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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825

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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Ætat. 50. Ætat. 50. 159

At the conclusion of the “Life of Wesley,” after a brief summary of his character, my father expresses a hope that the Society of Methodists might cast off the extravagancies which accompanied its growth, and that it would gradually purify itself from whatever was objectionable in its institution; and he adds
that “it is not beyond the bounds of reasonable hope that, conforming itself to the original intention of its founders, it may again draw towards the Establishment from which it has receded, and deserve to be recognised as an auxiliary institution, its ministers being analogous to the regulars, and its members to the tertiaries and various confraternities of the Romish church.”

These remarks, it appears, and the work in general, had met with the approbation of some of the Wesleyans, notwithstanding the dislike* with which, as a body, they regarded this Life of their Founder; and, as might have been expected, certain internal commotions and divisions began to arise among them which at one time seemed likely to lead to the results he here desiderates.

The first intimation he received of this was in the following curious communication from Mark Robinson, of Beverley, which awaited his return home, which may not unfitly be inserted here, as giving an interesting view of the feelings, wishes, and movements of a considerable portion of the Methodists at that time.

* “The mystery of the faith kept in a pure conscience is indeed a mystery to Mr. Southey. . . . . The day will come when the friend and pupil of Hume, and the bold historian of ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ and the compiler of the ‘Life of Wesley’ may be considered as having been engaged in the same work as ‘kicking against the pricks’”—Preface to the Rev. Henry Moore’s Life of Wesley.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 161
From Mark Robinson to Robert Southey, Esq.
“Beverley, Jan. 13. 1824.

“I am encouraged by the representations I have received of your affability and willingness to afford information to those who apply to you, to lay before you a matter which has given me no little concern; and in the hope that you will favour me with your views upon the subject, I will proceed without further introduction.

“It has for several years appeared to me, and several respectable friends of mine, who, as well as myself, are all members of the Wesleyan Methodist Society, in which we have for many years filled official situations, that the rapid dissent which we believe the travelling preachers have been chiefly instrumental in effecting in the society from the Established Church, is much to be lamented, and that in the same proportion in which the society have departed from the original plan of Methodism, in the same proportion they have missed their way. We think that a secession from the Church has engendered a sectarian spirit, and given to the preachers a kind of influence over the people which, we fear, in many of its consequences, will be injurious both to their piety and liberty, leading them to exchange the former for party zeal, and the latter for a too ready acquiescence in all the measures of the preachers. We lately opened a correspondence with the Church Methodists in Ireland, from which we learn
—what you, Sir, are probably already acquainted with—that, in 1817, the Methodist Conference in Ireland, after exciting the societies throughout the country to petition them for the sacraments, determined upon giving them to all who should desire it. In consequence, 7000 amongst them, amongst whom were many of the most respectable members in Dublin and other principal places, withdrew from the Conference connection and established a separate itinerancy, and that they have now about 14,000 in close connection with them. We learn also that the
Bishop of Waterford called together the clergy of his diocese, and sent for one of the itinerant preachers of the connection, who so fully satisfied his lordship and the clergy, that they all, without one dissenting voice, promised to give the Church Methodists countenance and support. What particularly satisfied this meeting was the declaration of the preachers that the Society had settled their chapels on trustees conditionally, that if they should ever leave the Church, these chapels should go to the crown. They hold no meetings in canonical hours, and receive the sacrament at the hands of the clergy. The bishop and many of his clergy have contributed to the erection of the Waterford chapel, and not only numbers of the Church people attend the chapel on the Sunday evenings, but also the clergy themselves.

“This correspondence we have named to several, both of the evangelical and orthodox clergy, none of whom raise any objection to it, and most of whom are its warm advocates. I lately received an invitation from the evangelical clergy in Hull to meet
Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 163
them in this business; and, in company with
M. T. Sadler, Esq., of Leeds, who is one of our most able coadjutors, I attended the meeting. The clergy were unanimously of opinion that Church Methodism would meet with general support throughout the country, and that the pious clergy would give it their support. It has also been named in a private way to many of our magistrates and other respectable gentlemen, who profess to think well of it. We feel confident that there is an intention in the minds of some of the leading conference preachers to get up, not so much a plan of regular dissent as a rival Church. This we think strongly indicated by the introduction of baptism, of the Lord’s supper, burial of the dead, the reading the church service, vergers with their uniform and wands, and especially the preachers having in the two last conferences attempted to introduce episcopal ordination: the leading preachers to be bishops, and the remainder regular clergymen. We are also of opinion that the preachers holding a regular conference or convocation, from which they exclude all the people, may in the end, not only endanger the liberties of their own people but of the country at large. Pray, Sir, is there any good precedent for such a meeting? Did not the proctors make part of the conference or convocation of the English clergy, and are not all the ecclesiastical laws subject to the control of his Majesty in Chancery, and of the Civil Courts? We have it in contemplation to petition the next conference to admit a fair representation of the people, and to beg that they will deliberate measures
for the gradual return of the societies to Church Methodism.

