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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Richard Quail Shannon, 2 March 1829

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, March 2. 1829.

“I thank you for your pamphlet; but I find that the extract from it in The Times is faithfully given, and I repeat that you have offered me a personal wrong, as unprovoked as it is unwarrantable. You have egregiously mistaken what my opinions were when we met. You have uncharitably misrepresented what they are now; and you have imputed to me suspicious motives for a change, which has no other existence than in your own erroneous recollections and intemperate judgment.

“If what you called the Catholic rights were touched upon in our table-talk, it is likely that a
subject which was not at that time prominent would be lightly dismissed, willing as we both were to dwell rather upon points of agreement than of difference. I remember distinctly our difference concerning the union with England, and no other. Nor do I suppose that we differ now upon anything else relating to Ireland, except upon the question whether concession to the Romanists is likely to remedy the evils of that poor country, or to aggravate them. On that question it is well known to all my friends that my views have never undergone any alteration; and they were formed and declared as early as the year 1801, when the question first came before me. For what possible motive could I have dissembled them to you? I have never expressed an opinion which I did not hold; nor held one which I feared to express,—to maintain when I was persuaded that it was right, or to abandon if convinced that it was wrong.

“With regard to the Quarterly Review, I never will allow that any one has a right to call upon me individually respecting any composition (not of a personal character) which has not my name affixed to it. But I maintain every argument which is urged in that paper; I assent to every assertion which it contains; I hold every opinion which is advanced there. Elsewhere I have published arguments, assertions, and opinions of the same kind, bearing upon the same conclusion. And whosoever charges me with inhumanity for this, or affirms that it is designed to render the Irish objects of horror and execration, calumniates me. I have been used to misrepresenta-
tion and calumny, but I did not expect them, Sir, from you.

“It is a fair course of argument to assert that the miseries of Ireland were not caused by the laws which exclude the Roman Catholics from legislative power, and to infer that they cannot be remedied by the repeal of those laws; and the question is, whether those premises can be proved by historical facts, and that inference established by just reasoning. You cannot condemn the British Government more severely than I do, for having suffered the great body of the Irish people to remain to this day in as barbarous a state as the Scotch and the Welsh were till they were civilised, the first by their Kirk, the second by the laws. That the Irish have been thus barbarous from the earliest times may be learned by their own annals; that they are so still is proved at every assizes in that unhappy country, and almost in every newspaper. That they should be in this condition is the fault of their aristocracy, their landlords, and their priests, and the reproach of their rulers. But in what state of mind must that person be who accuses another of inhumanity, and holds him up as the enemy of the Irish nation, because he has asserted these truths!

“I could say more, Sir, were it not vain to address one whose sense of the usages of society is so perverse that he deems it no breach of honour and hospitality to bring old table-talk before the public for the purpose of depreciating me; whose prepossessions are so obstinate that rather than think it possible his own recollections, after more than twenty
years, may have deceived him, he will believe me guilty of deliberate falsehood: whose Christian charity is so little that because I think the Protestant Church establishments in England and Ireland will be endangered by admitting Roman Catholics into the legislature, he imputes suspicious motives to me, and accuses me of seeking to render the Irish people objects of horror and execration; and finally, whose notions of moral feeling are so curiously compounded that because these heinous charges are accompanied with some complimentary phrases to the injured person on the score of his talents, he is actually surprised that an indignant remonstrance should be expressed in a tone which he calls uncourteous! Finding it, therefore, in vain to expect from you a reparation of the wrong which you have offered, I shall take a near and fitting opportunity for publicly contradicting* your statement, and repelling your injurious charges and calumniatory insinuations.

Robert Southey.”