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Jan. 27, 1839.

Among the persons whom I have seen since I wrote the foregoing pages have been Leigh Hunt1 and Thomas Campbell.2 I yesterday morning saw Leigh Hunt, on the introduction of Carlyle. He lives far from town,—in Chelsea,—in a humble house, with uncarpeted entry and stairs. He lives more simply, I think, than any person I have visited in England; but he possesses a palace of a mind. He is truly brilliant in conversation, and the little notes of his which I have seen are very striking. He is of about the middle size, with iron-gray hair parted in the middle, and suffered to grow quite long. Longfellow has seen him, I think, and he will tell you about him. I believe I have already described to you Carlyle. I met Campbell at a dinner which Colburn,3 the publisher, gave me last evening. There were Campbell, Jerdan,4 and some six or eight of the small fry—the minims— of literature, all guilty of print. Campbell is upwards of sixty. He is rather short and stout, and has not the air of a gentleman. He takes brandy and water instead of wine. He did not get to throwing decanters or their stoppers; though when he left (which was sufficiently early) his steps did not [48] appear very steady. He does not think of visiting America; but he said that he should be willing to be there without a penny in his pocket, and he would simply say, ‘I am Tom Campbell.’ He enforces most all that he says by an oath. His brother, as he informed me, married a daughter of Patrick Henry. He told some stories that were none of the purest, with a good deal of humor. Jerdan you well know as the editor of the ‘Literary Gazette.’ He is a tall, vulgar Scotchman, who annoyed me by proposing my health in a long rigmarole speech. He has a good deal of humor. Of the rest at table I have not time to write you. A diary has just been brought to light, kept by the vicar of the church at Stratford-on-Avon during the time of Shakspeare, and in which the name of Shakspeare is several times mentioned. What is said of him I do not know. One of our guests to-night was Dr. Severn, in whose hands the manuscript has been placed, and who will edit it.

You will doubtless read the ‘Edinburgh Review’ just published, and the brilliant article by Lord Brougham on ‘Foreign Relations.’5 Admire, I pray you, the epigram by Johnny Williams on Napoleon. After reading it, I took down the ‘Greek Anthology,’ and compared it with the famous one on Themistocles and with several others, and I must say that I think Williams's the best; it is a wonderful feat in the Greek language. Lord B. repeated it to me at table, before it appeared in print. I have also heard Baron Parke repeat it. Williams is said to know ‘Virgil’ and several other classics by heart. In society he is very dull; but he does write beautiful Greek. Lord Brougham's work will not be published till next week. It is on Natural Theology, in two volumes, and embraces an analysis of Cuvier, Newton's ‘Principia,’ and Laplace's ‘Mecanique Celeste.’ I saw him in his study yesterday; he had a printer's devil on one side and his private secretary on the other. Mirabile dictu, he did not use an oath! He thanked me for Rev. Dr. Young's discourse on Dr. Bowditch, which I had given him some days before, and said that it was very good,—just what was wanted. (I received two copies of Young's discourse, —one I gave to Lord B., the other to Sir David Brewster.) He told me that he had received a long letter of eight pages from his mother, giving him an account of the late tremendous hurricane that had passed over Brougham Hall; that the letter was a capital one, and that every line contained a fact. Truly his Lordship is a wonderful man; and, I am disposed to believe, the most eloquent one in English history. I think I have already told you that Earl Grey said to Lord Wharncliffe, on the evening of B.'s speech on the Reform Bill, that it was the greatest speech he ever heard in his life; and his life covered the period of Pitt and Fox. In this judgment Lord W. concurred. Mr. Rogers has told me that Sir Robert Peel said he never knew what eloquence was till he heard B.'s speech on the abolition of slavery in the West Indies. Do not listen to the articles and the reports that Lord B. is no speaker. He is most eloquent; and his voice, [49] as I heard it in the Lords six months ago, still rings in my ear. And yet I cannot pardon his gross want of propriety in conversation. Think of the language I heard him use about O'Connell. He called him ‘a damned thief.’

You will also read the article on Prescott in the ‘Edinburgh.’ It is written by somebody who understands the subject, and who praises with great discrimination. Some of my friends suppose that it is done by John Allen,6 the friend of Lord Holland. Mr. Hallam, however, thought it was not by him, but by a Spaniard who is in England. I shall undoubtedly be able to let you know by my next letter. Mr. Ford, the writer of the Spanish articles in the ‘Quarterly,’ has undertaken to review Prescott's book for that journal: whether his article will be ready for the next number I cannot tell. Prescott ought to be happy in his honorable fame. His publisher, Bentley, is about to publish a second edition in two volumes; and he told me that he regarded the work as the most important he had ever published, and as one that would carry his humble name to posterity. Think of Bentley astride the shoulders of Prescott on the journey to posterity! Milman told me he thought it the greatest work that had yet proceeded from America. Mr. Whishaw, who is now blind, and who was the bosom friend of Sir Samuel Romilly, has had it read to him, and says that Lord Holland calls it the most important historical work since Gibbon. I have heard Hallam speak of it repeatedly, and Harness and Rogers and a great many others whom I might mention, if I had more time and I thought you had more patience.

Bulwer has two novels in preparation—one nearly completed—and is also engaged on the last two volumes of his ‘History of Greece.’ This work seems to have been a failure. I see this flash novelist often: we pass each other in the drawing-room, and even sit on the same sofa; but we have never spoken.

I could not live through two London winters; the fogs are horrid. I met Theodore Hook last evening, and poured out my complaints. ‘You are right,’ said he; ‘our atmosphere is nothing but pea-soup.’

Ever affectionately yours,


1 1784-1859.

2 1777-1844.

3 Henry Colburn died in 1855. His residence was at 13 Great Marlborough Street.

4 William Jerdan, born 1782, for thirty-four years editor of the ‘London Literary Gazette.’

5 Jan., 1839, Vol. LXVIII., pp. 495-537,—‘Foreign Relations of Great Britain.’ The epigram is given in a note to page 508, where it was first made public.

6 M. D., 1770-1843; an inmate of Holland House for more than forty years; a contributor to the ‘Edinburgh Review’ on subjects relating to English, French, and Spanish history and the British Constitution; and author of ‘Inquiry into the Rise and Growth of the Royal Prerogative in England.’ Sydney Smith introduced him to Lord Holland, who had asked ‘if he could recommend any clever young Scotch medical man to accompany him to Spain.’—‘Sydney Smith's Memoir,’ by Lady Holland, Chap. II. Lady Holland treated him quite unceremoniously,—according to Macaulay, ‘like a negro slave.’—Trevelyan's ‘Life of Macaulay,’ Vol. I. Chap. IV. Allen was not a believer in the Christian religion, and on this subject gave a tone to the conversation of Holland House.—Greville's ‘Memoirs,’ Chap. XXX., Dec. 16, 1835.

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