Mr. Sadler is perhaps known to you as the author of an excellent pamphlet addressed to Walter Fawkes, Esq., late member for the county of York, in which he has refuted that gentleman’s arguments in favour of a reform in Parliament. I had forgotten to say that if the conference will not listen to our request at all, we purpose applying to our Irish friends to send over some efficient preachers, which we believe they will do.

“I may add, that your excellent conclusion of the Life of Wesley has also contributed to induce me to take the liberty of troubling you on this subject, conceiving that our plan is not very dissimilar to what you refer to. . . . . We shall highly value your opinion and advice, and shall feel much obliged by as early a reply as you can conveniently favour us with.

I am, for myself and friends, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Mark Robinson.”

My father immediately transmitted a copy of this letter to Dr. Howley, at that time Bishop of London, who in his reply gives a valuable testimony to the importance and utility of the “Book of the Church.”

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 165
The Bishop of London to R. Southey, Esq.
“London, Feb. 25. 1824.
“My dear Sir,

“At the time of receiving your communication of Feb. 20., it had been my intention for some days to trouble you with a line to express the high satisfaction which I have derived from your Book of the Church.

“It contains a most interesting sketch of a subject which, to the generality of readers, is almost unknown; and as it cannot fail to be popular from the beauty of its execution, will, I trust, have the effect of turning the attention of many persons, who have hitherto been indifferent to such matters, through ignorance, to the nature of the dangers which this country has escaped, and the blessings of various kinds which have been secured to it, through the National Church Establishment. I could have wished for references to the original writers, more especially as Lingard has made such a display of his authorities. But, perhaps, you had reasons for withholding them at present. A wish has been expressed by many judicious persons, that the work might be published in a reduced form for the benefit of the lower classes, whose minds would be elevated by the zeal and virtue of the first Reformers.

“Your communication is very interesting and important; great difficulties, I fear, lie in the way of an open and formal reunion with the body of the Church, and I am apprehensive the movement, if it has any effect, will terminate in swelling the numbers, and
perhaps the reputation of a party, which count among its members many exemplary clergymen; not sufficiently alive either to the benefits of order, or to the prejudice resulting to religion, from the aspersions thrown on the character of their brethren who differ with them in opinion on particular points. I am, however, not without hopes that in certain situations, more especially in parts of the colonies, a union of purpose and action at least may silently take place, which under discreet management would be productive of much advantage to the one great cause; but this must be effected by prudent use of opportunities, and not, I think, by formal treaty.

“With repeated thanks for your valuable communication, and with sincere respect, I remain,

My dear Sir,
Your faithful Servant,
W. London.”

Here, for the present, the matter rested. Mark Robinson continued, however, to correspond at intervals with my father, who took considerable interest in the subject, and brought it forward in his “Colloquies with Sir T. More,” expressing a strong opinion as to the practicability and desirableness of “embodying as Church Methodists those who would otherwise be drawn in to join one or other of the numerous squadrons of dissent.” This gave, again, some little impetus to the exertions of Robinson and his friends; but no results of any consequence followed. The subject will be found again alluded to at a later period.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 167

I have placed these two letters together, as leading the one to the other. We next find my father communicating the news of his return to Mr. Bedford, and amusing him with a promised account of a scene which the two friends in some “Butlerish” mood had planned beforehand.

The horn here referred to was a long straight tin instrument, such as, in the olden times, mail-coach guards were wont to rouse slumbering turnpike keepers and drowsy ostlers with, before the march of music introduced them to Key Bugles and Cornopeans, and long before railroads went steeple-chasing it across the country, and shrill steam whistles superseded these more dulcet sounds. It had been procured chiefly for the sake of the amusement the unpacking it would afford (though there might also be some latent intention of awakening the mountain echoes with it). Mrs. Coleridge professed an exaggerated horror of all uncouth noises, and “half in earnest, half in jest,” played, not unwillingly, her good-humoured part in these pantomimic scenes, which my father enjoyed with true boyish delight.

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 23. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Here then I am, nothing the worse for having been wheeled over fifteen hundred miles in the course of fifteen weeks. I no longer feel the effect of motion in my head, nor of jolting in my tail. I have
taken again to my old coat and old shoes; dine at the reasonable hour of four, enjoy as I used to do the wholesome indulgence of a nap after dinner, drink tea at six, sup at half-past nine, spend an hour over a sober folio and a glass of black currant rum with warm water and sugar, and then to bed. Days seemed like weeks while I was away, so many and so various were my engagements; and now that I am settling to my wonted round of occupations, the week passes like a day. If my life is not like that of the prisca gens mortalium, it is quite as happy; and when you hear Qui fit
Mecænas quoted, you may reply that you know one man at least who is perfectly contented with his lot.

