LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Taylor Coleridge, 30 January 1825

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, Jan. 30. 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“There is certainly a most pernicious set of opinions mixed up both with the Bible and Missionary

* Concerning Lord Byron.

Societies,—so there is with the Abolitionists,—and yet we cannot have the good without the evil, and it is no little advantage when the men who hold these opinions direct some of their restless zeal into a useful channel. In that point of view the Missionary Societies are so many safety valves. Even the best men whom they send abroad would be very likely to be mischievous at home.

Bishop Law (the present bishop’s father) advances an opinion that the true nature of revealed religion is gradually disclosed as men become capable of receiving it, generations as they advance in knowledge and civilisation outgrowing the errors of their forefathers; so that in fulness of time there will remain neither doubt nor difficulties. He was a great speculator; whether, like one of his sons, he speculated too far, I do not know, but in this opinion I think he is borne out by history. Providence condescends to the slowness of Christian understandings, as it did to the hardness of Jewish hearts. All these societies proceed upon a full belief in the damnation of the heathen: what their future state may be is known as little as we do concerning our own, but this we know in both cases, that it must be consistent with the goodness of our Father who is in heaven. . . . . Yet you could get no missionaries to go abroad unless they held this tenet. The Socinians, you see, send none, neither do the Quakers.

“The Quarterly Review has been overlaid with statistics, as it was once with Greek criticism. It is the disease of the age—the way in which verbose
Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 203
dulness spends itself. The journal wants more of the literæ humaniores, and in a humaner tone than it has been wont to observe. I think a great deal of good may be done by conciliating young writers who are going wrong, by leading them with a friendly hand into the right path, giving them all the praise they deserve, and advising or insinuating, rather than reprehending.
Keats might have been won in that manner, and perhaps have been saved. So I have been assured. Severity will have ten times more effect when it is employed only where it is well deserved.

“Do not over-work yourself, nor sit up too late, and never continue at any one mental employment after you are tired of it. Take this advice from one who has attained to great self-management in this respect.

“God bless you!

R. Southey.

Smedley’s poems are very clever; but he seems quite insensible to the good which is connected with and resulting from this mixture of weakness, enthusiasm, and sectarian zeal. It does nothing but good abroad, and that good would not be done without it. The Bible Society has quadrupled the subscribers to the Bartletts Buildings’ one, and given it a new impulse. I hate cant and hypocrisy, and am apt to suspect them wherever there is much profession of godliness; but, on the other hand, I do not like men to be callous to the best interests of their fellow-creatures.”