LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 9 September 1816

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Sept. 9. 1816.
“My dear R.,

“About manufactures we shall not differ much, when we fully understand each other. I have no time now to explain; there are strangers coming to tea, and I seize the interval after dinner to say something relative to your prognostics,—a subject which lies as heavy at my heart as any public concerns can do, for I fully and entirely partake your fears.*

“Four years ago I wrote in the Q. R. to explain the state of Jacobinism in the country, and with the hope of alarming the Government. At present they are alarmed; they want to oppose pen to pen, and I have just been desired to go up to town and confer with Lord Liverpool. God help them, and is it come to this! It is well that the press should be employed in their favour; but if they rely upon influencing public opinion by such means, it becomes us rather to look abroad where we may rest our heads in safety, or to make ready for taking leave of them at home.

* “I am in a bad state of mind, sorely disgusted at the prevalence of that mock humanity, which is now becoming the instrument of dis solving all authority, government, and, I apprehend, human society itself. Again we shall have to go through chaos and all its stages. It is of no use to think, or to try to act for the benefit of mankind, while this agreeable poison is in full operation, as at present. I retire hopeless into my nutshell till I am disturbed there, which will not be long if the humanity men prevail; the revolution will not, I expect, be less tremendous, or less mischievous than that of France—the mock humanity being only a mode of exalting the majesty of the people and putting all things into the power of the mob. I wish I may be wrong in my prognostics on this subject.”—J. R. to R. S., Sept. 7. 1816.


“I wish to avoid a conference which will only sink me in Lord Liverpool’s judgment: what there may be in me is not payable at sight; give me leisure and I feel my strength. So I shall write to Bedford (through whom, via Herries, the application has been made) such a letter as may be laid before him, and by this means I shall be able to state my opinion of the danger in broader terms than I could well do perhaps in conversation. The only remedy (if even that be not too late) is to check the press; and I offer myself to point out the necessity in a manner which may waken the sound part of the country from their sleep. My measures would be to make transportation the punishment for sedition, and to suspend the Habeas Corpus; and thus I would either have the anarchists under weigh for Botany Bay or in prison within a month after the meeting of Parliament. Irresolution will not do.

“I suppose they will set up a sort of Anti-Jacobin journal, and desire me to write upon the state of the nation before the session opens. If they would—but act as I will write,—I mean as much in earnest and as fearlessly—the country would be saved, and I would stake my head upon the issue, which very possibly may be staked upon it without my consent.

“Of course no person knows of this application except my wife. By the time my letter (which will go to-morrow) can be answered, I shall be able to start for London, if it be still required. Most likely it will be. Meantime I should like to know your opinion of my views. They want you for their
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 207
adviser. They who tremble must inevitably be lost.

R. S.”