mrs. Meynell^ 

I should be glad to hear from you, and the more so, as 
I have heard lately that your little boy was not stout. 
This place is very beautiful, and in a most beautiful coun- 
tiy. I need not say how my climate is improved. The 
neighborhood much the same as all other neighborhoods. 
Red wine and white, soup and fish, commonplace dull- 
ness and prejudice, bad wit and good-nature. I am, after 
my manner, making my place perfect ; and have twenty- 
eight people constantly at work. 

I am often very unhappy at my loss. It is the first 
real misfortune which ever befell me. 

TeU me some good books. Read Bourrienne's " Me- 
moirs ;" they are very curious and entertaining. I think 
I have made a very wise move in coming here, and am 
Vol. TL— N 


perfectly satisfied Avitli myself. I wish you were as 
much satisfied with me. Sydney Smith. 

289.] To Sir George Philips. 

No date : about the aid of 1829. 

My dear Philips, 

I shall follow Vance's plan, and am much obliged to 
you for reminding me of it. My attack was slight, but 
well for a beginning ; it was of the gout family, but hard- 
ly gout itself. I will come and see you, for old friend- 
ship's sake ; but all countries will appear mean after this, 
and all houses comfortless after my parsonage, to which 
Foston House is as Sternhold and Hopkins to Lord 

Read "Laurie Todd," by Gait. It is excellent; no 
surprising events, or very striking characters, but the 
humorous and entertaining parts of common life, brought 
forward in a tenor of probable circumstances. Read 
Raffles's Life. A virtuous, active, high-minded man ; 
placed at last where he ought to be : a round man, in a 
round hole. 

T am going on most ^prosperously with my buildings. 
I hope to be in town by the beginning of May. Your 
great Duke seems, like my ankle, to be getting stronger 
every day. He is an excellent ^linister, and bids fair 
to be as useful in peace as in war, and to show the util- 
ity of beating swords into pruning-hooks. 

And noAv, Sir George, let me caution you against in- 
dulgence in that enormous appetite of yours. You eat 
eveiy day as much as four men in holy orders — yourself 
a layman ! 

Ever, my dear Philips, yours most sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 


290.] To John Mukkay, Esq. 

CLirxox, Jan. 3d, 1830. 

My dear Mukkay, 

I have not heard the particulars of Jeffrey becoming 
Lord Advocate, but I know enough to know they re- 
dound to your honor. Your conspiracy at Brougham 
Hall must have been very interesting. Principally Edin- 
burgh Reviewers ! How very singular ! The Eeview 
began in high places (garrets), and ends in them. 

There is an end of insurrection ; I had made up my 
mind to make an heroic stand, till the danger became 
real and proximate, and then I should have been dis- 
creet and capitulating. 

I can hardly picture to myself the rage and conster- 
nation of the Scotch Tories at this change, and at the 
liberality which is bursting out in every part of Scot- 
land, where no lava and volcanic matter were suspected. 
I love liberty, but hope it can be so managed that I 
shall have soft beds, good dinners, fine linen, etc., for 
the rest of my life. I am too old to fight or to suffer. 
God bless you ! Love to ^Irs. Murray. 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

291.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

CoMiJE Florey, April nth, 1830. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 

I have (as you say) had the gout, not severely, but it 
was a monition. How I came not to have had it years 
ago I can not tell. ]\Iy place is delightful ; never was 
there a more delightful parsonage I Come and see it. 
Be ill, and require mild air and an affectionate friend, and 
set off for Combe Florey. 

Have you read Moore ? I come in, I see, for a little ^ 


notice once or twice. I find the Peer and Poet (and I 
knew it only yesterday) has dedicated a stanza or two to 
me in Don Juan. 

God bless you, dear Gena ! Sydney Smith. 

292.] To IL Howard, Esq.* 

Combe Floket, Taotttox, Aug. 2d, 1830. 

My dear Sir, 
The intelligence we have received to-day, from the 
kind transmission of the Carhsle paper, gave us all 
here sincere pleasure. It is a pure pleasure to me to 
see honorable men of ancient family restored to their 
birth-right. I rejoice in the temple which has been rear- 
ed to Toleration ; and I am proud that I worked as a 
bricklayer's laborer at it — without pay, and Avith the 
enmity and abuse of those who were unfavorable to its 
construction. We are finishing here, and are in a very- 
beautiful parsonage : come and see me. You owe me 
some recompense for my zeal. 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

293.] To the Honorable Miss Fox. 

Aur/ust, 1830. 

My dear Miss Fox, 
Merely to say that these and twenty such hand-billsf 
were not, as you suppose, written by me, but by a neigli- 
boring curate. They have had an excellent effect. There 
is one from Miss Swing, threatening to destroy crimping- 
irons for caps, and washing machines, and patent tea- 
kettles ; vowing vengeance also on the new bodkin which 
makes two holes instead of one. 

* On the election of his son as M.P for Carlisle, 
t Letters to Swinpj. 


Justices' "vvives are agitated, and female constables 
have been sworn in. Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

294.] To THE Countess Grey. 


]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I am not witliout apprehensions for the new French 
Ee volution ; but I admire and rejoice. However it may 
end, it was nobly begun. I do not know what to do 
with the captive Ministers, but I am afraid I must hang 

I knew Huskisson very well, and sincerely lament his 
loss. He was to me a very agreeable man ; for he was 
always ready to talk on his own subjects, and w^as al- 
ways clear, instructive, and good-natured. The Duke 
has got rid of his only formidable antagonist in the 
House of Commons, and it seems to me clear that the 
remnant of that party will now enlist under his stand- 
ard; and I dare say they have by this time taken the 
marching shilling. 

I was not disappointed by Plymouth. The papers 
were delighted with my urbanity and good-humor, 
and by the appearance of excellent health which I ex- 
hibited. They described my visit to the dockyard and 
the Caledonia, and the deep knowledge of my profes- 
sion which I displayed. If the real Sir Sidney goes 
there, he will infallibly be taken for an impostor. 

I have great pleasure in hearing from you. We are 
now old friends, and have nm tlie better half of the 
race of life : you, on high ground ; I, on low ground. 
Of the little that remains, I endeavor to make the 
best. I am a little surprised that I have scrambled 
through it so well as I have. That I have lived on 
goods terms with so many good people, gives me more 


pleasure than any other reflection. I must beg of the 
noble Earl and you to continue to me as long as you 
can that source of pleasure. God bless you I 

Sydney Smith. 

295.] To Lady Holland. 

Weston House, Oct. 15, 1830. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

We are here on a visit to Sir George Philips, who has 
built a very magnificent house in the Holland House 
style, but of stone : a pretty place in a very ugly country. 

I am very glad to see Charles in the Guards. He 
will now remain at home; for I trust that there will 
be no more embarkation of the Guards while I live, 
and that a captain of the Guards will be as ignorant 
of the color of blood as the rector of a parish. We have 
had important events enough within the last twenty 
years. May all remaining events be culinary, amorous, 
literary, or any thing but political ! 

Lord John E-ussell comes here to-day. His corpo- 
real antipart. Lord N , is here. Heaven send he 

may not swallow John ! There are, however, stomach- 
pumps, in case of accident. Bobus talks of coming to 
us in November. When I see him I will believe in him. 
We shall return home the beginning of November, stay 
till the end of the year, and then go to Bristol ; that is, 
if the Church of England last so long; but there is a 
strong impression that there will be a rising of curates. 
Should any thing of this kind occur, they will be com- 
mitted to hard preaching on the tread-pulpit (a new ma- 
chine) ; and rendered incapable of ever hereafter collect- 
ing great or small tithes. 

I remain always your affectionate and obliged friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


296.] To John Murray, Esq. 

Wkstox Housk, Oct. 24.t/t, 1830. 

My DEAR Murray, 

There will be no changes in the Government before 
Christmas ; and by that time the Duke will probably 
have gained some recruits. He does not want numbers, 
but defenders. Whoever goes into his Cabinet, goes 
there as an inferior, to register the Duke's resolutions — 
not as an equal, to assist in their formation ; and this is 
a situation into which men of spirit and character do 
not choose to descend. The death of Huskisson has 
strengthened him very materially ; his firnmess, powers 
of labor, sagacity, and good-nature, and his vast military 
reputation, will secure his power. Averse from liberal 
measures, he will be as liberal as the times require ; and 
will listen to instructed men on subjects where he has no 
opinions, or T\Tong ones. 

During the first moments of the French Revolution, 
Lafayette had almost resolved upon a republic, but was 
turned the other way by the remonstrances and repre- 
sentations of the American Minister. 

The new Beer Bill has begun its operations. Every 
body is drunk. Those who are not singing are sprawl- 
ing. The sovereign people are in a beastly state. 

You are rich and rambling ; pray come and see us 
next year. Your very sincere and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

297.] To John Allen, Esq. 

November, 1830. 

Dear Allen, 
Pray tell me how Lord Holland is, as I do not at all 
like the aoconnts I liavc received from T^ord Jolm. 


I am frightened at the state of the -world; I shall 
either be burned, or lose my tithes, or be forced to fight, 
or some harm will happen to distui'b tlie drowsy slum- 
bers of my useless old age. 

talks of coming to see me ; but I have not the 

sliglitest belief. He will break down on the road, and 
return ; or be lost in the Capua of Bowood ; or be alarm- 
ed by Surrey incendiaries, and sit up all night suiTound- 
ed by pails of water, squirts, and syringes. I have been 
visited by an old enemy, the lumbago ; equally severe, 
as it seems, upon priest and anti-priests. I believe it 
comes from the stomach ; at least it is to that organ that 
all medical men direct their curative intentions. 

Tell me what is going to happen. Ever yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

298.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Nov. 21st, 1830. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I never felt a more sincere pleasure than from Lord 
Grey's appointment. After such long toil, such labor, 
privation, and misrepresentation, that a man should be 
placed where Providence intended he should be — that 
honesty and virtue should, at last, meet with their re- 
ward — is a pleasure which rarely occurs in human life ; 
and one which, I confess, I had not promised myself. 

I am particularly glad that Brougham (if my friend 
Lord Lyndhurst must go out) is Chancellor — for many 
reasons. I should have preferred Goderich for Home, 
Melbourne for Colonial, Secretary. The Duke of Rich- 
mond is well imagined. I am very glad Lord Durham 
is in the Cabinet, because I like him, and for better rea- 
sons. Sir James Graham surprises me. The appoint- 
ment is excellent : but I should have thou2,-ht there must 


liave been so man}^ great people wlio would have been 
clamorous. Pray give John Russell an office, and ^lac- 
aulay is Vv^ell worth your attention ; make him Solicitor- 

Adieu, my dear Lady Grey. Give my sincere and 
affectionate regards to Lord Grey. Thank God he has 
at last disappeared from that North Wall, against which 
so many sunless years of his life have been passed! 
Your sincere and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

299.] To John Murray, Esq. 

8 Gloucester Place, Clitton. 

No date .' about 1830. 

]\Iy dear ]\Iurrai', 

Pray tell me how you are all going on in Scotland. 
Is Jefirey much damaged ? They say he fought like a 
lion, and would have been killed had he been more visi- 
ble; but that several people struck at him who could 
see nothing, and so battered infinite space instead of the 

I think Lord Grey will give me some preferment if he 
stays in long enough ; but the upper parsons live vin- 
dictively, and evince their aversion to a Whig j\Iinistry 

by an improved health. The Bishop of has the 

rancor to recover after tliree paralytic strokes, and the 

Dean of to be vigorous at eighty-two. And yet 

these are men who are called Christians ! 

Do these political changes make any difference in your 
business ? You are so rich, that it is of no consequence; 
but still it is pleasant to progress. Give my kind re- 
gards to your excellent \v4fe, and to ]\Irs. Jeffrey, a great 
favorite of mine. Sydney Smith. 


300.] To 3Iiis. Meynell. 

CoMBK Florey, November, 1830. 

My dear Mrs. Meyxell, 

What do you think of all these burnings ? and have 
you heard of the new sort of burnings ? Ladies' maids 
have taken to set their mistresses on fire. Two dow- 
agers were burned last week, and large rewards are of- 
fered ! They are inventing little fire-engines for the 
toilet-table, worked with lavender water ! 

This place is perfection ; I never saw a more charm- 
ing parsonage or a more beautiful country. I go to 
Bristol for a residence of six weeks at the end of the 
year, or sooner, if my house is set on fire. 

Never was any administration so completely and 
so suddenly destroyed; and, I believe, entirely by the 
Duke's declaration ; made, I suspect, in perfect ignor- 
ance of the state of public feeling and opinion. 

Adieu ! Ever yours affectionately, 

Sydney Smith. 

301.] To Sir George Philips. 

Combe Florey, Dec. 20th, 1830. 

My dear Philips, 
I was in hopes to have spent a quiet old age ; but all 
Europe is getting into a blaze, and that liglit-headed 
old fool, Lafayette, wants, I see, to crusade it for Po- 
land. Swing is retiring. He is only formidable when 
he takes you unawares. He was stopped in his way 
from Kent before he reached us. I can give you no 
plan for employing the poor. I took great pains about 
these matters when I was a magistrate, but have for- 
gotten all my plans. There are too many human be- 
ings on the earth : every two men ought to kill a third. 


I should not be surprised if there were a dissolution 
of Parhament. I think the Tories will try to make a 
last rally with this Parliament, yet the fools ought to 
see that there is nothing between Lord Grey and Cob- 

spent a fortnight with us ; he was remarkably 

well and contradictory — clear of gout and of assent. 

Read the " Collegians," an admirable novel, but an 
old ore, of two or three years' standing. 

Sydney Smith. 

302.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Bristol, Jan. '6d, 1831, 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 

Brougham has kindly offered me an exchange of liv- 
ings, which I declined with many thanks. I think the 
Administration will last some time, because I think the 
country decided upon Reform ; and if the Tories will 
not permit Lord Grey to carry it into effect, they must 
turn it over to Hunt and Cobbett. 

I think the French Government far from stable — 
like Meynell's horses at the end of a long day's chase. 
The Government of the country is in the hands of 
armed shopkeepers ; and when the man with the bayo- 
net deliberates, his reasons are more powerful than civil- 
ians can cope with. I am tired of liberty and revolu^ 
tion ! Where is it to end ? Are all political agglutin- 
ations to be unglued? Are we prepared for a second 
Heptarchy, and to see the King of Sussex fighting witli 
the Emperor of Essex, or marrying the Dowager Queen 
of Hampshire ? 

It would be amusing enougli if the chances of pre- 
ferment were, after all, to make me your neighbor. 
Many is tlie quarrel and niaklnp; up we sliould liave 


together. Thank you, my dear friend, for saying that 
proximity to me would make your life happier! The 
rose that spreads its fragTance over the garden might as 
well thank the earth beneath for bearina: it. 

You see Jefirey has been nearly killed at his election. 
How funny to see all the Edinburgh Reviewers in office ! 
God bless you, my dear friend ! 

Sydney Smith. 

303.] To Colonel Fox. 

Combe Floret, Feb. 19th, 1831. 

' My dear Charles, 

There is an excellent man here, ]\Iajor C , late 

of the 32 d, who instructed you, I believe, in the rudi- 
ments of your homicide profession. He is now on half- 
pay, has been in the service thirty years, and was in 
all the innumerable battles of the Duke of Wellington, 
ending in Waterloo, where he was wounded. Every 
man wishes to be something which he is not; and upon 

this general plan of human nature, poor ^lajor C • 

is expiring to be a colonel by brevet, I believe it is 
called ; it carries with it no increase of pay, and is a 
mere appellation. Is tliis easy to be effected ? If not 
over-difficult, lend tlie !Major a hcl2:>ing hand; he is 
really a man of great merit, but has no friends to help 
him. He has many minds to ^vrite to you, but is mod- 
est, and will never do it ; moreover, Irish ^Majors are 
not clever at inditing letters. I "write wholly without 
his knowledge. Himself and Mrs. have been re- 
markably civil to us, and I have taken a liking to him. 
AYc are settled, as you may possibly have heard, in 
a most beautiful ipai't of Somersetshire, where we ex- 
pect ]\Irs. Fox and you the first time you are within 
ton miles of us ; for I have not tlie vanity to suppose 


that we could act upon you at a greater distance. I 
am truly sorry to hear that the most amiable and most 
able of all Dukes of Lancaster is so ill with the gout : 
I thank God I have hitherto kept off that toe-consum- 
ing tyrant. I think Lord Grey seems to be emerging 
from the dark fog in which he began his career. If 
your father tiu'ns him off, he must give Cobbett the 
Garter instead of the cord. I see nobody between Lord 
Grey and revolution. 

Pray remember me most kindly to dear Mrs. Fox, 
and if she has forgotten me, help her to some primary 
tokens — grace and slendemess, gravity and tacitm-nity, 
and other marks which you can hit off with a bold 
pencil. I am panting to know a little what passes in 
the world. I meant to have been in London ere now, 
but have been prevented; above all, I want to see 
Brougham on his sack of wool. I see (meaning to say 
only a few words about poor Major ) I have writ- 
ten a long letter ; but if you have not time to read it, 
make Mrs. Fox read it, and tell you the contents. 

Ever yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

304] To Mrs. Meynell. 

CojiBE Floret, Feb. 2!ith, 1831. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 
Our friends, I am afraid, have lost ground by their 
Budget, and there is no dissembling that they are 
weak; however, I hardly think the Tories would be 
bold enough to viish to succeed them just now. An- 
other week will decide the fate of parties, perhaps of 
the kingdom. I have a very bad opinion of public 
affairs ; I never thought so ill of the world. Arbitrary 
governments are giving way every where, and will doom 


US to half a century of revolutions and expensive wars. 
It must be waded through, but I wish it had all been 
done before I was born. Wild beasts must be killed 
in the progress of civilization, but thank God that my 
ancestors — that is, not mine, for I have none, but Mr. 
Meynell's ancestors — did this some centuries ago. 
Write to me, and God bless you ! 

Sydney Smith. 

305.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Feb. 27th, 1831.. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I can not help thinking of your new state. When I 
am very nervous I always do sums in arithmetic, and 
take camphor-julep. Don't be afraid — I am sure, from 
several signs, it will do ; and don't pretend to say joii 
don't care, the truth being that you do care, from the 
very bottom of your heart. I meant to come to town, 
to afford you my spiritual consolation during the crisis, 
but I had an alarm about my daughter ; she had a very 
severe attack, and her recovery for some time was so 
slow that I was frightened ; she is now recovered. I 
hope to see you in the spring, where you are. If Lord 
Bathurst is there, I shall break the windows. 

Brougham's speech will make a great impression, and 
be very useful to the Administration. The world seems 
to be improving decidedly ; I thouglit it would have 
come to an end before now. I have been exhorting my 
little friend Jeffrey to make a great speech on Reform. 
Pray perceive his worth and great talents. 

Give my kind regards to my Lord. Your sincere 
friend, Sydney Smith. 


306.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, 1831. 

^Iy dear Lady Grey, 

The person in question — or ratlier, the parson in ques- 
tion — ]\Ir. , is respectable, of small preferment, 

large familj, good private fortune, moderate understand- 
ing, great expectations from relations ; a sincere friend 
to the emancipation of the Catholics, when there was 
danger and merit in publishing such opinions. 

Once for all — I take it for granted that neither Lord 
Grey nor you think me such an absurd coxcomb as to 
imagine that, with inferior information, experience, and 
talents, I can offer any advice to Lord Grey ; the truth 
is, that I attach such very little importance to my own 
opinions, that I have never the slightest objection to give 
them. And so, without any more preamble, or any re- 
petition of preamble, I will tell you from time to time 
what occurs to me. I take it for granted you are pre- 
pared to make Peers, to force the measure if it fail again, 
and I would have this intention half-officially communi- 
cated in all the great towns before the Bill was brought 
in. If this is not done — I mean, if Peers are not made 
— there will be a general convulsion, ending in a complete 
revolution. Do not be too dignified, but yield to the 
necessity of demi-official communications. If the Hus- 
kisson party in the Cabinet are refractory about making- 
Peers (should such a creation be necessary) turn out the 
Huskisson party. Their power is gone ; they are en- 
tirely at your mercy. God bless you, dear Lady Grey ! 
Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 


307.J To THE Countess Grey. 

No date. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

The only fault in your character is, that you never 
read my Taunton speeches ; though this may, perhaps, 
be accounted for by your porter never bringing you the 
papers, wliich I always send to you, as I have done this 
week. It seems absurd to make speeches in a little 
market-town ; but I have made a constant rule in party 
matters to contribute my quota, however insignificant, 
and to blow a trumpet, though it is but a penny trumpet. 

We are famous here for cheeses^ called Cheddar 
cheeses ; and I have taken the liberty to send you one, 
made by a reforming farmer. 

Pray do not be good-natured about Bristol. I must 
have ten people hanged, and twenty transported, and 
thirty imprisoned ; it is absolutely necessary to give the 
multitude a severe blow, for their conduct at Bristol has 
been most atrocious. You will save lives by it in the 
end. There is no plea of want, as there was in the ag- 
ricultural riots. Sydney Smith. 

308.] To the Countess Grey. 

March oth, 1831. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I am just returned from my living in Devonshire, 
where I was called by a sort of rebellion of my curate. 
I find here your letter, for which many and best thanks. 

I am now quite at my ease about Lord Grey and 
yourself. Whether Lord Grey will go out or not, I can 
not conjecture, as I know so little of the way Parliament 
is leaning ; but if he is driven out, it will be with an im- 
mense increase of reputation, with the gratitude and 


best wishes of tlie countiy, and with the sincere joy of 
his friends that he has ventured upon office, because 
they must know that he will he a happier man for all 
that has taken place. The plan is as wise as it is bold. 
I call it a magnificent measure, and am heartily glad it 
is understood to be his individually. God bless you, 
dear Lady Grey ! S. S. 

809.] To Lady Holland. 

Combe Flore y, March 18th, 1831. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

Of course it is impossible to reflect upon such exten- 
sive changes without being a little nervous ; but, taking 
the state of public oj?inion into the question^ I think it 
a wise and proper measure. Yesterday I delivered a 
glowing harangue at Taunton, in favor of it ; justice com- 
pels me to say that there were only five coats in the 
room; the rest were jackets and smock-frocks. They 
were delighted with me, and said they should like to 
bring me in as a member. 

Xever write me any apologies, dear Lady Holland. 
You are always sure of me. Sometimes I hear and see 
less of yourself and Lord Holland, but I am irrevocably 
attached to you both. It woidd be odd, after thirty 
years of kindness and friendship from you and yours, if 
I were to alter for the little bit of life which remains to 
me. It AviU seem very odd to me to pass through Down- 
ing Street, and to see all my old friends turned into offi- 
cial dignitaries. 

I think the Jews should be kept for the private tyran- 
ny and intolerance of the Bishops. Thirty thousand 
Jews 1 it is but a small matter ! Do not be too hard 
upon the Church! 

Your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 


310.] To THE Countess Grey. 

SiDMOUTH, April 2oth, 1831. 

My DEAR Lady Grey% 

Bold King ! bold Ministers ! The immediate effect 
of tlie measure is, that I had no sleep all last night. A 
meeting of freeholders at the inn at Sidmouth ; much 
speaking, and frequent sound of Lord Grey's name 
tlirough the wall. I had a gTeat mind, being a Devon- 
shire freeholder, to appear suddenly in nightcap and 
dressing-gown, and to make a speech. 

I have left off "^^Triting myself, but I have persuaded a 
friend of mine, a Mr. Dyson, to publish his speech to the 
freeholders, which I believe will be in your hands by 
Wednesday or Thursday, from E-idgway. You may 
suppose it to be mine, but it is not ; and I ask it as a 
particular favor from Lord Grey and you, that you vnR 
not mention you have received it from me, or that I had 
any influence in producing it. It is a mite added to the 
public stock of liberal principles, and not worth caution 
or trouble ; but my plan has always been to contribute 
my mite, and in my own particular way. 

My sincere hope is, that all this political agitation may 
not worry you, nor injure the health of Lord Grey. 

Sydney SmTH. 

311.] To Lady Holland. 

Mai/, 1831. 

]\Iy dear Lady Holland, 

* ■'a -;»:- * * * 

I met John Russell at Exeter. The people along the 
road were very mucli disappointed by his smallness. I 
told them he was much larger before the Bill was tlurown 
out, but was reduced by excessive anxiety about the 
people. This brought tears into their eyes. S. S. 


312.] To THE Countess Grey. 

August 18th, 1831. 

My DEAR Lady Grey, 

I am truly glad to liear such an account of Lord Grey. 
Pray keep us at peace if it be possible, and deal only in 
glowing expostulations, not in blows. There is no wish 
for war in the country, quite the contrary. It is a mere 
cry to defeat the Bill ; but I am sure nobody wishes for 
peace more than Lord Grey. 

I am staying at Lord 's, where is that Iionest pol- 
itician . I must confess that the rogue is a 

sensible, agreeable man, but it vexes me to see such base 
profligacy so rewarded. Sydney Smith. 

313.] To the Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Oct. Gth, 1831. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I. am very anxious about Lord Grey, and it will be a 
favor — a real favor — if you will write me a line — liter- 
ally a line. I don't want to know whether he is in or 
out, but whether he is satisfied ^\dth himself, and well. 
His speech was admirable ; and so, as I learn from my 
letters, it was considered on the spot. 

I send my speech, which missed you the last time I 
sent it. It is of little value, but honest. I found pub- 
lic meetings every where, and the utmost alarm at the 
idea of the Bill being thrown out ; coachmen, ostlers, in- 
side and outside passengers, barmaids, and waiters, all 
eager for news. 

From your grateful and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

308 memoir of the eev. sydney smith. 

314.] Protest. 

Extract from the " Times,'''' 

The following Protest has been entered {;we hear) upon 
the journals of the House of Lords hj the new Bishop of 

Dissentient — Because the Address says that we have 
been dragged into the war, whereas we are deliberately 
walking into it. 

2d. Because scenes of horror, injustice, and oppres- 
sion are never wanting upon the face of the earth ; and 
war, arising from the generous spirit of repressing such 
evils, would be interminable. 

3d. Because we are ruined. 

4th. Because no evil to arise from the ascendency of 
France over Spain would be equal to the evil of going to 
war to prevent it. 

5th. Because it is very probable that the Bourbons 
may be destroyed in the contest they have brought on 
themselves, without the. necessity of our going to war at 
all to effect so desirable an object. 

6th. Because a system of absolute neutrality, so es- 
sential at this moment to the welfare of Great Britain, is, 
from our insular situation, at all times a much safer pol- 
icy here than it would be for any Continental nation. 

7th. Because such is the wicked and profligate ex- 
travagance with which all British wars are conducted, 
and so ineffectual the control exercised by a corrupt 
House of Commons over our national expenses, that 
nothing but the dread of invasion or the preservation of 
faith should induce this country to give up the advant- 
ages of peace. Sydney Vigor. 


315.] To THE Countess Grey. 


]\Iy Dear Lauy Grey, 

Many tlianks for keeping us at peace. Life would 
not be worth having if there was a war. 

I hope you have all escaped from influenza better than 
we have, for ]\Irs. Sydney has been seriously ill, and has 
escaped upon hard 'terms. 

I am going a tour for a week to Dunster Castle — 
Lord Fortescue's — and to Clovelly, a beautifal tract of 
country; and then I am going to Sidmouth, where I 
have taken a large house as close to the sea as your ball- 
room is to your drawing-room. I invite you and Lord 
Grey to come and see me ; and there is a large Russian 
Princess who would be glad to make your acquaintance. 

The passing the Bill in such weather, and against such 
opposition, will be honorably remembered, and is all vir- 
tue and courage. Lord Grey's path of honorable dis- 
tinction is straight and clear, and nothing can now pre- 
vent him from getting to the end of it. You may depend 
upon it, that any attempt of the Lords to throw it out 
will be the signal for the most energetic resistance from 
one end of the kingdom to the other. 

The harvest here is enormous, such as was never 
known in the memory of man ; the weather celestial, 
and the sickness u.niversal. The stoutest laborers are 
soon incapable of the smallest exertion. 

Sydney Smith. 

316.] To Lady Holland. 

Co:\i];i: FLoracY, Juhj^ 1831. 

My dear Lady Holland, 
The weather lierc appears to have resembled the 


Aveatlier of the Metropolis. At present it is oppressively 
Lot. All my family are here ; I feel patriarchal. Chol- 
era has not yet come among us, but it is at either end of 
our line — at Exeter and Plymouth, and at Bristol. See- 
ing but little company, and not hearing every day how 
Thompson, ajid Simpson, and Jackson were attacked, I 
think less about it. 

Philosopher ]\Ialthus came here last week. I got an 
agreeable party for him of unmarried people. There was 
only one lady who had had a child ; but he is a good-na- 
tured man, and, if there are no appearances of approach- 
ing fertility, is civil to every lady. ]\Ialthus is a real 
moral philosopher, and I would almost consent to speak 
as inarticulately, if I could think and act as wisely. 

Read Cicero's "Letters to Atticus," translated by the 
Abbe Mongon, with excellent notes. I sit in my beau- 
tiful study, looking upon a thousand flowers, and read 
agreeable books, in order to keep up arguments with 
Lord Holland and Allen. I thank God heartily for my 
comfortable situation in my old age — above my deserts, 
and beyond my former hopes. Sydney Smith. 

317.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Castle Hill, Ang. 18th, 1831. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I liave anxiously reflected whether you mean to pro- 
rogue till after Christmas or not, and which is the better 
plan of proceeding. Supposing there had been no riots 
at Bristol, I should say, postpone till after the Christmas 
liolidays, and let some such letter as this find its way 
accidentally into tlie papers : 

"My dear Lord — I am very much obliged to you for 
placing before me so clearly your views respecting the 
present state of the country, and the policy whicli His 


]\Iajesty's Ministers ought to pursue. I am so far from 
being offended at the liberty you liave taken, that I feel 
grateful for your candor and your sincerity. It must 
occur to you, however, that your information, and that 
of any other individual not in His Majesty's Government, 
must necessarily be very imperfect ; and that, if we dif- 
fer on what is to be done, it is most probably because 
we reason upon very different premises. You know me 
well enough to be aware that the character of my Ad- 
ministration, my only hope of deserving well of my coun- 
try, my happiness, and most probably my health for the 
few years remaining to me, all depend upon the passing 
of this Bill. I have the most acute interest to decide 
properly upon the period at w^iich it may be re-intro- 
duced to Parliament ; and I have information to guide 
me, which is, as it ought to be, accessible to very few 
persons besides myself. 

"I am thoroughly convinced that the best chance of 
carrying the Bill quietly and effectually through both 
Houses of Parliament is, by postponing its introduction 
till after Christmas. I have the strongest expectations 
that it will be so carried ; and you may be assured that 
my views and plans for that purpose would be material- 
ly impeded and endangered if I were to yield to the well- 
meaning importunities of my friends, and agree to an 
earlier period. I have been forty years before my coun- 
try, in which I have never sacrificed an English mterest 
for the love of office. Give me a few weeks of confi- 
dence, and you will see that I have served you faithful- 
ly, lionorably, and I firmly beheve, successfully, in this 
last stniggle against corruption. Grey." 

These sentiments, put into Lord Grey's elegant and 
correct language, and published hy raistake^ would have 
a great effect. 

;{ij 3ii:m(jiu ui tju: hew .syd.nky ^muh. 

You must send down a sj)ccial commission to Bristol, 
and liang ten people in the streets, and publish a pro- 
clamation. This done, I hardly tliink these riots need 
alter your 2:)lan of not meeting till after Christmas, if you 
have such a plan. I make no ajjology for "writing my 
nonsense to you and Lord Cirey. I j)rescrlhc for I^ord 
Grey repeated doses of warm sal-volatile and water. 
Pray write mc a line to say he is better, and give ]Mac- 
aulay a place, (lod bless you both ! 

8vi»m:v Smitii. 

P.S. {To Fjiri tt rcy.) — i take it lor granted you arc 
quite resolved to make l*ccrs to an extent wliich may en- 
able you to cany the measiu'c. The measure is one ol' 
such indispensable necessity, that you will be complete- 
ly justified by public opinion, and as completely over- 
whelmed by public opinion, if you shrink from such a 
step ; so I have done with this. 

Cultivate Whisliaw ; he is one of the most sensible 
men in England, and his opinions valuable, if he will 
give them. It would give great satisfaction if a Prebend 

were in course of time given to ]\Ialthus. Lord 's 

brother is a good scholar, a gentleman, with a mind not 
unecclesiastical, thoroughly honest, and to be depended 
upon. Caldwell is fit for any ecclesiastical situation, for 
his prudence, sense, character, and honesty ; a great 

friend of Whishaw's. "Wood will tell you about ; 

you may trust him as long as you have any thing to 
give him. AVait till after Christmas for the meeting of 
Parliament. I am sure this is right. I give you great 
credit for Lamb's Conduit Fields. 

Pray keep well, and do your best, with a gay and 
careless heart. What is it all, but the scratching of 
pismires upon a heap of earth? Pogues are careless 
and gay, why not honest men? Think of the Bill in 


the morning, and take your claret in the evening, totally 
forgetting the Bill. You have done admirably up to this 

;U8.] To 3Iks. Meynell. 

Savillk Row, September^ 1831. 

My Dear G., 
I am just stepping into the carriage to be installed ' 
by tlie Bishop, but can not lose a post in thanking you. 
It is, I believe, a very good thing, and puts me at my 
case for hfe. I asked for nothing — never did any thing 
sliabby to procure preferment. These are pleasing rec- 
ollections, ^ly pleasure is greatly increased by the con- 
gratulations of good and excellent friends like yourself. 
God bless you I Sydney Smith. 

319.] To Lady Elizabeth Bulteel. 

Combe Fi^uky, 1831. 

^Iy dear Lady Elizabeth, 

I can not say hoAV much obliged we arc by your kind- 
ness in sending us what nmst have cost you so much 
labor to write, and has given us so much pleasure to 

I hope you have no mobs and no cholera ; fire upon 
the first, and go into the warm bath for the other, but 
do not imagine you will have no cholera in your neigh- 
borhood. I do not altogether see why your coming here 
should depend on your going to town. Nothing does 
husband and w*ife so much good as occasional absences 

* In the Prebendal Stall at St, Paul's, given to him by Lord Grev. 

t A beautiful song, which Mr. Smith had much admired -when hear- 
ing it sung at Saltram by Lady E. Bulteel. 

Vol. IL— O 


from home, and you could go nowhere where you would 
be more heartily received. 

I hear now and then from Lady Grey, and was de- 
lighted to learn from her last that my Lord was quite 
well again. I wish, for a thousand reasons, but for none 
more than the consideration of your father's health, that 
Reform was carried. There are persons who can govern 
kingdoms as gayly and with as much sang f void as they 
would play at draughts : such is not the case with your 
excellent father ; affairs get into his heart, and cu-culate 
with his blood. 

Pray remember me very kindly to Mr. Bulteel, and 
believe me, dear Lady Elizabeth, ever sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

320.] To THE Countess Grey. 

20 Savillk Row, December^ 1831.' 

My dear Lady Grey, 
I went to the debate. Lord and Lord 

were horrible ! I wish apologies were abolished by Act 
of Parliament. They are all children to Lord Grey. 
He made an excellent speech, as prudent as it was spir- 

I submit the following little criticisms. Lord Grey 
should stand further from the bench, and more in the 
body of the house ; should stand more upright, and raise 
his arm (which no Englishman does, and all foreigners 
do) from the shoulder, and not from the elbow. But he 
speaks beautifully, and is a torch among tapers. Next 

to Lord Grey, I like Lord Harrowby ; Lord speaks 

like a school-boy. The whole debate was rather concil- 

Yours affectionately, Sydney Smith. 


321.] To Mrs. ]\Ieynell. 

CojiBE Floret, December^ 1831. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 

I behave well, always well, but you liave a little in- 
firmity — tactility, or touchiness. Pray guard against 
this ; it grows upon you ; and do not be angry with me 
for telling you this, for that would be an odd way of 
proving you were innocent of the charge. 

Lord Grey is well ; the King firm ; the Bill will pass, 
partly by the defalcation of its opponents, partly by the 
creation of peers. Cholera will spread all over England. 
Read notliing about it, and say nothing about it ; but 
when you are in the cold stage, send for one of my let- 
ters and place it near your heart, and your foolish doctor 
will ascribe your recovery to himself. 

I had no idea Mrs. Partington would make such a 
fortune ; I sent my speech to nobody, but it was copied 
into the "Times." I am told it is up at the caricature 
shops, but I did not see it. 

Your faithful and affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

322.] To THE Countess of Morley. 

Bristol, 1831. 

Dear Lady Morley, 
I have taken possession of my preferment. The house 
is in Amen-corner — an awkward name on a card, and 
an awkward annunciation to the coachman on leaving 
any fashionable mansion. I find too (sweet discovery 1) 
that I give a dinner every Sunday, for three months in 
the year, to six clergymen and six singing-men, at one 
o'clock. Do me the favor to drop in as IMrs. ]\Iorley. 
I did the duty at St. Paul's ; the organ and music were, 


Seeing several carpenters at work at Lord Dudley's, I 
called ; and after lie had expatiated at some length on 
the danger of the times, I learnt that he was boarding 
up his windows in imitation of the Duke of Wellington, 
who has been fortified in a similar manner ever since the 
Coronation. I am afraid the Lords will fling out the 
Bill, and that I shall pocket the sovereign of ^h. Bul- 
teel; in that case, I believe and trust Lord Grey w^U 
have recourse to Peer-making. 

I went to Court, and, horrible to relate ! with strings 
to my shoes instead of buckles — not from Jacobinism, 
but ignorance. I saw two or tlu*ee Tory lords looking 
at me with dismay, was informed by the Clerk of the 
Closet of my sin, and gathering my sacerdotal petticoats 
about me (like a lady conscious of thick ancles), I escaped 
further observation. My residence is in February, March, 
and July. 

Lady Holland is to have an exj^ress from the Lords 
every ten minutes, and is encamped for that puqjose in 
Burlington Street! Adieu, dear Lady Morley! Ex- 
cuse my nonsense. A thousand thanks for your hos- 
pitality and good-nature. 

Sydney Smith. 

323.] To THE Countess of Morley. 

Saville How, 1831. 

Dear Lady Morley, 

No news. War against Holland, which may possibly 
swell into a general war. 

has been to Cambridge to place his son ; in 

other words, he has put him there to spend his money, 
to lose what good fjualities he has, and to gain nothing 
useful in return. If men had made no more progress in 
the common arts of life than they have in education, wc 


should at this moment be dividmg our food with our lin- 
gers, and drinking out of the palms of our hands. 

I shall be at home to receive you in a few days. Why 
should you suppose, because you have more sense and 
wit than other people, that you sJiould have less feeling 
and compassion for the real miseries of your fellow-creat- 
ures ? In discussing this subject, I liave always some 

individual widow in my mind ; was the last ; 

if I succeeded, to her be the glory. Be assured Lord 
Plunket is devoted to you ; and next to him, your sin- 
cerely obliged clergyman, 

Sydney Smith. 

324.] To THE Countess Geey. 

Combe Floret, Jan. 7th, 1832. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I hope to see you in the middle of this month ; in the 
mean time a few words. 

