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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 23 February 1823

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. 23. 1823.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Your letter comes in aid of a purpose which I had entertained, of putting together what I have said upon the Catholic question in the Edinburgh Annual Register, recasting it, and publishing it, with some needful additions, in the form of a pamphlet. About a week ago, I put down in my note-book the first sketch of an arrangement, and actually began to compose what I have to say, as a letter to some M.P.; not that it was meant to be addressed to any individual one; but having argued with Wilberforce and Sir Thomas Acland, upon the subject, I knew in what light they considered it. The course which affairs have taken in Ireland will, probably, have the good effect of quashing the question for this year; and in that hope I am willing to postpone my own purpose till a season which may be more convenient to myself, and when aid of this kind may be more needed.

Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 137

“The arguments lie in a nutshell. The restraints which exclude the Catholics from political power are not the cause of the perpetual disorder in Ireland; their removal, therefore, cannot be the cure. Suppose the question carried, two others grow from it, like two heads from the hydra’s neck, when one is amputated:—a Catholic establishment for Ireland, at which Irish Catholics must aim, and which those who desire rebellion and separation will promote,—a rebellion must be the sure consequence of agitating this. The people of Ireland care nothing for emancipation,—why should they? but make it a question for restoring the Catholic church, and they will enter into it as zealously as ever our ancestors did into a crusade.

“The other question arises at home, and brings with it worse consequences than anything which can happen among the potatoes. The repeal of the Test Act will be demanded, and must be granted. Immediately the Dissenters will get into the corporations everywhere. Their members will be returned; men as hostile to the Church and to the monarchy as ever were the Puritans of Charles’s age. The church property will be attacked in Parliament, as it is now at mob-meetings, and in radical newspapers; reform in Parliament will be carried; and then farewell, a long farewell, to all our greatness.

“Our constitution consists of Church and State, and it is an absurdity in politics to give those persons power in the State, whose duty it is to subvert the Church. This argument is unanswerable. I am in
good hopes that my
Book of the Church will do yeoman’s service upon the question. God bless you!

R. S.”