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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to George Ticknor, 13 August 1821

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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“Keswick, Aug. 13. 1819.
“My dear Sir,

“I did not receive your friendly letter, and the books which you sent to Murray’s, till the last week in May, at which time I supposed you would be on your voyage homeward. Long ere this I trust you
will have reached your native shores, and enjoyed the delight of returning to your friends after a long absence. Life has few greater pleasures.

“You have sent me a good specimen of American divinity. I very much doubt whether we have any contemporary sermons so good. For though our pulpits are better filled than they were in the last generation, we do not hear from them such sound reasoning, such clear logic, and such manly and vigorous composition as in the days of South and Barrow. What is said in the memoir of Mr. Buckminster of the unimpassioned character of our printed sermons is certainly true; the cause of it is to be found in the general character of the congregations for which they were composed, always regular church-going people, persons of wealth and rank, the really good part of the community, and the Formalists and the Pharisees, none of whom would like to be addressed by their parish priest as miserable sinners standing in need of repentance. Sermons of country growth seldom find their way to the press; in towns the ruder classes seldom attend the Church service, in large towns because there is no room for them; and indeed, in country as well as town, the subjects who are in the worst state of mind and morals never enter the Church doors. Wesley and Whitfield got at them by preaching in the open air, and they administered drastics with prodigious effect. Since their days a more impassioned style has been used in the pulpit, and with considerable success. But the pith and the sound philosophy of the elder divines are wanting. Your Buckminster was taking
the right course. The early death of such a man would have been a great loss to any country.

“You have sent me also a good specimen of American politics in the works of Fisher Ames. I perused them with great pleasure, and have seldom met with a more sagacious writer. A great proportion of the words in the American vocabulary are as common in England as in America. But provided a word be good, it is no matter from what mint it comes. Neologisms must always be arising in every living language; and the business of criticism should be not to reprobate them because they are new, but to censure such as are not formed according to analogy, or which are merely superfluous. The authority of an English reviewer passes on your side of the Atlantic for more than it is worth; with us the Review of the last month or the last quarter is as little thought of as the last week’s newspaper. You must have learnt enough of the constitution of such works to know that upon questions of philology they are quite unworthy of being noticed. The manner in which they are referred to in the vocabulary led me to this, and this leads me to the criticisms upon Bristed and Fearon’s books in the Quarterly Review. I know not from whom they came, but they are not in a good spirit.

R. S.”