The delay has had this good, that it will make the 
creation of Peers less sui-prising and alarming; every 
body expects it, as a matter of course. I am for forty, 
to make things safe in committees. I liked Lord Grey's 
letter to Lord Ebrington. I am a great friend to these 
indirect communications in a free Government. Pray 
beg of Lord Grey to keep well. He has the thing on 
hand, and I have no doubt of a favorable issue. I see 
an open sea beyond the icebergs. I am afraid the Mus- 
covite meditates war. Perhaps he is only saying to the 
French, " Don't go too far ; for my eye is upon you, and 
my paw shall be so also, if you run riot." Tou may 
perhaps be forced to take O'Connell by the throat. 

I can not get the Bishop of to pay me my dilap- 
idations. He keeps on saying he will pay, but the 
money does not appear; I shall seize his mitre, robes. 


sermons, and charges to liis clergy, and put them up to 

We have had the miklest weather possible. A great 
part of the vegetable world is deceived, and beginning to 
blossom — not merely foolish young plants without ex- 
perience, but old plants that have been deceived before 
by premature springs ; and for such, one has no pity. 

It is as if Lady were to complain of being seduced 

and betrayed. 

I can not tell what has happened to our Church of St. 
Paul. I have belonged to him for four months ; he has 
cost me two or three hundred pounds, and I have not 
received a shilling from him. I hope to find him in a 
more munificent mood the ensuing quarter. 

Yours most respectfully and affectionately, 

Sydney S:hith. 

325.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Supposed 1832. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I did not like to say much to you about public affairs 
to-day, because I tliought you were not well, but I inust 
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 icithout a creation 
of Peers ? No. — Then make them. But the King will 
not. — Then resign. But if the King icill create, we shall 
lose more than we gain. — I doubt it. Many tlu'eaten, 
who will not vote against the Bill. — At all events, you 
wiU have done all you can to carry it. If you do create, 
and it fail, you are beaten with honor : and the country 
will distinguish between its enemies and its friends. 
^ Tlie same reason applies to dissensions in the Cabinet, 


of which (though perhaps unfounded) I have heard many 
rumors. Turn out the anti-Reformers ; you -svill then 
be either victorious, or defeated with honor. You are 
just in that predicament in which tlie 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 pubHc posses- 
sion. It would be a very senous injury if it were de- 
stroyed, and there will be no public man in whom the 
people will place the smallest confidence. Lord Grey 
must say to his colleagues to-morrow : " 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 siu-e 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 icill create, and 
create immediately ; or resign." 

^lackintosh, Whishaw, Robert Smith, Rogers, Lut- 
trell, Jeffrey, Sharpc, Ord, !Macaulay, Fazakerley, Lord 
Ebrington — ^where will you find a better jur}', one more 
able and more willing to consider every point connected 
with the honor, character, and fame of Lord Grey? 
There would not be among them a dissentient voice. 

If you wish to be happy tln-ec months hence, create 
^ Peers. If you wish to avoid an old age of sorrow and 
reproach, create Peers. If you wish to retain my friend- 
ship, 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 ref- 
erence to your political wisdom, or youi' 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. 


[Though the natural rehictance of Lord Grey to have recourse to 
this extreme measure was shared by every member of the Cabinet, with 
greater or less strength, they Avere fully agreed that, if the Reform Bill 
could be can-ied by no other means, that must be resorted to. Lord 
Grey accordingly took to the King their unanimous resolution, that they 
must have the power to create Peers to any extent they might deem 
necessary. Fortunately, they were not compelled to exercise it. — Ed.] 

326.] To Lady Holland. 

Combe Floret, 1832. 

I am truly sorry, my dear Lady Holland, to hear 
such bad accounts of Holland House. I am always 
inquiring about you from all London people, and can 
hear nothing that pleases me. Try if you can not send 
me some more agreeable intelligence. 

We have had several people here ; among the rest, 
poor dear Whishaw and John Komiliy. I was quite 
alarmed to hear of his fall, but he was good enough to 
"\vrite us a line to-day. He should never lay aside a 
crutch-stick, after the manner of Lord Holland. Lut- 

trell comes here next week, and has appeared by 

excuse, in his usual manner. We are just returned 
from Linton and Lymouth — the finest thing in England, 
and pronounced by three ]\Iediten'anean gentlemen, who 
were j)resent, to be equal to any thing in that sea. The 
Fazakerleys came there by accident, and to the same 
house where we were staying. Nobody to me more 
agreeable than Fazakerley. 

The accounts, I am sorry to say, are not very good 
of Lord John's success in Devonshire. The Whigs 
whom I saw at Linton looked very black about it. We 
have had a delightful summer, and every body has been 
pleased with our place ; nobody more so than Whishaw. 
By-the-by, let me say a word about John E-omilly — a 
very agreeable and a very well-informed young man : 
very candid, though a doctnnaire, witli very good abil- 


ities, and legal abilities too, such as I am sure will in- 
sure his success. The whole effect of him, to me, is 
very agreeable. I hear that the success of Jeffrey and 
Murray is certain ; that of Abercrombie doubtful. 

s. s. 

327.] To THE Countess Grey. 

May 17th, 1832. 
I sent you yesterday, my dear Lady Grey, another 
penny trumpet, blo^\ni at your political funeral. I wish 
you joy most heartily of your resurrection. Accept for 
Lord Grey and yourself my most sincere congratula- 
tions. You are now beyond the reach of accidents, and 
I hope will enjoy two or three years of entertaining do- 
minion : more I am sure you do not want, if so much. 

Sydney Smith. 

328.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Flore y, Avg. 21th, 1832, 

My dear Lady Grey, 

Are you gone to Howick? You must have great 
pleasure, the greatest pleasure, in going there triumpli- 
ant and all-powerfal. It must be, I fear, a hasty pleas- 
ure, and that you can not 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 can not. It will divide the Cabinet 
and agitate the country, but you must face the danger 
and conquer, or be conquered by it. It can not be 
delayed. There is no alternative between this and a 


Woody war, and reconqiiest of Ireland. I hope you 
ttIII, 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 
harbor : such indeed is not your practice. The Tories 
are daunted and intimidated here, and, I think, the 
members returned ivill 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 Satur- 
day, and the Fazakerleys on Friday ; so we shall be a 
strong Reform party for a few days. ^ly 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 fi'om 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 is as probable that your 
liouse should be burnt down three times in any one 
year, as tliat you should die of cholera. 


An enomious 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. 

329.] To John Allen, Esq. 

Nov. 3c/, 1832. 

]\Iy DEAR Allen, 
I saw Mackintosh: he wishes that his father's work 
should be as he left it, without any addition ; in other 
words, the statue, without a modem nose or arm. Upon 
reflection, I should feel as he does: pray talk to Lord 
Holland on the subject, and send me your united opin- 
ions. We are the natural guardians of Mackintosh's 
literary fame ; wdll that not be in some degree tainted 
and exposed to ridicule, if his history is furnished by a 
regular Paternoster hack ? IMy leaning is, that such 
would be the consequence ; and I told Mackintosh I 
would consult Holland House and tell him the result, 
but that I leaned to his opinions. 

Believe me, truly yours, 
— Sydney Smith. 

330.J To John Murray, Esq. 

Combe Floret, Nov. 2\st, 1832. 

My dear Friend, 
Do not imagine I have heard with indifference of your 
success, or that of Giant Jeffrey. It has given me the 
most sincere pleasure. The gods are said to rejoice at 
the sight of a wise man struggling with adversity. The 
gods will please themselves ; but T like to see wise men 
better when the struggle is over, and when they are in 
the enjoyment of tliat power and distinction to wliich. 


by their long labor and their merits, they are so jnstly 

I am afraid of the war. Whether our friends could 
have avoided it or not, I know not, but it will be dread- 
fully unpopular; I should not be surprised if it were 
fatal to them. Pray say if Abercrombie is sure of his 
election. His ambition is to be Speaker, and I should 
not be surprised if he succeeded. He is the wisest- 
looking man I know. It is said he can see through 
millstones and granite. 

What oceans of absurdity and nonsense will the new 
liberties of Scotland disclose I Yet this is better than 
the old infamous jobbing, and the foolocracy under which 
it has so long labored. Don't be too ardent, Johnny, 
and restrain yourself; and don't get into scrapes by 
phrases, but get the character of a very prudent practi- 
cal man. I remain here in a state of very inert vegeta- 
tion till the end of February, and then we meet in Lon- 
don. Pray take care that Jeffrey is the first Judge. I 
have that much at heart ; and to thwart him in that 
nonsense about Cockburn. I have done all I can to 
cftect the same object. 

We are living here with windows all open, and eating 
our own ripe grapes grown in the open air ; but, in re- 
venge, there is no man wdthin twenty miles who knows 
any thing of history, or angles, or of the mind. I send 
Mrs. MuiTay my epigram on Professor Airey, of Cam- 
bridge, the great astronomer and mathematician, and his 
beautiful wife : 

Airey alone has gain'd that double prize 

Which forced musicians to divide the crown : 
His works have raised a mortal to the skies, 

His marriage vows liave dx-awn an angel down. 

s. s. 


331.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Combe Florky Dec. IGth, 1832. 

Dear Mrs. Meynell, 

I often think of you, tliongli I do not write to you. 
I am delighted to find the elections have gone so well. 
The blackguards and democrats have been defeated al- 
most universally, and I hope Meynell is less alarmed, 
though I am afraid he will never forgive me ]\Irs. Parting- 
ton ; in retui'n, I have taken no part in the county elec- 
tion, and am behaving quite like a dignitary of the 
Church ; that is, I am confining myself to digestion. 

Head Memoirs of Constant, Bonaparte's valet-de- 
chambre, and Mrs. Trollope's "Refugees in America." 
The story is foolish, but the picture of American man- 
ners excellent ; and why should not the Americans be 
ridiculed, if they are ridiculous ? 

I see no prospect of a change of Ministry, but think 
the Whigs much stronger than they Avere when we were 
in town. I have come to the end of my career, and have 
nothing now to do but to grow old memly and to die 
without pain. Yours, Sydney Smith. 

332.] To Sir George Philips. 

Combe Florey, Dec. 22d, 1832. 

My dear Philips, 
You seem to have had a neck-and-neck race ; how- 
ever, if the breath is out of his body, that is all that was 
wanted. I congratulate you upon the event ; and, con- 
sidering what it may lead to in George's instance, it is 
an ample indemnification for the defeat of Kiddermin- 
ster. You must keep away from the House, and then 
no harm will follow ; and now Binningham has ]\Iem- 
bers of its own, tlie county Members will bo loss wanted. 


I can only say, thank God I am not in the House of 
Commons. Our election here is contested by the obsti- 
nate perseverance of a ]\Ir. , who, without a shadow 

of chance, has put the other Members to the expense of 
a poll. Many decayed eggs have been cast upon him, 
wdiich have much defiled his garments ; and this is all, 
as far as I can see or smell, that he has acquired by his 
exertions. We have been a good deal amused by seeing 
Sir perform the part of patriot and Church re- 

We have read "Zohrab the Hostage" with the great- 
est pleasure. If you have not read it, pray do. I was 
so pleased with it that I could not help writing a letter 
of congi'atulation and collaudation to Morier, the author, 
who, by-the-by, is an excellent man. 

I see Lord Grey, the Chancellor, and the Archbishop 
of Canterbury have had a meeting, which I suppose has 
decided the fate of the Church. 

Ever yours, my dear Philips, 

Sydney Smith. 

333.J To Lord Holland. 

CoMBK Florky, Jan. 22d, 1833. 

]\Iy dear Lord Holland, 
Nothing can be of so little consequence as what I 
write, or do not write ; but I wish to own only the 
trumpery good, or the trumpery evil, of which I am 
the author. A pamphlet, called the " Logan Stone" 
(which I conjecture to be one of conservation and alarm), 
has been attributed to me. I give you my honor I have 
neither written nor read a line of it. If by chance it is 
mentioned before you, pray say Avhat I say. 

Sydney Smith. 


334.] To Lord Holland. 

CoMBK Florey, Jan. 25th, 1833. 

* * * * * * 

I do not think my short and humble epistle deserves 
the merciless quizzing it has received to-night. No 
man likes to have writings imputed to him which he did 
not write ; and, above all, when those works are an at- 
tack upon old friends to whom he is under the greatest 

* *• * * *■ * 

s. s. 

335.] To the Countess of Morley. 

CosiBE Floret, Jamiary, 1833. 

Dear Lady Morley, 
As this is the season for charades and bad pleasantry, 
I shall say, from a very common appellation for Pales- 
tine, remove the syllable of which egotists are so fond, 
and you will have the name of the other party which 
the report concerns ; but I repeat again, we as yet know 
nothing about it. Stapleton's letter is decisive, and 
puts an end to the question. You have no idea how 
the sacred Yalley of Flowers has improved ever since 
you were here ; but I hope you will, before the year is 
over, come and see. Mrs. Sydney allows me to accept 
the present you sent me ; I stick it in my heart as P. B. 

sticks a rose in his button-hole Do you want a 

butler or respectable-looking groom of the chambers ? 
I will be happy to serve you in either capacity ; it is 
time for the clergy to look out. I have also a cassock 
and stock of sermons to dispose of, dry and fit for use. 

Sydney Smith. 


336.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Sept, 22c?, 1833. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I hope you are all weU after the fatigues of London, 
and enjoying the north as much as I do the west. I 
can conceive no greater happiness than that of a Min- 
ister in such times escaping to his country-seat. The 
discharged debtor — the bird escaped from the cage- 
door, have no feelings of liberty which equal it. Have 
you any company? For your own sakes, I wish not. 
You must be sick of the human countenance, and it must 
be a relief to you to see a cow instead of a Christian. "VYe 
have had here the ]\Iorleys and Lady Dav}^, and many 
others unknown to you. Our evils have been, want of 
rain, and scarlet fever in our village ; where, in three- 
quarters of a year, we have buried fifteen, instead of 
one, per annum. You will naturally suppose I have 
killed all these people by doctoring them ; but scarlet 
fever awes me, and is above my aim. I leave it to the 
professional and graduated homicides. 

The s are with us. ]\Irs. confined to her 

sofa a close prisoner. I was forced to decline seeing 
Malthus, who came this way. I am convinced her last 
accident was entirely owing to his visit. 

I am so engaged in the nonsensical details of a coun- 
try life, that I have hardly looked at a book ; the only 
one I have read with pleasure is Sturt's "Discoveries 
in New Holland."' There must be a great degree of 
felony and larceny in my composition, for I have great 
cm'iosity about that country ; and if Lord Grey's friend- 
ship and kindness had left me any thing to desire, I 
should ask to be Governor of Botany Bay. 

Sydney Smith. 


337.] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

WoBURN Abbey, Dec. Uli^ 1833. 

An old and sincere friend feels deeply for your loss, 
recollecting the ancient kindness of Castle Howard, and 
the many happy days he has spent there. 

It is impossible not to meet with affliction, but it is 
some comfort to think that many others grieve with onr 
grief, and are thinking of lis with deep and honest con- 
cern. God bless you, dear Lady Carlisle! I exhort 
you to firmness and courage, for there are in your mind 
those foundations on which the best courage is built. 

s. s. 

338. ] To John Murray, Esq. 

Combe Floret, Taunton, Dec. 2ith, 1833. 

j\Iy dear John, 

Pray send me a word or two respecting Scotland and 
Scotch friends. Is it true that one of the Scotch Judges 
is about to resign either life or place? and will Jeffrey 
succeed him ? This w411 be very agreeable news to me, 
for I wish to see him m port. We are becoming quiet 
and careless here. What is your state in Scotland ? I 
begin to hope we shall not have a revolution, though 
perhaps I am too sanguine. 

Eead Hamilton's "America" — excellent, and yet un- 
just. Suppose a well-bred man to travel in stage- 
coaches, and to live at ordinaries here ; what would be 
his estimate of England and Englishmen ? 

We are living here with open windows, and complain- 
ing of the heat. Kemembcr me kindly to Jus and Pus 
Thompson,* and to Mr. Eutherford. I regret sincere- 

* The Edinburgh lawyer and physician of that name were so distin- 
piishod by Mr. Sydney Smith. — Ed. 


ly I am so far from Edinburgli. God bless you, dear 
John! Sy'dney Smith. 

339.] To ]\Irs. Meynell. 

Decemher, 1833. 

My dear G., 

The Ministers, you will admit (all Tory as you are), 
have at least sent you a most respectable man and gen- 
tleman as Dean of Litchiield. His style is, that he is a 
scholar, with much good sense, and with the heart of a 
gentleman. He was my next-door neighbor in Yorkshire, 
and I know him well. 

We shall be in town the 18th of February ; but if 
there is any chance of seeing you in town at all, it will 
be in July, one of my months of residence. Pray give 
over hunting. Ask Meynell to leave off. He has been 
pursuing the fox for thirty years. Glory has its limits, 
like any otlier pursuit. 

I passed an agreeable month in London, finding the 
town full of my acquaintances and friends. I went to 
Brigliton, which pleased me much ; and visited the Duke 
of Bedford and Lord Lansdowne, at their country places. 
I admire the Duchess of Bedford for her wit and beauty. 
How are all your children ? How are you ? 

Sydney Smith. 

340.] To John Murray, Esq. 

No date. 

]\Iy dear Murray, 

j\Iany and sincere thanks for the grouse. I shall be 

lieartily glad if you are returned. The fact is, the Whig 

]\Iinistry were nearly dissolved before the King put them 

to dcatli ; they were weakened by continual sloughing. 


They could not have stood a month m the Commons. 
The King put them out of their misery ; in which, I 
think, he did a very foolish thing. 

The meetings in London are generally considered as 

failures. I was invited to dine with Lord . The 

party was curious : Lady , Mrs. F L , 

Barnes (the Editor of the "Times"), myself, and the 
Duke of Wellington. I was ill, and sent an excuse. 
Do not imagine I am going to rat. I am a thoroughly 
honest, and, I will say, liberal person, but have never 
given way to that puritanical feeling of the Whigs against 
dining with Tories. 

Tory and Whig in turns shall be my host, 
I taste no politics in boil'd and roast. 

s. s. 

34L] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Tlorey, May, 23o?, 1834. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
Pray make Lord Grey read the inclosed copy of my 
letter to the Chancellor. There is nobody to take the 
part of the parish clergy ; they are left to be tormented 
by laws and by bishops, as frogs and rabbits are given 
up to the experiments of natural philosophers. In a few 
years your clergy will become mean and fanatical. 
Ever affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

342.] To :\rRS. :Meynell. 

Combe Florey, Julij, 183-1. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 
The thought was sudden, so was the execution: I 
saw I was making no progress in London, and I re- 
solved to nin the risk of the journey. I performed it 


witli pain, and found on my arrival at my own door 
my new carriage completely disabled. I called on no 
one, but went away without beat of drum. I know 
nothing of public affairs — I have no pleasure in think- 
ing of them, and turn my face the other way, deeply 
regretting the abrupt and unpleasant termination of 
Lord Grey's political life. 

I am making a slow recovery ; hardly yet able to 
walk across the room, nor to put on a Christian shoe. 
On Monday I shall have been ill for a month. Per- 
haps it is a perquisite of my time of life, to have the 
gout or some formidable illness. We enter and quit the 
world in pain ! but let us be just however ; I find my 
eyesight much improved by gout, and I am not low- 

Pray let me hear from you from time to time, as 
you shall from me. Remember me to the handsome 
widow with handsome daughters ; and believe me, my 
dear G., yours affectionately, 

Sydney Smith. 

343.] To THE Countess Geey. 

Combe Florey, Oct. 12th, 1834. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I should be glad to hear a word about the dinner ; 
you must have been in the seventh heaven. I am 
heartily rejoiced at the great honors Lord Grey has re- 
ceived, and which I am sure will give him great pleas- 
ure in retirement. 

I have spent a summer of sickness, never liaving 
been ten days Avithout some return of gout or oph- 
thalmia ; at present I am very well, and laying up tlie 
ailments and elements of future illnesses. I shall be 
in Tjondon the 1st of November with Mrs. Sydney, in 


Weymouth Street, wliere you paid me those charitable 
visits ; for which, God's blessing be upon you ! 

I think has damaged the Administration from 

ten to twenty per cent. I wish our friend would 

not speak so much. I really can not agTce with him 
about refomi. I am for no more movements : they are 
not relished by Canons of St. Paul's. When I say, 
"no more movements," however, I except the case of 
the Universities ; which, I think, ought to be immediate- 
ly invaded with Inquirers and Commissioners. They 
are a crying evil. 

I have had a great number of persons coming to 
Combe Florey. They all profess themselves converts 
to the beauty of the country. 

Terrible work with the new Poor Law! Nobody 
knows what to do, or which way to go. How did Lord 
Grey stand all his fatigues? Has Eogers been with 

you ? Who should pay me a visit but P B ! 

His very look turns country into Piccadilly. 

Sydney Smith. 

344.] To Mes. Baeing. 

Wetihouth Street, Portland Place, 1834. 

Dear Mes. Baeing, 

I have a favor to ask : could you lend our side such 
a thing as a Chancellor of the Exchequer? Some of 
our people are too little — some too much in love — some 
too ill. We will take great care of him, and return 
him so improved you will hardly know him. 

You will be glad to hear my eyes are better — nearly 
well. Ever sincerely yours, Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — What is real piety? What is true attach- 
ment to the Church ? How are these fine feelings best 


evinced ? The answer is plain : by sending strawber- 
ries to a clergyman. Many thanks. S. S. 

345.] To Mrs. BARma. 

CojiBE Flore Y, October, 1834. 

Dear Mrs. Baring, 

L has just left us. We all think him a very 

excellent and agreeable man ; but wholly ignorant, for 
the greatest part of the day, of our names and parish, 
and not very certain of his own. 

See what you lose by being a Tory : your son might 
have been Bishop of Bristol; a very lean and ill-fed 
piece of preferment (it is true), but a passage to better 
things. Ever very sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

346.] To THE Countess Gt^iey. 

LoxDON, November- 19?A, 1834. 

My dear liADY Grey, 
Nothing can exceed the fury of the Whigs ! They 
mean not only to change every thing upon the earth, 
but to alter the tides, to suspend the principles of grav- 
itation and vegetation, and to tear down the solar sys- 
tem. The Duke's success, as it appears to me, will en- 
tirely depend on his imitation of the Whig measures. 
I am heartily glad Lord Grey is in port. I am (thanks 
to him) in port too, and have no intentions of resigning 
St. Paul's. Zhave not resigned. Still the King has 
used them ill. If he always intended to turn them out 
as soon as Lord Spencer died, he should have told 
Lord Melbourne so, and not have placed him in so awk- 
ward a position ; at least, as far as circumstances over 
wliich he has no control can place an able and high- 
minded man. 


I am better in health, avoiding all fermented liquors, 
and drinking nothing but London water, with a million 
insects in every drop. He who drinks a tumbler of 
London water has literally in his stomach more animated 
beings than there are men, women, and children on the 
face of the globe. London is very empty, but by no 
means disagreeable : I find plenty of friends. Pray be 
in London early in January. I shall practice as I 
preach, and be there from January till Easter. 

It is supposed that the messenger who is gone to 
fetch Sir Robert Peel, will not catch him before he is 
at Pa3stum ; in the mean time, the Duke of Wellington 
holds all offices, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, and is 
to be Bishop of Ely (if Ely dies), till Peel arrives. 

Sydney Smith. 

347.] To THE Countess Grey. 

No date: sujjjjosed 18S4:. 

My DEAR Lady Grey, 

There departs from Taunton this day my annual quit- 
rent cheese, and with it my hearty thanks and gratitude 
for the comfort and independence I have derived from 
the kindness of Lord Grey. We are all well, and mean 
to be in town by the 19th of next month. There is a 
report that we are going to be married, but I know no- 
thing about it. If we are married, and the report proves 
to be true, I shall advertise for a daughter ; I can not 
possibly get on mtliout a daughter ; but I suppose it is 
only an idle nmior. i\Iild weather, the windows oj^en, 
and thirty sorts of flowers blowing in the garden. 

They seem to have given up the idea of yom* resign- 
ing. When I came down here, I found every body sure 
you were upon the eve of abdication. I wish the Cab- 
inet would do something about the rain — it is eternal ; 


and as the road to Taunton is sometimes covered with 
floods, we are cut off from butchers, doctors, tailors, and 
all who supply the wants of life. 

As I know you are a good scholar, you may say to 
Lord Grey, for me, 

Precor ut hie annus tibi Isetis auspiciis 
Ineat, laetioribus procedat, Ijetissimis exeat, 
Et scepius recurrat semper felicior. 


348.] To ]\Iks. Holland. 

(Soon after her marriage.') 1834. 

* * 

The blessing of God be upon you both, dear children ; 
and be assured that it makes my old age much happier 
to have placed my amiable daughter in the hands of so 
honorable and so amiable a son. 

From your affectionate father, 

Sydney Smith. 

349.] To THE Countess Grey. 

18 Stratford Place, Jan. \ith, 183o. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I believe the new Ministry are preparing some great 
coup de theatre, and that when the curtain draws up 
there will be seen, ready prepared — Abolition of Plural- 
ities, Commutation of Tithes, Provision for the Catholic 
Clergy, etc. Somebody asked Peel the other day how 
the elections were going on. Peel said, " I know very 
little about them, and, in truth, I care little ; we have 
such plans as I think will silence all opposition, or, at 
least, such as will conciliate all reasonable men." Do 
not doubt that he said this. 

I was last week on crutches with the gout, and it 


came into my eye ; but by means of colcliicum I can 
now see and walk. Of course I had the best advice. I 
^\Tite to you, not to make you write to me — for what can 

you tell me, where you are, but that C , of C , 

is well or ill ? — but because I am in London, and you are 
not. You may say that you are happy out of office, but 
I have great disbelief on this subject. 

Sydney Smith. 

350.] To Sir Wil^^iot Horton, Bart. 

Jamiari/ loth, 1835. 

Dear Hortox,* 

It is impossible to say what the result of all these 
changes will be. I do not think there is any chance of 
the Tories being suffocated at the first moment by a de- 
nial of confidence ; if the more heated Whigs were to at- 
tempt it, the more moderate ones would resist it. If I 
were forced to give an opinion, I should say Peel's gov- 
ernment would last through a session ; and a session is, 
in the present state of politics, an eternity. But the re- 
maining reforms, rule who may, must go on. The Tro- 
jans must put on the armor of the Greeks whom they 
have defeated. 

Never was astonishment equal to that produced by 
the dismissal of the Whigs. I thought it better at first 
to ascertain whether the common laws of nature Averc 
suspended ; and to put this to the test, I sowed a little 
mustard and cress seed, and waited in breathless anxiety 
the event. It came up. By little and little I perceived 
that, as far as the outward world was concerned, the dis- 
missal of Lord ^lelbournc has not produced mucli effect. 

I met T yesterday at Lady Williams's, a sensi- 
ble and very good-natured man, and so stout that I think 
* Sir Wilmot Ilorton Avas jit this time Governor of Ceylon. 

YoL. IL— P 


there are few wild elephants who would care to meet him 
in the wood. I am turned a gouty old gentleman, and 
am afraid I shall not pass a gi-een old age, but, on the 
contrary, a blue one ; or rather, that I shall be spared 
the trouble of passing any old age at all. Poor Malthus ! 
every body regrets him — in science and in conduct equal- 
ly a philosopher, one of the most practically wise men I 
ever met, shamefully mistaken and unjustly calumnia- 
ted, and receiving no mark of favor from a Liberal Gov- 
ernment, who ought to have interested themselves in the 
fortunes of such a virtuous mai-tyr to truth. 

I hope you will disorient yourself soon. The depart- 
ure of the wise men from the East seems to have been 
on a more extensive scale than is generally supposed, for 
no one of that descri]3tion seems to have been left behind. 
Come back to Europe, where only life is worth having, 
where that excellent man and governor, Lord Clare, is 
returning, and where so many friends are waiting to re- 
ceive you a bras oiiverts — among the rest the Berries, 
whom I may call fully ripe at present, and who may, if 
your stay is protracted, pass that point of vegetable per- 
fection, and exhibit some faint tendency to decomposition. 

The idea lately was, that Lord would go to Li- 

dia, but they are afraid his religious scniples would in- 
terfere with the 2^1'ejudices of the Hindoos. This may 
be so ; but surely the moral purity of his life must have 
excited their admiration. I beg my kind (and an old 
parson may say) my affectionate regards to Lady Horton. 
Yours, my dear Horton, very sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

35L] To THE Countess (Ikey. 

Fihrnary 4tli, 1835. 

A few words to dear Lady Grey. Since has 


taken tlie field, both parties are become more bloody- 
minded, and a civil war is expected. The arch-E-adicals 
allow a return of two hundred and sixty Tories, and 
count upon fifteen Stanleians. This was Warburton's 
statement to me the other day. Tories claim more ; but, 
by the admission of their greatest enemies, they are, you 
see, the strongest of the four parties in the House of 
Commons. I missed Howick's speech. He is a very 
honest and clever man, and a valuable politician. 

My daughter, [Mrs. Holland, Avas confined three or 
four days ago of a little girl, and is doing very well. 
I am glad it is a girl ; all little boys ought to be put 
to death. 

Thank you for the speech. Yery good and very hon- 
est. I agree with you entirely as to the difficulty of find- 
ing any body in the relics of the Whigs fit to govern the 
country. and , who have every other quali- 
fication for governing, want that legion of devils in the 
interior, without whose aid mankind can not be ruled. 

I have no doubt whatever but that Sir Robert Peel 
is sincere in his Church Reform. Bishops nearly equal- 
ized — pluralities, canons, and prebendaries abolished — 
tithes commuted — and residence enforced. A much 
more severe bill than Whigs could have ventured upon. 

Pray excuse my writing to you so often ; but I am 
learning to write clear and straight, and it is necessary 
I should write a letter every day. I hear you are to be 
here by the end of the month. If you put it ofi" for a 
week or two, you will perhaps not be here till the end 
of the Monarchy. 

Your afiectionatc chaplain, 

Sydney Smith. 


352.] To Mrs. 

18 Stkatiord Place, Feb. 22d, 1835. 

Dear Mrs. , 

Many thanks for your kind attention. I read half a 
vohimc last night ; but why dialogue ? I thought that 
dialogue, allegory, and religious persecution were quite 
given up ; and that mankind, in these points at least, 
had profited by experience. 

I will tell you what I think of the authoress when I 
have read her, which I will do soon — not from suppos- 
ing that you will be impatient for my opinions, but for 
your books ; and yet I should not say this of you, for 
God has written, in a large hand, benevolence and kind- 
ness on your countenance. 

Yery truly yours, 

Sy'dney Smith. 

353.] To Lady Holland. 

CoMiJE Florey, 3Iai/ lith, 1835. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I hope office agrees with you, and that office is likely 
to continue. I congratulate you sincerely on recovering 
tlie Duchy of Lancaster. We are sad Protestants in the 
West of England, and can on no account put up witli 
the Pope. Johnny is lucky to have got away alive ; he 
was to have come here if he had triumphed. It seems 
rather a ridiculous position of affiiirs, when neither of 
the Secretaries has a scat in Parliament. 

You always accuse me of grumbling against my party. 
As a refutation of that calumny, I send you my declara- 
tion of faith. I will take good care you shall never 
make mc a bishop ; but if all your future Whig bishops 
would speak out as plainly, little Jolms would not be 


driven away from large counties. Lord Melbourne al- 
ways thinks that man best qualified for any office, of 
whom he has seen and known the least. Liberals of 
the eleventh hour abound ! and there are some of the 
first hour, of whose works in the toil and heat of the 
day I have no recollection. 

I can not tell you the pleasure Morpeth's success has 
given to us here. The servants, who are all Yorkshire, 
and from the neighborhood of Castle Howard, are in an 
ecstasy. It has saved dear Lady Carlisle from a great 
deal of nervousness and mortification. 

Lord Alvanley is equal to Britomart or Amadis dc 
Gaul. I thank him, in the name of the fat men, for the 
noble stand he has made for circumference and diameter. 
Your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

Extract from the " Taunton Courier^''' i7iclosed in 
the foregoing letter. 

To ]\Ir. Bunter. 

You have done me the honor, in your own name and 
in that of your brother Bequisitionists, to invite me to 
the meeting holden this day at Taunton. I am really 
so heartily tired of meetings and speeches that I must 
be excused ; but I agree with you in your main objects. 

It appears to me quite impossible that the Irish 
Church can remain in its present state. Vested inter- 
ests strictly guarded, and tlie spiritual wants of the Prot- 
estants of the Establishment provided for, the remainder 
may wisely and justly be applied to the religious educa- 
tion of other sects. I go further ; and think that the 
Catholic Clergy of Ireland should receive a provision 
fi:om the State equal to that which they arc at present 


compelled to extort from the peasantry of that country. 
All other measures without this I can not but consider 
as insignificant ; and it may be as well conceded now, 
as after years of bloodshed and contention. This, with 
time, and a long coui'se of strict impartiality in the Gov- 
ernment between Catholic and Protestant, may restore 
tranquillity to that light, imtable, and ill-used people. 

For these reasons I can not sympathize in the fears 
which are sincerely felt at this moment by many honest 
and excellent persons. I believe tliat ^linisters have 
acted honestly and wisely with respect to the Irish 
Church ; that their intentions to our own Church are 
friendly and favorable ; and that, as far as they have 
gone, they deserve the support of the public. 
I am. Sir, yours, etc., 

Sydney Smith. 

354.] To Dr. IL.llaxd. 

CoMBK Flokf.y, June, lS3a, 

]\Iy Dear Holland, 

"We shall have the greatest pleasui-e in rccci^^^g you 
and yours ; and if you were twice as numerous, it would 
be so much the better. 

What do you think of tliis last piece of legislation for 
boroughs ? It was necessaiy to do a good deal : the 
question is one of degree. I shall be in town on Tues- 
day, the 23d, and, I hope, under better auspices than 
last year. I have followed your directions, and there- 
fore deserve a better fortune than fell to my lot on that 

occasion. is the ^lohammed of rhubarb and mao-- 


nesia — tlie greatest medical impostor I know. 

I am suffering from my old complaint, the hay-fever 
(as it is called). ^ly fear is, perishing by deliques- 
cence ; I melt away in nasal and lachrymal profluvia. 


j\Iy remedies are wann pediluvium, cathartics, topical 
application of a waterj solution of opirnn to eyes, ears, 
and the interior of the nostrils. The membrane is so 
irritable, that light, dust, contradiction, an absurd re- 
mark, the sight of a Dissenter — any thing, sets me 
sneezing; and if I begin sneezing at twelve, I don't 
leave off till two o'clock, and am heard distinctly in 
Taunton, when the wind sets that way — a distance of 
six miles. Turn your mind to this little curse. If con- 
sumption is too powerful for physicians, at least they 
should not suffer themselves to be outwitted by such 
little upstart disorders as the hay-fever. 

I am very glad you married my daughter, for I am 
sm*e you are both very happy ; and I assure you I am 
proud of my son-in-law. 

I did not think , with all his nonsense, could 

have got down to tar water. I have as much belief 
in it as I have in holy water ; it is the water has done 
the business, not the tar. They could not induce the 
sensual peer to drink water, but by mixing it with 
nonsense, and disguising the simplicity of the receipt. 
You must have a pitched battle with him about his tar- 
water, and teach him what he has never learnt — the ru- 
diments of common sense. Kindest love to dear Saba. 
Ever your affectionate fither, ^ 

Sydney Smith. 

355.] To Mrs. Holland. 

Combe Floret, June 3f/, 1835. 

Dearest Daughter, 

Sixty-four years old to-day. If H and F , 

in the estimation of the doctor, are better out of town, 
Ave shall be happy to receive them here before your rural 
liolidays begin ; your children arc my cliihlrcn. 


A fall of wood, Grreater than anv of the other falls, 
lias taken place ; the little walnut-tree and the thorn re- 
moved, and a complete view up the valley, both from 
the library and drawing-room Avindows. Great opposi- 
tion — the place would be entirely spoiled; and twelve 
lioui's after, an admission of immense improvement. 
You have seen, my dear Saba, such things as these at 
Combe Florey. AVe are botli well : no events. 

I am afraid of war: I go at once into violent oppo- 
sition to any Ministry who go to war. AVhat a long 

line are the of needy and rapacious villains ! I 

thought old *s letter good and affectmg. 

I have bought two more ponies, so we are strong in 
pigmy quadrupeds : my three saddle-horses together 
cost me £4.3 10s., all perfect beauties, and warranted 
sound, wind and limb, and not a kick in them. Shall 
you ride wlien you come down? AVe are never witli- 
out fires. 

"\Ve are o'oino- throudi our usual course of jokes and 
dinners ; one advantage of the comitry is, that a joke 
once established is good for ever ; it is like the stuff 
wliicli is denominated everlciMing, and used as panta- 
loons by careful parents for their children. In London 
you expect a change of pleasantly ; but !M. and X. 
laugh more at my ^ix-years-old jokes than they did 
when the jokes were in their infancy. Sir Thomas 

spoke at for two hours — the Jew for one hour ; 

the boys called out " Old clothes 1" as he came into the 
toA\Ti, and offered to sell him sealing-wax and slippers. 

Give my kindest regards to your excellent husband, 
and believe me always, your affectionate father, 

Sydney Smith. 


356.] To Miss . 

LoxDOx, July 22d, 1835. 

Lucy, Lucy, my dear cliild, don't tear your frock ; 
tearing fr-ocks is not of itself a proof of genius ; but 
write as your mother writes, act as your mother acts ; 
be frank, loyal, affectionate, simple, honest ; and then 
integrity or laceration of frock is of little import. 

And Lucy, dear child, mind your arithmetic. You 
know, in the first sum of yours I ever saw, there was 
a mistake. You had carried two (as a cab is licensed 
to do), and you ought, dear Lucy, to have carried but 
one. Is this a trifle? What would life be without 
arithmetic but a scene of horrors ? 

You are going to Boulogne, the city of debts, peopled 
by men who never understood arithmetic; by the time 
you return, I shall probably have received my first 
paralytic stroke, and shall have lost all recollection of 
you ; therefore I now give you my parting advice. 
Don't marry any body who has not a tolerable under- 
standing and a thousand a year, and God bless you, 
dear child. Sydney Smith. 

357.] To R. Sharpe, Esq. 

Stratford Place, 1835. 

My dear Sharpe, 

It is impossible to say whether Casar Sutton or 
Pompey Abercrombie* will get the better ; a civil war 
is expected : on looking into my own mind, I find an 
utter inability of fighting for either party. 

is better, and having lost his disease, has also 

lost his topics of conversation; has no heart to talk 

about, and is silent from want of suffering. 

