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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 11 December 1818

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
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“Dec. 11. 1818.
“My dear R.,

“. . . . . I sometimes try to persuade myself that mine is a Turkish sort of constitution, and that exercise and out-of-door air are not needful for its well-being; but the body begins to require better management than It did; It will not take care of itself so well as it did twenty years ago, and I need not look in the
glass for a memento that I have begun the down-hill part of my journey. So be it. There is so much for my heart, and hope, and curiosity at the end of the stage, that if I thought only of myself in this world I should wish that I was there.

“It is a strange folly, a fatality, that men in power will not see the prudence of anticipating public feeling sometimes, and doing things with a grace for the sake of popularity, which must be done with ignominy upon compulsion. For instance, in Lord Cochrane’s affair, it was wrong to condemn him to the pillory; but if that part of the sentence had been annulled before popular opinion was expressed, the Prince would have gained credit, instead of being supposed to yield to the newspapers. There is another case in the suicide laws. . . . . And again in the matter of forgery; the law must be altered, and this not from the will of the legislature, but by the will of the London juries! The juries, however, if they go on in their present course, will do more than this,—they will prove that the very institution of juries, on which we have prided ourselves so long, is inconsistent not only with common sense, but with the safety of society and the security of Government. I wish when the question of forgery comes before the House (as it surely must do), that something may be said and done also for restoring that part of the system which makes the jurymen punishable for a false verdict.

“I have written shortly about the Copyright question for the Q. R., and put in a word, without any hope of a change in my time, upon the absurd in
Ætat. 45. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 333
justice of the existing laws. My own case hereafter will plead more strongly against them than it is in my power to do now, as, according to all appearances, my copyrights will be much more valuable property after my death than they have ever yet proved.

“God bless you!

Always and affectionately yours,
R. S.”