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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Sharon Turner, 24 February 1817

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. 24. 1817.
“My dear Turner,

“My brother has written to dissuade me strongly from proceeding in this business. My own opinion is, that if I do not act now the men who have published the work will compel me to do so at last, by inserting my name in such a manner as to render the measure unavoidable. Indeed it was inserted as a paragraph in the Chronicle, which I suppose they paid for as an advertisment. Therefore I think it best to take the short and open course, believing that
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 247
in most cases such courses are the best. However, I have sent
Harry’s letter to Wynn, and, if his arguments convince him, have desired him to let you know. This was done yesterday, and if you have not heard from him before this reaches you, it may be concluded that he thinks it best to proceed. I suppose there can be no doubt of obtaining the injunction. The statement is perfectly accurate; I know not whether it be of any use to let you know that at the time the transaction took place I was under age. I was just twenty when the poem was written, and saw these booksellers about four months afterwards.

“I fully assent to what you say concerning political discussions, and intermeddle with them no farther than as they are connected not only with the future good, but as appears to me with the immediate safety of society. It is not for any men, or set of men, that I am interested; nor for any particular measures. But with regard to the fearful aspect of these times, you may perhaps have traced the ground of my apprehensions in Espriella, in the Edinburgh Register, and in the Quarterly, more especially in a paper upon the Poor about four years ago. It is now come to this question,—Can we educate the people in moral and religious habits, and better the condition of the poor, so as to secure ourselves from a mob-revolution; or has this duty been neglected so long, that the punishment will overtake us before this only remediable means can take effect? The papers which I shall write upon the real evils of society will, I hope, work for posterity, and not be
wholly forgotten by it; they proceed from a sense of duty, and that duty discharged, I shall gladly retire into other ages, and give all my studies to the past and all my hopes to the future.

“My spirits, rather than my disposition, have undergone a great change. They used to be exuberant beyond those of almost every other person; my heart seemed to possess a perpetual fountain of hilarity; no circumstances of study, or atmosphere, or solitude affected it; and the ordinary vexations and cares of life, even when they showered upon me, fell off like hail from a pent-house. That spring is dried up; I cannot now preserve an appearance of serenity at all times without an effort, and no prospect In this world delights me except that of the next. My heart and my hopes are there.

“I have a scheme to throw out somewhere for taking the Methodists into the Church; or borrowing from Methodism so much of it as is good, and thereby regenerating the Establishment. There is little hope in such schemes, except that in process of time they may produce some effect. But were it effected now, and would the Church accept the volunteer services of lay coadjutors, I should feel strongly inclined to volunteer mine. This is a dream, and I fear the whole fabric will fall to pieces even in our days.

Believe me,
Yours with affection and esteem,
Robert Southey.”