* In allusion to the contest about the Speaker. 
_ p* 


I have seen the new House of Parliament : tlie House 
of Commons is very good, mucli "better than the old 
one; the Lords' house is shabby. Government are 
going on vigorously with the Church Bill ; it will be an 
infinitely more savage bill than the Whigs would have 
ventured to introduce. The Whigs mean to start Aber- 
crombie against the Speaker. x\ll the planets and com- 
ets mean to stop, and look on at the first meeting of 
Parliament. The Radicals allow 260 to the Tories, 
who claim 290 : from 7 to 5 are given to the Stanley 
party. Read Inglis's Travels in Ireland. Bold, slirewd, 
and sensible, he is accused of judging more rapidly 
than any man in six weeks' time is entitled to do ; 
but then he merely states what he saw. I met him ; 
he seemed like his book. Young Mackintosh is going 
on with his father's Life. He sent me a tour on the 
Ehine, by his father; but I thought it differed very 
little from other tours on the Rhine, and so I think 
he will not publish it. You will be glad to hear that 

is doing very well: he is civil to the counsel, 

does not interrupt, and converses with the other judges 
as if they had the elements of law and sense. India 
was offered to Sir James Kemp before it was offered to 
Lord Haytesbury ; Kemp refused it on account of a 
wound in his heel, a vulnerable point (as Ave know) in 
Iieroes. I hear a good account of your cough, and a 
bad one of your breathing ; pray take care of yourself. 
E-ogers might be mistaken for a wrestler at the Olympic 
games ; Luttrel is confined by the leg ; Whishaw is 
waiting to see which side he is to pooh-pooh ! I hearti- 
ly wish, my dear Sharpe, that physicians may do you 
as much good as they have done me. 

Sydney Smith. 

You liavc met, I hear, witli an agreeable clergyman: 


the existence of such a being has been hitherto denied 
by the naturalists ; measure him, and put down on paper 
■what he eats. 

358.] To Sir Wil^mot Horton, Bart. 


Dear Horton, 

Why do you not come home, as was generally ex- 
pected you would do ? Come soon ; life is short : Eu- 
rope is better than Asia. The battle goes on between 
Democracy and Aristocracy ; I think it will end in a 
compromise, and that there will be nothing of a revolu- 
tionary nature ; our quarrels, though important, are not 
serious enough for that. 

Read j\Irs. Butler's (Fanny Kemble's) Diary ; it is 
much better than the reviews and papers w^ill allow it to 
be : what is called vulgarity, is useful and natui'al con- 
tempt for the exclusive and the superfine. Lord Grey 
]ias given up public life altogether, and is retired into 
the country. Xo book has aj^peared for a long time 
more agreeable than the Life of Mackintosh ; it is full 
of important judgments on important men, books, and 

I have seen Lord Clare : he hardly looks a shade 
more yellow. The men who have risen lately into more 
notice are Sir George Grey, Lord Grey's nephew, and 
Lord Howick ; Lord John and ]\Iorpeth Iiave done very 
well ; Peel admirably. 

The complete has returned from Italy a greater 

bore than ever ; he bores on architecture, painting, stat- 
uary, and music. Frankland Lewis is filling his station 
of King of the Paupers extremely well : they have al- 
ready worked wonders ; but of all occupations it must 
be the most disa2;reeable. I don't blame tlie object, but 


dislike the occupation : tlie object is justified, "because 
it prevents a much greater destruction of human beings 

will get no credit for his book ; it is impossible 

now to be universal ; men of the greatest mfomiation 
and accuracy swarm in the streets — mineralogists, as- 
tronomers, ornithologists, and lousologists ; the most mi- 
nute blunder is immediately detected. 

Believe me, mj dear Horton, yours sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

359.] To Mr.r 

Combe Floret, Ju/i/, 1835. 

]^Iany thanks, dear Mrs. , for your kindness in 

thinking of me and my journey after the door was shut ; 
but you have a good heart, and I hope it will be re- 
warded with that aliment in which the heart delights — 
the respectful affection of the wise and just. 

I will write to you before I come to Boulogiie, and 
am obliged to you for the commission. I have been 
traveling one hundred and fifty miles in my candage, 
with a green parrot and the "Life of Mackintosh.*' I 
shall be much surprised if this book does not become 
extremely popular. It is full of profound and eloquent 
remarks on men, books, and events. What more, dear 
lady, can you wish for in a book ? 

I found here seven grandchildren, all in a dreadful 
state of perspiration and screaming. You are in the 
agonies of change; always some pain in leaving I I 
could sav a crreat deal on tliat subject, only I am afraid 
you would quiz me. And, pray, what am I to do for 
my evening parties in November, if you are not in Lon- 
don ? Surely you must have overlooked this wlien you 
resolved to stav at Boulo2:ne. 


Mr. AVhisliaw is coming down here on the 8th of 
August, to stay some days. He is truly happy in the 
country. What a pleasure it would he if you were here 
to meet him I But to get human "beings together Avho 
ought to be together, is a dream. 

Keep a little corner in that fine heart of yours for me, 
however small it may be ; a clergyman in your heart 
will keep all your other notions in good order. God 
bless you ! Sydney Smith. 

360.] To Mrs. . 

August 2Sth, 1835. 

Dear Mrs. , 

Many thanks. The damsel will not take to the water, 
but we have found another in the house who has long 
been accustomed to the water, being no other than our 
laundry-maid. She had some little dread of a ship, but 
as I have assured her it is like a tub, she is comforted.* 

I think you will like Sir James Mackintosh's Life; it 
is full of his own thoughts upon men, books, and events, 
and I derived from it the greatest pleasure. He makes 
most honorable mention of your mother, whom I only 
know by one of her productions — enough to secure my 
admiration. It is impossible to read Mill's violent at- 
tack upon Mackintosh without siding with the accused 
against the accuser. Can it be generally useful to speak 
with indecent contempt of a man whom so many men 
of sense admired, and who is no longer in the land of 
tlie livino- ? 

I sliould not scruple to draw upon your good-nature 
and kindness if I had any occasion to do so ; but as to 
my French journey, the only use you can be of to me 

* Mrs. Sydney's maid would not accompany licr to France, from 
fear of the sea. — Ed. 


is, to be as amiable and agreeable when I see you at 
Boulogne, as I have found you on this side the water. 
I can only say a few winged words, and leave you a 
flying benediction, as I am going by Rouen, and mean 
to see a great deal in a little time. By-the-by, I want 
to find a good sleeping-place between Rouen and Paris, 
as I wish to arrive at Paris in the day, time enough to 
And good quarters. 

We have had charming weather ; and all who come 
here, or have been here, have been delighted with our 
little paradise — for such it really is ; except that there 
is no serpent, and that we wear clothes. God bless you, 
dear 3Irs. 1 My best and most friendly wishes at- 
tend you always. S. S. 

361.] To Mrs. . 

Combe Floret, Sept. 7th, 1835. 

Health to ^Irs. , and happiness, and agreeable 

society, carelessness for the future, and enjoyment of 
the present ! 

"Who can think of your offer now, and before, but 
Avith kindness and gi'atitude ? My brother, who loves 
paradoxes, says, if he saw a man walking into a pit, he 
would not advise him to turn the other way. !My plan 
is, on the contrary, to ad^ase, to interfere, to remon- 
strate, at all hazards. I hate cold-blooded people, a 
tribe to which you have no relation ; and the brother 
who talks this nonsense would not only stop the wan- 
derer, but jump lialf-way down the pit to save him. We 
will go by the Lower Road. The consequence of all 
this beautiful weather will be, our liquefaction in our 
French expedition. 

I send you a list of all the papers written by me in 


the Edinburgh Review. Catch me, if you can, in any 
one illiberal sentiment, or in any opinion which I have 
need to recant; and that, after twenty years' scribbling 
upon all subjects. 

Lord John Eussell comes here next week with Lady 
John. He has behaved prudently, but the thing is not 
yet over. I am hearti-ly glad at the prospect of agree- 
ment. Who, but the idiots of the earth, would fling a 
countiy like this into confusion, because a Bill (in its 
mutilated state a great improvement) is not carried as 
far, and does not embrace as much, as the best men 
could wish? Is j)olitical happiness so cheap, and po- 
litical improvement so easy, that the one can be sported 
with, and the other demanded, in this style ? God bless 

you, dear ]\Irs. ! From your friend, 

Sydney S:mith. 

362.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Sept. Uth, 1835. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
Your letter gave me gTcat pleasure — the pleasure of 
being cared about by old and good friends, and the 
pleasure of seeing that they know I care about them. 
Lord Grey lias met with that reception which every 
honest and ris-ht-minded man felt to be his due. If I 


had never known him, and lived in the north, I should 
have come out to wave my bonnet as he passed. He 
may depend upon it he has played a great part in En- 
glish history, and that the best part of the English peo- 
ple entertain for him the most profound respect. And 
now, for the rest of life, let him trifle and lounge, and 
do every thing which may be agreeable to him, and 
drink as much wine as he dare, and not be too severe 
in criticising himself. 


We have liad Scarlett and Denman here : the former, 
an old friend of mine ; Denman every body likes. 

I don't know whether you have the same joy, but I 
am lieartily glad the fine weather is over ; it totally 
prevented me from taking exercise, and therefore, from 
being as well as I otlierv\dse should have been. Lord 
and Lady John Russell came here on Monday. On 
the 22d I go to 25 Lower Brook Street, and on the 
28tli we go to Paris for a month — !Mrs. Sydney, and 
Mr. and 3Ls. Hibbert, and myself. I have not the 
least wish to see Paris again, but go to show it to Mrs. 
Sydney. I tliink every wife has a right to insist upon 
seeing Paris. It would give me some pleasure to talk 
with the King of France for half an hour. 

AVe all (I take it for granted) rejoice at the wise de- 
cision of the Government. They would have lost char- 
acter if they had given up the Bill, and embroiled the 
country for an object so trifling. O'Connell's letter to 
the Duke of Wellington is dreadfully scurrilous, but 
there are in it some distressing truths. The state of 
America will lielp the Tories, and diffuse a horror of 

I have (heat excepted) spent an agi'ceable summer 
with my two daughters and all their families — seven 
grandchildren. It will give me great pleasure to hear 
that Lord Grey and you have been and are well and 
happy. Sydney Smith. 

363.] To Lady Holland. 

Ahueville, Oct. 2f/, ]83o. 

;My DEAii Lady Holland, 
You, who are always good and kind to me, were so 
obliging as to say I might write to you, and inform you 
how we got over. Notliing could l)e worse. 


* * i;J * « * 

The weather has been homble, the country is execra- 
ble, the traveling is very slow and tedious. To-mor- 
row we go from this town to Rouen, and shall be in 
Paris on Wednesday. 

. There is a family of English people living here who 
have been here for live years. They stopped to change 
horses, liked the place, and have been here ever since : 
father, mother, two handsome daughters, and some 
young children. I should think it not unhkely that 
one of the daughters will make a nuptial alliance with 
the waiter, or give her hand to the son of the landlord, 
in order to pay the bUl. 

I saw Sebastian! '"at Calais setting off with the dry- 
nurse of the Due de Nemours in a ccdeche which any 
of your Kensington tradesmen would have disdained to 
enter. There is a blessed contempt of appearances in 

We are well, and are going to sit down to a dinner 
at five francs a head. We are going regularly through 
the Burgundy wines — the most pernicious and of course 
the best : ]\Iacon tlie first day, Chablis the second — both 
excellent ; to-day Yolnay. S. S. 

364.] To Mrs. Holland. 

Rouen, Oct. 6tli, 1835. 

My DEAREST Child, 

fell ill in London, and detained us a day or two. 

At Canterbmy the wheel would not turn round ; we 
slept there, and lost our passage the next day at Dover : 
this was Wednesday — a day of mist, fog, and despair. 
It blew a hurricane all that night, and we were kept 
awake by thinking of the different fish by which we 
shoukl be devoured on the folio wino; day. I thous^ht I 


should fall to the lot of some female porpoise, who, mis- 
taking me for a porpoise, but finding me only a parson, 
would make a dinner of me. We were all up and at 
the quay by iive in the morning. The captain hesi- 
tated very much whether he would embark, and your 
mother solicited me in pencil notes not to do so ; how- 
ever, we embarked — the French Embassador, ourselves, 
twenty Calais shop-keepers, and a variety of all nations. 
The passage was tremendous : Hibbert had crossed four 
times, and the courier twenty; I had crossed three 
times more, and we none of us ever remember such a 
passage. I lay along the deck, wi*apped in a cloak, 
shut my eyes, and, as to danger, reflected that it was 
much more apparent than real ; and that, as I had so 
little life to lose, it was of little consequence whether I 
was drowned, or died, like a resident clergyman, from 
indigestion. Your mother was taken out more dead 
than alive. 

We were delighted with the hotel of Dessein, at 
Calais; eggs, butter, bread, coifee — every thing better 
than in England — the hotel itself magnificent. We all 
recovered, and staid there the day ; and proceeded to 
sleep at Montreuil, forty miles, where we were still more 
improved by a good dinner. The next day, twenty 
miles further, to Abbeville ; from thence, sixty miles 
the next day to this place, where we found a superb 
hotel, and are quite delighted with Eouen ; the churches 
far exceed any thing in England, in richness of archi- 
tectural ornament. The old buildings of Kouen are most 
interesting. All that I refuse to see is, where particu- 
lar things were done to particular persons — the square 
where Joan of Arc was burnt — the house where Cor- 
neille was born. The events I admit to be important ; 
but from long experience, I have found that the square 
where Joan of Arc was burnt, and the room where Cor- 


neille was born, liave such a wonderful resemblance to 
other rooms and squares, that I have ceased to interest 
myself about them. 

To-moiTOW we start for Mantes, and the next day we 
shall be at Paris. Traveling is extremely slow — five miles 
an hour. I find the people now, as I did before, most 
delightful ; compared to them, we are perfect barbarians. 
ITajjpy the man whose daughter were half as well bred 
as the chambermaid at Dessein's, or whose sons were as 
polished as the waiter ! Whatever else you do, insist, 
when Holland brings you to France, on coming to Rouen ; 
there is nothins; in France more worth seeinp*. Come to 
Havre, and by steam to Rouen. Crod bless you, dear 
child ! Give my love to Froggy and Doggy. Your af- 
fectionate fatlior, Sydney Smith. 

365.] To IMks. 

Dear IMi^s. 


Sunday, Oct. llth, 1835. 

At Calais, we were delighted with Dessein's Hotel, 
and admired the waiter and chambermaid as two of tlie 
best-bred people we had ever seen. The next sensation 
was at Rouen. Nothing (as you know) can be finer; 
beautiful country, sliijis, trees, clmrclies, antiquities, com- 
merce — every tiling which makes life interesting and 
agreeable. I thank you for your advice, which sent me 
by the Lower Road to Paris. Mj general plan in life 
has been to avoid low roads, and to walk in high places, 
but from Rouen to Paris is an exception. 

The Embassador lent us his box yesterday, and I 
heard Rubini and Grisi, Lablachc and Tamburini. The 
opera, by Bellini, '^ I Puritani," Avas droadfullv lirosome. 

35G :\1]:.MUIK OF TllK KEV. SYD^'EY ,SMITH. 

and unintelligible in its plan. I hope it is the last opera 
I sliall ever go to. 

We are well lodged in an liotcl with a bad kitchen. I 
agree in the common praise of the French living. Light 
wines, and meat thoroughly subdued by human skill, arc 
more agreeable to me than the barbarian Stonehengc 
masses of meat with which we feed ourselves. Paris is 
very full. I look at it with some attention, as I am not 
sure I may not end my days in it. I suspect the fifth 
act of life should be iji great cities; it is there, in the 
long death of old age, that a man most forgets himself 
and his infirmities ; receives the greatest consolation 
from the attentions of friends, and the greatest diversion 
from external circumstances. 

Pray tell me how often the steamboats go from Bou- 
logne ; whether every day, or, if not, what days ; and 
when the tides will best serve, so as to go from harbor 
to harbor, in the week beginning the twenty-fifth of Oc- 
tober. Pray excuse this trouble. I have always com- 
punctions in asking you to do any thing useful ; it is as 
if one were to use blonde lace for a napkin, or to drink 
toast-and-water out of a ruby cup — a clownish confusion 
of what is splendid and what is serviceable. Sincerely 
and respectfully yours. »Sydney Smith. 

366.] To THE Countess Gkey. 

Paris, Oct. 20th, 1831. 

My DEAii Lady Geey, 
I am sure the pleasantest thing that you and Lord 
Grey and Georgina could do, would be to go to Paris 
for ^lay and June. It would not cost more than life in 
London, and would be to you a source of infinite amuse- 
ment and pleasing recollections. Our excursion liere 
has given Sirs. Sydney the greatest graiification. Wc 


liave seen the outside of Paris thoroughly. I think Lord 
and Lady Carlisle both improved in health ; they arc to 
stay here the winter. 

I have seen Madame de once or twice, but I 

never attempt to speak to her, or to go within six yards 
of her. I am aware of her abilities, and of the charms 
of her conversation and manner to those whom it is worth 
her while to cultivate ; but to vs others^ she is, as it were, 
the Goddess Juno, or some near relation to Jove. 

The French are very ugly ; I have not seen one pretty 
French woman. I am a convert to the beauty of Lady 
; her smile is charming. Paris swarms with En- 
glish. Lord Granville was forced to go up five pair of 
stairs to find Lord Canterbuiy. In another gan'et, equal- 
ly high, was lodged Lord Fitzgerald. I care very little 
about dinners ; but I acquiesce thoroughly in all that has 
been said of their science. I shall not easily forget a ma- 
telote at the Pochers de Cancale, and almond tart at ]\Ion- 
treuil, or ^2^^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ Tartare at Grignon's. These are 
impressions which no changes in future life can obliterate. 

I am sure they would have sunk deeply into the mind 
of Lord Grey ; I know nobody more attentive to such 

The King's best friends here hardly understand what 
he is at. I suppose he thinks that, with a free press, 
nothing could save France from anarchy : perhaps he 
may be right. I believe him to be a virtuous and ex- 
cellent man. 

"We have had bad weather. We leave Paris to-mor- 
row, and shall be in London on the 25t]i or 26th. Lord 
William Bentinck is in our hotel, endeavoring to patch 
up a constitution broken by every variety of climate. I 
find him a plain, unaffected, sensible man. 

Always, dear Lady Grey, with sincere respect and af- 
fection, yours, vSydney S^tiTil. 


367.] To . 

]Many thanks, dear , for the Review, which 

I conclude to be yours, and which I read with pleasure ; 
but I wish you great philosophers would condescend to 
tell us ichat and how nixtch you propose to teach ; what 
the real advantages are which society is likely to reap 
from education, and whether the dangers which many ap- 
prehend are not imaginary. You take all the good for 
granted, and all the idea of evil as exploded. Whereas, 
education has many honest enemies ; and many honest- 
ly doubt and demui', who do not speak out for fear of 
being assassinated by Benthamites, who might think it, 
upon the whole, more useful that such men should die 
than live. Sydney Smith. 

368.] To Loud Mueray. 

Weymouth Street, Fortlanb Place, Nov. ijth, 1835. 

JSTo news. All the Ministers meet here on the 12th. 
John Russell is to make a great splash at Bristol ; they 
began laying the cloth ten days ago. I was invited, but 
I have done with agitation. I see Lord John means to 
spare the House of Lords. 

Every body here is delighted with Mackintosh's Life, 
and is calling out for more letters and diaries. I think 
Robert ^lackintosh has done it very well, by putting 
in as little mortar as possible between the layers of 

We are all pleased with our Paris excursion. The 
Liberals, particularly the Flahaults, do not know what 
to make of the last measures. If they had only been 
temporary, there would not have been a dissentient voice. 

s. s. 


369.] To GEOiiGE Philips, Esq. 

November 23c/, 1835. 

i\lY DEAR Philips, 

I have bought a house in Charles Street, Berkeley 
Square (lease for fourteen years), for £1400, and £10 
per annum ground-rent. It is near the chapel, in John 
Street, where I used to preach. I was tired of looking 
out for ready-furnished houses. We are five minutes 
from the Park, five minutes from you, and ten minutes 
from Dr. Holland. 

All the Ministers are in town, and I meet them al- 
most every day somewhere or another; but hear no- 
thing of importance, and have no w^sh to hear any thing. 
They are going on with the reformation of the Church ; 
and the Ministers think that the members of the Com- 
mission put in by Peel are quite in earnest, and willing 
to do the thing fairly. 

In calling this morning, I met Lady Davy, Mrs. Mar- 
cet, and !Mrs. Somerville in the same room. I told them 
I was the Shepherd Paris, and that I was to give an 
apple to the wisest. I congratulated Whishaw on com- 
ing out of W House unmarried. He says he does 

not know that he is unmarried, but rather thinks he is. 
Time will show if any one claims him. 

I ought to have the gout, having been in the free use 
of French wines ; and as Nature is never slow in paying 
these sort of debts, I suppose I shall have it. 

Sydney Smith. 

370.] To Mrs. Holland. 

Uecemba- }\th, 1835. 

My dearest Child, 
Few arc the adventures of a Canon traveling gently 


over good roads to liis benefice. In my way to Read- 
ing I had, for my companion, the Mayor of Bristol 
when I preached that sermon in favor of the Catho- 
lics. He recognized me, and we did very well together. 
I was terribly afraid that he Avould stop at the same inn, 
and that I should have the delight of his society for the 
evening; hut he (thank God I) stopped at the Crown, 
as a loyal man, and I, as a nide one, went on to the 
Bear. Civil waiters, wax candles, and off again the next 

morning, w^ith my friend and Sir W. W , a very 

shrewd, clever, coarse, entertaining man, with whom I 
skirmished d Vavxiable all the way to Bath. At Bath, 
candles still more waxen, and waiters still more pro- 
found. Being, since my travels, very much gallicized in 
my character, I ordered a pint of claret ; I found it in- 
comjiarahly the best wine I ever tasted ; it disappeared 
with a rapidity which surprises me even at this distance 
of time. The next morning, in the coach by eight, with 
a handsome valetudinarian lady, upon whom the coach 
produced the same effect as a steam-packet would do. 
I proposed weak warm brandy and w^ater ; she thought, 
at first, it would produce inflammation of the stomach, 
but presently requested to have it warm and not weak, 
and she took it to the last drop, as I did the claret. All 
well here. God bless you, dearest child! Love to 
Holland. Sydney S^iith. 

371.] To Sir Wilmot Horton, ]Urt. 

Decemher, 1835. 

Dear Wilmot Horton, 

I have been to Paris with Mrs. Sydney, and Mr. and 

]\Irs. Hibbert. We saw all the cockney sights, and 

dined at all the usual restaurants, and vomited as usual 

into tlie cliannel wliich divides Albion from Gallia. Riv- 


ers are said to mn blood after an engagement ; the Chan- 
nel is discolored, I am sure, in a less elegant and less 
pernicious Avay by English tourists going and coming. 
The King unpopular, beginning to do unwise things, 
which surprise the moderate Liberals ; but the predomin- 
ant feeling in France is a love of quiet, and a horror of 

The manufactures of England are flourishing beyond 
example ; there is no other distress but agricultui-al dis- 
tress. Every hour that the ^Ministers stay in they are 
increasing their strength by the patronage which falls 
in. I think they will last over next session, and beyond 
that it would be rash to venture a prediction. I agree 
with them in every thing they are doing. I think there 
never was such an Administration in this country. This, 
you will say, is the language of a person (or parson) who 
wants a bishopric ; but, nolo ejjiscojpaA, I dread the 
pomp, trifles, garments, and ruinous expense of the epis- 
copal life ; and this is lucky, as I have not the smallest 
reason for believing that any one has the most remote 
intention of putting the mitre on my head. 

Our friend Frankland Lewis is gaining great and de- 
served reputation by his administration of the Poor 
Laws — one of the best and boldest measures which ever 
emanated from any Government. 

I hope you have read ]\Iackintosh's Life, and that you 
like it. I think it a deliglitful book, and such is the 
judgment of the public. Wliere are there more import- 
ant opinions on men, books, and events ? Tliey talk of 
a new edition, and anotlier volume. 

holds out, but is all claret, grav}', and puft- 

paste. I don't think there is an ounce of flesh and blood 
in his composition. Adieu, dear Horton ! come back, 
my love, to my Lady. Ever yours, 

Sydney SiMiTii. 
Vol. TL— Q 


372.] To Lady Holland. 

January \st, 1836. 

IVIy dear Lady Holland, 

I send this day my annual cheese, of which I pray 
>'Our acceptance. I hope it will prove as good as the 

The papers all say you. are going out ; but I don't 
believe a word of it. I am very well, and have no 
doubt you are so also; for there is no disguising the 
fact, that you are really recovering your health. I de- 
nied it as long as I could, but it is too evident for dis- 
cussion. There is no happiness in hard frost ; at present 
there is a thaw. 

The purchase of the ^'' Hole''* is nearly completed. I 
shall come up a few days before Mrs. Sydney, to furnish 
it, and make it ready for her reception. This will prob- 
ably be in February. I have fallen into the duet life, 
and it seems to do very well. Mrs. Sydney and I have 
been reading Beauvilliers's book on Cookery. I find, as 
I suspected, that garlic is power ; not in its despotic 
shape, but exercised with the greatest discretion. 

s. s. 

373.] To John Mukray, Esq. 

January Gth, 1836. 

My dear Murray, 
It seems a long while since we have heard any tlnng 
about you and yours, in which matters we always take 
a very affectionate concern. I saw a good deal of the 
Ministers in the montli of November, which I passed (as 
T always do pass it) in London. I see no reason wliy 

* A liousc Mr. Smitli had purchased in Charles Street, Berkeley 


they should go out, and I do not in the least believe they 
are going. I think they have done more for the coun- 
try than all the Administrations since the Eevolution. 
The Poor-law Bill alone would immortalize them. It is 
working extremely well. 

I see you are destroying the Scotch Chiu'ch. I think 
we are a little more popular in England than we were. 
Before I form any opinion on Establishments, I should 
like to know the effects they produce on vegetables. 
]\Iany of om* clergy suppose that if there was no Church 
of England, cucumbers and celery would not grow ; that 
mustard and cress could not be raised. If Establish- 
ments are connected so much with the great laws of na- 
ture, this makes all the difference ; but I can not be- 
lieve it. God bless you, dear Murray ! 

Sydney Smith. 

374] To Sir GEOiiGE Philips. 

Combe Flouky, Jan. llth, 1 836. 

My DEAR Philips, 

I hope you have escaped gout this winter; it is in 
vain to hope you have not deserved it. I haA^e had none, 
and deserve none. 

I have no doubt but that this Corporation Bill will 
produce excellent effects after the first year or two. The 
destruction of four or five hundred jobbing monopolies 
must cany with it very important improvements. There 
are some excellent passages in O'Connell's last letter to 
Burdett, where lie praises the justice and impartiality of 
this Government in the administration of Irish affairs. 

Wliishaw retires from liis ofHce, and is to live between 
tlie two Romillys, or, as they call them, Itomulus and 
Remus ; I am sincerely glad of this arrangement. I 
sent you yesterday, througli George, a printed list of 


my articles in the Edinburgh Review ; they may make 
you laugh on a rainy day. 

The bargain for my house is nearly finished. The 
lawyers discovered some flaw in tlie title about the time 
of the Norman Conquest ; but, thinking the parties must 
have disappeared in the quarrels of York and Lancaster, 
I waived the objection. Not having your cheerfulness, 
the country ennuies me at this season of the year ; and 
I have a large house and no children in it. I have not 
the slightest belief in the going out of the Ministry ; I 
should as soon think of Drummond's white light going 

W left behind him £100,000, with the following 

laconic account how he had acquired it by different dis- 
eases : "Aurum catharticum, £20,000 ; aurum diureti- 
cum, £10,000; aurum podagrosum, £30,000; aurum 
aj^oplecticum, £20,000 ; aurum senile et nervorum, 
£10,000." But for the truth of this anecdote I vouch not. 

I think we must adopt a daughter. 

Sydney S.aiitji. 

375.] To THE Countess Grey. 

CoMBK Florey, Feh. 1st, 183G 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I write a line to say that my tributary cheese is only 
waiting in Somersetshire, because you are waiting in 
Northumberland ; and it will come to town to be eaten, 
as soon as it is aware that you are there to eat it. I 
hope that Lord Grey and you are well ; no easy thing, 
seeing that tlierc are about fifteen hundred diseases to 
wliich man is subject. 

Without having thought much about tliem (and, as I 
liave no part to play, I am not bound to think about 
tlioni), I like all the Whigs have done. I only wisli 


them to bear in mind, that the consequences of giving 
so much power to the people have not yet been tried at 
a period of bad harvest and checked manufactures. The 
prosperity of the country during all these changes has 
been without example. 

Mrs. Sydney and I have been leading a Darby-and- 
Joan life for these last two montlis, without children. 
This kind of life might have done very well for Adam 
and Eve in Paradise, where the weather was fine, and 
the beasts as numerous as in the Zoological Gardens, and 
the plants equal to any thing in the gardens about Lon- 
don ; but I like a greater variety. 

Macldntosh kept all his letters. He had a bundle of 
mine, which his son returned to me. I found a letter 
written thirty-five years ago, giving an account of my first 
introduction to Lord and Lady Holland. I sent it to 
Lady Holland, who was much amused by it. Your grate- 
ful and affectionate friend, Sydney Smith. 

P. S. — I had no idea that, in offering my humble ca- 
seous tribute every year, I should minister in so great a 
degree to my own glory. I bought the other day some 
Cheshire cheese at Cullam's, in Bond Street, desiring 
]iim to send it to Mr. Sydney Smith's. He smiled, and 
said, " Sir, your name is very familiar to me." "N'o," 
I replied, " Mr. Cullam, I am not Sir Sydney Smith, 
but ]\Ir. Sydney Smith." " I am perfectly aware of it," 
he said ; "I know whom I am addressing ; I have often 
heard of the cheeses you send to Lord Grey." So you 
see there is no escaping from fame. 

7G.] To Sir Wilmot Hortox, Bart. 

CoMBK Floret, Fch. Sth, 183G. 

Dear Wilmot Hor.tox, 
I agree with the Whigs in all they arc doing, and liave 


only that mistrust which belongs to the subject of poli- 
tics, and is inseparable from it. I see no probability of 
the Tories returning for any time to power. Public 
opinion is increasing in favor of the Whigs, who are, in 
my opinion, acting Avisely, though boldly ; nor do I sec 
any great mistake they have committed. 

I have bought a small house in Charles Street, Berke- 
ley Square — tired of taking a furnished house every 
year. I am going slowly down the hill of life. One 
evil in old age is, that as your time is come, you think 
every little illness is the beginning of the end. Wlien 
a man expects to be arrested, every knock at the door is 
an alarm.. 

The welfare of the country is unexampled. Politi- 
cians should not forget that they have never tried tlie 
chances of bad harvests with checked manufactures. 

Tufnell is become a great man, loaded with places and 
honors. Hay is in rather an awkward position — a Tory 
in the midst of Whigs. I see him from time to time? 
and always like his society. I hear you have banished 
yourself till the year 1840. You will find me at that 
period at St. Paul's, against the wall. 

I think the Whigs have sent a good and safe man to 
. The only objection to him is, he looks so con- 
foundedly melancholy, that in any public calamity he 
will scatter despair and impede the active virtues. 
I shall be very glad to see you and yours. 

Sydney Smith. 

877.] To Sir George Philips. 

Fehrncmj 28fh, 1836. 

]\[y dear Philips, 
You say I have many comic ideas rising in my mind ; 
lliis may be true ; but tlie Cliampagne bottle is no better 


for holding the Champagne. Don't you remember the old 
story of Carlin, the French harlequin ? It settles these 
questions. I don't mean to say I am prone to melancho- 
ly ; but I acknowledge my weakness enough to confess 
that I want the aid of society, and dislike a solitary life. 

Thomas Brown was an intimate friend of mine, and 
used to dine yviih me regularly eveiy Sunday in Edin- 
burgh. He was a Lake poet, a profound metaphysician, 
and one of the most virtuous men that ever lived. As 
a metaphysician, Dugald Stewart was a humbug to him. 
Brown had real talents for the thing. You must recog- 
nize, in reading Brown, many of those arguments with 
which I have so often reduced you to silence in meta- 
physical discussions. Your discovery of Brown is amus- 
ing. Go on ! You will detect Dry den if you persevere ; 
bring to light John j\Iilton, and drag Williaaii Shakspeare 
from his ill-deserved obscurity ! 

The "Whigs seem to me stronger than ever ; I agree 
in all their measures. I have no doubt about Irish 
Municipalities. Sydney Smith. 

378.] To Mrs. MriiCHisoN. 

No date. 

Dear ■Mada^^i, 

I am not formally, but really obliged to you for this 
sketch of Grattan. It is so well expressed, that I sus- 
pect it to be your own. 

Mrs. Sydney is very unwell ; and I am at St. Paul's, 
going and coming, all the morning. As soon as I am 
free, and she is well, we will leave our cards at your door, 
if you will not let us in. I say cards, but I shall leave 
a specimen — strontian, or greyw^acke, or something indi- 
cative of my respect for Geology and you. 

Very irnly yours, Sydney S>[ITH. 


379.] To Mrs. . 

Juhj, 183G. 

Dear Mrs. 

I sliall liave great pleasure in calling for you to go to 
Mrs. Charles Buller, on Wednesday. Zvlrs. Sydney's 
arm is rather better, many thanks for the inquiry. 

Very high and veiy low temperature extinguishes all 
human sympathy and relations. It is impossible to feel 
affection beyond 78°, or below 20° of Fahrenheit ; hu- 
man nature is too solid or too liquid beyond these lim- 
its. Man only lives to shiver or to perspire. God send 
that the glass may fall, and restore me to my regard for 
you, which in the temperate zone is invariable. 

Si^DNEY Smith. 

380.] To Sir George Philips. 

Co^iBK Tlorey, Juli] ?,Oth, 183G. 

]\Iy dear Philips, 

I liad always heard that Buxton was the worst place 
in tlie world for gouty people, and I think it has proved 
itself so in your instance. What you call throwing out 
the gout, is all nonsense. You had the gout a little ; 
after a certain time it would have disappeared ; but you 
go to Buxton, it becomes worse, and then you and Dr. 

say, unphilosophically, that the gout was in you 

before, and has been thrown out. I should think better 

of Dr. if he had not been discovered by . The 

land he discovers is very apt to be a fog-bank. 

I have been, as you see, fighting with bishops at 
Kphesus. We have procured a suspension of the Bill ; 
but the Whigs liave committed so great an error, in tlicir 
subserviency to bishops, that I am afraid they must per- 
severe. The lower clergy liave been scandalously neg- 


lected by the Wliig Government. But enough of this 
nonsense. I think the Administration will have a good 
majority on the Appropriation Clause, and I see no pros- 
pect of a change. 

We staid at Windsor a day. All that is worth see- 
ing is seen in an hour : the outside of the Castle, the 
view from the terrace, and two or three staterooms. We 
were unlucky enough to have particular introductions, 
and suffered as is usual on such occasions. 

We are expecting some company, Ibut the idea of fill- 
ing a country house with pleasant people is a dream ; it 
all ends in excuses and disappointments, and nobody 
comes but the parson of the parish. It will give us 
great pleasure, my dear Philips, to hear you are better. 
Pray say it as soon as you can say so, and in t]ie mean 
time believe me, with sincere affection, yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

381.] To Mrs. . 

CoMHE Florky, Taitxtox, Sept. 15th, 1836. 

]\Iy dear ]^dRS. , 

I am afraid of delaying a day for fear you should be 
gone. I can not imitate the lofty flights of Jeffrey, but 
I am, Avithout metaphors, very sorry to lose the pleas- 
ures of your society. 

We have a pleasant party staying here. I will write 
to you if I remain alive. If I am removed (as is the 
common fate of Canons) by an indigestion, retain some 
good-natured recollections of an ecclesiastic who knows 
your value. God bless you ! 

. . .1'' ~ Sydney SiNriTpr. 



382.] To Sir W. Hoeton, Baet. 

Combe Florky, Se2)t., 1836. 

]\Iy dear Wilmot Horton, 
The same balance of parties remains, with a slight 
preponderance to the popular side. Peel plays his game 
with consummate skill and prudence, and I am inclined 
to say the same of Lord Lyndhurst and the House of 
Lords. The effect of their different measures upon the 
opinions of the country can not be well measured, be- 
cause the prosperity is so great that every body is sat- 
isfied with almost any measure and any government. 
In the mean time the Whigs are carrying many meas- 
ures, any one of which in the old system of things 
would have immortalized any Administration. Think 
of Tithes, Poor Law, and the Slave Trade : did you 
ever hope to see such things accomplished ? John Pus- 
sell, Sir George Grey, and Howick are the persons who 
have most risen in the world. I shall be very glad to 
see you and Lady Wilmot again in '38. I keep my 
health, and will try to keep it. Pemember me, and let 
us meet as old friends when you return. 

Sydney Smith. 

383.] To Lady Ashburton. 

My DEAR Lady Ashburton, 
On one day of the year, the Canons of St. Paul's 
divide a little money — an inadequate recompense for all 
the troubles and anxieties they undergo. This day is, 
unfortunately for me, that on Avhich you liave> asked me 
(the 25tli of March), when we all dine together, endeav- 
oring to forget for a few moments, by the aid of meat 
and wine, the sorrows and persecutions of the Oluircli. 


I am sure Lord Ashburton and yourself, and your son 
Francis, feel for us as you ought to do. Ever yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

384.] To Lady Ashburton. 

[With a Print.] 

Dear Lady Ashburton, 
Miss Mildmay told me yesterday that you had been 
looking about for a print of the Rev. Sydney Smith. 
Here he is — pray accept him. I said to the artist, 
"Whatever you do, preserve the orthodox look." 

Ever truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

385.] To Colonel Fox. 

October, 1836. 

My dear Charles, 
If you have ever paid any attention to the habits of 
animals, you will know that donkeys are remarkably 
cunning in opening gates. The way to stop them is to 
have two latches instead of one : a human being has 
two hands, and lifts up both latches at once ; a donkey 
has only one nose, and latch a drops, as he quits it to 
lift up latch b. Bobus and I had the grand luck to see 
little Aunty engaged intensely with this problem. She 
was taking a walk, and was arrested by a gate with this 
formidable difficulty: the donkeys were looking on to 
await the issue. Aunty lifted up the first latch with 
the most perfect success, but found herself opposed by 
a second ; flushed with victory, she quitted the first 
latch and rushed at the second : her success was equal, 
till in the mean time the first dropped. She tried this 
two or three times, and, to her utter nstonishmcnt, with 


tl ic same results ; the donkejs brayed, and Aunty was 
walking away in great dejection, till Bobus and I re- 
called her with loud laughter, showed her that she had 
two hands, and roused her to vindicate her superiority 
over the donkeys. I mention this to you to request 
that you will make no allusion to this animal, as she 
is remarkably touchy on the subject, and also that you 
will not mention it to Lady J^Iary. I wish you would 
both come here next year. 

Always yours, my dear Charles, very sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

386.] To Lady Ashburton. 

33 Charles Street, Nov. lOth, 183G. 

Health to you, my dear Lady Ashburton ! ]\Iay your 
daughters marry the wise and the good ! And may your 
sons support our admirable Constitution in Church and 
State ! May Lord Ashburton use in future steady 
horses and skillful coachmen ; and may the friendship 

between you and Lady flame over the moral world, 

and shame, by its steady light, the fleeting and flicker- 
ing passions of the human race ! 

I must stay here all this month, or, at least, till the 
29th, or the week after ; and which of these two weeks, 
I Avill let you know in two or three days. As to par- 
ties, I am the most comfortable guest in the world. I 
liave not the slightest objection to meet every body, nor 
tlie slightest Avish to see any body, except you and 

Mr. and ^Irs. dined at yesterday. I sat 

next to IMr. . His voice faltered, and he looked 

pale : I did all I could to encourage him ; made him 

take quantities of sherry. Mrs. also looked very 

unhappy, and I had no doubt took tlic H. IL draught 


Trhen slie went home. You know, perliap?, that there 
is a particular draught which the London apothecaries 
give to persons who have been irightened at H. H. They 
will both tell vou that they were not at all frightened, 
but don't belieye them ; I have seen so much of the 
disorder, that I am never mistaken. However, don't 
let me make you une<isy ; it generally goes off after a 
day or two, and rarely does any pennanent injury to 
the constitution. Ever yours yer\' tiiily, 

Sydney Smitpi. 