“I was charged by Edith particularly to describe to her how Mrs. Coleridge looked when the fatal horn should first be exhibited to her astonished eyes. The task which my daughter imposed upon me, my powers of language are not sufficient to discharge. The horn, I must tell you, was made useful as a case for Westall’s lithographic print of Warwick Castle. The Doctor packed it carefully up with my umbrella in brown paper, so that no person could possibly discover what the mysterious package contained; and great curiosity was excited when it was first observed at home. Mrs. C. stood by (I sent for her) while the unpacking was deliberately performed. The string was untied, not cut; I unbound it round after round; and then methodically took off the paper. The first emotion was an expression of contemptuous disappointment at sight of the um-
Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 169
brella, which I was careful should be first discovered. But when the horn appeared, the fatal horn, then, oh, then——

Grosvenor, it was an expression of dolorous dismay which Richter or Wilkie could hardly represent unless they had witnessed it,—it was at once so piteous and so comical. Up went the brows, down went the chin, and yet the face appeared to widen as much as it was elongated, by an indefinable drawing of the lips which seemed to flatten all the features. I know not whether sorrow or resentment predominated in the eyes; sorrow as in the Dutch manner, she pitied herself; or anger when she thought of me, and of your brother from whom I received the precious gift; and whose benevolence I loudly lauded. She wished him at Mo-ko (where that is, I know not), and me she wished to a worse place, if any worse there be. In the midst of her emotion I called upon Sarah to observe her well, saying that I was strictly charged by my daughter to make a faithful and full report. The comical wrath which this excited added in no slight decree to the rich effect. Here I blew a blast, which, though not worthy of King Ramiro, was, nevertheless, a good blast. Out she ran: and yet finally, which I hold to be the greatest triumph of my art, I reconciled her to the horn; yes, reconciled her to it, by reminding her that rats might be driven away by it, according as it is written in the story of Jeffry.*

“God bless you, Grosvenor! I should probably

* See Life of Wesley, vol. i. p. 445.

have prattled through the remainder of the sheet, but a parcel from the Row has arrived, and that always occasions an evening of dissipation.

Yours affectionately,
R. S.”
To John May, Esq.
“Keswick, March 7. 1824.
“My dear Friend,

“What success this proposal* of my brother’s may meet with remains to be seen. If he can obtain 200 subscribers, Longman will take the risk of printing 750 copies. The book will be respectable and useful; comprising a regular view of all that has occurred in those islands from their discovery to the present time. Take it for all in all, it is perhaps as disgraceful a portion of history as the whole course of time can afford; for I know not that there is anything generous, anything ennobling, anything honourable or consolatory to human nature, to relieve it, except what may relate to the missionaries. Still it is a useful task to show what those islands have been, and what they are; and the book will do this much more fully, clearly, and satisfactorily than has ever yet been done.

“Three weeks have now nearly elapsed since my return, and they seem like so many days, so swiftly and imperceptibly the days pass by when they are

* For the publication of a Chronological History of the West Indies, by Capt. T. Southey.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 171
passed in regular employment and uniform contentment. My old course of life has become as habitual as if it had never been interrupted. The clock is not more punctual than I am in the division of the day. Little by little I get on with many things. The
Peninsular War is my employment in the forenoon. The Tale of Paraguay after tea. Before breakfast, and at chance times, as inclination leads, I turn to other subjects; and so make progress in all. The only thing at present wanting to my enjoyment is to have something in the press, that I might have proof sheets to look for,—and I shall not be long without this.

Sunday 7th.—To-day I have received a letter from Locker, who delivers me a message from the Bishop of Durham, thanking me for what I have done in the Book of the Church. The Bishop of London wrote to express his ‘high satisfaction.’ Both regret that I have not referred to my authorities*,—an omission which appears to be generally thought injudicious. The truth is, that when I began the book it was with an expectation that it would not exceed a single duodecimo volume; and that even when enlarged it is still a mere epitome for the most part, to which I should feel that a display of authorities was out of place. After the proofs of research and accuracy which I have given, I have a right to expect credit; and in fact, the more my credit is examined, the higher it will stand. Whoever may examine my collections for this and for my

* This omission was supplied in a later edition.

other historical works (and doubtless they will one day be inspected), will find that I have always prepared many more materials than I have used. . . . .

