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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Andrew Bell, 25 November 1830

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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“London, Nov. 25. 1830.
“My dear Sir,

“I came home at twelve this morning*, that I might write to you fully by this post, and found on my table a handbill of such a nature that I deemed it my duty to lose no time in sending it to the Home Office; it invites a subscription for arming the people against the police. Before this could be done, in came a caller, then another; and it is now three o’clock. Would that it were possible for me to convince you of what it is so desirable for you to be convinced of,—not merely that your system must make its way universally (for you have never doubted that), nor that your own just claims will one day be universally acknowledged (for this also you cannot doubt), but that such efforts as you now weary and vex yourself with making, and as you wish me to assist in, cannot possibly promote the extension of the system. . . . .

“The best thing that I can do, after touching upon the necessity of national education in the Christmas number (of the Quarterly Review), will

* From breakfasting out.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 123
be to prepare a paper upon the subject as early as possible; a task the more necessary, because many persons, I perceive, are beginning to apprehend that the progress of education among the lower classes has done more harm than good. It is, you know, not a matter of opinion with me, but of feeling and religious belief, that the greater the diffusion of knowledge the better will it be for mankind, provided that the foundation be built upon the rock, and that, above all things, the rising generation be instructed in their duties. I shall be well employed, therefore, in showing, that where any harm has been done by education, it is because that education has been imperfect, or because its proper object has been perverted by untoward circumstances. And the present state of the nation is such, that I shall be enabled to do this with better hope.

“I am entering far more into general society than in any of my former visits to London, for the purpose of seeing and hearing all within my reach. The Duchess of Kent sent for me to dinner on Wednesday last; there was a large party, not one of whom I had ever seen before. With the Duchess, who seems a very amiable person, I had a very little conversation, though quite as much as she could possibly bestow upon me; but with Prince Leopold, the only person to whom I was introduced, I had a great deal. I see men who are going into office, and men who are going out, and I am familiar enough with some of them to congratulate the latter, and condole with and commiserate the former. I meet with men of all persuasions and all grades of opinion, and
hear their hopes and their fears, and have opportunities (which I do not let slip) of seeing the mechanism of government, and observing how the machine works. I was to have dined with the
Archbishop on Wednesday, when the Duchess made me put off my engagement. . . . .

“My table is now covered with notes, pamphlets, and piles of seditious papers. You may imagine how I long to be at home and at rest. To-day I dine with Mr. Croker, who is likely to be prominent in opposition. The Duke will not; neither, by what I hear, will Sir R. Peel. But I do not think it possible that the present administration can hold together long; and Peel, who is now without an equal in the Commons, has only to wait patiently till he is made minister by common consent of the nation.

“Farewell, my dear Sir; and believe me always,

Sincerely and affectionately yours,
Robert Southey.”