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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John May, 16 February 1809

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, Feb. 16. 1809.
“My dear Friend,

“. . . . . What is your Lisbon news? Notwithstanding the Duke of York and Mrs. Clarke, I think of those countries; and notwithstanding the disasters which our gross misconduct could not fail to bring on, my confidence in the ultimate success of a good cause remains undiminished. I could have wished, indeed, that the work of reformation, which Joseph Bonaparte is beginning, had been begun by the junta; that they had called the principle of liberty as well as of loyalty to their aid, and made freedom their watchword as well as the Virgin Mary, for she may
be on both sides. Certainly it was not easy to do this; and I have always suspected that those leaders such as
Palafox, who might have wished to do it, bore in mind the first great struggle of the Portuguese against Castille, when the infante Don João, a prisoner, and in chains, served as João the First’s stalking-horse, and was painted upon his banner, till he found he could safely assume the crown himself. The convenience of such a name as Ferdinand, and the stain which France has brought upon the very name of republicanism, were causes which might well induce a timid, and therefore a feeble, line of conduct. . . . . Why is Bonaparte gone to Paris at such a time? If any change in the north should call him into Germany, with only part of his army, the tide will roll back, and King Joseph be forced a second time to decamp. Meantime I expect a desperate resistance about the southern coast, wherever our ships can be of use. Is it possible we can leave Elvas without seeing it well garrisoned? the place is absolutely impregnable. Moore would have done wisely had he fallen back upon the frontier, where there was a double line of fortified towns, into which he might have thrown his troops whenever he felt it necessary to leave the mountains; and against those fortresses the French would have wasted, and must have divided their force, allowing us time to send out another army. Regular armies in such wars as this must always be successful in the field, but they have always met their chief disasters before fortified towns; tactics are nothing there, individual courage everything; and women and children fight by the
Ætat. 35. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 221
side of their husbands or their fathers, from the window, on the housetops, or on the walls.

“Have you seen William Taylor’s Defence of the Slave Trade in Bolinbroke’s Voyage to the Demerary? It is truly William Taylorish; thoroughly ingenious, as usual, but not ingenuous; he weakens the effect of his own arguments by keeping the weak side of his cause altogether out of sight. In defending the slave trade, as respects the duty of man towards man, he has utterly failed; he has succeeded in what you and I shall think of more consequence,—in showing what the probable end is for which wise Providence has so long permitted the existence of so great an evil. . . . .

Believe me,
Yours very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”