"Deserves To Be Preached To Death By Wild Curates"
Context: A volume of 268 pages, written by his daughter, Saba (1802–1866), wife of Lord Holland, tells of the life of the Reverend Sydney Smith, and recounts some of the witty sayings for which he was famous. The witticisms are set down one after another, without connection or explanation, rather like the Joe Miller joke book, a volume published in 1739 and many times reprinted, containing jokes supposed to have originated with a famous English comedian, Josiah Miller (1684–1738). Most of the contents was actually invented by its publisher, John Mottley. In contrast, the amusing comments in Lady Holland's book were the genuine products of her clergyman father's quick mind. The first one obviously originated through a clever twist of the phrase: "trampled to death by wild horses."
Oh, the Dean of––deserves to be preached to death by wild curates.. . ."The advice I sent to the Bishop of New Zealand, when he had to receive the cannibal chiefs there, was to say to them, 'I deeply regret, Sirs, to have nothing on mye own table suited to your tastes, but you will find plenty of cold curate and roasted clergyman on the sideboard;' and if, in spite of this prudent provision, his visitors should end their repast by eating him likewise, why I should only add, 'I sincerely hope he would disagree with them!'" . . .