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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Scott, 24 December 1814

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, Dec. 24, 1814.
“My dear Scott,

“Are you still engaged with the Lord of the Isles, or may I give you joy of a happy deliverance? There are few greater pleasures in life than that of getting fairly through a great work of this kind, and seeing it when it first comes before us in portly form. I envy you the advantage which you always derive from a thorough knowledge of your poetical ground; no man can be more sensible of this advantage than myself, though I have in every instance been led to forego it.

Longman was to take care that Roderick should be duly conveyed to you. Remember that if you do not duly receive every book which has the name of R. S. in the title-page, the fault lies among the booksellers. My last employment has been an Odeous one. I was in good hope that this silly custom had been dispensed with, but on making inquiry through Croker, the reply was that an Ode I must write. It would be as absurd in me to complain of this, as it is in the higher powers to exact it. However, I shall no longer feel myself bound to volunteer upon extraordinary service. I had a ridiculous disappointment about the intended marriage of the Princess Charlotte, which was so mischievously broken off. Willing to be in time, as soon as I was assured that the marriage was to be, I fell to work, and produced some fifty six-lined stanzas, being about half of a
poem in the old manner, which would have done me credit.

“I do not like the aspect of affairs abroad. We make war better than we make peace. In war John Bull’s bottom makes amends for the defects of his head; he is a dreadful fellow to take by the horns, but no calf can be more easily led by the nose. Europe was in such a state when Paris was taken, that a commanding intellect, had there been such among the allies, might have cast it into whatever form ho pleased. The first business should have been to have reduced France to what she was before Louis XIV.’s time; the second to have created a great power in the north of Germany with Prussia at its head; the third to have consolidated Italy into one kingdom or commonwealth. A fairer opportunity was given us than at the peace of Utrecht, but moderation and generosity were the order of the day, and with these words we have suffered ourselves to be fooled. Here at home the Talents, with that folly which seems to pursue all their measures like a fatality, are crying out in behalf of Poland and Saxony—the restoration of which would be creating two powerful allies for France; and in America we have both lost time and credit. Of Sir G. Prevost, from his former conduct, I have too good an opinion to condemn him until I have heard his defence; but there has evidently been misconduct somewhere. And at Baltimore I cannot but think that the city would have been taken if poor Ross had not been killed. Confidence is almost everything in war.


Jeffrey I hear has written what his admirers call a crushing review of the Excursion. He might as well seat himself upon Skiddaw and fiincy that he crushed the mountain. I heartily wish Wordsworth may one day meet with him, and lay him alongside, yard-arm and yard-arm in argument.

“I saw Canning for an hour or two when he was in this country, and was far more pleased with him than I had expected. He has played his cards ill. In truth I believe that nature made him for something better than a politician. He is gone to a place where I wish I could go. Indeed I should think seriously of going to Spain, if the country were not evidently in a very insecure state. Some of my old Guerilla friends, for want of other occupation, might employ a cartridge upon me. I have still a communication with Madrid, but of course we get no information concerning the real state of things; nor can I guess who is the mover of this mischief. For Ferdinand is a fool, and is moreover exceedingly popular, which seems as if he were a good-natured fool. And a change of ostensible counsellors has produced no change of system. I am much gratified by the compliment the Academy have paid me, and if the Lisbon Academy should follow the example, I should desire no other mark of literary honour. The concluding volume of my Brazil is in the press, and I am closely employed upon it. You will find in it some warfare of the old hearty character, the whole history of the Jesuits in Paraguay, and much curious information respecting the savages. Remem-
ber me to
Mrs. Scott and your daughter, and believe me,

Yours very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”