3S7.] To JoiLx AIuEEAY, Esq. 

ou ClIARLKS SxRliET. Xov. 2otL 1836. 

^Iy deae ]\Iueeay, 

I leave London on the 1st of December for Combe 
riorey, and should have done so before, but we, the Ca- 
thedrals, are fighting the Bishops ; and as I am ring- 
leader, I have been forced to remain. I observe with 
pleasure the rising spirit of the Cathedrals, whicli have 
been abominably ill-used. 

I see nothing as yet which is to disturb tlie Whigs. 
PubHc opinion is decidedly in theu' favor. The only two 
faults they have committed are, meddling too much in 
the private concerns of other nations, and John Eussell's 
passion for Bishops. 

It is, I beheve, settled that Parliament is to meet very 
early this year — I should say the middle of January — 
a very "wise measure, if it abridge the duration of tlie 
summer session ; but the question is, if they will not go 
on Ie2:islatm2: till stinks and sunbeams drive them out 
of London. Sydney Smith. 


388.] To Sir George Philips. 

Combe Floret, Dec. 22d, 1836". 

Dear Sir George, 

I staid a clay or two at Lord Asliburton's in my way 
down. To be in a Tory house is like being in another 
planet. I don't believe a word about the Whigs going 
out ; w^hy should they ? 

Give my love to Julia. The weather is beautiful ; 
but, as Noodle says (with his eyes beaming with delight), 
"We shall suffer for this, sir, by-and-by." We are go- 
ing on with our war against the Bishops, and I shall 
write a pamphlet upon it, which neither you nor George 
will read, but Julia will, I think ; I should like to rea- 
son the matter with her. 

I have read "Astoria" with great pleasure; it is a 
book to put in your libraiy, as an entertaining, well writ- 
ten — ve7y well written — account of savage life, on a 
most extensive scale. EUice, who has just come 
from America, says Mr. Astor is worth £5,000,000 
sterling ; but Baring does not believe it, or is jealous 

* vJ * * * T.:- 

I have had no gout, nor any symptom of it ; by eating 
little, and drinking only water, I keep body and mind in 
a serene state, and spare the great toe. Looking back 
at my past life, I find that all my miseries of body and 
mind have proceeded from indigestion. Young people 
in early life should be thoroughly taught the moral, in- 
tellectual, and physical evils of indigestion. Love to all. 
God bless you ! 

Sydney Smith. 

letters and coerespondence. 375 

389.] From the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville. 

Cleveland Square, Jan. lith, 1837. 

My dear Sir, 

The letter to Archdeacon Singleton, for which I have 
to thank the author, did not require the printed name 
upon the title-page. The lively talent, sound argument, 
and genuine humor of the fifty pages which have so 
much interested me, could have been derived from no 
pen but one. You have cut it somewhat sharply, but, 
I believe, not more so than was requisite to give it any 
useful effect. I am sanguine enough to hope good from 
it, though I am surprised at myself for any such feelings 
in times which seem to suggest fear only. 

Ever, my dear Sir, in times good or bad, very truly 
yours, Thomas Grenville. 

390.] Froini the late Archdeacon Singleton. 

Alkvvick Castle, Feb, 3d, 1837. 

My dear Sir, 
You may suppose that I have long since read your 
letter with the greatest interest and admiration ; but I 
would not write to you till I could learn how it would 
make its way with such persons and parties as came un- 
der my cognizance. The result of my inquiries has 
been most satisfactory. It sells in country book-shops, 
where the question was never known or considered, till 
you gave life and spirit, as well as argument, to the dis- 
cussion. High Tories indeed regret the exposure of the 
Bishops, but in the same breath admit the justice and ne- 
cessity of it ; Avhile the Wliigs, being now compelled to 
repudiate the eiTors of the Commission, have left it pow- 
erless, and, if we believe the *' Times," almost a " caput 


That a serious impression 1ms been made there can he 
no doubt ; and forgive me if I say that you, who have 
done so much, may yet do more. Could you not see 

Lord 2^^'i"^^t<^ty ^^^ i^^ confidence, before the 16th 

of February (for which day notice for his motion on this 
subject has been given), and urge upon him such an al- 
teration and increase of the Commission, as, in the spirit 
of justice and impartiality, may effect such a reform as 
will propitiate the public without violating the honest 
feelings, and much less the oaths and consciences, of the 
clergy ? There never has been, and there never will be 
again, so fau* and fit an opportunity for practical amend- 
ment. The profession is ready and expectant. The 
jniblic, calm, and perhaps indifierent. There is neither 
impatience within, nor pressure fi:om without. If this 
opportunity of correcting abuses and modifying anomal- 
ies be now lost, it will occur no more in oui' generation. 

iVankly, it seems to me that yoic have a chance of 
more efiectually serving and saving the Church of En- 
gland than any individual has ever enjoyed. 

I remain, my dear Sir, ever yours, with esteem and 
regard, Til. S. Singleton. 

391.] To Loud John Russell. 

April 3(7, ]8o7. 

Ilx DEAR John, 
Xt eleven o'clock in the morning, some years ago, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury called upon a friend of mine 
(my informant) and said, "I am going to the King 
(George III.) to meet Perceval, who wants to make 
!Mansell Bishop of Bristol. I have advised the King 
not to assent to it, and he is thoroughly determined it 
shall not be. I will call in an hour or two, and tell you 
what has passed." Canterbury did not return till elev- 


cn at niglit. " Quite in vain," lie said ; " Perceval has 
beaten us all ; lie tendered liis immediate resignation — 
' If lie were not considered to he a fit person for recom- 
mending tlic dignitaries of tlie Cliurcli, lie was not a fit 
person to be at the head of the Treasury.' After a con- 
fiict carried on all day, we were forced to yield." 

Such a conflict, carried on once, and ending with vic- 
tory, never need be repeated. 

I know not, by alluding to the chess-board, whether 

you mean the charges which might make against 

me, or against liberal men in general. I defy to 

quote a single passage of my writing contrary to the 
doctrines of the Church of England ; for I have always 
avoided speculative, and preached j^ractical, religion. I 
defy him to mention a single action in my life which he 
can call immoral. The only thing he could charge me 
with, would be high spirits, and much innocent non- 
sense. I am distinguished as a preacher, and sedulous 
as a parochial clergyman. His real charge is, that I am 
a high-spirited, honest, uncompromising man, whom all 
the bench of Bishops could not turn, and who would set 
them all at defiance upon great and vital questions. This 
is the reason why (as far as depends upon others) I am 
not a bishop ; but I am thoroughly sincere in saying I 
would not take any bishopric wdiatever, and to this I 
pledge my honor and character as a gentleman. But, 
had I been a bishop, you would have seen me, on a late 

occasion, charghig and with a gallantry which 

would have warmed your heart's blood, and made Mel- 
bourne rub the skin off his hands. 

Pretended heterodoxy is the plea with which the Bish- 
ops endeavored to keep off the bench every man of spirit 
and independence, and to terrify you into the appoint- 
ment of feeble men, who will be sure to desert you (as 
all your bishops have lately and shamefully done) in a 


moment of peril. When was there greater clamor ex- 
cited than by the appointment of , or when were 

there stronger charges of heterodoxy ? Lord Grey dis- 
regarded all this, and they are forgotten. 

*- -;;f * » «i * 

BelicA'C me to he, dear John, sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — ^lake Edward Stanley and Caldwell, a friend 
of Lord Lansdowne's and mine, hishops ; both unexcep- 
tionable men. 

392.] To Master IIumphrey ^Mildz^iay. 

April 30//;, 1837. 

I am very sorry to hear you have been so ill. I have 
inquired about you every day, till I heard you were bet- 
ter. Mr. Travers is a very skillful surgeon, and I have 
no doubt you will soon be well. In the Trojan War, 
the Greek surgeons used cheese and wine for their oint- 
ments, and in Henry the Eighth's time cobblers' wax and 
rust of iron were the ingredients ; so, you see, it is some 
advantage to live in Berkeley Square, in the year 1837. 

I am going to Holland, and I will write to you from 
tlience to tell you all I have seen, and you will take care 
to read my letter to j\Ir. Travers. In the mean time, 
my dear little Humphrey, I wish you most heartily a 
speedy recovery, and God bless you ! S. S. 

393.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Thk Haguk, Friday, May 12th, 1837. 

Dear Lady Grey, 
Never come into Holland. If Lord Grey solicits you 
to do so, lot him solicit in vain. Tlie roads all paved — 


inns dirtj, and dearer than the dearest in England — 
country frightful beyond all belief; no trees but willows 
— no fuel but turf; all the people uglier than . 

I have had a slight fit of the gout — a warning which 
shall bring me back sooner than I intended ; because it 
is a question put to me by my constitution, " What bus- 
iness has such an ancient gentleman as you to be mak- 
ing toui's, and to be putting yourself out of your ordi- 
nary method of living ?" I have patched myself up for 
the present, and am going to-moiTow to Amsterdam ; I 
hope to be at Brussels on my way back (either home or 
to the Rhine, as I feel myself) on Wednesday, the 17th. 
I find about one quarter of the things worth seeing which 
are said to be so. For instance, at the Hague (whence 
I "\ATite) there is nothing which need detain an English- 
man (who has seen every thing in his own country) three 
hours, and I was advised to stay there tliree days. The 
best thing in Holland is the bread — the worst thing the 
water. A Dutch baker iprood-bakkei^ would make his 
fortune in London. 

!^[adame Talk has lately had a paralytic stroke, but 
is recovered. Falk is ill, I believe, with the gout, and 
could not see me. 

^ly journey will confirm me in the immense superior- 
ity of England over the rest of the world ; and Lord 
Grey and you are the best people in it, and I have a 
great affection for you both. S. S. 

394] To SiJi George Philips. 

Brussels, May 20th, 1837. 

^1y dear Philips, 

A detestable country all the way from Calais to Am- 
sterdam. Fine cities — admirable architects, far exceed- 
ing us, both in their old and new buildings^good bak- 


ers — very ugly — stink of tobacco — horses all fat — sol- 
diers little — inns dirty, and very expensive — better mod- 
ern painters than ^ye are. 

I went to the Bclgic Parliament. There was a pound 
short in the public accounts, and they were speaking 
about it. Our friend Van de Weyer has been very hos- 
pitable and civil to us. He sails for England to-day, 
and there is no idea of his taking office. He prefers the 
English embassy to any other situation, and I am very 
glad of it. I like his mother — a very good-hearted, 
amiable old lady. 

The finest city I have seen is Amsterdam ; I was 
much stiTick with its commercial grandeur. The only 
city I could live in, of all I have seen, is the city of 
Brussels. All the gieat cities of Flanders are under- 

We dined yesterday with Sir Hamilton Seymour ; a 
dinner which consisted of all the accidental arrivals at 
Brussels, and went off well enough. He seems good- 
natured and obliging, and the female embassador is 

I am to be presented to the King to-day. Baron 
Stockmar asked me if I had any wisli to be so present- 
ed, and I could only say, Yes ; which was not true, for 
such ceremonies are to me neither useful nor agreeable. 

Sydney Smith. 

395.] To Mes. 3Ii:iicHisoN. 

June Sth, 1837. 

Engaged, my dear ]\Iadam, to Sir George Philips, or 
should have been too happy ; w^ill come in the evening, 
if possible. 

I am sui-prised that an archbishop, living in an allu- 
vial country, should be at your table. Are there no bish- 
ops among the Silurian rocks ? Sydney Smith. 


396.] To JMiss Beeky. 

Combe Floret, July 31s?, 1837. 

Arc yon well ? that is the great point. When do 
you mean to come and pay us a visit? The general 
rumor of the times is, that you are tired to death of the 
country, and that nothing will ever induce you to try it 
again ; that you bought a rake, and attempted to rake 
the flower-beds, and did it so badly that you pulled up 
all the flowers. It is impossible,' as they say also, to get 
into the Lindsay the smallest acquaintance with the 
vegetable world ; and that, if it were not for the inter- 
ference of friends, she would order the roses to be boil- 
ed for dinner, and gather a caulifloAver as a nosegay. 

Your friends the John Russells and Laboucherc arc 
here, talking of the sweet and sacred cause of liberty. 
I am getting innocent as fast as I can, and have already 
begun to dose my parishioners, which, as I do not shoot 
or hunt, is my only nu^al amusement. 

Seriously speaking, my dear i\Iiss Beny, you and 
Agnes and the Lindsay owe us a visit, and in your heart 
you can not deny it. Remember me to Gulielma, your 
neighbor. Accept my benediction and aflection. 

Sydney S^iith. 

397.] To Lady Holland. 

Combe Flore y, Aug. lot/i, 1837. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

The sacred cause of sweet liberty has suffered griev- 
ously here. There is a tremendous reaction. All our 
Wliig candidates arc disgraced, and despotism is the or- 
der of the day. Do you think the Whigs will go on ? 
The country is really in a worse state than before, be- 
cause parties are still more finely balanced than before 


the dissolution. The topics urged against the Ministry 
(most foolishly and unjustly, but successfully) are 
O'Connell, the Church, and Poor Laws. Why don't 
you get some of your friends to put out a splendid and 
slashing defense ? 

I hope you and Lord Holland are in fair preservation. 
Lord and Lady John Kussell were here, with a beauti- 
ful and well-disciplined child. The children of people 
of rank are generally much better behaved than other 
children. The parents of the former do not excel the 
parents of the latter in the same proportion, if tliey excel 
them at all. 

Among our guests was Senior of Kensington, whose 
conversation is always agreeable to me. He is fond of 
reasonmg on important subjects, and reasons calmly, 
clearly, and convincingly. 

We expect Saba and Dr. Holland the end of this or 
the beginning of next month. I am in great hopes we 
shall have some cases ; I am keeping three or four sim- 
mering for him. It is enough to break one's heart to 
see him in the country ; and that I should be his com- 
forter in such a calamity is droll enough ! 

Si^DNEY Smith* 

P. S. — I am delighted that you like my pamphlet ; I 
tried all I could not to Avrite it, but John Russell would 
make me do so, by refusing the fair terms I offered. 

398.] To AiiTiiLii KiNCJLAKE, Esq. 

CoMBK Florey, SqH. ZOth, 1837. 

Dear Sir, 
I am much obliged by the present of your brotlier's 
1jook. I am convinced digestion is the great secret of 
life ; and that character, talents, virtues, and qualities 


are powerfully affected by beef, mutton, pie-cmst, and 
rich soups. I have often thouglit I could feed or starve 
men into many virtues and vices, and affect tliem more 
powerfully with my instruments of cookery than Timo- 
theus could do formerly with his lyi'C. 
Ever yours, very truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

399.] To Mrs. . 

November 9th, 1837. 

Ah, dear Lady ! is it you ? Do I see again your 
handwriting"? and when shall I see yourself? (as the 
Irish say). You may depend upon it, all lives out of 
London are mistakes, more or less grievous — but mis- 

I am alone in London, without IMrs. Smith, upon duty 
at St. Paul's. London, however, is full, from one of 
these eternal dissolutions and reassemblage of Parlia- 
ments, with which these latter days have abounded. I 
wish you were back again : nobody is so agreeable, so 
frank, so loyal, so good-hearted. I do not think I have 
made any new female friends since I saw you, but have 
been faithful to you. But I love excellence of all kinds, 
and seek and cherish it. 

The Whigs will remain in ; they are in no present dan- 
ger. Did you read my pamphlet against the Bishops, 
and how did you like it ? 

I have not seen your friend Jefft-'ey for these two years. 
He did not come to town last year. I hear with the 
greatest pleasure of his fame as a judge. 

I am going back to Combe Florey the end of the 
month, to remain till tlie beginning of March ; and tlien 
in London for some months, where I sincerely hope to 
see you. To see you again will be like the resurrection 


of flowers in the spring: the bitterness of solitude, I 
shall say, is past. 

God IjIcss you, dear Mrs. -' ! 

Sydney Smith. 

400.] To ]\Iiis. . 

No date. 

Dear ]\Irs. , 

I preach to-morrow at three o'clock at the Cathedral 
of St. Paul's an annual sermon which I give them upon 
Toleration. I warn you that notliing can be more com- 
monplace and stupid, and having said this, I have done 
my duty. I hope, if you do come, my friend Lucy will 
accompany you. Sydney Smith. 

401.] To HIS Excellency M. Van de Weyer. 

S3 Charles Strert, Nov. 27th, 1837. 

My dear Sir, 
The evils of Combe Florey are its distance (150 miles), 
the badness of the season, the dullness and stupidity of 
a country parsonage in the winter. The goods of Combe 
Florey are, that our house is very warm and comfortable, 
and that Mr. and ]\lrs. Hibbert will be there on the 15th 
of December ; that you can go nowliere where you arc 
more valued, and that we shall be heartily glad to see 
you. Now take your choice, and tell me wdiat your 
clioicc is ; and let me know what I owe you for some 
chai-ming wine ; and bclic^'e me, yours sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 


402.] To THE Countess Grey. 


Dear Lady Grey, 


I suppose jou do not mean to be in town till after 
Easter. I shall be there the middle of next month. I 
was in town all Xovember. The general notion was, 
that the "Whigs were weakened ; at the same time it is 
not easy to see how the ill temper of the Radicals will 
get them out. The Radicals will never dare to vote 
with the Tories, and on all Radical questions the Tories 
will vote with the Government. I see, by the report 
of the Church Commissioners for November last, that 
all the points for which the Cathedrals contended are 
given up. This is very handsome on the part of the 
Commissioners ; and their reform, whether wise or not, 
will at least be just. 

I hope Lord Grey continues quite well ; but quite 
well, I find, at sixty-seven, means about twelve or four- 
teen distinct ailments ; weak eyes, a violent pain in the 
ankle, stomach slightly disordered, etc. 

I have had a long correspondence with Lord John 
Russell about shutting St. Paul's, which I have pub- 
lished, and would send you if it were a subject of any 
interest. Joseph Hume wants to make himself popular 
with the Middlesex electors ; Lord John is afraid of 
Joseph Hume : hence all the correspondence. 

I send you a list of my papers in the Edinburgh Re- 
view. If you keep that journal, some of them may 
amuse you when you are out of spirits ; they are all 
written for lauQ-hino*. 

o o 

Ever affectionately yours, S. S. 

Vol, II.— R 


403.] To E. MoNCKTON Milnes, Esq. 

June ZOth, 1838. 

My DEAR Sir, 

If you want to get a place for a relation, you must not 
delay it till lie is bom, but make an application for liiiii 
ill iitero, about the fifth or sixth month. The same with 
any smaller accommodation. 

You ask for tickets on Wednesday, to go to St. Paul's 
on Thursday, my first promise dating 1836 ! I would, 
however, have done my possible, but your letter did not 
anive till Saturday (jyaulo 2^ost). The fact is, I have 
been Avandering about the coast, for Mrs. Sydney's health ; 
and am taken by the Preventive Service for a brandy 
merchant, waiting an opportunity of running goods on a 
large scale. 

I AAdsh you many long and hot dinners with lords and 
ladies, wits and poets ; and am always truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

404.] To Lady Dayy. 

Jvly 7th, 1838. 

Dear Lady Davy, 

Commonplace, delivered in a boisterous manner, tln-ec 
miles off; and bad, tedious music. If you choose to ex- 
pose yourself to this in cold blood, it becomes my duty 
to afford you the means of doing so ; for which purpose 
I inclose, with my affectionate benediction, the order to 
the "virgins." 

Pray excuse me from dining just now. I am posess- 
cd by a legion of devils. Accustomed to a hot climate, 
they are very active in wann wcatlier. 

Ever yours, Sydney S^[ITh. 


405.] To Miss G. Harcourt. 

Charlks Street, 1838. 

My dear Georgina, 

You see liow desirous I am to do what you bid me. 
In general, nothing is so foolish as to recommend a med- 
icine. If I am doing a foolish thing, you are not the 
first young lady who has driven an old gentleman to this 
line of action. 

That loose and disorderly young man, E H , 

has mistaken my Avishes for my powers, and has told 
you that I proposed to do, what I only said I should be 
most happy to do. I have, overstaid my time so much 
here, that I must hasten home, and feed my starving 
flock. I should have left London before, but how could 
I do so, in the pains and perils of the Church, which I 
have been defending at all moral hazards ? Young tells 
me that notliing will induce the x^rchbishop to read my 
pamphlets, or to allow you to read them. 

The summer and the country, dear Georgina, have no 
charms for me. I look forward anxiously to the return 
of bad weather, coal fires, and good society in a crowded 
city. I have no relish for the country ; it is a kind of 
healthy grave. I am afraid you are not exempt from the 
delusions of flowers, green turf, and birds ; they all af- 
ford slight gratification, but not worth an hour of ration- 
al conversation : and rational conversation in sufficient 
quantities is only to be had from the congregation of a 
million of people in one spot. God bless you ! 

Sydney S^iitii. 


406.] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

CoM]5E Flokey, Sqjtemher^ 1838. 

Dear Lady Carlisle, 

I see by the papers that you are going abroad, which 
is all A\Tong ; but pray tell me how you and Lord 
Carlisle do, before you embark, and when you come 

We have had a great succession here of literary ladies. 
The BeiTys are gone to Torquay, which they pronounce 
to be the most beautiful place in England, or out of it. 
They staid some time with us, and were agi^eeable and 

good-natured. Then came , who talked to me a 

good deal about war and cannons. I thought him agree- 
able, but am advised to look him over again when I re- 
turn to London. Luttrell and Mrs. Marcet are here now.^ 

is staying here, whom I have always considered 

as the very type of Lovelace in " Clarissa Harlowe." It 
is impossible, you know, to read an interesting book, 
and not to clothe the characters in the flesh and blood 
of living people. He is Lovelace ; and who do you 
think is my imaginary Clarissa? A certain lady who 
has been at Castle Howard, whom, on account of her pu- 
rity, I dare not name, sojourning in Street, and 

an admirer of yours, and a friend of mine. WJio can 
it be ? 

I have written the pamphlet you ordered upon the 
Ballot ; and as you love notoriety, I mean to dedicate it 
to you, with the most fulsome praise : virtues — talents 
— grace — elegance — illustrious ancestors — British feel- 
ing — mother of Morpeth — humble servant, etc. 

Sydney Smith. 


407.] To Sir George Philips. 

About Septernler, 1838. 

'My DEAR Philips, 

You will be glad to hear tliat I have liad a fit of the 
gout, but I can not flatter you with its being any thing 
very considerable. The Miss Benys and Lady Char- 
lotte Lindsay are here, and go to-morrow to Torquay. 
I have by this post had a letter from John Murray, who 
seems to rejoice in his Highland castle. 

I have just written a pamphlet against Ballot, and 
shall publish it with my name at the proper time. I 
have done it to employ my leisure. Xo politics in it, 
but a honafide discussion. I am an anti-ballotist. It 
will be carried, however, write I never so wisely. 

Lord Yalletort possessed of ]\Iount Edgecombe, and 
bent double with rheumatism ! there is a balance in hu- 
man conditions ! Charles Wynne is a tnily good man. 
Pray remember me very kindly to Lushington, and beg 
he will come, with all liis family. Professor and all, to 
Combe Florey. The curses of Glasgow are, itch, punch, 
cotton, and metaphysics. I hope ]\Ir. Lushington will 
discourage classical learning as much as he can. 

Mckleby is very good. I stood out against ]\Ir. 
Dickens as long as I could, but he has conquered 

Get and read IMacaulay's Papers upon the Lidian 
Courts and Indian Education. They are admirable for 
their talent and their honesty. We see why he was ha- 
ted in India, and how honorable to him that hatred is. 
Your sincere friend, 

Sydney >Smith. 


408.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Eloiiky, Se2)tejnhe7; 1838. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I hope you are all well and safe at Howick. I have 
never stirred an ineli from this place since I came from 
town — six Avceks since ; an incredible time to remain at 
one place. This absence of locomotion has however been 
somewhat secured by a fit of the gout, from which I am 
just recovered ; and which, under the old regime^ and 
before the reign of colchicum, would have laid me up for 
ten weeks instead of ten days. I know you will quote 
against me Sir Oracle Hammick; but to him I oppose 
>Sir Oracles Halford, Holland, Chambers, and Warren. 

Have you, or has Lord Grey, been among the wise 
men at Newcastle ? Hcadlam asked me to go ; but, 
though I can endure small follies and absurdities, the 
nonsense of these meetings is too intense for my advanced 
years and delicate frame. One of the Bills for which I 
have been fighting so long has passed ; and I have the 
satisfaction of seeing that every point to which I object- 
ed has been altered ; so that I have not mingled in the 
affray for nothing. 

Pray tell me about yourself, and whether you are tol- 
erably well ; but how can you be well, when you have 
so many children and so many anxieties afloat? How 
does dear Georgiana do? — that honest and transparent 
girl ; so natural, so cheerful, so true ! A moral flower, 
Avhom I always think of, when I sketch in my mind a 
garden of human creatures. 

!Read Dr. Spry's "Account of India," and believe, if 
you can (I do), that within one hundred and fifty miles 
of Calcutta, there is a nation of cannibals living in trees. 
It is an amusing book. Head, also, Macaulay's Pa- 
pers upon Indian Education, and the Administration of 


Justice in India; but I hardly think you care about 

We have never been a single day without company, 
principally blue-stocking ladies, whose society Lord Grey 
so much likes. 

Your affectionate friend, SYDNEY Smith. 

409.] To Lady Holland. 

September Gtli, 1 838. 

If all the friends, dear Lady Holland, who have shared 
in your kindness and hospitality, were to give a little 
puff, you would be blown over to Calais with a gentle 
and prosperous gale. I admire your courage ; and ear- 
nestly hope, as I sincerely believe, that you will derive 
great amusement and satisfaction, and therefore improved 
liealth, from your expedition. 

I am out of temper with Lord J\Ielbourne, and upon 
the subject of the Church ; but in case of an election, I 
should vote as I always have done, with the AVhigs. 
As for little John, I love Iiim, though I chastise him. I 
have never lifted up my voice against the Duke of Lan- 
caster ; I should be the most ungrateful of men if I did. 
We have had a run of blue-stocking ladies to Combe 
Florey this summer, a race you despise. To me they 
are agreeable, and less insipid than the general run of 
women ; for you Amoiv, my Lady, the female tnhid does 
not reason. 

Kindest regards to tlie Duke of Lancaster. S. S. 

410.] To THE Countess Grey. 

CoMBK Fi.OKKV, Dccemher, 1838. 
Awkward times, dear Lady Grey! However, you 
see tliose you love, sooner than yon otherv/ise would 


have seen them, and see them safely returned from a bad 
climate and disturbed country ; and this is sometliing, 
though not much. I do not see with whom Durham can 

coalesce. Xot with Ministers, certainly ; not with ; 

not with Peel ; scarcely with the radicals. I see no light 
as to his future march. Will these matters bring Lord 
Grey up to town at the beginning of the session ? I sin- 
cerely hope he may not think it necessary to place him- 
self in such a painful and distressing situation. I think 
the Whigs are damaged, and that they will have consid- 
erable difficulty in the registration. The are here, 

helping us to spend the winter ; but nothing can make 
the country agreeable to me. It is bad enough in sum- 
mer, but in winter is a fit residence only for beings 
doomed to such misery, for misdeeds in another state of 

On Sunday I was on crutches, utterly unable to put 
my foot to the ground. On Tuesday I walked four miles. 
Such is the power of colchicum I I shall vTite another 
letter about Church matters, and then take my leave of 
the subject ; also, as I believe I told you before, a pam- 
phlet against the Ballot. 

What a strange affair is your Newcastle murder ! it is 
impossible to comprehend it. I think you will want a 
cunning man from Bow Street. 

Believe me, dear Lady Grey, ever your affectionate 
friend, Sydney Smith. 

41 L] To Sir George Philips. 

CoMHF, Floret, Feb. \ 1 th, 1 839. 

My dear Philips, 
I hear from George you have the gout, and tliat you 
have had it longer tlian you ought. It will be some 
comfort to you to know that I have had rather a sharp 


fit, which has turned my walking into waddling and 

When do you come to town ? We shall be there on 
the 21st. I have sent you a pamphlet on the Ballot, 
and shall next week publish another letter to Archdea- 
con Singleton, and with that end the subject. You will 
of course think my pamphlet on Ballot to be on the -^vrong 
side of the question, but I think we are on the way to 
the Devil. The Government have very wisely flung 
your friend overboard. 

I suspect Morpeth will be the new member of the 
Cabinet, perhaps the new Secretary for the Colonies. I 
presume Durham's statement was sent to the *' Times" 
by himself. 

You ought to be very thankful that you are one of 
those persons who are bom happy. If you had but 
£200 per annum you would be happy. I have often 
said of you, that you are the happiest man, and the 
worst rider, I ever knew. 

I shall not be sorry to be in to^vn. I am rather tired 
of simple pleasures, bad reasoning, and worse cookery. 
Yours, my dear Philips, very sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

412.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Combe Floret, Feb. 12///, 1839. 

My DEAR Mrs. ]\Ieynell, 
I have written a pamphlet upon the Ballot, and against 
it, and I would send it to you, but I know not how; 
therefore you had better get it in the ordinary way. It 
is published at Longman and Co.'s. Pray read it, and 
tell me what you think of it. Only think of my being 
so good a boy as to write conservative pamphlets ! Did 
you ever think I should come to this ? One hole, you 



.see, is made in the Ministry. Will it make sucli a leak 
as to sink the vessel, or will they stop it ? 

Give my love to your nice little daughter. Has she 
met yet with any dandy who has made her serious ? 
Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney S^iith. 


March SOtIt, 1839. 

Dear ^iluRCHisox, 

I deny " that the older stratified rocks of Devonshire 
and Cornwall are the equivalents of the Carboniferous 
and Old Eed Sandstone systems." I hold the Profess- 
or* and you to this rash assertion, and I am determined 
to answer you. 

I am (whether you are right or "vvrong) very sony you 
are going abroad. After I have answered you, I shall 
suspend my geological studies till your return ; but per- 
haps I shall be suspended myself. 

Sydney Smitji. 

414.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Charles Strket, Aj)ri/, 1839. 

My dear ^Irs. ^Ieynell, 

The government is always crazy, but I see no imme- 
diate signs of dissolution. The success of my pamphlet 
lias been very great. I always told you I was a clever 
man, and you never would believe me. 

You must study jMacaulay wlicn you come to town. 
He is incomparably tlic first lion in tlic ]\Ietropolis ; lliat 

* Professor Sedgwick, who, with Mr. Murclnson, classified the rocks 
of Devonshire. 


is, he -writes, talks, and speaks better than any man in 

Kind regards to your husband. 

Sydney Smith. 

415.] To Charles Dickens, Esq, 

Charles Street, Berkeley Squ.uie, June llili, 1839. 

My dear Sir, 

Nobody more, and more justly, talked of tlian yourself. 

The JMiss Berry s, now at Richmond, live only to be- 
come acquainted with you, and have commissioned me 
to request you to dine with them Friday, the 29th, or 
Monday, July 1st, to meet a Canon of St. Paul's, the 
Eector of Combe Florey, and the Yicar of Halberton — 
all equally well known to you ; to say nothing of other 
and better people. The Miss Berrys and Lady Cliar- 
lotte Lindsay have not the smallest objection to be put 
into a Number, but, on the contrary, would be proud of 
the distinction ; and Lady Charlotte, in particular, you 
may marry to Newman Noggs. Pray come ; it is as 
much as my place is worth to send them a refusal. 

Sydney Smith. 

416.] To Mrs. Grote. 

33 Charles Street, June 24:tJi, 1839. 

I will dine with you, dear Mrs. Grote, on the 11th, 
Avith gTeat pleasiu-e. 

The "Great Western" turns out very well — grand, 
simple, cold, slow, wise, and good. I have been intro- 
duced to ]\Iiss ; she abuses the privilege of literary 

women to be plain ; and, in addition, has the true Ken- 
tucky twang through the nose, converting that promon- 
tory into an organ of speech. How generous the con- 


duct of Mrs. , who, as a literary woman, might he 

ugly if she chose, hut is as decidedly handsome as if she 
were profoundly ignorant ! I call such conduct honorahle. 

You shall have a real ^philosophical breakfast here ; 
all mind-and-matter men. I am truly glad, my dear Mrs. 
Grote, to add you to the number of my friends (?'. e. if 
you will be added). I saw in the moiety of a moment 
that you were made of fine materials, and put together 
by a master workman ; and I ticketed you accordingly. 
But do not let me deceive you ; if you honor me with 
your notice, you will find me a theologian and a bigot, 
even to martyrdom. 

Heaven forbid I should deny the right of ]\Iiss , 

or of any other lady, to ask me to dinner I the only con- 
dition I annex is, that you dine there also. As for any 
dislikes of mine, I would not give one penny to avoid 
the society of any man in England. 

I do not preach at St. Paul's before the first Sunday 
in July ; send me word (if you please) if you intend to 
come, and I (as the Americans say) will locate you. But 
do not flatter yourself with the delusive hope of a slum- 
ber; I preach violently, and there is a strong smell of 

sulphur in my sermons. ' I could not get Lady to 

believe you did not know her ; she evidently considered 
it affectation. Why do you not consult Dr. Turnbull 
upon tic-douloureux ? I told you a long story about it, 
of which, I thought at the time, you did not hear a single 

Adieu, dear ]\Irs. Grote ! Always, with best compli- 
ments to Mr. Grote, very sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


417.] To Mrs. Grote. 

33 Charles Street, July IGth, 1839. 

Dear Mrs. Grote, 

I am very sorry you have suffered so much ; mine is 
not society soitow, but real sorrow. If there is a real 
sign of a fool it is to offer a remedy. Aconitine — why 
do you so despise it as not to ask a question about it ? 

I am truly glad you like what I have written ; then 
I have not written in vain. I send you a criticism on 
my three volumes, which, I confess, gave me a great deal 
of pleasure ; pray return it to me. I have not the small- 
est idea who wrote it ; but it is evidently written (my 
own vanity apart) by a very sensible man, and a good 
writer. Whether I have done what he says I have done, 
and am what he says I am, I do not know ; but he has 
justly stated what I always aimed at, and what I wish- 
ed to be. If I did not think you a very sensible woman, 
I would not run the risk of your thinking me vain ; but 
I honestly confess that the praise and approbation of 
wise men is to me a very great pleasure. 

I went last night to attend !Mrs. Sydney to the Erup- 
tion of Hecla at the Surrey Zoological ; we saw a paste- 
board mountain, ejecting crackers and squibs. Tlie long- 
standing has given me a fit of the gout, and that renders 
it rather doubtful whether we can come to you ; but if 
I am well enough, we shall be most happy to do so. Let 
nothing ever persuade you to go to the Surrey Zoological 
in the evening. ]\Ir. Grote's subjects were intolerable. 

I did not know Charles Austin was a sayer of good 
things ; he has always seemed to me as something much 
better. Yours, Sydney Smith. 


418.] To John Allen, Esq. 


Dear Allen, 

AVhat is the effect of ballot on America and in France ? 
My idea is, that in America nobody troubles himself how 
his inferiors vote, and that therefore it is a dead letter. 
Some States have it not ; some who had it, have ex- 
changed it for open voting. Am I right in these sup- 
positions ? 

Tell me something of its effects in France, as between 
the representative and the constituent, and between the 
members of the Chamber and the Government. You 
will much oblige me by giving me some knowledge on 
these topics. 

I had several fits of the gout of twelve hours' duration, 
and am now very well. Sydney Smith. 

419.] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

Combe Floret, September^ 1839. 

May I ask how my old friends do, and whether they 
are come back in good health and spirits ? 

I have done nothing since you went away but write 
little pamphlets ; some, by your order, against Ballot, and 
others, by that of my own insubordinate spirit, against 

I think you will find the Whigs damaged. I date 
their fall in public estimation from then- return to office 
after resignation. Gallantry and the chivalrous spirit 
are admirable in all the common courtesies of life ; in- 
dispensable, when ladies arc to be handed to their car- 
riages, or defended from rudeness ; but it ought not to 
meddle with politics. J\Iost oftlic changes are bad. The 
appointment of — — - will offend tlic aristocracy lierc, and 


the Canadians. There is no x^restige in it. If good 
sense be the only thing wanted, send an attorney at 65. 

8^. per day. is a bad ingredient too. 

"VYe are both tolerably well. ]\Irs. Sydney a little 
worse than lier years — myself a little better. 

Sydney Smith. 

420.] To the Countess Grey. 

Chakles Street, 1839. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

j\Iy news is, that Government are to beat Lord Stan- 
ley by four or five ; and that, if beaten, they are not to 
go out. The threat of a dissolution has frightened some 
Members into a support of the Government. It seems 
as if there were more danger of an ^American than of a 
French war. 

We arrived in town, taking eighty miles of the Bath 
railroad, with which I v/as delighted. Before this in- 
vention, man, richly endowed with gifts of mind and 
body, was deficient in locomotive powers. He could 
walk four miles an lioui*, while a wild goose could fly 
eighty in the same time. I can run now much faster 
than a fox or a hare, and beat a carrier pigeon or an ea- 
gle for a hundred miles. 

Had you the "Great Western," Vix. Webster? and 
how did he answer? Lord Grey, I know, hates "lions." 

God bless you. dear Lady Grey! 

Sy'dney S^iith. 

I have ^\T:itten another letter to Archdeacon Single- 
ton, which, together with my pamphlet on the Ballot, 
have had remarkable success, and are left for you in 
Berkeley Square. 


421.] To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Elorkt, Oct. 2c?, 1839. 

Dear Mrs. Grote, 

You have not mentioned a subject whicli would give 
me more pleasure than any other — your health. Your 

neighbors, the , have been staying here ; they 

talked of you eulogically, in which I cordially joined ; 
but when they came to details, I found they principally 
admired you for a recipe for brown bread, which is made 
by a baker near them according to your rules. I beg this 
recipe ; and offer you, in return, a mode of curing hams. 
What a charming and sentimental commerce ! 

I can not blame your decision, though I sincerely re- 
gret it ; all excursions of that kind are promised upon 
the supposition of average moisture in the air, and aver- 
age solidity in the soil. Your predictions, however, 
though legitimately founded on probabilities, are con- 
trary to the fact. The weather is fine, and the country 
beautiful. I should be very glad if you were here ; but 
what is defeiTed is not always lost. You have filled 
me with alarm about money, and i have buried a large 
sum in the garden ; Heaven send I may not forget in 
what bed! But does not long continuation of bad 
weather produce low spirits in the rich ? Is Dives not 
occasionally afiected by the Lazarophobia ? 

I don't know whether I am right, but I am extremely 
pleased with Jones's work upon Rent ; his style is ad- 
mirable, his views always pliilosophical, and his expla- 
nations clear. You live in the midst of political econo- 
mists ; pray tell me what they say about him. It must 
not be forgotten that he is a parson ; but as you over- 
look it in me, forgive it in him. I would not have 
mentioned this, but that I am sure you would have 
heard it from his enemies* 


has the infirmity of deciding, with the most 

fallacious rapidity, upon all human subjects. Trevel- 
yan is one of the first and most distinguished men in 

Adieu ! It would have been a real pleasure to me to 
see you here ; pray come before you die, or rather, I 
should say, before I die. 

