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London, Jan. 12.

After leaving Stratford, I went, amid rain and gusts of wind beneath which ships were then sinking on the coast, to Birmingham. Here I saw Mrs. Tuckerman's brother-in-law,—Mr. Francis,—who treated me very kindly, though I was unable to stay to enjoy his attentions; Mr. Wills,1 author of the new book on ‘Circumstantial Evidence;’ Scholefield, M. P.,2 &c.: but my visit was quite hurried, as I was obliged by my engagements to hasten back to town. We have heard of the dreadful loss of the packets. I had written several letters, which were on board those ill-fated ships, and which will perhaps never reach their destination. To you I had written a very long letter,—partly dated, I think, from Milton Park,3 and giving an account of my adventures in fox-hunting with Lord Fitzwilliam; one also to Dr. Palfrey, enclosing a letter interesting to him, which I received from Sir [38] David Brewster; others to Longfellow, to Cleveland, to Mrs. Ticknor, to Mr. Fletcher, and to my mother. I wish you would do me the favor to let me know the fate of these letters. The article on Horace, in the last number but one of the ‘Quarterly Review,’4 is by Milman. Poor man, he is now in great distress, on account of the illness of a dear child. The article in the last number, on ‘Railroads,’5 which contains the ridiculous remarks on the United States, is by Sir Francis Head; and the political article6 at the end is by Croker. I have just read an article on Lockhart's ‘Scott,’ written by Cooper, in the ‘Knickerbocker,’ which was lent me by Barry Cornwall. I think it capital. I see none of Cooper's faults; and I think a proper castigation is applied to the vulgar minds of Scott and Lockhart. Indeed, the nearer I approach the circle of these men the less disposed do I find myself to like them. Scott is not sans reproche; and Lockhart seems without a friend. Of course, I see the latter often. Sometimes we shake hands when we meet, and sometimes not. When last I saw him, he gave me a radiant smile.

Since I last wrote I have, as before, been in a constant succession of parties of different kinds. Some of the most interesting to you have been with Senior, Talfourd, and Lord Durham. At Senior's I met most of the Radical M. P. s; Morrison, the rich banker; Grote and his wife; Joseph Hume (I sat next to Joseph); Villiers; Dr. Bowring; Tooke, &c. At Talfourd's we had Dr. Hawtrey, the Head-Master of Eton; Maule; Harness; Hayward; and Browning, the author of ‘Paracelsus.’ Talfourd told some good stories of Charles Lamb. It seems that Lamb was a confirmed drunkard, who got drunk in the morning, and on beer. Talfourd and he once started for a morning walk. The first pot-house they came to was a new one, and Lamb would stop in order to make acquaintance with its landlord; the next was an old one, and here he stopped to greet his old friend Boniface: and so he had an excuse for stopping at all they passed, until finally the author of ‘Elia’ was soundly drunk. But his heroic devotion to his sister is above all praise. All about that, and much else concerning Charles Lamb, can only be revealed after her death. She was insane, and killed her mother. Lamb would not abandon her to the mad-house, but made himself her keeper, and lived with her, retired from the world. Talfourd's first acquaintance with Sir William Follett was while the latter was a student, or just after his call to the bar, in getting him released one morning from the watchman, who had arrested Follett in the act of scaling the walls of the Temple. At Lord Durham's7 we had [39] an interesting party. There were Sir Edward Codrington;8 Sir William Molesworth;9 Charles Buller;10 Joseph Parkes; Ward,11 son of ‘TremaineWard, and M. P., whose motion on Irish affairs nearly upset the ministry; Charles Austin (the first lawyer in England, mejudice); Gibbon Wakefield;12 Stanley, M. P. (not Lord); and Miss Martineau, who seemed surprised to meet me there. His Lordship is remarkable in personal appearance,— slender, upright, with an open countenance, coal-black hair and eyes. He is very frank in the expression of his opinions, and uses good language, without being fluent. There is also a slight tremulousness in his voice, which is not a little strange in one so long accustomed to public affairs. In language and thought he does not lack boldness. We were at a round table á la Frantaise, and I sat between Buller and Lord Durham. His Lordship said that all the Canadian politicians—Papineau and all—were petty men; and that he should like nothing better than to have them all recalled, and to be allowed to deal with them. To one accustomed to politics on the broad stage of Europe, provincial actors seemed weak and paltry. I ventured to ask him what truth there was in the present reports with regard to the hostile intentions of Russia towards England. ‘Not a word of truth,’ said he; ‘I will give you leave to call me idiot, if there is a word of truth.’ You know he was ambassador at the court of St. Petersburg for a long time. He said that Russia was full of friendly regard for England; and he pronounced Urquhart,13 who is now going about the kingdom preaching against Russia, ‘a madman.’ With regard to Lockhart, he expressed himself in terms not less distinct. He said that he had never seen him; but, from all that he had heard of him, he thought him one of the greatest blackguards in England. I happened to tell a story that I had heard from Lord Brougham: he looked me in the eye, and asked my authority for it. I replied: ‘Lord Brougham; I had it from his own lips.’—‘Did you ever verify it?’ was the short but significant reply. I have selected these little things, because they at once reveal in a few words his opinions with regard to some distinguished persons, [40] and illustrate his frankness. Another subject was discussed with a freedom which could not have been found, I will venture to say, at the table of any other nobleman in the kingdom. The question was started whether, in the event of a demise of the crown, the present king of Hanover would be permitted to ascend the throne. Lord Durham was the only person in all the company who thought he would be. Sir Edward Codrington said: ‘For one, I would be damned if I would permit him to land!’ Conversation went quietly on, without any striking display of any kind. Lady Durham and her eldest daughter, Lady Mary, were at the table. The table and its service reminded me of Paris more than most dinners in London,—except that one never sees silver plate on the Continent; but the cooking and the procession of dishes were Parisian. His Lordship told me that he should be glad to adopt the Continental habit of having the gentlemen leave the table with the ladies,—a habit which he followed in Quebec, but which he must abandon in London; otherwise, they would charge him with a desire to save his wine! After dinner, the young ladies—his second daughter joined us in the drawing-room—sang and played on the harp. The Countess told me she was glad to get away from a Canadian winter. Among the projects for the improvement of the province committed to his charge, Lord D. mentioned that he wished to have Goat Island blown up by gunpowder, in order to unite the Canadian and American Falls of Niagara, and thus give unity to the whole! His Lordship's house is a very good one, and in some of its rooms reminds one of a country-place. I passed an hour with him one forenoon in conversation: he is strongly liberal, but a monarchist. He would abolish the corn-laws, grant the vote by ballot, an extension of the suffrage, and triennial Parliaments; but he would not touch primo-geniture,—the worst thing in England. On this subject I had no little conversation with him,—not to say an argument. I regard him, however, as honest and sincere in his opinions, and, as such, a most valuable leader of the Liberal party. He possesses courage, considerable acquirements, and a capacity for receiving information from others. I need not say that he has none of the great attributes of Brougham,—his intense activity, his various learning, his infinite command of language. He regrets very much that ho could not visit the United States. Those of his suite who did, seem to have been well pleased. Gibbon Wakefield is going to write an article, pamphlet, or book, entitled ‘Six Days in the United States.’ Calhoun made a great impression on Buller, and also on Mr. Phillips. Both of them speak of him as the most striking public man they have ever met,—remarkable for his ease, simplicity, and the readiness with which he unfolded himself. Buller says that Van Buren had the handsomest shoes and stockings he ever saw! I do not know if I have ever written you about Charles Austin. He is a more animated speaker than Follett,—perhaps not so smooth and gentle; neither is he, I think, so ready and instinctively sagacious in a law argument: and yet he is powerful here, and is immeasurably before Follett in accomplishments and liberality of view. He is a fine scholar, and deeply versed in English literature and the British Constitution.

