On February 1, 1812, Byron writes to his friend Francis Hodgson about his attendance in the House of Lords the night before. Byron has not yet made a speech in the House of Lords. He appears both to be waiting for an appropriate issue and somewhat nervous at the prospect. The letter ends with him suggesting that perhaps he will speak on Catholic Emancipation. In fact, his first speech will be in the debate concerning the 1812 Frame Breaking Act which was to deal with Luddite disturbances. The letter of February 1, 1812 reads:
8, St. James’s Street, Feb. 1, 1812.
My Dear Hodgson,
—I am rather unwell with a vile cold, caught in the House of Lords last night. Lord Sligo and myself, being tired, paired off, being of opposite sides, so that nothing was gained or lost by our votes. I did not speak: but I might as well, for nothing could have been inferior to the Duke of Devonshire, Marquis of Downshire, and the Earl of Fitzwilliam. The Catholic Question comes on this month, and perhaps I may then commence. I must “screw my courage to the sticking-place,” and we’ll not fail.