Ever, dear Mrs. Grote, very sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

422.] To Lord Holland. 

Combe Floret, Oct. 5th, 1839. 

My DEAR Lord Holland, 

This is an extract of a letter from Grant, of Rothie- 

murchis, to his daughter, ]\Irs. , a friend of mine, 

who begs I will apply to you in his favor; but you 
know him as well, or better than I do ; and as he is a 
man of very liberal opinions, and always was so, Avhen 
it was ruinous to entertain liberal opinions, I have no 
doubt you will strive to advance him, if you think he 
has other proper requisites. 

You have been through dangers of fire and water, I 
hope with impunity. Dr. Holland is here — at least I 
believe he is ; for he is so locomotive, it is difficult to 
make similar assertions of him. S. S. 

423.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Green Street, October, 1839. 

Dear Mrs. Meynell, 

I think the Whigs are certainly strengthened. ^la- 

caulay, if he speak as well as he did before India, must 

be considered an acquisition. Lord Clarendon, in all 

probability, a very important one. On the other side^ 


they have had a great loss in Howick and Wood, and 
they lose three votes by the death of the two Dukes. 
They are in high spirits ; and I have no doubt the 
Queen's marriage will be the first thing notified to the 
new Parliament. I have heard it fi'om nobody, but I 
have no doubt of it. 

I am quite delighted with my new house in Green 
Street. I have one leg in it, and the other here ; it is 
every thing I want or w4sh. 

I feel for about her son at Oxford ; knowing, as 

I do, that the only consequences of a University educa- 
tion are, the growth of vice and the waste of money. 

I am in town all November. God bless you, dear 
friend! Sydney Smith. 

424.] To Mrs. . 

Green Street, Nov. itJi, 1839. 

My dear Mrs. , 

Tell me a little about yourself. Where have you 
been ? What have you been doing ? How have you 
been faring ? 

I have been living A^ery quietly in Somersetshire, and 
am now intensely occupied in settling my new house, 
which is the essence of all that is comfortable. Pray 
come and see it, if you come to town, and write me 
word before you come. I will give you very good mut- 
ton chops for luncheon, seasoned with affectionate re- 
gard and respect. 

^ly "Works" (such as they are) have had a very 
rapid sale, and I think before the end of the year will 
come to a second edition. Mrs. Grote wrote me two 
or three letters in the course of the summer (which a 
certain person did not). She had lialf a mind to come 
to Combe Florev, but the other half was heavier and 


more powerful. What are your plans? I hope you 
have some regard for me ; I have a great deal for you. 
Always affectionately yours, Sydney Smith. 

425.] To Lady Holland. 

December 2Sth, 1839. 

I will dine with you on Saturday, my dear Lady Hol- 
land, with the greatest pleasure. 

I have written against • one of the cleverest pam- 
phlets I ever read, w^iich I think would cover and 

him with ridicule. At least it made me laugh very much 
in reading it ; and there I stood, with the printer's devil, 
and the real devil close to me ; and then I said, "After 
all, this is very funny, and very well written, but it will 
give great pain to people who have been very kind and 
good to me tlirough life ; and what can I do to show my 
sense of that kindness, if it is not by flinging this pam- 
phlet into the fire ?" So I flung it in, and there was an 
end ! j\Iy sense of ill usage remains of course the same. 

The dialogue between and is, or I should 

rather say, was, most admirable. 

Sydney Smith. 

426.] To ]\Irs. Croave. 

January Gth, 1840. 

I am very glad to find, dear jMrs. Crowe, that you 
are so comfortably arranged at Edinburgli. I am par- 
ticularly glad that you are intimate with Jeffrey. He 
is one of the best, as Avell as the ablest, men in the coun- 
try ; and his friendship is to you, honor, safety, and 

I liate young men, and I hate soldiers ; but I will be 
gracious to , if he will call upon me. 


Among the many evils of getting old, one is, that 
every little illness may probably be the last. You feel 
like a delinquent who knows that the constable is look- 
ing out after him. I am not going to live at Barnes, or 
to quit Combe Florey ; if ever I do quit Combe Florey, 
it will probably be to give up my country livings, and 
to confine myself to London only. 

My " Works" are now become too expensive to allow 
of the dispersion and presentation of many copies, but 
I shall with pleasure order one for you : the bookseller 
will send it. I printed my reviews to show, if I could, 
that I had not passed my life merely in making jokes ; 
but that I had made use of what little powers of pleas- 
antry I might be endowed with, to discountenance bad, 
and to encourage liberal and wise principles. The pub- 
lication has been successful. The liberal journals praise 
me to the skies ; the Tories are silent, grateful for my 
attack upon the Ballot. Yours truly, 

Sydney Smith. 

427.] To Mrs. . 

Combe Florey, Jan. 2Zd, 1840. 

Dear, fair, wise. 

Your little note gave me great pleasure, for I am al- 
ways mightily refreshed when the best of my fellow- 
creatures seem to remember and care for me. To you, 
who give routs where every gentleman is a Locke or a 
Newton, and every lady a Somerville or a Corinne, the 
printed nonsense you have sent me must appear extra- 
ordinary; but to me, in the country, it is daily-bread 
nonsense, and of everlasting occurrence. 

The birds, presuming on a few fine days, arc begin- 
ning to make young birds, and the roots to make young 
flowers. Very rash ! as rash as John Kussell with his 
Privilege quarrel. 


I have not read Carljle, though I have got him on ray 
list. I am rather curious about him. 

I will come and see you as soon as I come to town ; 
in the mean time, believe me your sincere and aiFection- 
ate friend, Sydney Smith. 

428.] To Mrs. . 

Green Street, April 8th, 1840. 

Dear Mrs. , 

I wish I may be able to come on Monday, but I doubt. 
Will you come to a philosophical breakfast on Saturday 
— ten o'clock precisely ? Nothing taken for granted ! 
Every thing (except the Thirty-nine Articles) called in 
question — real philosophers ! 

We shall have some routs and dinners in May, when 

I shall hope to see you. Many thanks, dear Mrs. , 

for your kind expressions toward me. They are never 
(when they come from you) cast on barren and ungrate- 
ful soil. Affectionately yours, Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — ]\Iy carriage shall call for you to-morrow at a 
quarter past ten, at !Mrs. 's, whence we will pro- 
ceed to that scene of simplicity, truth, and nature — a 
London rout. 

429.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Green Street, June, 1840. 
Thy servant is threescorc-and-ten years old; can he 
hear the sound of singing men and singing women ? A 
Canon at the Opera ! Where have you lived ? In what 
habitations of the heathen ? I thank you, shuddering ; 
and am ever your unseduciblc friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


430.] To Lady Holland. 

52 Makixe Paradk, Bkightox, June, IS-tO. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

You Avill (because you are very good-natured) be glad 
to hear that Brighton is rapidly restoring !Mrs. Sydney 
to health. She gets better every three hours ; and if 

she goes on so, I shall begin to be glad that Dr. is 

not here. 

I am giving a rout this evening to the only three 
persons I have yet discovered at Brighton. I have had 
hand-bills printed to find other London people, but I be- 
lieve there are none. I shall stay till the 28th. You 
')nust allow the Chain Pier to be a great luxury ; and I 
think all rich and rational people living in London should 
take small doses of Brighton from time to time. There 
can not be a better place than this to refresh metropolitan 
gentlemen and ladies, wearied with bad air, falsehood, 
and lemonade. 

I am -very deep in Lord Stowell's "Reports," and if 
it were war-time I should officiate as Judge of the Ad- 
miralty Court. It was a fine occupation to make a pub- 
lic law for all nations, or to confirm one ; and it is rath- 
er singular that so sly a rogue should have done it so 
honestly. Yours ever, Sydney S:mith. 

43 L] To Lady Ashburton. 

June, 1840. 
I choose to appear in your eyes a consistent and in- 
telligent clergyman, and therefore must explain how I 
am at Brighton and in Berkeley Square at the same 
time on the 17th. I purpose to be at Brighton from the 
1 4th to the 28th ; coming up to eat off two or three en- 
gagements I had previously contracted, but not accepting 
any fresh engagements for that period. S. S. 


432.] To John Whishaw, Esq. 

Combe Floret, Au^ast 26fh, 1840. 

My dear Whishaw, 

I read the death of the Bishop of Chichester with sin- 
cere regret — a thoroughly good and amiable man, and 
as liberal as a bishop is permitted to be. I am much 
obliged to you for mentioning those circumstances which 
marked his latter end, and made the spectacle less ap- 
palling to those who witnessed it. jMilnes has been here ; 
to him succeeded our friend Mrs. Grote, who is now here, 
and very agreeable ; she will remain with us, I hope, 
over Sunday. 

I send you, by the post, my letter to the Bishop of 
London. It will not escape you that the King of Clubs 
was long in a state of spiritual destitution, as were the 
Edinburgh Reviewers — all except me. ]\Irs. Sydney is 
much better than she was this time last year ; the ven- 
tilation she got at Brighton still continues to minister to 
her health. I am scarcely ever free from gout, and still 
more afflicted with asthma, but keep up my spirits. I 
am truly glad to hear such accounts of your health, and 
remain, my dear "Whishaw, ever sincerely and affection- 
ately yours, Sydney Smith. 

433.] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

September otii, 1840. 

I should be very glad to hear how all is going on at 
Castle Howard, dear Lady Carlisle, and whether my 
Lord and you keep up health and spirits with tolerable 
success — a difficult task in the fifth act of life, when the 
curtain must ere long drop, and the comedy or tragedy 
be brought to an end. 

Dilrs. Sydney is still living on the stock of health she 


•laid up at Brighton ; I am pretty well, except gout, asth- 
ma, and pains in all the bones, and all the flesh, of my 
body. What a very singular disease gout is ! It seems 
as if the stomach fell down into the feet. The smallest 
deviation from right diet is immediately punished by 
limping and lameness, and the innocent ankle and blame- 
less instep are tortured for the vices of the nobler organs. 
The stomach having found this easy way of getting rid 
of inconveniences, becomes cruelly despotic, and punish- 
es for the least oifenses. A plum, a glass of Champagne, 
excess in joy, excess in grief — any crime, however small, 
is sufficient for redness, swelling, spasms, and large 

si IOCS. 

I have found it necessary to give a valedictory 

flagellation. I know you and my excellent friend. Earl 
Carlisle, disapprove of these things ; but you must ex- 
cuse all the immense differences of temper, training, sit- 
uation, habits, which make Sydney Smith one sort of 
person, and the Lord of the Castle another — and both 
right in their way. Lord Carlisle does not like the ve- 
hicle of a newspaper ; but if a man want to publish what 
is too short for a pamphlet, what other vehicle is there ? 
Lord Lansdowne, and Philpotts, and the Bishop of Lon- 
don make short communications in newsj^apers. The 
statement of duels is made in newspapers by the flrst 
men in the country. To write anonymously in a news- 
paper is an act of another description ; but if I put my 
name to what I write, the mere vehicle is surely imma- 
terial ; and I am to be tried, not by where I write, but 
what I write. I send the newspaper. 

Ah, dear Lady Carlisle I do not imagine, because I did 
not knock every day at your door, and molest you with 
perpetual inquiries, that I have been inattentive to all 
tliat has passed, and careless of what you and Lord 
Carlisle have suffered. I have a sincere respect and af- 


fection for you both, and shall never forget yonr great 
kindness to me. God bless and preserve you ! 

Sydney Smith. 

434.] To Lady Davy. 

Greek Street, Xov. 28th, 1840. 

Dear Lady Davy, 
Do you remember that passage in the "Paradise Lost" 
which is considered so beautiful ? 

" As one who, long in populous cities pent, 
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, 
Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe 
Among the pleasant villages and farms 
Adjoin' d, from each thing met conceives delight ; 
The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, 
Or flowers : each rural sight, each rural sound. 
If chance with nymph-like step fair virgin pass, 
"What pleasing seem'd, for her now pleases more, 
She most ; and in her look simis all delight." 

I think this simile very unjust to London, and I have 
amended the passage. I read it over to Lady Charlotte 
Lindsay and the Miss Berrys. The question was, whom 
the gentleman should see first when he arrived in Lon- 
don ; and after various proposals, it was at last unani- 
mously agreed it must be you / so it stands thus : 

"As one who, long in rural hamlets pent, 
"Where squires and parsons deep potations make, 
"With lengthen'd tale of fox, or timid hare. 
Or antler'd stag, sore vext by hound and horn, 
Forth issuing on a winter's morn, to reach 
In chaise or coach the London Babylon 
Remote, from each thing met conceives delight; 
Or cab, or car, or evening muffin-bell. 
Or lamps : each city sight, each city sound. 
If chance with nymph-like step the Dav?/ pass, 
What pleasing seem'd, for her now pleases more, 
She most ; and in her look sums all delight." 

I tried the verses with names of other ladies, but the 
universal opinion was, in tlic conclave of your friends, 


that it must be you ; and this told, now tell me, dear 
Lady Davy, liow do you do ? Shall we ever see you 
again ? We are dying very fast here : come and take 
another look at us. !Mrs. Sydney is in the country, in 
rather bad health : I am (gout and asthma excepted) 
ver\' well. 

The sword is slowly and reluctantly returning into its 
scabbard. The Ministr}^ hangs by a thread. AVe are 
alanned by the Auckland war. 

You are much loved here, and much lamented ; and 
this is pleasant, even though thousands of miles inter- 
vene. I should be glad to know that any body under 
the equator or the southern tropic held me in regard and 
esteem. Sydney' Smith. 

435.] To E. MuRCHisoN, Esq. 

Combe Florkt, 1840. 

Dear Murchisox, 
^lany thanks for your kind recollections of me in send- 
ing me your pamphlet, which I shall read with all atten- 
tion and care. ]\Iy obser^'ation has been necessarily so 
much fixed on missions of another description, that I am 
hardly reconciled to zealots going out with voltaic bat- 
teries and crucibles, for the conversion of mankind, and 
baptizing their fellow-creatures with the mineral acids ; 
but I will endeavor to admire, and believe in you. ]My 
real alarm for you is, that by some late decisions of the 
magistrates, you come under the legal definition oi stroll- 
ers ; and nothing would give me more pain than to see 
any of the Sections upon the mill, calculating the resist- 
ance of the air, and showing the additional quantity of 
flour which might be gi'ound i/i vacuo — eacli man in the 
mean time imagining liimself a Galileo. 
■ Mrs. Sydney has eight distinct illnesses, and I liave 


nine. We take something every hour, and pass the mix- 
ture from one to the other. 

About forty years ago, I stopped an infant in Lord 
Breadalbane's gTOunds, and patted his face. The nurse 
said, " Hold up your head, Lord Glenorchy." This was 
the President of your society.* He seems to be acting 
an honorable and enlightened part in life. Pray present 
ray respects to him and his beautiful marchioness. 

Sydney Smith. 

Since writing this I have read your Memoir — a little 
too flowery, but very sensible and good. 

436.] To Mrs. . 

5G Greex Street, Nov. 18th, 1840. 

An earthquake may prevent me, dear Mrs. , a 

civil commotion attended with bloodshed, or fatal dis- 
ease^but it must be some cause as powerful as these. 
Pray return the inclosed when you have read it, as I 
have borrowed it. Yours affectionately, S. S. 

I have heard from Mrs. Grote, who is very well, and 
amusing herself with Horticulture and Demacracy — the 
most approved methods of growing cabbages and de- 
stroying kings » 

437.] To THE Countess of Morley. 

Combe Floret, 1840. 

Dear Lady ^Iorley, 
Many thanks for a letter which was very agreeable to 
Mrs. Sydney and myself. The former of these person- 
ages is much better, and complains principally of in- 

* Mr. Murchison -VN-as attending tlie British Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science that met at Glasgow. The President was the 
Marqnis of Breadalbaue. 


creased dimensions, as the old Indians do of our Indian 

I am always glad when London time an-i\'cs ; it al- 
ways seems in the country as if Joshua were at work, 
and had stopped the sun. You, dear Lady Morley, have 
the reverse of Joshua's talent, and accelerate the course 
of that luminary : 

By force prophetic Joshua stopp'd the sun, 
But Morley hastens on his course with fun, 
And listeners scarce believe the day is done. 

Rumors have reached us of your dramatic fame. 

The Bishop of London is behaving very well, and very 
like a man of sense. Admirable proclamation from Jack- 
son. Eead Lady Dacre — very good. 

Vmt I am getting garrulous, and will only add that I 
am, dear Lady Morley, with sincere respect and regard, 
yours, Sydney Smith. 

438.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Green Street, Nov. 29th, 184:0. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

No war, as you perceive ; and Palmerston's star ris- 
ing in the heavens. People who know that country say 
it is impossible the Turks can keep Syria. We seem 
dreadfully entangled in Oriental matters. Trade is very 
dull and falling off; and the Revenue, as you see, very 

]\Ielbourne gives up all foreign affairs to Palmerston, 
swearing at it all. Lord Grey would never have suffer- 
ed any Minister for Foreign Affairs to have sent such a 
dispatch as Palmerston's note to Guizot ; it is universal- 
ly blamed here. Pray don't go to war with France: 
that viusi be ^\Tong. 

I see Francis has vindicated himself from going to 


Dissenting cliapels, with all the fervor of one who feels 
he will Toe a bishop. 

The fallen prebendaries, like the devils in the first 
book of ]\Iilton, are shaking themselves, and threatening 

war against the -^ of . I am endeavoring to 

imitate Satan. 

You never say a word of yourself, dear Lady Grrey. 
You have that dreadful sin of anti-egotism. When I am 
ill, I mention it to all my friends and relations, to the 
lord lieutenant of the county, the justices, the bishop, 
the churchwardens, the booksellers and editors of the 
Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews. God bless you, 
dear Lady Grey ! Sydney Smith. 

439.]- To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Elorey, Dec. 20th, 1840. 

I am improved in lumbago, but still, less upright 
than Aristides. Our house is full of beef, beer, young 
children, newspapers, libels, and mince pies, and life 
goes on very well, except that I am often reminded I 

am too near the end of it. I have been trying 's 

"Lectures on the French Revolution," which I could 
not get on with, and am reading Thiers, which I find 

it difficult to lay down. is long and feeble ; and 

though you are tolerably sure he will be dull, you are 
not equally sure he will be right. We are covered with 
snow, but utterly ignorant of what cold is, as are all 
natural philosophers. 

What a remarkable woman she must be, that Mrs. 
Grote! she uses the word ^'- thereto.''^ Why use anti- 
quated forms of expression ? Why not wear antiquated 
caps and shoes ? Of all women living you least want 
these distinctions. 

I join you sincerely in your praise of ; she is 


beautiful, slie is clear of envy, hatred, and malice, she 
is very clear of prejudices, she has a regard for me. 

It will be a great baronet season — a year of the 
Bloody Hand. I know three more baronets I can in- 
troduce you to, and four or five knights ; but, I take 
it, the mock-turtle of knights will not go down. I see 
how it will end ; Grote will be made a baronet ; and if 
he is not, I will. The Ministers, who would not make 
me a bishop, can't refuse to make me a baronet. 
I remain always your attached friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

440.] To Lord Hatherton. 

Dover: 720 date (almit 1840). 

Dear Littleton, 
Your invitation has followed me to this place. I 
wish I could accept it ; but about forty years ago I con- 
tracted an obligation to cherish my wife,* and I have 
been obliged to bring her here; not that I am gulled 
by the sight of green fields and the sound of singing- 
birds — I am too old for that. To my mind there is no 

verdure in the creation like the green of 's face, 

and Luttrell talks more sweetly than birds can sing. 

Sydney Smith. 

441.] To Lady Holland. 

CoMBK Florky, Jan. 3d, 1841. 

]\Iy dear Lady Holland, 
I hope you are better than when I left town, and tliat 
you have found a house. I have had two months' holi- 
day from gout. Do not imagine I have forgotten my 

* Mrs. Sydney had been seriously ill, and he had Ijecn anxious she 
should try chanpje of air. 


annual tribute of a clieese, but my carriage is in tlie 
hands of the doctor, and I have not been able to get to 
Taunton ; for I can not fall into that absurd Enirlish 
fashion of going in open carnages in the months of De- 
cember and Januar}' — seasons "when I should prefer to 
go in a bottle, well corked and sealed. 

The Hibberts arc here, and the house full, light, and 
warm. Time goes on well. I do all I can to love the 
country, and endeavor to believe those poetical lies whicli 
I read in Rogers and others, on the subject ; which said 
deviations from truth were, by Rogers, all written in St. 
James's Place. 

I have long since got rid of all ambition and wish for 
distinctions, and am much happier for it. The joiu-ney 
is nearly over, and I am careless and good-humored ; 
at least good-humored for me, as it is not an attribute 
which has been largely conceded to me by Providence. 

Accept my affectionate and sincere good wishes. 

Sydney Smith. 

442.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Combe Flore y, Jan. 2oth^ 1841. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 
Pray say all that is kind on my part to ]\Iiss Poulter, 
and express how much flattered I am by her present. 
I have no imagination myself, but am deeply in admira- 
tion of those wlio have ; pray beg that we may meet as 
old friends, and embrace wherever we meet. I shall be 
in town the 17th of February. The Hibberts have sud- 
denly left us, and we are in a state of collapse. We are 
all pretty well, my asthma excepted. 

Ever, dear G., affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 


443.] To Mrs. Crowe. 

Combe Florky, Jan. 31s^, 1841. 

Dear Mrs. Crowe, 

I quite agree with you as to the horrors of correspond- 
ence. CoiTCspondences are like small-clothes before the 
invention of suspenders ; it is impossible to keep them up. 

That episode of Julia is much too long. Your inci- 
dents are remarkable for their improbability. A boy 
goes on board a frigate in the middle of the night, and 
penetrates to the captain's cabin without being seen or 
challenged. Susan climbs into a two-pair-of-stairs win- 
dow to rescue two grenadiers. A gentleman about to 
be murdered, is saved by rescuing a woman about to be 
drowned, and so on. The language is easy, the dialogue 
natural. There is a great deal of humor ; the plot is too 
complicated. The best part of the book is Mr. and Mrs. 
Ayton ; but the highest and most important praise of the 
novel is that you are carried on eagerly, and that it excites 
and sustains a great interest in the event, and therefore I 
think it a very good novel, and will recommend it. 

It is in vain that I study the subject of the Scotch 
Church. I have heard it ten times over from ^Murray, 
and twenty times from Jeffrey, and I have not the small- 
est conception what it is about. I know it has sometliing 
to do \ni\i oat-mcal, but beyond that I am in utter dark- 
ness. Every body here is turning Puseyite. Having 
worn out my black gown, I preach in my surplice ; this 
is all the change I have made, or mean to make. 

There seems to be in your letter a deep-rooted love 
of the amusements of the world. Instead of the ever 
gay ^Murray and the never silent Jeffrey, why do you 
not cultivate the Scotch clergy and the elders and pro- 
fessors ? I should then have some hopes of you. 

Sydney Smith. 


444.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Florkt, Feb, Gth, 1841. 

]\Iany thanks, my dear Lady Grey, for yoiu* inqui- 
ries. ]\Irs. Sydney is better than she has been for a 
long time; I have no gout, but am suffering from in- 
flamed eyes, proceeding from much reading and writ- 
ing. Reading and writing, God knows, to very httle 
use, but resorted to in the country from not knowing 
what else to do. 

I read Guizot's "Washington" in the summer. No- 
thing can be better, more succinct, more judicious, 
more true, more just ; but I have done with review- 
ing. I will write when I have collected some news for 
you in London. I have read " Susan Hopley." The 
incidents are improbable, but the book took me on, and 
I kept reading it. Sydney Smith. 

445.] To E. MoNCKTON Milnes, Esq. 

Combe Floret, Feb. 7th, 1841. 

Dear ^Iilnes, 

Pray tell me if you remembered my commission of 
jpapier chimique ; I am afraid you only thought oi j^*^^' 
jner politique. You are generally supposed to be the 
author of all the late measures of the French Cabinet. 

I purpose to be in town on the 17th, but the elements 
seem to purpose that I shall not. I often exclaim to the 
descending snow, " Pourquoi tant de fracas pour le voy- 
a<re d'un chanoine a Londres ?" 

Answer this letter, dear ^Milnes, by return of post, or 
you shall have a poor time of it when I arrive. 

Sydney Smith. 


446.J To K. MoNCKTON :Milxes, Esq. 

COMHK Fl.OREY, Fth. UtJl, 1841. 

]My DEAii Sir, 
I am very much obliged hy your kindness in procur- 
ing for me llie paj)ie?' chhn'Kjue. Pray let me kno\v 
•what I am in your debt : it is best to be scrupulous and 
punctilious in trifles. I should be very unhappy about 
3Iacleod and America, if I had not impressed upon my- 
self, in the course of a long life, that there is always 
some misery of this kind hanging over us, and tliat be- 
ing unhappy does no good. I console myself with Dodd- 
ridge's Exposition and "The Scholar Armed, "'to say no- 
thing of a very popular book, "The Dissenter Tripped 
up." I remain, my dear Sir, yours faithfully, 

Sydney Smith. 

447.] To K. MoxcKTON Milnes, Esq. 

Mu>-DEN YLov&y., Friday, Wth, 1841. 

Dear !Milnes, 
I will not receive you on these terms, but postpone 
you for safer times. I can not blame you ; but, serious- 
ly, dinners are destroyed by the inconveniences of a free 
Government. I have filled up your place, and bought 
your book. Sydney Smith. 

448.] To Mrs. . 

Grekx Strket, GROS^^•:^•on Square, 
March 5th, 1841. 

My dear IMrs. , 

At the sight of , away fly g^jcty, ease, careless- 
ness, happiness. Effusions are checked, faces are puck- 
ered up ; coldness, formality, and reserve are diffused 


over the room, and the social temperature tails down to 
zero. I could not stand it. I know you will forsive 
me, but my constitution is shattered, and I liave not 
nerv'es for such an occurrence. S. S. 

449.] Tn ^Irs. . 

March Cjth, 1341. 

My dear Mrs. . 

Did you never hear of persons who have an aversion 
to cheese ? to eats '? to roast hare ? Can you reason 
them out of it "? Can you -write them out of it "? "Would 
it be of any use to mention the names oi mongers wlio 
have lived in the midst of cheese '? "Would it advance 
your cause to insist upon the story of Whittington and 
his Cat ? 

As for you. dear !Mrs. . I Jiave a sincere regard for 

you, and that you well know. 1 am truly sorry you are 
going. ]Mrs. Sydney and I dine out together, and will 
both come to you after, if possible, or if impossible. Ex- 
cuse all this nonsense. Ever, with true affection and 
friendship, yours, S. S. 

450.] To E. MoNXKTOx AIilxes. Esq. 

GEEty SiREtT. 3/ay 11 ^'(, IS-tl. 

Deap. 3Iilx-es, 

I am very much obliged by your resendncr a place for 
me, but I have a party oi persons who are coming to 
breakfast with me ; all very common persons, I am 
ashamed to say, who see with their eyes, hear with their 
ears, and trust to the olfactory ner\-e3 to discriminate filth 
from fragrance. Pray come to us on Thursday, and 
(oh, Milnes I) save the countrv ! Sydney Smith. 


451.] To ]\Iks. Meynell.* 

Grekn Street, May 22d, 1841. 

^Iy DEAR Mrs. Meynell, 

This paper was quite white when it came here ; it is 
the constant effect of our street. 

I had a slight attack of fever, which kept me in bed 
for two nights, and was followed by a slight attack of 
gout. I am now tolerably well for a person who is never 
quite well. We spent two or three days at the Arch- 
bishop of York's, at Nuneham. There were Lord and 
Lady Burghersh, Rogers, and Granville Vernon: his 
daughter is a mass of perfections, I am glad your girl 
likes me. Give my love to her. I do not despair one 
day of convincing her of the superiority of the pavement 
over gTass ; but she is charming, and as fresh-minded as 
a sunbeam just touching the earth for the first time. 

We are five hours and a half to Bridgewater, and from 
Bridgewater eleven miles. Till now I have lived for 
three days on waiters and veal cutlets. God bless you I 
Ever affectionately yours, Sydney Smith. 

452.] To :Mrs. Grote. 

May SOth, 1841. 
The devil has left me, dear Mrs. Grote, and I can 
walk. I am as proud of tlic new privilege of walking as 
j\Ir. Grote would be of a peerage ; but I will not abuse 
it, as I have done before. * * * I have an unpleasant 
feeling to-day, and upon thinking what it is, I find that 
you arc out of London; therefore the quantity of intelli- 
gent matter caring about, and understanding, and loving 
me, is sensibly diminished. * * * Tell me if you will come 
to my breakfast on Saturday. Sydney Smith. 

* Written on green paper. 


453.] To THE Earl Grey. 

No date. 

My DEAR Lord Grey, 
I have been to-day to see tlie cartoons, and I am 
quite delighted with them. I think Hammick is a ty- 
rant, if he will not let you go. You will be able to see 
them perfectly well. I had no conception there was so 
much genius, so much cartoonery, such a power of 
grouping, and such accuracy of drawing, in the coun- 
try. I never was more pleased ; and I will never look 
again at an oil painting, except it should be of you, and 
that will excite in me all the sentiments of regard, re- 
spect, and gratitude I feel for the original. 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

454.] To ]\Irs. Procter. 

June, 1841. 

Dear ]Mrs. Procter, 

May I drink tea with you the 15th? (it is not Milnes 
wilting, but Sydney Smith) but may I ? It will be a 
great pleasure to me, if not inconvenient to you. 

I thank you sincerely for the Poems, which I will 
not only read, but sing. You have lent me also Cob- 
bet's Advice to Young Men, a book therefore well suit- 
ed to my time of life. 

I hope you have been passing your time agreeably, or 
rather I should say, disagreeably, as I have not benefited 
by your proximity ; but this London — it is a charming 
place, but I never do there what I please, or see those 
I like. At this moment, when I am agreeably occupied 
in writing to you, there is a loud knock at the door. 

I am about to suspend animation in the country for 
a week, and I beg you to answer my request at Mun- 

422 MP:M0IK of the rev. SYDNEY SMITH. 

den House, Watford, Herts. Animate, semi-animate, or 
in tlie full flow of metropolitan life, 

I remain, my dear IMadam, truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — I write on tins paper because it is the color in 
which I wish to see every object in human life.* 

455.] To Miss G. Harcourt. 

Combe Floret, Jtily 2'ith, 1841. 

My dear Georgiana, 

That innocent Betty may not be blamed, and that I 
may not be suspected of larceny, I must tell you that 
I have innocently and unconsciously carried away your 
silver pencil-case. I would continue to steal it, only it 
may be a gift from a friend. 

I enjoyed my visit at Nuneham very much. It gave 
me great pleasure to see the best of Archbishops in the 
best of health and spirits. Your niece Marianne pleased 
me very much. She has a volume of good qualities ; 
in short, I was pleased with every body and displeased 
with nobody, and yet I had the gout all the time, and 
often painfully ; but principally, dear Georgiana, I was 
pleased with you, because you are always kind and 
obliging to your old and sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

456.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Florey, Autj. 24^^, 1841. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
I hope that Lord Grey and you are continuing in ro- 
bust health. We are tolerably well here ; the gout is 
* The paper is rose-color. — A. B. P. 


never far off, tliougli not actually present : it is the only 
enemy that I do not wish to have at my feet. 

I hear ]\Iorpeth is going to America, a resolution I 
think very wise, and which I should decidedly carry 
into execution myself, if I were not going to Heaven. 

We have had divers people at Combe Florey, but 
none whom you would particidarly care about. How 
many worlds there are in this one world ! We are just 
nine hours from door to door by the ralkoad. The 
Gaily Knights left Combe Florey after nine o'clock, 
and were in Grosvenor Street before six. I call this a 
very serious increase of comfort. I used to sleep two 
nights on the road; and to travel with a pair of horses 
is miserable work. I dare say the railroad has added 
ten per cent, to the value of property in this neighbor- 

We are in great alarm here for the harvest. It is all 
down, and growing as it stands. It is Whig weather, 
and favorable to John Russell's speeches on the Corn 
Laws. Remember me very kindly to Lord Grey and 
Georgiana, and believe me your steady and affectionate 
friend, Sydney Smith. 

457.] To Lady Davy. 

Combe Florey, Atig. Slst, 184:1. 

My dear Lady Davy^, 

I thank you for your very kind letter, which gave to 
Mrs. Sydney and to myself much pleasure, and earned 
us back agi'ceably into past times. We are both toler- 
ably well, bulging out like old houses, but with no im- 
mediate intention of tumbling down. The country is 
in a state of political transition, and the shabby are pre- 
paring their consciences and opinions for a tack. 

I think all our common friends are doing well. Some 


are fatter, some more spare, none handsomer; but, such 
as tliey are, I think you will see them all again. But 
pray do you ever mean to see any of us- again ? or do 
you mean to end your days at Kome ? a town, I liear, 
you have entirely enslaved, and where, in spite of your 
Protestantism, you are omnipotent. Your Protestant- 
ism (but I confess that reflection makes me melancholy) 
— your attachment to the clergy generally — the activity 
of your mind — the Roman Catholic spirit of proselytism 
— all alarm me. I am assured they wiU get hold of 
you, and we shall lose you from the Church of En- 
gland. Only promise me that you will not give up, 
till you have subjected their arguments to my examin- 
ation, and given me a chance of reply : tell them that 
there is un Canonico dotissirao to whom you have 
pledged your theological faith. Excuse my zeal ; it is 
an additional proof of my affection. 

Sydney Smith. 

458.] To Miss G. Hapxourt. 

Combe Floret, S<^temher, 1841. 

;My DEAR Georgian A, 

There is something awful and mysterious in the curled 
cress-seed you sent me. Some of it will not come up 
at all ; other seeds put on the form of aU sorts of plants, 
and will in time be oaks and elm-trees. We wait the 
result in patience, and you shall hear it. 

There is an end of all earthly AVhiggism, and that 
unfortunate class of men are getting into holes and cor- 
ners as fast as possible. Some are taking orders, some 
are going to the Continent, some to xVmerica, some going 

over to Peel, some to Jerusalem. I think veiy 

likely to marry a Circassian, a large convex lady, filling 
up great space morally and physically. He is an ambi- 


tious man, tlioiigli lie looks as if liis brethren liad just 
sold liim to the Ishmaelite merchants. 

!Mr. seems to be the most important man north 

of the Humber. How can it be otherwise, dear Geor- 
giana, with such felicities in the pulpit as "the brilliant 
reptile's polished fang ?" Massillon has nothing equal to 

We have had a great deal of company. Of all the 
saints, I hate La Trappe the most : I believe he has 

been canonized. I wrote to W , at Plymouth, con- 

cei\dng him to be among the philosophers, of course, 
and not believing that an acid and an alkali would com- 
bine without him. Having received no answer from him, 
I imagined he had either quitted the world or the Estab- 
lished Church ; or that he was composing a pamphlet 

against Dr. Simon ^lagus the . Isly kind regards 

to him. 

I am delighted to hear of the health and activity of 
the Archbishop. Present to him, if you please, my 
homage. Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

459.] To M]is. G-ROTE. 

Sldmol-tk, Sept. Uth, 1841. 

Dear Mrs. Grote, 

We are come here for a few days ; it is very lovely, 
and very stupid. 

Your excursion to Brittany will be very pleasant, but 
not for the reasons you give. I have no idolatry for 
Madame de Sevigne ; she had merely a fine epistolaiy 
style. There is not a page of ]\radame do Stacil where 
there is not more thought, and very often, thoughts as 
just as they are new. 

I am drawing up a short account of the late Francis 


Horner, which Leonard Homer is to insert in a Me- 
moir he is about to publish of his brother: I read it 
to !Mrs. Sydney, who was much pleased with it, and I 
think you will not dislike it. I wish you had known 

There is a report that the curates are about to strike, 
that they have mobbed several rectors, and that a body 
of bishops' chaplains are coming down by the railroad to 
disperse them. Thank God, the heats are passed away ; 
I was completely exhausted, gave up locomotion, and 
poured cold water on my head. 

You do not say, but I presume you leave England tJie 
beginning of October. I will endeavor to look as much 
like the Apollo Belvidere as a corpulent Canon can do, 
when you return. Sydney Smith. 

460.] To THE Countess Grey. 

CoMBK Florey, Oct. 8th, 1841. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I do not believe that Peel had any thing to do, as 
some of the Whigs believe, with the shooting at Lord 
Howick ; however, I am very glad he survives, and is 
returned to Parliament, where, from his abilities and sta- 
tion, he has such an undoubted right to be. I am glad 
to find you are all so well. I am not ill, but should be 
much better if I lived in a colder climate. Lady Geor- 
giana is one of the best persons in the world, and is al- 
ways sure to do what is right. 

I see Mr. has been fighting the Puseyites. I am 

sorry for it, because, as his sincere friend, I wish he would 
neither speak nor write. He is a throughly amiable, fool- 
ish, learned man, and had better bring himself as little 
into notice as possible. 

]^ray read tlie first volume of Llphinstone's " Lidia.*' 


Tlie news from China gives me tlie greatest pleasure. I 
am for bombarding all the exclusive Asiatics, who shut 
up the earth, and will not let me w^alk civilly and quietly 
through it, doing no harm, and paying for all I want. 
We are in for a dozen years of Tory power at least, and 
the country will fast lapse into monarchical and eccle- 
siastical habits. In all revolutions of politics, I shall 
always remain, dear Lady Grey, sincerely and affection- 
ately yours, Sydney Smith. 

461.] To Mrs. . 

Grken Street, Oct. 29th, 1841. 

My dear ^Irs. , 

It grieves me to think you will not be in England this 
winter. The privations of winter are numerous enough 
without this. The absence of leaves and flowers I could 
endure, and am accustomed to ; but the absence of ami- 
able and enlightened women I have not liitherto con- 
nected with the approach of winter, and I do not at all 
approve of it. 

Great forgeries of Exchequer Bills in England, and all 
the world up in arms ; the evil to the amount of £200,000 
or £300,000. Sanguine people imagine Lord Monteagle 
^vill be hanged. I am a holder of Exchequer Bills to 
some little amount, and am quaking for fear. Poor Jef- 
frey is at Empson's, very ill, and writing in a melan- 
choly mood of himself. He seems very reluctant to resign 
his seat on the Bench, and no wonder, where he gains 
every day great reputation, and is of great use ; still he 
may gain a few years of life if he will be quiet, and fall 
into a private station. 

^Irs. Grote is, I presume, abroad, collecting at Rome, 
for Boebuck and others, anecdotes of Catiline and the 
Gracchi. She came to Combe Florey again this year. 


which was very kind and flattering. I have a high opin- 
ion of, and a real affection for her ; she has an excellent 
head, and an honest and kind heart. 

The Tories are going on quite quietly, and are in for 
a dozen years, I am living in London this winter quite 
alone ; pity me, and keep for me a little portion of re- 
membrance and regard. 

Your affectionate friend, Sydney Smith. 

462.] To John Murray, Esq. 

Mukden House, Wattord, 1841. 