1 William Wills, author of ‘Essay on the Principles of Circumstantial Evidence,’ published in Feb., 1838. He died in 1860.

2 Joshua Scholefield, representing Birmingham.

3 Letter not lost, ante, Vol. II. p. 31.

4 Oct. 1838, Vol. LXII. pp. 287-332, ‘Life and Writings of Horace.’ The article, enlarged and revised, became the ‘Life of Horace,’ prefixed to Milman's exquisite edition of the Latin poet, which was published in 1849, with a dedication to his friend, Lord Lansdowne.

5 Jan. 1839, Vol. LXIII. pp. 1-60, ‘Railroads in Ireland.’

6 Jan. 1839, Vol. LXIII. pp. 223-277, ‘Political Affairs.’

7 John George Lambton, 1792-1840. He became Baron Durham in 1828, and Earl of Durham in 1833. He was sent on a special mission to Russia in 1833, and was an ambassador to that country in 1836; was sent to Canada in 1838 as Governor-General, with extraordinary powers, at the time of the Rebellion. See sketch in Brougham's ‘Autobiography,’ Vol. III. p. 335. Lord D. wrote to Joseph Parkes, asking him to bring Sumner to dine at Cleveland Row.

8 1770-1851; admiral; distinguished at Trafalgar and Navarino.

9 1810-1855; member of Parliament; colleague of John Austin on a commission of inquiry into the administration of the government of Malta, and, in 1855, Secretary of the Colonies. At the suggestion of George Grote, he edited the works of Thomas Hobbes. He was associated with John Stuart Mill in editing the ‘Westminster Review;’ and was a friend of Mr. Grote, in whose ‘Personal Life,’ prepared by Mrs. Grote, he is frequently mentioned.

10 1806-1848; distinguished as a member of Parliament by his advocacy of the repeal of the corn-laws, and contributor to the ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Westminster’ Reviews.

11 Henry George Ward, 1708-1860. He represented Sheffield in Parliament; was Minister Plenipotentiary for acknowledging the Mexican Republic; and was appointed Governor of the Ionian Islands, 1849-1855, and of Ceylon, 1855-1860. His father, Robert Plumer Ward, who died in 1846, was the author of three novels,—‘Tremaine,’ ‘De Vere,’ and ‘De Clifford;’ and of works on international law and other subjects.

12 Edward Gibbon Wakefield, 1796-1862. He was an author of books on colonial questions, and private secretary of the Earl of Durham in Canada in 1839. He died in New Zealand, with whose interests he had become identified.

13 David Urquhart, 1805-1877; M. P. for Stafford in 1847.

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