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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John May, 18 February 1832

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. 18. 1832.
“My dear Friend,

“. . . . . I know no one who has been pursued by such a series of unmerited afflictions: one may use such language in speaking of calamities that are brought on by the actions of our fellow-creatures. . . . .

If I had been called to Cheltenham, I should certainly have gone on to Bristol. But as yet I have
Ætat. 58. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 179
received no further intelligence from thence, than a few lines from the poor old
Doctor’s secretary, informing me of his death, and saying that when the trustees arrived, official information would be sent to me.* I persuade myself that it is not likely I shall be called from home, disagreeable as it would be, and especially inconvenient at this time.

“No man can care much about public affairs when his own troubles are pressing heavily upon his heart and mind. But I greatly fear that the time is hastening on when public concerns will affect the vital interests of every individual. Wordsworth is made positively unhappy by this thought. I should be so, if my mind were not constantly occupied, for I see most surely that nothing but the special mercy of Providence can save us from a revolution; and I feel also that we have much more reason to fear the Almighty’s justice, than to rely upon his mercy, in this case; yet I rely upon it, and keep my heart firm in that reliance.

“Feb. 20.

“Yesterday brought me the expected letter from Dr. Bell’s trustees. He has left me 1000l. He had left me also his furniture, &c., but this he revoked in

* “I have just received news of Dr. Bell’s death from his faithful secretary Davies, who says that ‘official information will be dispatched to me when the trustees arrive.’ When it comes, I fear it may call me to Cheltenham; but certainly I shall not go if the business can be done by proxy. Poor old man, he is now at rest from his discovery, which was a perpetual torment to him whatever good it may ultimately produce to others. But I had a great liking for the better parts of his strongly marked character; and his death, though expected, and for his own sake long to have been desired, takes full possession of my mind just now and troubles it.”—To H. Taylor, Esq., Jan. 31.

a codicil a few days before his death, giving some unintelligible reason for so doing, and adding at the same time a bequest of 100l. to my dear
Isabel*, as his godchild; his memory, therefore, had completely failed him at that time. The legacy to me is the largest he has left; and most welcome it is, as something on which I may rely (as far as anything dependent upon the fearful insecurity of human life, and of all our social institutions in these days, may be relied on,) for Cuthbert’s support at Oxford; it relieves me from any difficulty respecting means, if he and I should live so long, and this frame of things should be kept together.

“I collect from the trustees’ letter, that Dr. Bell changed his intention concerning the publication of his works, which he had desired Wordsworth and myself to superintend; but it seems he still wished and expected that I should draw up an account of his life. Upon this I shall have further information, no doubt, in due time. Poor man! the last letter I received from him told me that he had bequeathed to me his furniture, and that therefore I must be prepared to set off for Cheltenham as soon as I should be informed of ‘an event which could not be far distant.’ If I had done so, how uncomfortably should I have felt on my arrival there! . . . . God bless and support you, my dear friend, and bring you through all difficulties into a peaceful port.

Yours most affectionately,
R. S.”