]\Iy DEAR Murray, 

I am extremely obliged by your kind attention in 'svrit- 
ing to me respecting the illness of our friend Jeffrey ; I 
had seen it in the papers of to-day for the first time, just 
as your letter arrived, and was about to -wTite. "Who- 
ever, at his period of life, means to go on, and to be well, 
must institute the most rigid and Spartan-like discipline 
as to food. These are ihe conditions of nature, as plain 
as if they had been drawn up on parchment by a Writer 
to the Signet upon the proper stamp. 

The most sanguine of the Whigs think the next Par- 
liament will be much the same as this ; that parties will 
be as equally balanced. This is the opinion of Charles 
Wood and Lord Duncannon. The most sanguine of the 
Tories think they shall gain fifty votes. I have no opin- 
ion on the subject. 

It will give me great pleasure, my dear ^Murray, to 
sec you in London next spring ; you have such an ex- 
tensive acquaintance there, that you sliould keep it up. 
I am staying licre with the llibberts. Nothing can ex- 
ceed the comfort of the place. Happy the father who 
sees liis daughters so well placed ! I am very glad tlie 
Archbislioj) of Dublin has given something to Shannon, 


•whom I know, from your statements and from my own 
observation, to be a very excellent person. I will cer- 
tainly read liis book. 

Yours, dear Murray, most sincerely, 

Sydney Smith. 

463.] To THE Countess Grey. 

56 GRiiEi{ Street, Nov. 18t7i, 1841. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

Being in London, I think it is but a Christian pro- 
ceeding to write to my friends in the country. London 
is still full for the time of year. The Exchequer Bills 
and the Queen's accouchement have kept multitudes 
away from the country. I was very much frightened 
about Exchequer Bills, having £1200 in that sort of 
paper, but they all proved to be good. 

I hope Lord Grey has read, and likes, Macaulay's re- 
view of Warren Hastings. It is very much admired. 
I believe he is unaffectedly glad to have given up office. 
Literature is his vocation. 

No great mischief is done at the Tower. The Tories 
seem going on very quietly. 

I beg my kind regards to all. Sydney Smith. 

464.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Combe Floret, December, 1841. 

It shall be done, dearest G., as soon as I can get 
some silver paper adapted for foreign postages. I be- 
lieve Lady Davy to be the most kind and useful person 
whose acquaintance can be made at Rome. 

You may laugh, dear G., but, after all, the country is 
most dreadful ! The real use of it is to find food for 
cities ; but as for a residence of any man who is neither 
butcher nor baker, nor food-grower in any of its branch- 


es, it is a dreadful waste of existence and abuse of life. 
God bless you I Sydney Smith. 

I called on Miss last time I was in London. 

The answer at the door was, " She was gone from thence, 
but was to be heard of at the Temple." 

465.] To Mks. Meynell. 

CombeFi.oret, Dec.^ 1841. 

My dear Georgiana, 

It is indeed a great loss* to me ; but I have learnt to 
live as a soldier does in war, expecting that, on any one 
moment, the best and the dearest may be killed before 
liis eyes. 

Promise me, in the midst of these afflicting deaths, 
that you Avill remain alive ; and if Death does tap at the 
door, say, " I can't come ; I have promised a parson to 
see him out." 

These verses were found in Lord Holland's room in 
his handwriting: 

" Nephew of Fox, and friend of Grey, 

Enough my meed of fame, 
If those who dcign'd to observe me say 

I tarnish'd neither name." 

I have gout, asthma, and seven other maladies, but 
am otherwise very well. God bless you, Gem of Need- 
wood Forest ! Sydney Smith. 

466.] To Lady Ashbukton. 


You have very naturally, my dear Lady Ashburton, 
referred to me for some information respecting St. An- 

* The death of Lord Holland. 


tliony. The principal anecdotes related of liim are, that 
he was rather careless of his diet ; and that, instead of 
confining himself to boiled mutton and a little wine and 
water, he ate of side-dishes, and drank two glasses of 
sherry, and refused to lead a life of great care and cir- 
cumspection, such as his constitution required. The 
consequence was, that his friends were often alarmed at 
his health ; and the medical men of Jerusalem and Jer- 
icho were in constant requisition, taking exorbitant fees, 
and doing him little good. 

You ought to be very thankful to me (Lord Ashbur- 
ton and yourself) for resisting as iii-mly and honorably 
as I do, my desire to offer myself at the Grange ; but 
my health is so indifferent, and my spirits so low, and I 
am so old and half-dead, that I am mere lumber ; so that 
I can only inflict myself upon the Mildmays, who are ac- 
customed to Mr. ; and I dare not appear before 

one who crosses the seas to arrange the destinies of na- 
tions, and to chain up in bonds of peace the angry pas- 
sions of the people of the earth. 

Still I can preach a little ; and I wish you had wit- 
nessed, the other day at St. Paul's, my incredible bold- 
ness in attacking the Puseyites. I told them that they 
made the Christian religion a religion of postures and 
ceremonies, of circumflexions and genuflexions, of gar- 
ments and vestures, of ostentation and parade ; that they 
took up tithe of mint and cummin, and neglected the 
weightier matters of the law — justice, mercy, and the 
duties of life ; and so forth. 

Pray give my kind regards to the embassador of em- 
bassadors ; and believe me, my dear Lady Ashburton, 
with benedictions to the whole house, ever sincerely 
yours, Sydney Smith. 


467.] To E. MuECHisoN, Esq. 

Combe Floret, Dec. 2GtIi, 1841. 

Deae Murchison, 

Many thanks for your yellow book,* which has just 
come down to me. You have gained great fame, and I 
am very glad of it. Had it been in theology, I should 
have been your rival, and probably have been jealous of 
you ; but as it is in geology, my benevolence and real 
good-will toward you have fair play. I shall read you 
out aloud to-day ; Heaven send I may understand you ! 
Not that I suspect your perspicuity, but that my knowl- 
edge of your science is too slender for that advantage : 
a knowledge which just enables me to distinguish be- 
tween the caseous and the cretaceous formations ; or, as 
the vulgar have it, to know "chalk from cheese." 

There are no people here, and no events, so I have no 
news to tell you, except that in this mild climate my 
orange-trees are now out of doors, and in full bearing. 
Immediately before my window there are twelve large 
oranges on one tree. The trees themselves are not the 
Linna3an orange-tree, but what are popularly called the 
bay-tree, in large green boxes of the most correct shape, 
and the oranges well secured to them with tlie best 
packthread. They are universally admired, and, upon 
the whole, considered to be finer than the Ludovican 
orange-trees of Versailles. 

Yours, my dear Murchison, 

Sydney Smith. 

* The yelloio hook was an inaugural address to the Dudley and 
Midland Geological Society. 


468.] To THE Countess Grey. 

CoMBK Flore Y, Jan. lOth, 1842. 

My DEAR Lady Grey, 

Tell me if you think this sketch is like,* and what 
important feature I have left out or misrepresented. 
Remember, it is not an elo^e, but an analysis. 

I heard, when I was in London, that my old corre- 
spondent, Archdeacon Singleton, would be the first Tory 
bishop. He is a great friend of Peel's ; they could not 
select a better man. 

I pass my life in reading. The moment my eyes fail, 
I must give up my country preferment. I have met 
with nothing new or very well worth meeting, except 
the curious discoveries of ancient American cities in 
Mexico, by Stephens ; which, I presume, has been read 
at Howick. I am very glad Lord Howick is in Parlia- 
ment. His honesty, ability, and rank make it desira- 
ble for the country he should be there. 

I shall be very curious to know the impression Amer- 
ica produces on Lord ^lorpeth. He is acute, and his 
opinions always very just. It is a fortunate thing for 
the world that the separate American States are mak- 
ing such progress in dishonesty, and are absolutely and 
plainly refusing to pay their debts. They would soon 
have been too formidable, if they had added the moral 
power of good faith to tlieir physical strength. 

I beg my kind regards to Lord Grey and Lady Geor- 
giana ; and remain always, dear Lady Grey, with sin- 
cere respect and affection, your friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

* Inclosed in the above letter was the portrait of Lord Holland, to 
be found in the Memoir, p. 251. 

Vol. n.— T 


469.] To Sir George Philips. 

Combe Floret, Feb. Gth, 1842. 

My dear Philirs, 

I have suftered a great deal this winter from dullness 
and eiuiui. I am not one of those mortals that have 
" infinite resoui'ces in themselves,*' but am fitted up with 
the commonest materials, and require to be amused. 
However, I shall soon be in London, where I will take 
my revenge. Hibbert not being here, I have had no 
one to argue with. The neighboring clergy never at- 
tempt it, or they are checkmated the second or third 
move. Such sort of rumors as you allude to are disa- 
greeable, especially to young people, who imagine man- 
kind have left off hunting, shooting, and plowing, to 
speculate upon them. 

Are you not struck with the dij)lomatic gallantry of 
Lord Ashburton ? He resembles Pegulus. I tell him 
that the real cause of the hostility of America is, that 
we are more elegant, and speak better English than 
they do. 

The opening of the Session was very milk -and -wa- 
tery. The secession of the is a great accession of 

strength to Peel. is, besides his violence, a weak, 

foolish man. I met him two or three times at ^Ir. 
's, and have no doubt that he is anserous and asi- 

I want very much to write something, but can not 
bring myself to do it — principally from the great num- 
ber of topics which oifer themselves, all of which would 
be equally agi'eeable to me. I am very glad you have 
thrown away your last fit of gout. Considering your 
dreadful indulgences in tlie second course, I tliink they 
have let you ofi" very easily. Mrs. Sydney lias certain- 
ly taken a new lease. She is become less, can walk. 


and has much more enjoyment in Hfe. I am very well, 
asthma excepted. I remain, dear Philips, your old and 
sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

470.] To Lord Francis Egerton.* 

5G Green Street, Feb. ISth, 1812. 

Dear Lord Francis, 

Many thanks for your kindness in sending me the 
Pilgrimage, which I have read with real pleasure ; it is 
all good, but what I like best is the 53d, and that train 
of thought followed out in the subsequent stanzas. The 
toil and heat of the journey supported by the animation 
of the religious scenery ; this is truly poetical. I thought 
also the end very beautiful. 

I have sent to the press the pamphlet on the Marriage 
Act, as you desired. 

Ever very truly yours, Sydney Smith. 

471.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Green Street, 3 f arch IGtIi, 1842. 

My deak Lady Grey, 

A most melancholy occurrence — the death of poor 
Singleton ! So unexpected, and so premature ! He was 
an excellent specimen of an English clergyman, and I 
most heartily and sincerely regret his loss. We shall 
be very glad to see you here. This is the spot, I am 
convinced, where all the evils of life are soonest forgot- 
ten and most easily endured. 

I have no news to tell you. We are all talking here 
of India and Income ; the one circumscribed by the AfF- 
ghans, and the other by Peel, The Duke of Norfolk is 

* Now the Enrl of Ellesmere. 


John Grey seems to be a very sensible, pleasing young 
man. His refusal of the living of Sunbury convinces 
me that lie is not fond of gudgeon-fishing. I had figured 
to myself you and Lord Grey and myself engaged in 
that occupation upon the river Thames. S. S. 

472.] To Chaeles Dickens, Esq. 

Ma>/ Uth, 1842. 

My dear Dickens, 
I accept your obliging invitation conditionally. If I 
am invited by any man of greater genius than yourself, 
or one by whose works I have been more completely in- 
terested, I Avill repudiate you, and dine with the more 
splendid phenomenon of the two. 

Ever yours sincerely, Sydney Smith. 

473.] To Miss G. Hakcouet. 

Grekn Stkekt, JuIi/ 7th, 1842. 

Deae Geoegiana, 

What a pretty name is Georgiana! Many people 
would say, what a pretty name Georgiana is ! but this 
would be inelegant ; and it is more tolerable to be slov- 
enly in dress than in style. Dress covers the mortal 
body, and adorns it, but style is the vehicle of the spirit. 

Now, toucliing our stay with you, dear young lady, 
you said, " Stay longer : one day is not enough ;" and 
I myself think such a sojourning hasty and fugacious. 
It all comes from my modesty ; but Mrs. Sydney tells 
me I am endurable for two days, so we will stay witli 
you till Friday morning after breakfast, you and my Lord 
being willing, which I shall suppose you are, unless I 
hear to the contrary. 

I have many other things to say to you, but I post- 


pone them till we meet. It is time to put an end to my 
paper volubility, and you know liow I always end my 
letters by telling you (and tlie problems of Euclid are 
not more true) that I am your affectionate friend, 

Sydney S:^iith. 

474.] To Miss G. Harcourt. 

Combe Floret, Juhj IGth, 1842. 

My dear GeorCtIaxa, 

We had a very unpleasant journey home, from the 
tossing and heaving of our own carriage, in wliich we 
remained, instead of ^'oino- into one of the 2:reat carriacre- 
cottages. The next time we sliall try the other plan. 

Many thanks for your kindness and hospitalit}'. I 
was a little damaged by that handsome sister of ^Irs. 
: such a fine figure, and such a beautiful and com- 
manding countenance. I talked, sensibly for ten min- 
utes, without a single piece of foolishness — just as a ra- 
tional creatui-e would have done. I liked ^liss , 

but she was eclipsed by the new beauty, whom, if I were 
young and free, I think I should pursue even to the tab- 
ernacle, out-rant her preacliers, and become her favorite 

Combe Florey looked beautiful, and our parsonage the 
perfection of comfort. I have now put off my clnysalis 
wings, and assume the gTub state. You remain, dear 
Georgiana, a chrysalis all the year round — for there is 
veiy little difference between Bishopthorpe and Piccadil- 
ly, and none between Xuneham and Grosvenor Square. 

I have put off all the catalogue of domestic evils till 
Monday — sick cows, lame horses, frail females, mischiev- 
ous boys, and small felonies ! Your sincere and afiec- 
tionate friend, Sydney Smith. 


475.] To Sill Geokge Philips. 

CoMBii Plorey, Aug. IGth, ]842. 

My deak Philips, 

I am extremely glad to hear that Lady Philips and 
you are so well. ]\Irs. Sydney and I are resolved to fol- 
low your example, and have been imitating you in this 
particular for some time. The only point in which our 
practice differs is, that Mrs. Sydney and I get larger and 
larger as we get older ; you and Lady Philips become 
less and less. You will die of smallness — we shall per- 
ish from diameter. There has certainly been some seri- 
ous mistake about this summer. It was intended for 
the tropics ; and some hot country is cursed with our 
cold rainy summer, losing all its cloves and nutmegs, 
scarcely able to ripen a pine-apple out of doors, or to 
squeeze a hogshead of sugar from the cane. 

I agree in all you say about the Income Tax. Never 
was there such an obscure piece of penmanship ! It 
must have been drawn uj) by some one as ignorant of 

law lano'uaoe as Dr. is of medicine. What dread- 

ful blunders that poor J\Iedico will make ! Dreadful will 
be the confusion between the schedules ; worse than the 
confusion of phials by that nasty little boy, Pobert Rhu- 
barb, in his shop, whom he has taken as his apprentice, 
at a pound a year and liis breeches. 

I am a good deal alarmed at the slow return of pros- 
perity to the manufacturers, but still do not give up my 
opinion of amelioration. I should like very much to see 
a dispassionate examination of the present state of trade 
and manufactures. But Avho is dispassionate on such a 
subject? The writer has either lost or gained, or is a 
violent Whig or a violent Tory. 

There seems to be some appearance as if Lord Ash- 
burton had effected his object. He writes home that he 


may be expected any day, and that they are to write no 
more ; and the papers say that the heads of the treaty 
are agreed upon. If he have completed his object, it is 
one of the cleverest and most brilliant things done in my 
time, and he has honestly won his earldom. I never had 
much belief in his success, because I did not imagine that 
the xA.mericans ever really intended to give up a cause of 
quarrel, which might hereafter be so subservient to their 
ambition and extension. God bless you, my dear old 
friend I Sydney Smith. 

476.] To Lady Wenlock. 

Combe Floret, 1842. 

]\Iy dear Lady Wenlock, 

I am heartily sorry for the necessity which takes you 
to Italy. You have many friends, who wiU be truly 
anxious for your welfare and happiness ; pray place us 
on that list. The constant kindness and attention I 
have received from Lord Wenlock and yourself have 
bound me over to you, and made me sincerely your 
friend, and your highly obliged friend. I will write you 
a line now and then, if you will permit me, to tell you 
how the world literary and ecclesiastical is going on. 

Many thanks for the charge, which I will certainly 
read. If I am as much pleased with it as you are, I am 
sure my pleasure will be mingled with no small share 

of surprise ; for though I think the Bishop of a 

very amiable man, I did not think I should ever read 
with approbation, or indeed read at all, ten pages of his 

I beg to be kindly remembered to IMiss Lawley, whom 
IMrs. Sydney and I have fairly fallen in love with ; so af- 
fable, so natural, so handsome — you will never keep her 
long, for I should think it a perfect infamy in any young 


man of rank and fortune to be three days in lier compa- 
ny without making her an offer. 

My kindest wishes and earnest "benediction for you 
and yours, dear Lady AYenlock, Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — The charge is admirable ; I have written to tlie 
Bishop about it. 

477.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Aug. 2GtIi, 1842. 

3Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I hope you have survived the heat ; I have done so, 
but with some difficulty. After the heat came the riots. 
The only difference between these and the former manu- 
factiu'ing riots is, that the mob have got hold, under the 
name of Chartism, of some plan for political innovation ; 
but that plan is so foolish, that I do not think it will be 

If any one bearing the name of Grey comes this way, 
send him to us : I am Grey-ineii-iverou&. God bless 
you, dear Lady Grey I I will not scold you any more ; 
silent or scribbling, you shall have your own way, pro- 
vided you will believe me to be your affectionate friend, 

Sydney S:mitii. 

478.] To Lady J)xxx, 

September Uth, 1842. 

jMy dear Lady Davy, 
There is a demand for you in England, and a general 
inquiry whether you have given us up altogether. I al- 
ways defend you, and say, if you have so done, that it is 
from no want of love for us, but from a rooted dislike of 
rheumatism, catari'h, and bodily inal-ttre^ such as all 
true Britons undergo for eleven months and three weeks 
in tlie year. 

What have I to tell you of our old friends ? Lady 

is tolerably well, with two courses and a French cook. 
She has fitted up her lower rooms in a very pretty style, 
and there receives the shattered remains of the symposi- 

asts of the house. Lady has captivated Mr. , 

though they have not proceeded to the extremities of 

maiTiage. Mr. is going gently down hill, trusting 

tliat the cookery in another planet may be at least as good 
as in this ; but not without apprehensions that for mis- 
conduct here he may be sentenced to a thousand years 
of tough mutton, or condemned to a little eternity of fam- 
ily dinners. ^ *"* 

I have not yet discovered of what I am to die, but I 
rather believe 1 shall be burnt alive by the Puseyites. 
Nothing so remarkable in England as the progress of 
these foolish people. I have no conception what they 
mean, if it be not to revive every absurd ceremony, and 
every antiquated folly, which the common sense of man- 
kind has set to sleep. You will find at your return a 
fanatical Church of England, but pray do not let it pre- 
vent your return. We can always gather together, in 
Park Street and Green Street, a chosen few who have 
never bowed the knee to Rimmon. 

Did you meet at Rome my friend Mrs. ? Give 

me, if you please, some notion of the impression she pro- 
duced upon you. She is very clever, very good-natured, 
and good-hearted, but the Lilliputians are afraid of her. 
We shall be truly glad to see you again, but I think you 
will never return. Why should you give up your serene 
heavens and short winters, to re-enter this garret of the 
earth ? Yet there are those in the gan-et who know how 
to appreciate you, and no one better than your old and 
sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

442 MP:M0IR of the rev. SYDNEY SMITH. 

479.] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

Ko date. 

My dear Lady Carlisle, 

I have just sent a long letter to the brother of Francis 
Horner, which he is to publish in his [Memoir of my old 
friend. I had great pleasure in writing it. You and 
Lord Carhsle will, I am sure, justify all the good I have 
said of him. 

Even Archbishops of Canterbury must die. Arch- 
bishops of York seem to be the only persons exempt. 
I wonder who will succeed. It is of great importance 
that Archbishops should be tall. They ought not to 
take them under six feet, without their shoes or wigs. 
Lord Liverpool meant to elevate Kaye, the Bishop of 
Lincoln, if the see of Canterbury had become vacant in 
his time ; but the Church would not last twenty years 
with such a little man. 

I hope you are well and happy, dear Lady Carlisle, 
and that every Victoria's head that reaches Castle How- 
ard brings you pleasing intelligence of sons, daughters, 
and gi-andchildren. Sydney Smith. 

480.] To John Murray, Esq. 

Combe Floret, Se^yt. 12th, 1842. 

]\Iy dear Murray, 

How did the Queen receive you? What was the gen- 
eral effect of her visit ? Was it well managed ? Does 
she show any turn for metaphysics? Have you had 
much company in the Highlands ? 

^Irs. Sydney and I are both in fair health — such 
health as is conceded to moribundity and caducity. 

Horner applied to me, and I sent him a long letter 
upon the subject of his brother, which lie likes, and 


means to publish in liis ^lemoirs. He seeks the same 
contribution from Jeffrey. Pray say to Jeffrey that lie 
ought to send it. It is a great pity that the subject has 
been so long deferred. The mischief has all proceeded 
from the delays of poor Whishaw, who cared too much 
about reputation, to do any thing in a period compati- 
ble with the shortness of human life. If you have seen 
Jeffrey, tell me how he is, and if you think he will 
stand his work. 

We have the railroad now within five miles. Bath 
in two hours, London in six — in short, every where in 
no time I Every fresh accident on the raiboads is an 
advantage, and leads to an improvement. What we 
want is, an overturn which would kill a bishop, or, at 
least, a dean. This mode of conveyance would then 
become perfect. We have had but little company here 
this summer. Luttrell comes next week. I have given 
notice to the fishmongers, and poulterers, and fruit-wo- 
men I Ever, dear ^lurray, your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

481.] To Sir George Philips. 

CoMHE Flore Y, Sept. Uih, 1842. 

My dear Philips, 
I have no belief at all in the general decay of En- 
disli manufactures ; and I believe before Christmas the 


infernal regions of Manchester will be in an uproar of 
manufacturing activity. I have made my return of in- 
come, but I have done it by the light of nature, unas- 
sisted by the Act. They should not put such men as 

Dr. W^ to interpret difficult Acts. Your fiiend 

Rolfe is always liked by the Bar. He gives universal 

I hear that I^ady Pliilips is 'a good deal alarmed at 


the idea of Yigne, the traveler in Caboul, being a ]\Io- 
hammedan. I have no belief that lie is so ; but you 
had better inquire of Dr. "Wright about it, and that will 
put the clergyman of the parish at his ease. 

It seems quite useless to kill the Chinese. It is like 
killing flies in July; a practice which tires the crudest 
schoolboy. I really do not know what is to be done, 
unless to send Napier, who, for a sum of money, would 
dethrone the Emperor, and bring him here. You should 
read Xapier's two little volumes of the war in Portugal. 
He is a heroic fellow, equal to any thing in Plutarch; 
and moreover, a long-headed, clever hero, who takes 
good aim before he fires. I had a letter yesterday from 
Howick. They are all expecting in Northumberland 
that the Queen will return by land. 

I hope you have given up riding, and yielded to the 
alarms of your friends. Indeed, my dear old friend, it 
is perilous to see you on horseback. If you had ever 
the elements of that art, there might be some hope, but 
you know I never could succeed in teaching you, either 
by example or precept. 

Ever, my dear Philips, most sincerely yours, 

SYD^'EY Smith. 

482.] To Lady Holland. 

Combe Floret, Sept. 13/7i, 1842. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I am sorry to hear Allen is not well ; but the reduc- 
tion of his legs is a pure and unmixed good ; they are 
enormous — they are clerical I He has the creed of a 
pliilosopher and tlie legs of a clergyman ; I never saw 
such legs — at least, belonging to a layman. 

Read "A Life in the Forest," skipping nimbly; but 
there is much of good in it. 


It is a bore, I admit, to be past seventy, for you are 
left for execution, and are daily expecting the death- 
warrant ; but, as you say, it is not any thing very cap- 
ital we quit. We are, at the close of life, only hurried 
away from stomach-aches, pains in the joints, from sleep- 
less nights and unamusing days, from weakness, ugli- 
ness, and nervous tremors ; but we shall all meet again 

in another planet, cured of all our defects. will be 

less irritable ; more silent ; will assent ; Jef- 
frey will speak slower ; Bobus will be just as he is ; I 
shall be more respectful to the upper clergy ; but I shall 
have as lively a sense as I now have of all your kind- 
ness and affection for me. Sydney Smith. 

483.] To Mrs. Meynell. 

Co3iBE Floret, SejU. loth, 1842. 

Dearest Gee, 

Nothing could exceed the beauty of the grapes, ex- 
cept the beauty of the pine-apple. How well you un- 
derstand the clergy ! 

I am living, lively and young as I am, in the most 
profound solitude. I saw a crow yesterday, and had a 
distant view of a rabbit to-day. I have ceased to 
trouble myself about company. If any body thinks it 
worth while to turn aside to the Valley of Flowers, I 
am most happy to see them ; but I have ceased to lay 
plots and to toil for visitors. I save myself by this 
much disappointment. Sydney' Smith. 

484.] To the Countess Grey. 

Co-MiJE Flokey, Sq)t. 10th, 1842. 

^Iy dear Lady Grey, 
Thank God, this fine summer, which you so admire, 


is over! I have sufFered dreadfully from it. I was 
only half-alive, and could with difficulty keep all my limbs 
together, and make them perform their proper functions. 

You wrote me a very kind letter ; I am very much 
obliged to you for it. I am very proud of the friend- 
ship of yourself and Lord Grey, and value myself more, 
because you set some value upon me. Luttrell is stay- 
ing here ; he is remarkably well, considering that he 
has been remarkably well for so many years. You never 
seem tired of Howick, or if you are, you do not confess 
it. I am more unfortunate or more honest. I tire of 
Combe Florey after two months, and sigh for a change, 
even for the worse. This disposition in me is hereditary ; 
my father lived, within my recollection, in nineteen dif- 
ferent places. 

Lord Ashburton seems to have done very well. The 
treaty can hardly be a bad one ; any concession was bet- 
ter than war. He owes his success, not more to his o^vn 
dexterity, than to the present poverty and distress of 
America. They are in a state of humiliation. The State 
of Pennsylvania cheats me this year out of £50. There 
is nothing in the crimes of kings worse than this villainy 
of democracy. The mob positively refuse all taxation 
for the payment of State debts. 

I have heard from several London people the details 

of . It is among the most remarkable events 

of my time, and very frightful. I never longed to steal 
any thing but some manuscript sermons from my broth- 
er clergymen, and I have hitherto withstood the tempta- 
tion. Sydney S:mith. 

485.] To Lord Penman. 

COMUK ri-OUKY, Ortohcr, 1842. 

]My' dear Lord, 
I liave received your speecli upon affirmations ; and 


though it is not said so on the white leaf, I Ibelieve 
you sent it to me : if not, leave me in the honorable 

Your great difficulty in arguing such a question is 
akin to that of proving that two and two are equivalent 
to four. All that the Legislatui-e ought to inquire is, 
whether tliis scruple is now become so common as to 
cause the frequent inteiTuption of justice. This admitted, 
the remedy ought to follow as a matter of course. We 
are to get the best evidence for establishing tnith — not 
the best evidence v:e can imagine^ but the best evidence 
xoe ccm jyrocure ; and if you can not get oath, you must 
put up with affirmation, as far better than no e\adence 
at all. But one is ashamed to descant upon such obvi- 
ous truths. 

One obvious truth, however, I have always great pleas- 
ure in descanting upon ; and that is, that I always see 
the Chief Justice leading the way in every thing that 
is brave, liberal, and wise ; and I beg he wiU accept 
my best Tvishes and kind regards. 

Sydney Smith. 

486.] To :\Iks. . 

CoMBK Floret, Oct. IZtJi, 1842. 

IsIy dear Mrs. , 

You lie heavy upon my conscience, unaccustomed to 
bear any weight at all. What can a country parson say 
to a traveled and traveling lady, who neither knows nor 
cares any thing for wheat, oats, and barley ? It is this 
reflection which keeps me silent. Still she has a fine 
heart, and likes to be cared for, even by me. 

Mrs. Sydney and I are in tolerable liealth — ^both bet- 
ter than we were when you Hved in England ; but there 
is much more of us, so that you will find you were only 


half acquainted witli us ! I wish I could add that the 
intellectual faculties had expanded in proportion to the 
augmentation of flesh and blood. 

Have you any chance of coming home ? or rather, I 
should say, have we any chance of seeing you at home ? 
I have been living for three months quite alone here. I 
am nearly seventy-two, and I confess myself afraid of 
the very disagreeable methods by which we leave this 
world ; the long death of palsy, or the degraded spectacle 
of aged idiotism. As for the pleasm^es of the world — it 
is a very ordinary, middling sort of place. Pray be my 
tombstone, and say a good word for me when I am dead I 
I shall think of my beautiful monument when I am go- 
ing ; but I wish I could see it before I die. God bless 
you ! Sydney Smith. 

487.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Green Street, November, 1842. 

There are plenty of people in London, dear Lady 
Grey, as there always are. I am leading a life almost 
as riotous as in the middle of June. Have you read 
Macaulay's "Lays ?" They are very much liked. I have 
read some of them, but I abhor all Grecian and Roman 

There are no Whigs to be seen. There are descrip- 
tions of them ; but they are a lost variety of the species, 
like the dodo or sea-cow. 

I am just recovered from a fit of the gout, but am quite 
well — enjoying life, and ready for death I 

Kind regards to my Lord, and to Gcorgiana, the hon- 
est and the true; and much affection from your old 
friend, Sydney Smith. 


488.] To Lady Holland. 

Novemhe?' Gth, 1842. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I have not the heart, when an amiable lady says, 
"Come to ' Semu-amis' in my box," to decline; but I 
^et bolder at a distance. " Semiramis" would be to me 
pure misery. I love music very little — I hate act- 
ing; I have the worst opinion of Semiramis herself, 
and the whole thing (I can not help it) seems so child- 
ish and so foolish that I can not abide it. Moreover, 
it would be rather out of etiquette for a Canon of St. 
Paul's to go to an opera ; and where etiquette prevents 
me from doing things disagreeable to myself, I am a per- 
fect martinet. 

All these things considered, I am sure you will not 
be a Semiramis to me, but let me off. 

Sydney Smith. 

489.] To Mlss Berry. 

November, 1842. 
Where is Tittenhanger ? 
Is it near Bangor ? 
Is it in Scotland, 
Or a more flat land ? 
Is it in Wales, 
Or near Versailles ? 
Tell me, in the name of grace, 
Why you go to such a place ? 
I do not know in what map to look, 
And I can't find it in tlic lload-book. 
I always feel so sad and imdone, 
When }'ou and Agnes go from London. 
Your loving friend and plump divine 
Accepts your kind commands to dine. 
I will be certain to remember 
The fifteenth day of this November. 
There is a young Prince 
Two days since — 


But for fear I should Le a bore, 
I won't write you any more ; 
Indeed I've nothing else to tell, 
But that Monckton JSIilues is well. 

Sydney Smith. 

490.] To Lady Bell. 

iiG Grklx Steeet, Grosvenou Square, 
Xov. 26th, 1842. 

!My DEAR Lady Bell, 
What has a clergvman to offer but sermons ? 
Look over this,* and if you like it, copy it, and return 
it here before the 6th of December. They are common 
arguments, but I know no other — and attribute what I 
send not to vanity, but kindness, for your state affected 
me very much. I will call upon you A'ciy soon. 

Ever vours, Sydney Smith. 

491.] To ^hi^. Holland. 

Combe Florey, Decemher, 1842. 

My dear Saba, 

Your three eldest children will each receive a copyf 
from me. I had intended to send them before your let- 
ter came ; therefore submit with a good gi*ace, and do 
not oppose your papa. 

Ever youi- affectionate father, Sydney Smith. 

492.] To the Countess Grey. 

DecemUr2\st, 1842. 

Dear Lady Grey, 
I am quite delighted Avitli the railroad. I came down 

* This Sermon was published after ^Ir. Sydney Smith's death. ""We 
.ire perplexed, but not in despair," etc. 
T Of the writer s "Works. 


in the public carriages without any fatigue, and I could 
have gone to the poles or the equator without stopping. 
Distance is abolished — scratch that out of the catalogue 
of human evils. 

Luckily, serious quarrels have broken out here, and 
every body is challenging every body. This is some- 
thing to talk about. I study the question deeply, wheth- 
er the Clerk of the Peace is to fight a certain captain 
whose name is Mars, These quarrels produce a whole- 
some agitation of tlie air, and disturb the serious apo- 
plexy of a country life. 

I have just read young Philips's review of Alison, and 
think it very good. It is well expressed, and the cen- 
sure is conveyed in a much more gentle manner than 
characterizes the Edinburgh Review, or than did charac- 
terize it when I had any thing to do with it. I am not 
sure that it is not every now and then languid and fee- 
ble, and certainly it has the universal fault of being a 
great deal too long. What is required in a review ? As 
much knowledge and information upon any one subject 
as can be condensed into eight or ten pages. You must 
not bring me a loaf when I ask for a crust, or a joint of 
meat when I petition for a sandwich. 

The weather is here, as it seems to be every where, 
perfectly delightful. Even in Scotland they pretend it 
is fine ; but they are not to be believed on their oath, 
where the climate of Scotland is concerned. 

Did you ever read "Le Perc Goriot," by Balzac, or 
" La Messe de I'Athce ?" They are very good, and per- 
fectly readable for ladies and gentlemen. 
Your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 


493.] To Chakles Dickens, Esq. 

Janw.irij Gth, 1S43. 

My dear Sir, 

You have been so used to these sort of impertinences, 
that I believe you will excuse me for saying how veiy 
much I am pleased with the first number of your new 
work. Pecksniff and his daughters, and Pinch, are ad- 
mirable — quite first-rate painting, such as no one but 
yourself can execute. 

I did not like your genealogy of the Chuzzlewits, and 
I must w^ait a little to see how 3Iartin turns out ; I am 
impatient for the next number. 

Pray come and see me next summer ; and believe me 
ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

P.S. — Chuffey is admirable. I never read a finer 
piece of writing ; it is deeply pathetic and affecting. 
Your last number is excellent. Don't give yourself the 
trouble to answer my impertinent eulogies, only excuse 
them. Ever yours, S. S. 

494.] To Lady Holland. 

CoMiJE Florey, Jan. IGtIi, 1843. 

My dear Lady Holland, 

I exempt you from a regular and punctual system of 
answers to my nonsense. I find it almost impossible to 
read your liandv\Titing ; but knowing it always contains 
some proffer of kindness and hospitality to me, I answer 
upon general principles and conjecture. 

Have you any objection to take a few lessons of writ- 
ing from me in my morning calls ? I could bring you 
on very much in the course of next summer ; and if you 
take pains, I will show your book to Lady Cowper. I 


behaved very generonsly to Bobus in letting him off from 
coming here ; he promises to come next summer, but 
such is my good-nature, that I think he will try to es- 
cape. Bowood is, I believe, his only exception to the 
love of solitude. 

We are in a snow-storm ; but with a warm house and 
noisy grandchildren, I defy the weather. I wish for no- 
thing out of the house but the continuance of your kind- 
ness and affection. Sydney Smith. 

495.] To Miss Berry. 

Co^tBE Floret, Jan. 28tli, 1843. 

Are you well ? Answer me that, and I am answered. 
I question every body who comes from Curzon Street, 
and the answers I get are so various, that I must look 
into the matter myself. Who comes to see you? or 
rather, who does not come to see you ? Who are the 
wise, the fan*, the witty, who absent themselves from 
your parties, and still preserve their character for beau- 
ty, for wisdom, and for wit ? I have been hybernating 
in my den, but begin to scent the approach of Spring, 
and to hear the hum of the ^letropolis, proposing to be 
there the 2 2d of February. 

Poor ! the model of all human prosperity ! He 

seems to have been killed, as an animal is killed, for his 
plumpness. What other motive could there be? Or 

was it to liberate him from the ? to terminate the 

frigid friendship, and to guard the from that heavy 

pleasantry with which, in moments of relaxation, 

is apt to overwhelm his dependants ? I say, moments 
of relaxation ; because this unbending posture of mind 
is never observed in him for more than a few seconds. 

^Mankind looked on witli critical curiosity when Lady 
Holland dined with you ; only general results reached 


me here ; it would have been conducted, I am sure, with 
the greatest learning and skill on both sides. Ah! if 
Providence would but give us more Boswells ! But your 
liouse deserves a private Boswell ; think of one. Whom 
will you choose ? I am too old, and too absent — absent, 
I mean, in body. 

I am studying the death of Louis XVI. Did he die 
heroically ? or did he struggle on the scaffold ? Was 
tliat struggle (for I believe there was one) for permission 
to speak ? or from indignation at not being suffered to 
act for himself at the last moment, and to place himself 
under the ax ? J\Iake this out for me, if you please, and 
speak of it to me when I come to London. I don't be- 
lieve the Abbe Edgeworth's " Son of St. Louis, raontez 
au ciel f It seems necessary that great people should 
die TV'ith some sonorous and quotable saying. ]\Ir. Pitt 
said something not intelligible in his last moments : G. 
Eose made it out to be, " Save my country, Heaven!" 
The nurse, on being interrogated, said that he asked for 

I have seen nobody since I saw you, but persons in 
orders. My only varieties are vicars, rectors, curates, 
and every now and then (by way of turbot) an arch- 
deacon. There is nobody in the country but parsons. 
Hem ember, you gave me your honor and word that I 
should find you both in good health in February. Upon 
the faith of this promise I gave, and now give, you my 
benediction. Sydney Smith. 

496.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Green Street,' Feb. 28t/t, 184:3. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
Bulteel has stated his case to me, and I have given 
him my advice upon it. Has a bishop a riglit to make 


a condition of ordination, that wliicli the law does not 
make a condition — that no man shall be ordained who 
has not taken an English degree ? Suppose he were to 
say that no man should be ordained who travels on the 
Continent, or who has studied the Italian language, or 
wlto is not six feet high. Where does power end? How 
does he prove that the tutor knew this rule? "What 
right has he to say, that a man (even knowing it) may 
not go to be ordained when he chooses ? and fifty other 
questions to which the case gives birth, 

Sydxey Smith. 

497.] To EoDERicK MuKCHisox, Esq. 

Gkeex Street, March 10th, 1843. 

Deaji Murchisox, 
Many thanks for your address, which I will diUgently 
read. May there not be some one among the infinite 
worlds where men and women are all made of stone ? 
Perhaps of Parian marble ? How infinitely superior to 
flesh and blood I What a paradise for you, to pass 
eternity with a greywacke woman ! 

Ever yoiu-s, Sydxey Smith. 

P.S. — Very good indeed I The model of an address 
from a scientific man to practical men ! Great zeal, and 
an earnest desire to make others zealous. 

The style and language just what they ought to be. 
Xo lapses, no indiscretions. The only expression I 
quarrel with is, monograph ; either it has some conven- 
tional meaning among geologists, or it only means a 
pamphlet — a book. 


498.] To Miss G. Harcourt. 

Green- Street, March 2^th, 1843. 

