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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 6 May 1824

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, May 6. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“In the evil habit of answering familiar letters, without having them before me, I forgot to notice
your question* respecting the nitrous oxide; which however I should not have done had the thing been as hopeful as you supposed it to be. What I said was simply this, that the excitement produced by the inhalation was not followed by any consequent debility or exhaustion; on the contrary, that it appeared to quicken all the senses during the remainder of the day. One case occurred in which the gas seemed to produce a good effect upon a palsied patient. A fellow who had lost the use of his hands (a tailor by trade) was so far cured, that he was turned out of the house for picking pockets.

“The difficulty in finding two hundred subscribers† arises from this, my dear Grosvenor, that our friends are never so ready to bestir themselves in our affairs as our enemies. There are half a score persons in the world who would take some pains to serve me; and there are half a hundred who would take a great deal more to injure me. The former would gladly do any thing for me which lay in their way; the latter would go out of theirs to do anything against me. I do not say this complainingly, for no man was ever less disposed to be querulous: and, perhaps, no one ever had more friends upon whose friendship he might justly pride himself. But it is the way of the world; and the simple reason is, that enmity is a stronger feeling than good will. . . . .

* Mr. Bedford was a sufferer from almost complete deafness, and he had imagined that my father, in some former letter, had spoken of the nitrous oxide as efficacious in that infirmity.

† To his brother Thomas’s History of the West Indies.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 177

“I am reviewing Hayley’s Life for the desire of lucre; a motive which, according to a writer in the Lady’s Magazine, induced me to compile the Book of the Church; and is, indeed, according to this well-informed person, the leading principle of my literary life. How thoroughly should I be revenged upon such miserable wretches as this, if it were possible for them to know with what infinite contempt I regard them!

“Shall I tell you what books I have in reading at this time; that you may see how many ingredients are required for garnishing a calf’s head? A batch of volumes from Murray relating to the events of the last ten years in Spain; Bishop Parker, De Rebus sui Temporis; Cardinal D’Ossat’s Letters; the Memoir of the Third Duke de Bourbon; Whitaker’s Pierce Ploughman; the Mirror for Magistrates; the Collection of State Poems; Tiraboschi, and the Nibelungen in its original old German, and its modern German version, the one helping me to understand the other. Some of them I read after supper, some while taking my daily walk; the rest in odds and ends of time; laying down the pen when it does not flow freely, and taking up a book for five or ten minutes by way of breathing myself. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”