My dear Georgiana, 

Was there ever such stupid trash as these humorous 
songs ? If there is any thing on earth makes me mel- 
ancholy, it is a humorous song. Still I glory in the 

Widow E , and am infinitely pleased with her good 

sense and the gentleness of her nature. 

I did not think you were recovered at ^Ir. Grenville's, 
but I thought you better at Belgrave Square. I took a 
medical survey of you, unobserved by you. 

Always, dear Georgiana, your affectionate friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

Note to Miss G. Harcourt. 

My dear G., 

The pain in my knee 

Would not suffer me 

To drink your bobea. 

I can laugh and talk, 

But I can not walk ; 

And I thought His Grace would stare 

If I put my leg on a chair. 

And to give the knee its former power, 

It must be fomented for half an hour; 

And in this very disagreeable state, 

If I had come at all, I should have been too late. 

499.] To Dr. Whewell. 

April m, 1843. 

My dear Sir, 
]\Iy lectures are gone to the dogs, and are utterly for- 
gotten. I knew nothing of moral philosophy, but I was 
thoroughly aware that I wanted £200 to furnish my 
liousc. The success, however, was prodigious ; all Al- 


bemarle Street blocked up with carriages, and such an 
uproar as I never remember to have been excited by any 
other literary imposture. Every week I had a new the- 
ory about conception and perception ; and supported by 
a natural manner, a torrent of words, and an impudence 
scarcely credible in this prudent age. Still, in justice to 
myself, I must say there were some good things in them. 
But good and bad are all gone. By "moral philoso- 
phy" you mean, as they mean at Edinburgh, mental 
philosophy ; ^. e., the faculties of the mind, and the ef- 
fects which our reasoning powers and our passions j^ro- 
duce upon the actions of our lives. 

I think the University uses you and us very ill, in 
keeping you so strictly at Cambridge. If Jupiter could 
desert Olympus for twelve days to feast with, the harm- 
less Ethiopians, why may not the Vice-Chancellor com- 
mit the graduating, matriculating world for a little time 
to the inferior deities, and thunder and lighten at the 
tables of the Metropolis ? 

I hope you like Horner's "Life." It succeeds ex- 
tremely well here. It is full of all the exorbitant and 
impracticable views so natural to very young men at 
Edinburgh ; but there is great order, great love of knowl- 
edge, high j)rinciple and feelings, which ought to grow 
and thrive in superior minds. 

Our kind regards to ]\Irs. Whewell. Ever, my dear 
Sir, sincerely yours, Sydney Smith. 

500.] To EoDKRicK ]\ruiiCiiisoN, Esq. 

Gkken Street, Ajm'l 29th, 1843. 

Dear Mijrchison, 
I am very much obliged to you for your book, whicJi 
I shall read, though I shall not understand it ; not from 
your want of light, but from my want of vision. I re- 

YoT. IT,— IT 


joice in your reputation ; I know your industry and en- 
tei-prise, and am always truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

501.] To Miss Berry. 


Dear Berries, 

I dine on Saturday with the good Widow T , 

and blush to say that I have no disposable day before 
the 26th ; by which time you will, I presume, be pluck- 
ing gooseberries in the suburban regions of Richmond. 
But think not, O Berries I that that distance, or any 
other, of latitude or longitude, shall prevent me from fol- 
lowing you, plucking you, and eating you. Whatever 
pleasm-e men find in the raspberry, in the strawberry, in 
the coffee-berr}', all these pleasures are to my taste con- 
centrated in the May-Fair Berries. 

Ever theirs, Sydney Smith. 

502.] To John ^Murray, Esq. 

Greej? Street, June, ^ih^ 1843. 

]\Iy dear Murray, 

I should be glad to hear something of your life and 
adventures, and the more particularly so, as I learn you 
have no intention of leaving Edinburgh for London this 

Mrs. Sydney and I have been remarkal^ly Avell, and 
arc so at present ; why, I can not tell. I am getting 
very old in years, but do not feel that I am become so 
in constitution. My locomotive powers at seventy-three 
are abridged, but my animal spirits do not desert me. 
I am become ricli. i\Iy youngest brotlier died suddenly, 
leaving behind him £100,000 and no will A third of 


this, therefore, fell to my share, and puts me at my ease 
for my few remaining years. After buying into the Con- 
sols and the Reduced, I read Seneca " On the Contempt 
of "Wealth I *' What intolerable nonsense ! I heard 
your Hoge from Lord Lansdowne when I dined with 
him, and I need not say how heartily I concurred in it. 
Xext to me sat Lord Worsley, whose inclosed letter af- 
fected me, and veiy much pleased me. I answered it 
with sincere warmth. Pray return me the paper. Did 
you read my American Petition, and did you approve it ? 

Why don't they talk over the virtues and excellences 
of Lansdowne ? There is no man who performs the du- 
ties of life better, or tills a high station in a more becom- 
ing manner. He is full of knowledge, and eager for its 
acquisition. His remarkable politeness is the result of 
good-nature, regulated by good sense. He looks for tal- 
ents and qualities among all ranks of men, and adds 
them to his stock of society, as a botanist does his plants ; 
and while other aristocrats are yawning among Stars and 
Garters, Lansdo^^Tle is refreshing his soul with the fan- 
cy and genius which he has found in odd places, and 
gathered to the marbles and pictui'es of his palace. Then 
he is an honest politician, a wise statesman, and has a 
philosophic mind ; he is very agreeable in conversation, 
and is a man of an unblemished life. I shall take care 
of him in my ]\Iemoirs ! 

Remember me very kindly to the niaxhnxis iiihimixis^'^ 
and to the Scotch Church. I have lu-ged my friend the 
Bishop of Durham to prepare kettles of soup for the se- 
ceders, who will probably be wandering in troops over 
our northern counties. 

Ever your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

* Lord Jeffrey. 


50o.] To Charles Dickens, Esq. 

56 Grekn Street, JuIj 1st, 1843. 

Dear Dickens, 
Excellent ! nothing can be better ! You must settle 
it with the Americans as you can, but I have nothing to 
do with that. I have only to certify that the number is 
full of wit, humor, and power of description. 

I am slowly recovering from an attack of gout in the 
knee, and am very sorry to have missed you. 

Sydney Smith. 

504.] To Lord Mahon. 

July Uh, 1843. 

My dear Lord Mahon, 
I am only half recovered from a violent attack of gout 
in the knee, and I could not bear the confinement of 
dinner, without getting up and walking between the 
courses, or thrusting my foot on some body else's chair, 
like the Arclibishop of Dublin. For these reasons, I 
have been forced for some time, and am still forced, 
to decline dinner engagements. I should, in a sounder 
state, have had great pleasure in accepting the very agree- 
able party you are kind enough to propose to me ; but I 
shall avail myself, in the next campaign, of your kind- 
ness. I consider myself as well acquainted with Lady 
^lahon and yourself, and shall hope to see you here, as 
well as elsewhere. Pray present my benediction to your 
charming wife, who I am sure would bring any plant in 
the garden into full flower by looking at it, and smiling 
upon it. Try the experiment from mere curiosity. 

Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 


505.] To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Floret, July 17th, 1843. 

I have been sadly tormented with the gout in my 
knee. I had made great progress ; but at the Arch- 
bishop's I wallved too much, and the gout came back. 

My place looks very beautiful, and I really enjoy the 
change. We were very sorry not to see you the even- 
ing you were to come to us ; but the temptation not to 
come, where you have engaged to come, is more than 
you can resist : try refusing, and see Avhat that will do ! 
Mr. Grote was very agreeable and sensible, as he always 
is. I met Brunei at the Archbishop's, and found him 
a very lively and intelligent man. He said that when 
he coughed up the piece of gold, the two surgeons, the 
apothecary, and physician all joined hands, and danced 
round the room for ten minutes, without taking the least 
notice of liis convulsed and half-strangled state. I ad- 
mire this very much. 

Your sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

506.] To His Grace the Archbishop of York. 

Combe Floret, July 20th, 1843. 


I have taken the liberty to send your Grace the half 
of a Cheddar cheese. It is directed to you, at Nune- 
ham Steventon. You will be glad to hear my knee is 
better a good deal. I have written two letters to the 

Eeverend Leibnitz ^N'ewton Lavoisier W H , to 

know when he means to come here, and can get no an- 
swer. There must be something wrong at the Poles or 
the Equator, or in the ]\Iilky Way. Pray jog him. 

I am learning to sing some of Moore's songs, which I 


think I shall do to great perfection. I found here every 
thing very comfortable and very beautiful ; as I left 
every thing, though in a very superior degree, at Nune- 

I beg my kind regards to dear Georgiana, and remain, 
my dear Lord, with affection and respect, always youi's, 

Sydney Smith. 

507.J To Mrs. jMeynell. 

Combe Florey, 1843. 

My dear Mrs. Meynell, 

Let me, if you please, have a word or two from you, 
to tell me of your new habitation. Saba seems to have 

been delighted with her visit. I see has been 

with you. How did you like her? To me she is 
agreeable, civil, and elegant, and by no means insipid. 
She has a kind of ready-money smile, and a three-per- 
cent, affability, which make her interesting. 

We have been leading a very solitary life here. Hardly 
a soul has been here, but I am contented, as I value more 
every day the pleasures of indolence ; and there is this 
difference between a large inn like Temple Newsam and 
a small public-house like Combe Florey, that you hold 
a numerous society, who make themselves to a certain 
degree independent of you, and do not weigh upon you ; 
whereas, as I hold only two or three, the social weight 
is upon me. Luttrell is staying here. Nothing can 
exceed the innocence of our conversation. It is one con- 
tmued eulogy upon man-and-woman-kind. You would 
suppose that two Arcadian old gentlemen, after shear- 
ing their flocks, had agreed to spend a week together 
upon curds and cream, and to indulge in gentleness of 
speech and softness of mind. 
, We liavc had a superb summer, but I am glad it is 


over ; I am never liappy till the fires are Kglited. 
Where is your house in London ? You can not but buy 
one : it is absolutely impossible for Temple Newsam 
not to have a London Establishment. God bless you, 
dear G. ! Keep a little love for your old friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

o08.] To Sir George Philips, Bart. 

56 Greex Street, Anr^. Idth, 1843. 

My dear Philips, 

I still believe in the return of business to Manchester, 
because I believe in the efficiency of capital, coals, and pri- 
ority of skill, and can not think that these advantages 
can be so soon eclipsed. How can the cotton trade be 
lessened, if the import of the raw article continues every 
three years to increase ? If the demand remains the 
same, or nearly the same, and a mill, from the improve- 
ments of machinery, can do three times the work it used 
to do, of course two-thirds of the mills must be put 
down ; and this apparent stagnation is considered a 
proof of the dimunition of the trade, whereas it is evi- 
dence of its healthy state and its increase. 

We have had little Tommy Moore here, who seemed 
very much pleased with his visit. j\Ir3. Holland and 
her five children are here. 

I can not make out the Spanish revolution. I thought 
Kspartero honest, brave, and to be well understood and 
esteemed by the Spanish people ; but they all rise up 
with one accord, and kick him into that refuge of ex- 
pelled monarchs — a British man-of-war. 

I think the Conservatives begin to feel that Sir Rob- 
ert Peel is a little damaged ; still I should be sony to 
see him out : he knows how to disguise liberal ideas, 
and to make them less terrible to the Foolery of a coun- 


try. The Whigs delight to shock and affront, and to 
make their enemies ashamed that such a measure has 
not been carried out before. I am glad your journey is 
about to be shortened to London : the rail has been inval- 
uable here — it has brought us within fifty miles of Lon- 
don. The danger is of becoming, from our proximity 
to the railroad, too much in fashion ; but I have a 
steady confidence in my own bad qualities. 

Your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

509.] To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Flore y, Aug. 31st, 1843. 

My dear Mrs. Grote, 

We shall be extremely glad to see Grote and you. 
I have not received the "Morning Post" you sent me; 
but I perceive, in other papers, my squib has burst, and 
caused some consternation. 

I find I am getting old, and that my bodily feelings 
agree very well with the parish register. You seem to 
liave had a very amusing life, with singing and dancing; 
but you can not excite my envy by all the descriptions 
of your dramas and melodramas ; you may as well paint 
the luxuries of barley-meal to a tiger, or turn a leopard 
into a field of clover. All this class of pleasures inspires 
me with the same nausea as I feel at the sight of rich 
plum-cake or sweetmeats ; I prefer the driest bread of 
common life. I am in no degree answering your taste, 
but stating my own. 

I wish Mrs. would make us a visit here ; she 

i.s so good-natured and amiable, that we should be really 
very glad to see her. 

In coming licre, you come to old age, and stupidity 
connected with old age; I have no recommendation to 


offer you, but a beautiful country and an affectionate 

Peel seems to be a little damaged ; it may be that 
Ireland can not be governed by Tories. Three-fourths 
of the quarrels of England seem to be about established 
churches. Dr. Holland is just come from Ireland with 
a diminished sense of the danger of the Repeal cry. My 
house is, as I tell my daughter, as full of Hollands as a 

I have a letter from Ticknor, of Boston, who thinks 
the Pennsylvanians will pay ; but I tell him when once 
a people have tasted the luxury of not paying their 
debts, it is impossible to bring them back to the black 
broth of honesty. Yours, Sydney S^iith. 

p.S. — The "Morning Post" is arrived. The author 
of the letter is Ticknor, Professor at Boston ; it is hon- 
orable to me; but he magnifies my literary gains, and 
I much doubt if I have ever gained £1500 by my lit- 
erary labors in the course of my life. 

510.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Sejjt. Sc/, 1843. 

Don't attempt to teach Sir the Northum- 
berland method of farming. He cares for nothing but 

Piccadilly and the hospitals, and Lady , and is 

miserable out of London. In coming home last week 
firom a dinner-party, our carriage was stopped ; and as 
I was preparing my watch and money, a man put his 
head into the window, and said, "We want Dr. Hol- 
land." They took him out, and wc have heard nothing 
of him since ; we think of advertising. 

I am thinking of going for a week or ten days to 


Ilfracombe. My only difficulty is to find out whether 
I like to go. I am very fond of a short visit to the 
sea, but the comforts of home become every day more 
important to old people ; a bad bed, a cold room, a 
smoky grate — these are the prices always paid for ex- 

Ever affectionately yours, 

)Sydney Smith. 

511.] To Lady Dufferin. 

Combe Floret : no date. 

I am just beginning to get well from that fit of gout, 
at the beginning of which you were charitable enough to 
pay me a visit, and I said — the same Providence which 
inflicts gout creates Dufferins ! We must take the good 
and the evils of life. 

I am charmed, I confess, with the beauty of this 
country. I hope some day you will be charmed with 
it too. It banished, however, every Arcadian notion to 

see walk in at the gate to-day. I seemed to be 

transported instantly to Piccadilly, and the innocence 
went out of me. 

I hope the process of furnishing goes on well. At- 
tend, I pray you, to the proper selection of an easy 
chair, where you may cast yourself down in the weari- 
ness and distresses of life, with the absolute certainty 
that every joint of the human frame will receive all the 
comfort which can be derived from easy position and 
.soft materials ; then the glass, on which your eyes arc 
so often fixed, knowing that you have the great duty 
imposed on the Sheridans, of looking well. You may 
depend upon it, happiness depends mainly on these lit- 
tle things. 

I hope you remain in perfect favor with Pogers, and 


that you are not omitted in any of the dress breakfast 
parties. Remember me to the Xorton : tell her I am 
glad to be sheltered from her beauty by the insensibility 
of age ; that I shall not live to see its decay, but die 
with that unfaded image before my eyes ; but don't 
make a mistake, and deliver the message to , in- 
stead of your sister. 

I remain, dear Lady Dufferin, 

A^ery sincerely yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

A71 Inclosure, 

September 22d. 

I am very much mortified that Lady Dufferin does 
not answer my letter. She has gone to Germany — she 
is sick — she has married Rogers — she .... In 
short, all sorts of melancholy explanations came across 
me, till I found that the probable reason of her not 
answering my letter was, that she had not received it. 
I was strengthened in this belief from finding in my 
^\Titing-desk the letter itself, which was -written a month 
ago, and I conceived it to have been dispatched the 
same day. I can write nothing better, for I can only 
repeat my admiration and regard. 

Sydney Sjiith. 

512.] To Miss Berry. 

Combe Flore y : supposed 1843. 
I am reading again Madame du Deftand. God forbid 
I should be as much in love with any body (yourself 
excepted) as the poor woman was with Horace Walpole ! 
Did I ever wTite to you before on this paper? It is 
called in the shops criminal blush demy. There is an 
innocent blush demy, which is clieaper. 


I see some serious evil lias befallen Ferguson of Raitli. 
I lament it for your sake and for the general good, as lie 
is an excellent person. 

The smell of war is not over. I lament, and can con- 
ceive no gix*ater misery. Among other c\dls, every body 
must he ready for fighting ; and I am not ready, but 
much the contraiy. I am ten miles from tlie coast; a 
French steamer an-ives in the night, and the first thing 
I hear in the morning is that the cushions of my pulpit 
are taken away, and my curate and chiu'ch war dens car- 
ried into captivity. 

I was Sony to be forced to give sucli a beating, 

but he was very saucy and deserved it ; however, now 
the battle is over, and I hope to live in good-humor with 
all the world for the rest of my life, and to bury the war 
hatchet. I am glad to hear such excellent accounts of 
your health. Live as long as you can ; nobody will be 
more missed. Give my love, if you please, to Agnes 
and Lady Charlotte. If you return, all of you, in good 
health to London, I w^ill speak to ^lilnes, and have a 
poem written in praise of Richmond. 

Sydney Smith. 

513.] To THE Countess Grey. 


My dear Lady Grey, 

ITow is Lord Grey going on ? I conjecture that what 
I read in the papers is tiiic, and that your patient has 
really benefited by the gout, for such is the common or- 
der or sequence of medical events. 

Su2:»pose O'Connell to liave used language violently 
seditious, that there is clear proof of it, and that it is 
possible to obtain any thing like a fair trial, I think the 
^liriistcrs Iiavc acted properly. The question is worth 


a battle or two ; and, if the "battle is to be fought (I 
mean the physical battle), it had better be at the time 
we choose, rather than at the time he chooses. AYe 
liave no foreign war now ; there is a good harvest, and 
an improving trade. I don't think it a bad time for 
taking O'Connell bj the beard, and then, the next Par- 
liament, pay the Catholic clergy. 

My prediction is, that Peel will be driven out bv the 
concessions to be made to Ii'eland, and that it will fall to 
Lord John to destroy the absurd Protestant Church m 
that kingdom. It will hardly do to pay the priests ; 
the thing is gone beyond that now. You must remove 
the flockless pastors, or the payment of the priesthood 
will be useless. 

I think the Duke quite wrong about the sites for the 
new Churches. I should feel very disaffected ao-ainst 
inequahty of possession, if I could not get a place for my 
altar. I am almost for compelling the landed possessor, 
under the verdict of an appraising jury, to sell me land 
for such purposes. I become irritable at this oppression. 
I think Lord Grey and you will catch the kindred flame. 
Your affectionate friend, Sydney S:>tiTH. 

514.] To Lord Murray. 

Co:siBE Floret, Sept. 29M, 1843. 
^Iy dear ^lURRAl', 
Jeffrey has "v\'ritten to me to say he means to dedicate 
his Essays to me. This I think a Yery great honor, and 
it pleases me very much. I am sure he ought to resign. 
He has ver}' feeble health ; a mild climate would suit 
the state of liis throat. 3Irs. Jeffrey thinks he could not 
employ himself. AYives know a great deal about hus- 
bands ; but, if she is right, I should be surprised. I 
liave thought he had a canine appetite for books, thougli 


this sometimes declines in the decline of life. I am 
beautifying my house in Green Street; a comfortable 
house is a great source of happiness. It ranks immedi- 
ately after health and a good conscience. I see your re- 
ligious war is begun in Scotland. I suppose Jeffrey will 
be at the head of the Free Church troops. Do you think 
he has any military talents ? 

You are, I hear, attending more to diet than hereto- 
fore. If you wish for any thing like happiness in the 
fifth act of life, eat and drink about one half what you 
could eat and drink. Did I ever tell you my calculation 
about eating and drinking? Having ascertained the 
weight of what I could live upon, so as to preserve 
health and strength, and what I did live upon, I found 
that, between ten and seventy years of age, I had eaten 
and drunk forty four-horse wagon-loads of meat and 
drink more than would have preserved me in life and 
health ! The value of this mass of nourishment I con- 
sidered to be worth seven thousand pounds sterling. 
It occun-ed to me that I must, by my voracity, have 
starved to death fully a hundred persons. This is a 
frightful calculation, but irresistibly true ; and I think, 
dear ]\Iurray, your wagons would require an additional 
horse each ! 

Lord and Lady Lansdowne, who are rambling about 
this fine country, are to spend a day here next week. 
You must really come to see the West of England. 
From Combe Florey we will go together to Linton and 
Lynmouth, than which there is nothing finer in this isl- 
and. Two of our acquaintance dead this week — Stewart 
Mackenzie and Bell ! We must close our ranks. God 
bless you, my dear Murray ! Sydney Siviith. 


515.] To THE Rev. Sydney Smith. 

[Inserted with the permission of the Bishop of London.] 

FuLHAJVi, Oct. 31 s^, 1843. 

]\Iy dear Sir, 
I have been very mucli occupied during tlie last week, 
or I should have written to you before, to express the 
great pleasure which I have received from the intelli- 
gence of your kind and generous intentions toward young 
Mr. Tate. It is a substantial proof of your regard for 
his father, and I really believe well deserved by the 
young man himself, who has been an active and useful 
curate of the parish which is now placed in his charge as 

This arrangement will be most cheering and consola- 
toiy to poor Mrs. Tate.* 

I am, my dear Sir, yours faithfully, 

C. J. London. 

516.] To R. MoNCKTON MiLNES, Esq. 

Green Street, Nov. 8th, 1843. 

My dear Sir, 
I am glad the business is in such good hands; it is 
the important measure of the day. As to any share I 
may take in it, it must depend upon my foot, ankle, and 
knee. If the Americans will not book up, they must 
take the consequences. 

I am just going to pray for you at St. Paul's, but with 
no very hvely hope of success. 

Sydney Smith. 

* See Memoir, p. 289. 


517.] To Lord Murray. 

56 Greex Steekt, Xov. dth, 1843. 

My dear Murray, 

I am afraid there is little chance of your coming so 
far as Combe Florey, but, if that could be done, it would 
give us sincere pleasure to show Mrs. Murray and your- 
self our very pretty country ; in the mean time I shall 
look forward to the more probable chance of seeing you 

Jeffrey's legs have as little to support as any legs in 
the island ; I can not see why they should be out of or- 
der. I am delighted to iind his general health so good. 
He is about to dedicate his Reviews to me. I said 
(what I sincerely felt) that I considered it as the great- 
est compliment ever paid to me. I shall be obliged to 
you for the herrings, and tell me, at the same time, how 
to dress them ; but perhaps I mistake, and they are to 
be eaten naked. 

Your exhortation comes too late. My letter in the 
"Chronicle" was published before yours to me arrived. 
It is generally found fault with, as being too favorable, 
and to this I plead guilty ; but I find I get more mild 
as I get older, and more unwilling to be severe. But if 
they do not (in business phrase) " book up" by Christ- 
mas, I shall set at them in good earnest. I have no sort 
of belief that they will ever pay, and I mean this week 
to sell out, I hope and believe at 61, five per cent, stock. 
Ever yours, Sydney Smith. 

518.] To Lady Ashburton. 

DoGMKRSFiELD Park, Dcc. 3d, 1843. 
]\Iany thanks, dear Lady Ashburton ; but on the 7th 
I must be at Combe Florey, and remain there till my 


emersion in Februaiy. I return to London on Monday, 
and depart again for liome immediately. All joking 
apart — the real impediment to making visits is, that de- 
rangeable health which belongs to old age. I am never 
well when I arrive at a new house. The bread, the wa- 
ter, the hours, the bed, the change of bolster — every 
thing puts me out. I recover in two or three days, and 
then it is time to depart. This made the wise man say, 
that a man should give over argument at thirty, riding 
at sixty, and visiting at seventy. 

I am truly sorry you are not well. I consider Lord 
Ashburton and you as good friends, and I rejoice in your 
rejoicing, and am sorry for the ills which happen to you. 

I agTce with you that is in the high road to Pusey- 

ism, and that is the postboy who is driving her 

there. She does not mind in the least what I say to 
her, and calls me a priest of Baal. 

Pray give my kind regards to the Plenipotentiary ; 
first taking the necessary precaution to state where I 
live, my profession, age, or any thing that will awakeu 
in him a recollection that he has seen me before. 

Ever/ dear Lady Ashburton. most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

519.] To Lord Murray. 

Greek Street, Dec. ith, 1843. 

I have just read an admirable review of Senior's upon 
Ireland, for the next Edinburgh Eeview. ISTotliing can 
be wiser or better ; at the same time, how can any two 
enlightened persons differ upon such a subject ? 

Pray do not put off coming to town next year, or, at 
least, coming to Combe Florey ; for I am afraid I can 
not put off dying much longer — not that I am ill, but 


old. I am very glad you like my American Letters. 
The question is, will they make them angiy or honest 
— or "both ? I did not, however, mean to say what would 
make them pay, but to show them that their conduct had 
been shameful in not paying before, and should leave 
upon them this feeling, whether they ultimately paid or 

Tell William ]\lurray, with my kindest regards, to 
get for you, when he comes to town, a book called " Ar- 
abiniana, or Remains of Mr. Serjeant Arabin" — very 
witty and humorous. It is given away — not sold, but 
I have in vain endeavored to get a copy. 

Sydney Smith. 

520.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Tauxtox, X>ec. lOth, 1843. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I hope you were amused with my attack upon the 
Americans. They really deserved it. It is a monstrous 
and increasing "villainy. Fancy a meeting in Philadel- 
phia, convened by public advertisement, where they came 
to resolutions that the debt was too great for the people 
to pay, that the people could not pay it, and ought not 
to pay it ! I have not a conception that the creditors 
will ever ha^'c a single shilling. 

Tell Lord Grey I recommend to his attention, in the 
forthcoming Edinburgh Review, an article uj^on Ireland 
by Senior, the Master in Chancery, which I think ad- 
mirable ; it contains, in my humble estimation, an enu- 
meration of the medicines, and a statement of the treat- 
ment, necessary for your distracted country ; in defense 
of which I always state that it has at least produced 
Lady Grey. 

I keep my health tolerably well : occasionally fits of 


gout, but my eyes are in good preservation ; and while 
I can read and can write, I have no care ahout age. I 
should add another condition — that I must have no pain. 
I am reading the Letters to George Selwyn, by which I 
am amused. ]\Iany of them are "WTitten with wit and 
spirit ; they bring before me people of whom I know a 
little ; and the notes are so copious, that the book makes 
a history of those times ; certainly, a history of the man- 
ners and mode of life of the upper orders of society. 

Eemember me very kindly and affectionately to my 
friend and patron Lord Grey, and believe me as affec- 
tionately yours, Sydney Smith. 

521.] To Lord Murray. 

Combe Floret, Dec. 17th, 1843. 

^Iy DEAR Hurray, 

Xothing can be better than the grouse ; they arrived 
in perfect preservation, and gave great satisfaction. 

Lady is staying here. She seems to be a very 

sensible and very worthy person. I must do her the 
justice to say that when my jokes are explained to her, 
and she has leisure to reflect upon them, she laughs very 

I am glad you like my American Letters. I see the 
rebound has taken place, and all the papers combine in 
abusing me. 3Iy firm opinion is, that they will never 
pay. The Legislature dares not impose the tax — the 
people would never pay it. I shall not be unobservant 
of what is said in the American papers, and, if needs be, 
address a few more last words to Jonathan. 

Be sure that you keep to your plan of coming to En- 
gland at Easter, to be fresh dyed. Depend upon it, it 
will do you good. Sydney Smith. 


522.] To Mrs. Grote. 

December 18th, 1843. 

My DEAR Mrs. Grote, 
I hope tlie Irish fossils have reached you by this time, 
and that they are approved of. 

* ^ * * * * 

My "bomb has fallen very successfully in America, 
and the list of killed and wounded is extensive. I 
have several quires of paper sent me every day, call- 
ing me monster, thief, atheist, deist, etc. Duff Green 
sent me three pounds of cheese, and a Captain Moni- 
gan a large barrel of American apples. The last news 
from America -will, I think, lower the Pennsylvanian 

I wonder how you are occupied. I am reading ]\Ion- 
taigne. He thinks aloud, that is his great merit, but 
does not think remarkably well; mankind have im- 
proved in thinking and writing since that period. Have 
you read Senior's article for the forthcoming Edinburgh 
Review ? It is excellent, and does him great credit. 

I went, while in town, one night to the Sartoris', where 
Mrs. Sartoris was singing divinely. 

Your sincere friend, Si^dney Smith. 

523.] To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Floret, Dec. 23c?, 1843. 

Dear Mrs. Grote, 

You are so energetic, that you never attend to any 
thing in particular, but are always lost in generalities. 
I sent you a letter of Jeffrey's, which you have not re- 
turned. Are you satisfied that your friend Faucher 
was treated as well as Lord Jeffrey's health would permit? 

You complain of the smallness of the potatoes : let 


me suggest the romantic plan of having the potatoes 
picked ; the large ones reserved for your table, the small 
ones for the pigs. It is by this ingenious and com- 
plicated process that the potatoes you get from the green- 
gTOcer in London are managed. There is no accounting 
for tastes. The potatoes I sent appear to me to be ex- 

You have planted seven hundred firs ; the number is 
scarcely credible. Have you read the Swedish method 
of planting, under which the tree grows fourteen feet 
in one year? It consists in burying half a pound of 
tallow candles w^th every fir planted. I can not believe 
it ; but it is difficult to disbelieve what is published in 
a grave work. 

Ever your sincere friend, Sydney Smith. 

524.] To Siii George Philips. 

CoiiBE Floret, Dec. 28th, 1843. 

My DEAR Philips, 

I am going to Bo wood for five or six days next week. 
I shall find Bobus there, who will come on from thence 
here. He is very blind, but bears up against the evils 
of age heroically. The great question of the next Ses- 
sion will be the support of the Catholic clergy. Will 
Peel dare to bring it on ? Will he be able to carry it in 
and out of the House, if he does ? Longman has printed 
my American Letters in the shape of a small pamphlet, 
and it has a veiy great circulation. I receive presents of 
cheese and apples from Americans who are advocates 
for paying debts, and very abusive letters in print and 
in manuscript from those who are not. I continue to 
think the Pennsylvanians will not pay ; and so thinks, 
as I hear, Jones Lloyd. 

Your old and affectionate friend, Sydney Smith. 


.325.] To ]\Iks. Holland. 

December, 1843. 

jMy Dear Saba, 

I will bear in mind the name and misfortimes of 
^Ir. B., and if any opportunity occurs, will endeavor to 
make myself useful to liim ; but, as you may suppose, 
I am up to tlie ears in clergymen. Your mother sent 
you the flaming panegyric of me in the " ]\Iorning Chron- 
icle" (and sent it at my desire, because I am sure it 
would give you pleasure, as I see you have an honest 
pride in the praises of your father) ; whether right or 
■wrong others must determine, if any one thinks about 
it ; but I should really deserve some praise if I could 
write as well as my eulogist. 

Your mother and I mean to have a twelfth-cake, and 
draw kings and queens alone. Pray desire G. Hibbert 
to let us know whether and when he will come, and don't 
forget this message. !Many thanks for your kindness in 
getting Charlotte Loch* a place ; the misfortune of the 
poor girl is that she has not been taught millinery and 
mantuamaking. Give my love to all your party ; and 
believe me, your affectionate father, 

Sydney Smith. 

526.] To :\Irs. Holland. 

Combe Floret, Decemher. 

My dearest Daughter, 
Many pardons for not having "VAi-itten to you according 
to promise ; but the calf and the kitchen-maid both kept 
tlieir beds, George Strong had quinsy, and the shafts 
were broken. I had a very agreeable journey down, go- 
ing in tlic public carnages — an infinitely more agreeable 
* One of Ills parishioners, about whom he was interested. 


method tliaii in a private vehicle. I felt as little fatigue 
as in my arm-chair in this library, and could have gone 
on to the world's end without being tired. 

The whole country is divided between the Clerk of 
the Peace and Captain Mars, who has challenged him. 
]\Iars, the God of War, challenging the Clerk of the 
Peace ! I am studying the question deeply, as is Cecil. 

Not a breath of wind ; a solemn stillness ; all nature 
fast asleep ; Storm and Tempest bound over to keep the 
peace ! There never was such a period. 

Love to Holland and the children. 

Ever your affectionate father, 

Sydney Smith. 

527.] To HIS Geandchtld. 

On sending Mm a Letter overxceighU 

Oh, you little wretch I your letter cost me fourpence. 
I will pull all the plums out of your puddings ; I will 
undress yom* dolls and steal their under petticoats ; you 
shall have no cuiTant jelly to your rice ; I will kiss you 
till you can not see out of your eyes ; when nobody else 
whips you, I will do so ; I will fill you so full of sugar- 
plums that they shall run out of your nose and ears ; 
lastly, your frocks shall be so short that they shall not 
come below your knees. 

Your loving grandfather, 

Sydney Smith. 

528.] To Miss Berry. 

I hope, my dear friend, you are well. I met the lofty 
P on the railroad, and he gave mc some account of 


you, but not enough for my ravenous desire of your wel- 
fare. Oil, happy woman ! the suburban beauties of Rich- 
mond were not enough ; but Providence sent you , 

a woman of piety and ancient faith ; and the jprexix che- 
valier^ sansjMui' et scms Te])TOche ! 

Mrs. Sydney and I are tolerably well. The dimin- 
ished temperature has restored my locomotive powers, 
such as they are; but in the dog-days I could not 

We have had Tommy Moore and Lady Morley, and 
a few more unknown to fame. Dr. Holland has just 
made a rush from Combe Florey to Jerusalem. By-the- 
by, I saw a piece of news the other day, in which a gen- 
tleman made his good fortune known to the world in the 
pubhc papers. " Last week the Eev. Ehas Johnson was 
made Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Jerusalem!" 
I should like to know what his questions are to the can- 

I presume you have never been a day without crowds. 
Has the Davy glittered at Richmond ? By deaths and 
marriages the world is thinned since we met. ]\Iy kind- 
est regards to Lady Charlotte, to both of you, and those 
of Mrs. Sydney. Yours, Sydney Smith. 

529.] To the Countess of ]\Ioiiley.* 

No date. 

Dear Lady Morley, 
Pray imderstand mc rightly : I do not give the Blue- 
coat theory as an established fact, but as a highly prob- 
able conjecture ; look at the circumstances. At a very 
early age young Quakers disappear, at a very early age 
tlie Coat-boys are seen ; at the age of seventeen or eight- 

* This letter, without date, seems to have been after a conversation 
given in the Narrative, page 307, where the subject is alluded to. 


een young Quakers are again seen ; at the same age, the 
Coat-boys disappear: who has ever heard of a Coat-man? 
The thing is utterly unknown in natiu'al history. Upon 
w]iat other evidence does the migration of the grub into 
the aurelia rest ? After a certain number of days the 
grub is no more seen, and the aurelia flutters over his 
relics. That such a prominent fact should have escaped 
our naturalists is truly astonishing ; I had long suspect- 
ed it, but was afraid to come out with a speculation so 
bold, and now mention it as protected and sanctioned by 

Dissection would throw great light upon the question ; 

and if our friend would receive two boys into his 

house about the time of theu* changing their coats, great 
service would be rendered to the cause. 

Our friend Lord Grey, not remarkable for his atten- 
tion to natural history, was a good deal struck with the 
novelty and ingenuity of the hypothesis. I have ascer- 
tained that the young Blue-coat infants are fed with 
drab-colored pap, wdiich looks very suspicious. ^Loig 
hereafter on this interesting subject. Where real sci- 
ence is to be promoted, I will make no apology to your 
Ladyship for this intrusion. 

Yours truly, Sydney Smith. 

530.] Fro^i the Countess of Morley. 

No date. 

Had I received yoiu* letter two days since, I should 
have said your argiuuents and theory were perfectly con- 
vincing, and that the most obstinate skeptic must have 
yielded to them ; but I have come across a person in 
that interval who gives me information which puts us all 
at sea again. That the Blue-coat boy should be the lar- 
va of the Quaker in Great Britain is possible, and even 
YoE, IT ~X 


probable, but we must take a wider view of the question : 
and here, I confess, I am bewildered by doubts and diffi- 
culties. The Blue-coat is an indigenous animal — not so 
the Quaker ; and now be so good as to give your whole 
mind to the facts I have to communicate. I have seen 
and talked much with Sir R. Kerr Porter on this inter- 
esting subject. He has traveled over the whole habita- 
ble globe, and has penetrated with a scientific and scru- 
tinizing eye into regions hitherto unexplored by civilized 
man ; and yet he has never seen a Quaker baby. He 
has lived for years in Philadelphia (the national nest of 
Quakers) ; he has roamed up and down Broadways and 
lengthways in every nook and corner of Pennsylvania ; 
and yet he never saw a Quaker baby ; and what is new 
and most striking, never did he see a Quaker lady in a 
situation which gave hope that a Quaker baby might be 
seen hereafter. This is a stunning fact, and involving 
the question in such impenetrable mystery as will, I fear, 
defy even your sagacity, acuteness, and industry to elu- 
cidate. But let us not be checked and cast down ; truth 
is the end and object of our research. Let us not bate 
one jot of heart and hope, but still bear up and steer om* 
course right onward. 

Yours most truly, F. Morley. 

531.] To THE Countess of jMorley."^ 

^r # -li ^:: 'K= ^ 

Noble countenance, expressing quite sufficient when 
at rest, too much when in activity. IMiddling voice, 
l^rovincial accent, occasional bad taste, language often 
very happy, with flights of mere eloquence ; not the 
vehicle of reasoning or profound remark. Very diffi- 
cult, when the sermon was over, to know wliat it was 
* This was ^vl•itten after hearing Ining preach. 


about ; and the whole effect rather fatiguing and tire- 
some. Dear Lady J\Iorley, pray tell me whether you 
agree with me. Most truly yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

532.] To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Flore y, Jan. Sd, 1844. 

My dear Mrs. Grote, 

You have seen more than enough of my giving the 
living of Edmonton to a curate. The first thing the 
unscriptural curate does, is to turn out his fellow-curate, 
the son of him who was vicar before his father. Is 
there not some story in Scripture of the debtor who 
had just been excused his debt, seizing his fellow-serv- 
ant by the throat, and casting him into prison ? The 
Bishop, the Dean and Chapter, and I have in vain ex- 
postulated ; he perseveres in his harshness and cruelty. 

Senior has just left us ; he seems to have gained 
great credit from his Irish article. I am always very 
much pleased w4th your commendation. I am really 
sincere in my love of what is honest and liberal, and I 
WTOte with no lack of moral wrath. 

I am going on Thursday to Bowood, where my broth- 
er is; he returns Avith me. Everett is coming here, 
and on the 15th the Hibberts. Mrs. Sydney is uncom- 
monly w^ell ; I thought I was going to be very ill dur- 
ing the close, muggy weather, but this frost has restored 
me to life ; and so I return to my text, by asking why 
you suppose your letters are not agreeable ? 

Sydney Smith. 

533.] To :Mrs. . 

CoMHE Fr.oRKY, Jan. 1M, 1844. 
Many thanks, dear Mrs. , for your agreeable let- 


ter. You seem to be leading a happy life ; making a 
pleasing exception to the generality of mankind, who 

are miserable. writes to me at long intervals. I 

think I am falling into desuetude and disgrace. 

Your list of French visitors is, I dare say, very splen- 
did, but I am so ignorant of French society, that they 
are most of them unknown to me ; I mean, unknown 
by reputation, as well as personally. I should like 
more of a mixture. You seem to have too much talent 
in your drawing-room. I met Berryer at the Chancel- 
lor's in London, and was much struck with his physiog- 
nomy and manner. 

Poor Miss Fox (as I Dtiieve you know) has had a 
slight paralytic stroke. She was a most beautiful speci- 
men of human excellence. I have been in the country 
ever since the middle of December, and know nothing 
about men and things. I am tolerably well, but intol- 
erably old. 

Jeffrey is laid up with a bad leg, which is getting 
rather serious. Have you seen his publication in four 
volumes, dedicated to me ? I told him it was the great- 
est compliment I had ever received in my life. 

I receive every day letters of abuse and congratula- 
tion from America for my three epistles. I continue 
to think they will never pay, and I continue to value 

you very much. I am very glad ]\Ir. is better, 

and I beg you to accept my affectionate benediction. 

Sydney Smith. 

.534.] To Mrs. Holland. 

January^ 1844. 

Dear Saba, 
People of wcaltli and rank never use ugly names for 
ugly things. Apoplexy is an affection of the head ; 


paralysis is nervousness ; gangrene is pain and incon- 
venience in tlie extremities. All that I heard from 

D , who falls into this kind of subterfutive lan- 

gTiage, was that IMiss was indisposed, and it was 

only after your letter that I got any thing like the truth 
from him ; she is certainly in danger, and he says that 
he should not be surprised to hear of her death. Poor 

dear ! So it is, that the best as well as the worst 

disappear. I am heartily sorry for the . Bobus 

and Mi. Everett are staying here. God bless you ! 
Ever affectionately, Sydney Smith. 

535.] To ]\Ies. Holland. 

Combe Floret, 1844. 

My DEAR Saba, 

Are you sure that you are sufficiently acquainted with 
what the strength of cider ought to be, to determine 
that your cider has been adulterated ? The farmer has 
the character of being a remarkably honest man, and his 
reputation is at stake. Send me down here a couple of 
bottles, which I will compare with his cider. George 
Hibbert is here. Your mother has no illness, but much 
Qnalaise. I complain of nothing but weakness, and 
want of nervous energy ; I look as strong as a cart- 
horse, but I can not get round the garden without rest- 
ing once or twice, so deficient am I in nervous energy. 
I doubt whether to attribute this to old age, and to con- 
sider it as inevitable, or to blame this soft, and warm, 
and disinvigorating climate. I believe if I were at 
E-amsgate or Brighton I should be strong. 

I think Bobus much too adventurous for the powers 
of his sight ; he lives in constant danger, but not fear, 
of a tremendous fall; and to walk, as he does, in the 
streets, is positive insanity. His blindness is singular; 


lie can see a mote, but not a beam — the smaller any 
tiling is, the better he sees it ; he could see David, but 
would ran against Goliath. 

We propose to be in London about the 20tli, of which 
you may inform a fond and expecting capital. I have 
.said nothing to your mother of the marble chimney- 
pieces* in the draAving-rooms ; I think she will faint with 
joy when she sees them. God bless you, dear Saba! 
Mj kind regards to Holland. 

Your affectionate father, Sydney Smith. 

536.] To Mrs. Grote. 

CoMBK Flokky, Jan. Sist, 1844. 

^Iy dear Mrs. Grote, 

Your fall entkely proceeded from your despising the 
pommel of the saddle — a species of pride to which many 
ladies may attribute fractures and death. When I rode 
(which, I believe, was in the middle of the last century), 
I had a holding-strap fixed somewhere near the pommel, 
and escaped many falls by it. 

Nothing ever does happen at Combe Florey, and no- 
thing has happened. 

-:■;:- * -;!;- * * * 

Old age is not so much a scene of illness as of ma- 
laise. I think every day how near I am to death. I am 
very weak, and very breathless. Everett, the American 
Minister, has been here at tlie same time with my eldest 
brotlier. We all liked him, and Avere confirmed in our 
good opinion of him. A sensible, unassuming man, al- 
ways wise and reasonable. 

rJ v}:- -^ * •* -* 

" If I take tliis dose of calomel, shall I be well imme- 
diately ?" " Certainly not, " replies the physician. ' ' You 
■-■■' See Memoir, page 192. 


have been in bed these six weeks ; how can you expect 
such a sudden cure ? But I can tell you you will never 
be well without it, and that it will tend materially to 
the establishment of your health." So, the pay to the 
Catholic Clergy. They will not be immediately satis- 
fied by the measure, but they will never be satisfied 
without it, and it will have a considerable tendency to 
produce that effect. It will not supersede other medi- 
cines, but it is an indispensable preliminary to them. 

If you dine with Lady , it is a sure proof that 

you are a virtuous woman ; she collects the virtuous. I 
have totally forgotten all about the American debt, but 
I continue to receive letters and papers from the most 
remote corners of the United States, with every vituper- 
ative epithet which human rage has invented. 

Your affectionate friend, Sydney Smith. 

537."] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

CoMBic Florey, Febniarij^ 1844. 

Islx DEAR Lady Carlisle, 
We have read every account of Lord Carlisle, and in- 
quired of every one who could give us any information, 
and have been unwilling to add to your cares and dis- 
tractions by inquiries which might put you under tlie 
necessity of writing. Pray say all that is kind, and 
friendly, and affectionate, from this family to him. To 
be cared and thought about is some pleasure to the sick, 
even when that solicitude comes from a country parson 
and his wife. The danger seems to be over ; the busi- 
ness now is to mitigate pain, and to amuse. Mrs. Syd- 
ney is tolerably well ; I can not breathe, or walk, and am 
very weak ; in other respects I am well also. We go 
to London on Tuesday, and are busy packing up ten 
times as many things as we shall ever want. 


I beg you do not answer this note ; it requires none. 
I only Avrite it to say, don't imagine we are inattentive 
to what is passing at Castle Howard, "because we respect 
your time and are sensible of youi* many serious cares. 
Castle Howard befriended me when I wanted friends ; 
I shall never forget it, till I forget all. 

I remain, with respectful affection, your friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

538.J To Charles Dickens, Esq. 

r,G Grken Strket, Feb. 21.s^ 1844. 

Dear Dickens, 

!Many thanks for the " Christmas Carol," which I 
sliall immediately proceed upon, in preference to six 
American pamphlets I found upon my arrival, all prom- 
ising immediate payment I 

Yours ever, Sydney Smith. 

539.] To THE Countess Grey. 

No date. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I give two dinners next week to the following persons, 
whom I enumerate, as I know Lady Georgiana loves a 
little gossip. First dinner — Lady Holland, Eastlake, 
Lord and Lady jMonteagle, Luttrell, Lord Auckland, 
Lord Campbell, Lady Stratheden, Lady Dunstanville, 
Baring Wall, and J\Ir. Hope. Second dinner — Lady 
Charlemont, Lord Glenelg, Lord and Lady Denman, 
Lord and Lady Cottenham, Lord and Lady Langdale, 
Sir Charles Lemon, 31r. Ilibbert, Landsecr, and Lord 

The ^linistry are very much vexed at the majority of 
Lord Ashley, and are making great efforts to beat him ; 


and it does seem to be absurd to binder a woman of tbir- 
tj from working as long as sbe pleases ; but mankind 
are getting mad witb bumanity and Samaritanism. 

I preacbed tbe otber Sunday a seraion on peace, and 
against tbe excessive proneness to war ; and I read tbem 
two or tbree extracts from tbe accounts of victories. It 
was very mucb liked. I sball try tbe same subject 
again — a subject utterly untoucbed by tbe clergy. 

I am reading tbe Letters to George Selwyn, wbicb en- 
tertain me a good deal, tbougb I tbink it a sbameful 
pubbcation. Tbe picture of tbe year is to be Jairus's 
Daugbter, by Eddis. 

We are all tolerably well bere, and send a tbousand 
regards to all. God bless you ! 

Sydney Smith. 

540.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Greex Street, Feb. 2Si/i, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I am quite deligbted to learn from so many sources 
tbat Lord Grey is so mucb better, and I trust we sball 
see bim in town after Easter. 

Wbat news bave I to tell you? Notbing but wbat 
tbe papers will tell you better. Howick's speecb is uni- 
versally praised for its bonesty and ability. I tbink 
O'Connell will bave two years' imprisonment, and tbe 
Government and tbe Irisb Courts bave come off mucli 
better tban it was supposed tbey would do. 

We bave not very good accounts from Castle Howard. 
Tbere is a mmor tbat Lord Asbburton is employed in 
boly flirting witb tbe Pope. Tbe common idea, tbat a 
2:>7'ce?mim7'e is incurred by tbesc flirtations, or tbat tbere 
is any law enacting penalties for communications witb 
bis Holiness, is eiToneous. 



Four volumes of Burke's "Letters to the Marquis of 
Rockingham" are about to be published. I am not sorry 
to come to London. I have been living upon common- 
places and truisms for tliree months. I always fatten 
and stupefy on such diet ; I want to lose flesh and gain 

understanding. The new Lady dined with Lady 

on Sunday. I thought she would have fainted. 

The page always has sal-volatile at hand for first intro- 

Affectionately yours, Sydney Smitil 

54L] To the Countess Grey. 

No date. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey^, 
God bless you, and support you in great trials, such 
as the illness of so good and great a man, and one who 
has played so distinguished a part in the events of these 
times ! Convey to him my ardent wishes for his safety 
and exemp>tion from pain. I am a great believer in his 
constitution, and feel sure that we shall yet have many 

conversations about the Avonderful thinsrs of this world. 


I send you a very honest and sensible sermon — so 
little like most sermons, that I think our dear Earl 
might read it, or have it read to him ; but let that hon- 
est Howick read it, who loves every thing that is bold, 
and true, and honest ; and send it back to me when it is 

done with. Only think of the iniquity of young . 

Xo sooner does he find himself extricated from poverty 
and misery, than the first thing he does is to turn out a 
poor curate, the son of the former vicar, before his father! 
His conduct has been quite abominable. 

I go on Tuesday, for two or three days, to Bowood, 
where a large party is assembled : among the rest, Lady 
Holland. We are dying of heat. I sleep with my win- 


dows open every night. The bh'ds are all taken in, and 
building ; the foolisli flowers are blowing. Human creat- 
ures alone are in the secret, and know what is to hap- 
pen in a week or two. 

I met ]\Ir. in town. I liave never joined in the 

general admiration for this person. I think his manners 
mde and insolent. His conversation is an eternal per- 
siflage, and is therefore wearisome. It seems as if he 
did not think it worth while to talk sense or seriousness 
before his company, and that he had a right to abandon 
himself to any nonsense which happened to come upper- 
most ; which nonsense many of his company remem- 
bered to have come uppermost often before. I receive 
every day from America letters and pamphlets without 
end. I verily believe the United States are cracking. 
A nation can not exist in such a state of morals. 

Give my kindest and most affectionate regards to Lord 
Grey ; and believe me ever, dear Lady Grey, your most 
sincere and affectionate friend, Sydney Smith. 

542.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Grekn- Street, ^farch Oth, 1844. 

31 Y DEAR Lady Grey, 

With your occupations and anxieties, I hold you en- 
tirely acquitted for not ■\\T:iting to me, and pray let this 
be understood between us. I take so much interest in 
Lord Grey's recovery, that I am rejoiced to see your 
hand^vriting, but always afraid that your own health 
will suffer by gratifying the affectionate curiosity of your 

The Whio-s and Democrats are full of a notion tliat 


O'Connell is not to be punished ; that the Government, 
yielding to tlic opinion that his trial has been unfair, are 
not to bring liim up for judgment. I am not of this 


opinion. I think, tmless their own law-oflScers were to 
tell them that this trial had been unfair, the Government 
are bound to deal with O'Connell as they would with 
any one else; and I l>eheve they will do so. I have 
heard some of our English judges say his .sentence 
ought to be for two years. As for the danger of shut- 
ting him up, if you can not do that, then there Is a ci-v-il 
war ; and the sooner it is fought out, the better. 

God bless you, dear Lady Grey I Kindest regards to 
my Lord. Sydn-ey Smith. 

543.] To THE Countess Grey*. 

yo dato.. 

My' dear Lady Grey', 

I am becjinnincf Burke's Letters, or rather, have crone 
through one volume ; full of details which do not inter- 
est me, and there are no signs yet of that beautifol and 
fruitful imagination which is the great charm of Burke. 
AVith the politics of so remote a period I do not concern 

The weather is improved here, and the lian-est is got 
in ; and a very good harvest it is. 

I hope Lord Grey observes the ministerial relaxations 
toward the Catholics. It is a very difficult question to 
know what to do with O'Connell. The only question 
is, the pacification of Ireland, and the effect that his de- 
tention or liberation would produce upon that countr}-. 
All private pique and ancrer must be swallowed up in 
this paramount object. Lord Heytesbur)- is a man of 
good sense. I have no fear of a French war as long as 
Louis Phihpj>e is alive ; and hve he will, for they can 
not hit him, and seem to have left off shooting at him in 
despair. After that, nothing but nonsense and foUy; 
but before then, I shall probably ]>e dead myself. 


You talk of yoiir climate ; I dare say it lias its evils, 
"but nothing so bad as the enervating character of this. 
It would unstring the nerves of a giant, and demoralize 
the soul of Cato. We have just sent off a cargo of Lon- 
don people, who have been staying here three weeks. 
They say that all their principles and virtues are gone ! 
My kindest regards to your noble patient. 

Sydney Smith. 

544.] To J\Iiss G. Harcourt. 

Combe Floret, 1844. 

My DEAR Georgiana, 

I set off in despair of reaching home, but, on the con- 
trary, ]\Irs. Sydney got better every scream of the rail- 
road, and is now considerably improved. Many thanks 
for your kind and friendly inquiries. I was confined 
three days in London waiting for Mrs. Sydney's recov- 
ery: they seemed months. Nothing can exceed the 
beauty of the country ; I am forced to own that. 

I have been reading Arnold's Life, by Stanley. Ay- 
nold seems to have been a very pious, honest, learned, 
and original man. 

I hope the Archbishop has resumed the use of his 
legs ; for if an archbishop be a pillar of the Church, and 
the pillar can not stand, what becomes of the incumbent 
weight ? And neither of us, dear Georgiana, would con- 
sent to survive the ruin of the Clim'ch. You would 
plunge a poisoned pin into your heart, and I should 
swallow the leaf of a sermon dipped in hydrocyanic 

acid. would probably rejoice in the loss of us 

both, for in her Church the greater the misery, the 
greater tlie happiness ; they rejoice in woe, and wallow 
in dolors. 

Be a good girl, and "vvrite me a line every now and 


then, to tell me about my old friends ; and believe me 
to be always your affectionate friend, S. S. 

545.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Gkken Street, Grosvenoii Square, 
March 21th, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I think Channing an admirable writer. So much 
sense and eloquence ! such a command of language 1 
Yet admirable as his sermon on war is, I have the van- 
ity to think my own equally good, quite as sensible, 
quite as eloquent, as full of good principle and fine lan- 
guage ; and you will be the more inclined to agree with 
me in this comparison, when I tell you that I preached 
in St. Paul's the identical sermon which Lord Grey so 
much admires. I thought I could not write any thing 
half so good, so I preached Channing. 

You can hardly expect to go on straightforward in re- 
covering ; sometimes you will stop, sometimes recover 
twice as much in one week as you have done in three 
wrecks preceding. If this day is with you as it is with 
us, it ought to be the first of going out. It is real 

What an odd state politics are in ! It is not at all 
impossible that Ministers will go out. God bless you, 
dear Lady Grey ! Sydney Smith. 

546.] To the Countess Grey. 

No date. 

inIy dear Lady Grey, 
Your account seems good of Lord Grey. I QnYj him 
tlie taste of fresh air after such a long confinement, to 
say notliing of the fine feeling which cessation from pain 


produces ; not that I would be ill, but that I consider 
these feelings as some little abatement of evil. 

The Government are to have this year, I understand, 
a very splendid budget ; but obtained, of course, by the 
pernicious auxiliary of the Income Tax. 

What a singular event — these divisions upon tlie 
working hours of the common people! The protection 
of children is perhaps right ; but every thing beyond is 
mischief and folly. It is generally believed, that if the 
Ten Hours' Bill is carried, Government will resign. I 

am a decided duodecimalist. is losing his head. 

When he brings forward his Suckling Act, he will be 
considered as quite mad. Xo woman to be allowed to 
suckle her own child without medical certificates. Three 
classes — viz., free sucklers, half-sucklers, and spoon- 
meat mothers. ]\Iothers whose supply is uncertain, to 
suckle upon affidavit 1 How is it possible that an Act 
of Parliament can supply the place of nature and natural 
aftection ? Have you any nonsense equal to this in 
Northumberland ? 

I think I could write a good sermon against war, but 
I doubt if I shall preach any more. It makes me ill ; I 
get violently excited^ and tire myself to death. 

is gone to Paris. He made a sensation at the 

Drawing-room, by asking the Queen, at some length, if 
he could take parcels or letters for her ! 

I have some thoughts of going to Brighton to-mor- 
row, but I believe indolence will prevail. I pray for 
line weather for Lord Grey. It will be his cure when 
it does come. God bless you ! S. S. 

547.] To THE Countess Grey. 

April 22d, 1844. 
I hear from all quarters, dear Lady Grey, that Lord 


Grey is going on as well as possible ; that is, that he is 
keeping pace with my hopes and wishes. Has Lord 
Grey read the Edinburgh Keview ? The article on Bar- 
rere is by ^lacaulay, that upon Lord St. Yincent by 
BaiTOW. I think the latter very entertaining; but it 
was hardly worth w^hile to crucify Barrere : Macaulay 
miglit as well have selected Turpin. 

I have no news to tell you. It is generally thought 
the Duke ofWellington has been unguarded about the 
Directors. Peel's Bank plan is admired and approved ; 
so is the appointment of Hardinge. 

Yours affectionately, Sydney Smith. 

548.] To THE Countess Grey. 

May 2^th, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I am afraid you are not going on so well as hereto- 
fore, and I am almost afraid to ask you your present 
condition : therefore do as you are inclined, and if to 
send me such news as you have to send gives you pain, 
do not send it. 

]\L*s. Sydney had a sharp attack of pain yesterday, 
which prevented us from going to Lady Essex's play, 
which has been acted with universal approbation in 
Belgrave Square. I was very glad not to be there, as 
I am sure I should have been tired to death. If real 
actors can not amuse me, how should pretended actors 
do so ? Can mock-turtle please where real turtle is dis- 

I think we now have O'Counell safe between walls. 
I look upon his punishment as one of the most useful 
events which have taken j^lace in my time. It vindi- 
cates the law, shows the subject that tlie Government 
is not to be braved, and puts an end for many years to 


the blustering and "bullying of Ireland. Tlieir perse- 
verance is creditable to ^Ministers. There was, my dear 
Lady Grey, a serious intention to go out ; but it was 
too ridiculous. 

I am inclined to think you are going on tolerably 
well, for I ask every body who is likely to know, and 
make out the best account I can ; but your own case 
puzzles me. 

I am going to dine with to-day. The rumor 

increases of her having murdered Dr. . The ques- 
tion is, Where is he ? What was that large box taken 
away at two in the morning ? 

Read Arnold's Life, by Stanley, and Twiss's Life of 
Lord Eldon. Ever affectionately youi's, 

Sydney Smith. 

549.] To M. Eugene Robin.* 

Paris, June 2dth, 1844. 


Your application to me does me honor, and requires, 
on your part, no sort of apology. 

It is scarcely possible to speak much of self, and I 
have little or nothing to tell which has not been told 
before in my preface. 

I am seventy-four years of age ; and being Canon of 
St. Paul's in London, and a rector of a parish in the 
country, my time is divided equally between town and 
country. I am living among the best society in the 
Metropolis, and at ease in my circumstances ; in toler- 
able health, a mild Whig, a tolerating Churchman, and 
much given to talking, laughing, and noise. I dine 

* i\I. Eugene Robin had made an application to Mr. Sydney Smith, 
through ^h\ Van de Wcyer, for some particulars of his life, of •which 
he Avished to give a sketch in the "Revue dcs Deux Mondes." 


with the rich in London, and physic the poor in the 
country ; j^assing from the sauces of Dives to the sores 
of Lazarus. I am, upon the whole, a happy man ; liavc 
found the world an entertaining world, and am thankful 
to Providence for the part allotted to me in it. If you 
wish to "become more informed respecting the actor him- 
self, I must refer you to my friend Van de Weyer, who 
knows me well, and is able (if he will condescend to do 
so) to point out the good and the evil within me. If 
you come to London, I hope you will call on me, and 
enable me to make your acquaintance ; and in the mean 
time I beg you to accept every assurance of my consid- 
eration and respect. Sydney' Smith. 

550.] To THE Countess Grey. 

CoMEK Tlorky, Juhj SOtIt, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I like the news of to-day very much, and I think it 
better than I have received for a long time. Pray send 
me as good next week. 

We have staying here with us the musical family, 
and the remarkable little musical boy whom Lady 
Georgiana and Lady Caroline heard at my house, when 
they were in London. Their singing is certainly very 
remarkable, and the little boy, at the age of seven, com- 
poses hymns ; I mean, sets them to music. 

You are very kind to inquire after j\Irs. Sydney. 
She is much better than when in London, but I have 
great doubts if this relaxing climate of the West of En- 
gland suits either her or me. I suppose there is the 
difference of a thick great-coat between Ilowick and 
Combe Florey, and at this season of the year, the dil- 
ference is in your favor. 

I think I liave already mentioned to you the Life of 


Lord Eldon, by Horace Twiss. It is not badly done, 
and I think it would mucli amuse Lord Grey, as it is 
the history almost of his times. Lord Eldon was the 
bigoted enemy of every sort of improvement ; and re- 
tarded, by his influence, for more than twenty-five years, 
those changes which the state of the country absolutely 

Yours affectionately, Sydney S:mith. 

551.] To HIS Excellency ]\I. Van de Weyer. 

Combe Floret, Jidij 31s^, 1844. 

Dear Van de Weyer, 

Have not some letters been published in modern times, 
containing the remonstrances of Alva to Philip, and of 
Philip to Alva, against the cruelties practiced by the 
Spaniards in the Low Countries, and recommending 
milder measures ? and if so, pray tell me in what book 
such letters are to be found. Have you seen a His- 
tory of Holland, in three volumes, by a Mrs. Davis, 
published by Walton, Strand; or heard any character 
of it? 

How do you do, and all the family ? Will you come 
to the West — I mean to Combe Florey — in the month 
of August ? and what day ? Will you believe me (as 
you safely may) yoiu's sincerely ? Sydney Smith. 

552.] To Mrs. Grote. 

Combe Elorey, July, 1844. 

Dear Mrs. Grote, 

Our squire died the very day we came liome. Do 
you want any land ? 

I have been reading tlie Life of Arnold of llugby. 


who seems to be a learned, pure, and honest Liberal; 
and with much zeal and unaffected piety. From this I 
proceeded to the life of the most heartless, bigoted, and 
mischievous of human beings, who passed a long life in 
perpetuating all sorts of abuses, and in making money 
by them. 

I am afraid this country does look enchantingly beau- 
tiful; you know the power truth has over me. There 
is nothing new — I will not say under the sun, for we 
have no sun in England — but under the fogs and clouds. 
The best thing I have seen for some time is the decla- 
ration of the Government, of their good intentions to- 
ward the Koman Catholics. 

I am not expecting any particular person, but gener- 
ally, all mankind and womankind. * * * 
Yours affectionately, 

Sydney Smith. 

553.] To THE Countess of Caelisle. 

Combe Floret, Atigust, 1844. 

My dear Lady Carlisle, 

I have been leading a very musical life lately. There 
is an excellent musical family living in London ; and 
finding them all ill, and singing flat, I brought them 
down here for three weeks, where they have grown ex- 
tremely corpulent, and have returned to London, with 
no other wish than to be transported after this life to 
this paradise of Combe Florey. 

has not yet signified her intentions under 

the sign manual ; but a thousand rumors reach me, and 
my firm belief is, she will come. I have spoken to the 
sheriff, and mentioned it to the magistrates. They 
have agreed to address her; and she is to be escorted 
from the station by the yeomanry. The clergy are 


rather backward ; but I think that, after a little bash- 
fulness, they will wait upon her. Brunei, assisted by 
the ablest philosophers, is to accompany her upon the 
railroad ; and they have been so good as to say that 
the steam shall be generated from soft water, with a 
slight infusion of chamomile flowers. 

I am glad to see that Sir Eobert Peel^is softening a 
little toward the Catholics. That is the great point, in 
comparison of which Pomare and Morocco are nothing. 

I think we shall go for some days to the sea-side. 
I wish we could hnd such an invigorating air as you 
have at Scarborough; but our atmosphere is soft, de- 
moralizing, and debilitating. All love of duty, all sense 
of propriety, are extinguished in these enervating cli- 
mates. The only one of my Yorkshire virtues which I 
retain, is a sincere regard for Castle Howard and its in- 
habitants ; to whom health and prosperity, and every 
earthly blessing! 

From your obliged and sincere friend, 

Sydney Smith. 

554.] To Dr. Holland. 

Combe Floret, August, 1844. 

My dear Holland, 
I ought to have answered your letter before, but I 
have been so strenuously employed in doing nothing, 
that I have not had time to do so. Whatever Mrs. 
Sydney may say of herself, I think she is very languid 
from her late attack in London, and that she needs the 
sea-side; and there I mean to go for some days. Jef- 
frey is under the care of a committee, consisting of Mr. 
and Mrs. Empson, his wife, the footman, and a High- 
land nurse, and they report to his admirers, consisting 
of several scores of young ladies, and others well ad- 


vanced in years ; it is a science by itself, the manage- 
ment of that little man, and I am afraid, unless you 
could affect all the committee simultaneously with the 
principal, your science would be in vain. 

"\Ye have had that poor musical family with us for 
three weeks, and talked much of sharps and flats. I 
have always ^id that if I were to begin life again, I 
would dedicate it to music ; it is the only cheap and 
unpunished rapture upon earth. 

I hope you will have good w^eather for yom* joui'ney. 
Beg of all yoiu' party, when they come in at niglit, fa- 
tigued, hungry, and exhausted, to sit down and write 
their journals, but not to show them to me. I keep 
clear of gout, but always imagine I am going off in an 
apoplexy or palsy, and that the death-warrant is come 
down. I saw the other day, in mid-day, a ball of fire, 
with a tail as long as the garden, rush across the heav- 
ens, and descend toward the earth; that it had some 
allusion to me and my affau's I did not doubt, but could 
not tell what, till I found the cow had slipped her calf: 
this made all clear. 

Ever yours affectionately, 

Sydney Siniith. 

555. J To THE Countess Grey*. 

Combe Florky, Aut/. 20th, 1844. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

I don't hear a word about the war, but your corre- 
spondents are much more likely to be well informed 
upon tliis point tlian mine. There are not two more 
intelli5;cnt men in tlic kino-dom than AVood and How- 
ick ; and they Avrite from the great news-market. 

I mean to go, on Tuesday, 27th, to the sea-side, at 
Sidmouth, with jMrs. Sydney, there to stay some days. 


It is exactly a place to suit you to winter in ; so warm, 
beautiful, and sheltered — and very good houses for no- 

I am thinking of writing a pamphlet to urge the ne- 
cesity of paying the Catholic clergy ; but the ideas are 
all so trite, and the argaiments so plain and easy, that I 
gape at the thoughts of such a production. Lord Grey 
can have no doubt of the wisdom of paying the Catholic 
clergy. I should like very much to go to Ireland for a 
fortnight ; I am sure I could learn a great deal in that 
time ; but the indolence, the timidity, and the uncertain 
health of old age keep me at home. 

Don't talk of giving up the world — we shall all meet 
again in Berkeley Square. Lady Georgiana will play 
the harp, the physician will sing, will look melan- 
choly, and Lady Caroline will be making shrewd re- 
marks to herself; I shall be all that is orthodox and 
proper ; Lord Grey will be inclined to laugh. 

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

556.] To THE Countess of Carlisle. 

Combe Florey, Anrf. 25^/j, 1844. 

My dear Lady Carlisle, 

I think the inclosed will amuse Lord Carlisle. Mr. 
Wainwright* is known to Morpeth, as well as to my- 
self, and is a most amiable clergyman, who paid a visit 
to this country two or three years since. 

The fact is unknown to any of his congregation, but 
when in this country, he went once to the Opera, and 
supped with Lord Lyndhurst afterward. In private, he 
often wore a short cassock, like a bishop's, and looked 
at himself for a long time in the glass. He carried over 

* A distinguished minister of the Episcopalian Church, United States, 
since dead. v 


one of these cassocks to America, that jli's. Wainwright 
might see him in it. 

AVe are going for a -week to Sidmouth, that paradise 
of the waves. Sydney Smith. 

557.] To THE Countess of Cakeisle. 

Xo date. 

My deae Lady Carlisle, 

Do not let ]\Ioi-peth persuade you that Alexis is any 
thing but an impostor. There seems to be something 
missing in London ; and I find, upon reflection, it is 
Lord Carlisle and yourself. 

The Archbishop of York is laid up with a sprained 
ankle ; sprained at a clmstening ! How very singular I 
It is such a quiescent ceremony, that I thought I might 
have guaranteed at its celebration all the ligaments of 
the human body. He is never a moment without a 
bishop or a dowager duchess coming to call. 

What shall I say of my unworthy self, but that I am 
well, rich, and tolerably healthy ? ^hs, Sydney has no 
great illness, though much 7nalaise. I hear that Lord 
Carlisle is wheeled do^vn to the gallery, and gets a little 
fresh air at the door. I loiow all the locale so well that 
I see him in his transit, and he takes with liim my best 
and kindest wishes wherever he goes. 

Sir Eobert Peel and I have made friends ; and so 
you will say, dear Lady Carlisle, that I want to be a 
bishop. But I thank God often that I am not a bish- 
op ; and I want nothing in this world but the friendship 
and good-will of such good persons as yourself. 

Alas ! how sliort is a sheet of paper I What remains 
must convey my affection and respect to my excellent 
friends at Castle Howard. And may God bless them ! 

Sydney Smith. 


558.] To THE Countess Grey. 

SiDiiouTH, Aufjf. 20th, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I think I shall turn out to be right, and that there 
^rill be no "war immediately. What the scramble for 
the fragments of the Mohammedan empire may produce 
ultimately in the Mediterranean, I know not ; but I 
would lay a Avager we are not at war before Christmas, 
I offer you a bet of five shillings to that effect ; if you 
think this venture indiscreetly large, Georgiana will, I 
dare say, take half. 

We are at Sidmouth. It is extremely beautiful, but 
quite deserted. I have nothing to do but to look out l 
of window, and am ennuied. The events wliich have 
turned up are, a dog and a monkey for a show, and 
a morning concert ; and I rather think we shall have 
an in\dtatioii to tea. I say to every one who sits near 
me on the marine benches, that it is a fine day, and 
that the prospect is beautiful; but we get no further. 
I can get no water out of a dry rock. 

There arrived, the other day, at New York, a Syd- 
ney Smith.* A meeting was called, and it was proposed 
to tar-and-feather him ; but the amendment was carried, 
that he should be invited to a public dinner. He turned 
out to be a journeyman cooper ! IMy informant incloses 
for me an invitation from the bishop of the diocese to 
come and see him, and a proposition that we should 
travel together to the Falls of Niagara ! 

Ever, dear Lady Grey, affectionately yours, 

Sydney Smith. 

* See Memoir, page 269. 

Vol. IL— Y 


559.] To THE Countess Grey. 

No date. 

I should say, my dear Lady Grey, that, upon the 
whole, tlic O'Connell business has not ended unfavor- 
ably. The Government has not done any thing shabby 
or timid, but, on the contrary, has acted with spirit. 
They have been badly served by their law-servants, but 
that is not their fault. The evil will not end, nor the 
bu.^ness be settled, without a battle. 

Read travels in the East, called "Eothen." They 
are by a Mr. Kinglake, of Taunton, a chancery barris- 
ter, and are written in a lively manner. They will 
amuse Lord Grey, who, I presume, is read to regularly 
eveiy day. 

God bless you, dear Lady Grey ! Kind regards to 
Lord Grey, of whom I am in weekly hopes of receiving 
a better account. Sydney Smith. 

560.] To HIS Excellency M. Van de Weyer. 

Combe Florky, Sept. 17 t/t, 1844. 

Dear Van de Weyer, 
Many thanks for your proffered loan of the book from 
which you took the letters you were so good as to send 
me, of Alva and Philip ; but as I never return books, I 
make a rule never to boiTOW them. I shall send the 
title of the work you have been so kind as to mention 
to my authoress, and of course there can be no objection 
to her printing a quotation from the printed w^ork. I 
have not mentioned your name. I shall not trouble you 
for any further information on this topic, because I must 
extricate myself from this lady, wlio (though clever, and 
in a situation perfectly independent), I am afraid, will 
bore me. You have ho recently suffered this alarm from 


me, that you will, I am sure, understand how I should 
fall into similar apprehensions. 

I am very sorry you have been and are unwell ; you 
have had too much to do. I am (in common with many 
other gentlemen in orders) suffering from the very oppo- 
site cause. 

Kumors of wars reach me on every side ; my only 
confidence is, that the Governments on both sides of 
the water wish for peace. 

We are expecting Mrs. , who perhaps has 

never occurred to you in a rural point of view. 
I remain, my dear Sh, very truly yours, 

Sydney Smith, 

561.] To THE Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, Sept. 25th, 1844. 

]\Iy dear Lady Grey, 

Lord Grey understands these matters better than I 
do, but I do not see how the reversal of O'Connell's 
sentence can injure, morally, the House of Lords. It 
was (I have no doubt) the honest decision of the major- 
ity of those who, from their legal habits, and attention 
to the case, had a right to decide ; and that the lay lords 
abstained from voting was surely an act of honesty. It 
shows, however, the absurd constitution of a court of 
justice, where ninety-nine of the hundred judges are 
utterly incapable of forming any just opinion of the sub- 

I mean to write a pamphlet upon the payment of the 
Catholic and Presbyterian clergy in Ireland ; the honest 
payment — without any attempt to gain power over them. 
Their refusal to take it is no conclusive objection, and 
they would take it a poco a 2^oco., if it were honestly 
given. We must have a regular Embassador residing 


at the Court of Rome ; patronage must be divided with 
an even hand between Catholic and Protestant ; all their 
alleged wrongs about land must be impartiallj exam- 
ined, and, if just, be speedily redressed ; a large army- 
be kept ready for immediate action, and the law be put 
in force against O'Connell and O'Connellism, in spite 
of all previous failures. Will Lord Grey or Howick 
dissent from these obvious principles ? 

Adieu, dear Lady Grey ! Sydney Smith. 

562.] To the Countess Grey. 

Combe Floret, On. Bth, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 

I had a smart attack of giddiness on Tuesday, which 
alarmed me a good deal. The doctor said it was stom- 
ach, and has put me under the most rigid rules ; I will 
try to follow them. 

I think " Ireland and its Leaders" worth reading, and 
beg of you to tell me who wrote it, if you happen to 
know ; for though you call yourself solitary, you live 
much more in the world than I do, while in the country. 

Have you noticed the abuse of St. Paul's in the 
"Times?" I was moved to write, but I kept silence, 
though it was pain and grief to me. Read Captain 
Marryat's " Settlers in Canada." 

Sydney Smith. 

563.] To the Countess Grey. 

Combe Florey, Oct. IIM, 1844. 

My dear Lady Grey, 
I rather tliink tliat last week they wanted to kill me, 
but I was too sharp for them. I am now tolerably well, 
but I am weak, and taking all proper care of myself; 


which care consists in eating nothing that I like, and 
doing nothing that I wish. I sent you yesterday the 
triumph of a fellow-sufferer with Lord Grey. Tell me 
fairly the effect such a narrative produces upon him. 
The greatest consolation to me is, to find that others are 
suffering as much as I do. I would not inflict suffering 
upon them ; I would contribute actively to prevent it ; 
but if it do come after this, I must confess * * * 
Always affectionately yours, Sydney Smith. 

I shall be in London the 2 2d and 25th. 
See what rural life is : 

Combe Florey Gazette, 

Mr. Smith's large red cow is expected to calve this 

Mr. Gibbs has bought Mr. Smith's lame mare. 

It rained yesterday, and, a correspondent observes, 
is not unlikely to rain to-day. 

j\Ir. Smith is better. 

!Mrs. Smith is indisposed. 

A nest of black magpies was found near the village 

564.] To Dr. Holland. 

CoMBK Florky, October^ 1844. 

]\Iy dear Holland, 
I can not let this post pass over without thanking you 
for one of the very best letters I ever read, to say no- 
thing of its great kindness. It is a tolerably good day 
with me to-day ; Lyddon says my pulse is better, but I 
am very weak ; I tliink also my breathing is better. I 
rather lean to coming up to London. 

Yours affectionately, Sydney Smith. 


565,] To Dr. Holland. 

CoMBK Flokkv, 1844. 

/Scale of Dining, 






Roast and boiled. 
Dear Holland — I am only at broth at present, but 
Lyddon thinks I shall get to pudding to-morrow, and 
mutton-chops the next day. I long for promotion. 
Yours affectionately, Sydney Smith, 

566.] To the Countess of Carlisle. 

50 Green Street, Oct. 2\st, 18-44. 

My dear Lady Carlisle, 

From your ancient goodness to me, I am sure you 
will be glad to receive a bulletin from myself, informing 
you that I am making a good progress ; in fact, I am in 
a regular train of j^romotion : from gruel, vermicelli, and 
sago, I was promoted to panada, from thence to minced 
meat, and (such is the effect of good conduct) I was ele- 
vated to a mutton-chop. My breathlessness and giddi- 
ness are gone — chased away by the gout. If you hear 
of sixteen or eighteen pounds of human flesh, they belong 
to me. I look as if a curate had been taken out of me. 
I am delighted to hear such improved accounts of my 

fellow-sufferer at Castle Howard. Lady is severe 

in her medical questions ; but I detail the most horrible 
symptoms, at which she takes flight. 

Accept, my dear Lady Carlisle, my best wishes for 
Lord Carlisle and all the familv. Sydney Smith. 



567.] To THE Countess Geey. 

56 Green Street, Xov. 7th, 1844. 

]My dear Lady Grey, 

I have been seriously ill, and I do not think I am 
jet quite " clear of the wood," but am certainly a good 
deal better. My complaints have been giddiness, breath- 
lessness, and weakness of the digestive organs. I be- 
lieve I acted wisely in setting off for London on the first 
attack ; it has secured for me the proximity and best at- 
tentions of Dr. Holland, and the use of a comfortable 
house, where a suite of rooms are perfectly fitted up for 
illness and death. 

I have a great notion you can send me better accounts 
of Lord Grey ; pray do, and give him my earnest and 
sincere regard. Sydney Smith. 

THE £ N D. 

JUN 1 3' 1957