Believe me, my dear Friend,
Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“March 27. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“. . . . . To-day I received the first volume of Roderick in Dutch verse, translated by the wife of Bilderdijk, who is one of the most distinguished men of letters in that country. The translation appears to be very well done, as far as I am able to judge; that is, I can see in the trying passages she has fully understood the original; and her command of her own language is warranted by her husband’s approbation, who is a severe critic as well as a skilful poet himself. He must be near eighty years of age, for he tells me he has been now three score years known as an author. His letter to me is in Latin. The book comes in a red morocco livery; it is dedicated to me in an ode, and a very beautiful one, describing the delight she had taken in the poem, and the consolation she had derived from it, when parts of it came home to her own feelings in a time of severe affliction.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 173

“She calls me the Crown Poet. I mean to send her a set of the Illustrations as soon as I know how to transmit them. The packet came to me through a merchant at Amsterdam, who inclosed it in a Dutch-English letter of his own, and an essay upon the character of my Cid; which he had read in some literary society, and printed afterwards. They give me praise enough in Holland: I would gladly commute some of it for herrings and Rhenish wine. . . . .

“Do let me hear from you.

God bless you!
R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, April 27. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Your letter was as welcome as this day’s rain, when the thirsty ground was gaping for it. Indeed, I should have been uneasy at your silence, and apprehended that some untoward cause must have occasioned it, if I had not heard from Edith that you had supplied her exchequer.

“I should, indeed, have enjoyed the sight of Duppa in the condition which you describe, and the subsequent process of transformation.* How well I can call to

* Mr. Bedford’s humorously exaggerated description may amuse the reader:—“A circumstance occurred here a little while ago, which I wish you could have witnessed. Henry had set off to dine at Mrs. Wall’s at the next door. Miss Page and I had finished our meal, when there sounded a hard knock; when the door opened, a

mind his appearance on his return from the theatre, one-and-twenty years ago! Little did I think that day that the next time I was to enter that theatre would be in a red gown to be bedoctored, and called every thing that ends in issimus. And yet of the two days, the former was one of the most cheerful in my life, and the latter, if not the most melancholy, I think the very loneliest.

Murray writes to me that he has put the Book of the Church to press for a second edition. I make no alterations, except to correct two slips of the pen and the press: where the Emperor Charles V.

figure presented itself in the dim after dinner light of the season, whose features were not easily discernible, when ‘Look at me I what shall I do?’ broke out in accents of despair, and betrayed poor Duppa. On one of the dirtiest days of this dirty and yet unexhausted winter, he had left Lincoln’s Inn on foot to meet the gay party at Mrs. Walls’. A villain of a coachman had driven by him through a lake of mud in the Strand, and Duppa was overwhelmed with alluvial soil. A finer fossil specimen of an oddfish was never seen. He looked like one of the statues of Prometheus in process towards animation—one half life, the other clay. I sent immediately for Henry to a consultation in a case of such emergency. The hour then seven, the invitation for half-past six; the guests growing cross and silent; the fish spoiling before the fire; the hostess fidgetty! What could be done! Shirts and cravats it was easy to find; and soap and water few regular families in a decent station of life are without. But where were waistcoats of longitude enough? or coats of the latitude of his shoulders? But, impranso nihil difficile est: we stuffed him into a special selection from our joint wardrobes. Henry rolled round his neck a cravat, in size and stiffness like a Holland sheet starched, and raised a wall of collar about his ears that projected like the blinkers of a coach horse, and kept his vision in an angle of nothing at all with his nose; would he look to the right or the left, ho must have turned upon the perpetual pivot of his own derriere. . . . . Thus rigged we launched him, and fairly he sped, keeping his arms prudently crossed over the hiatus between waistcoat and breeches, and continually avoiding too erect a posture, lest he should increase the interstitial space; he was a fair parallel to what he was upon another awful occasion, when we both saw him revolving himself into a dew after the crowd of the Oxford Theatre.”—G. C. B. to R. S., April 16. 1824.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 175
is called
Queen Catherine’s brother instead of her nephew, and Henry IV. printed for III., and to omit an anecdote about Gardiner’s death, which Wynn tells me has been disproved by Lingard. I do not know what number Murray printed. But if there should appear a probability of its obtaining a regular sale, in that case I shall be disposed to think seriously of composing a similar view of our civil history, and calling it the Book of the State; with the view of showing how the course of political events has influenced the condition of society, and tracing the growth and effect of our institutions; the gradual disappearance of some evils, and the rise of others. Meantime, however, I have enough upon my hands, and still more in my head.

Hudson Gurney said to me he wished the King would lay his commands on me to write the history of his father’s reign. I wish he would; provided he would make my pension a clear 500l. a-year, to support me while I was writing it; and then I think I could treat the subject with some credit to myself.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“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.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, May 26. 1824.
“My dear Sir,

“I thank you for your note. Its information is of a kind to make one thoughtful; but the sorrow which I felt was not such as you were disposed to give me credit for.*

“I am sorry Lord Byron is dead, because some harm will arise from his death, and none was to be apprehended while he was living; for all the mischief which he was capable of doing he had done. Had he lived some years longer, he would either have continued in the same course, pandering to the basest passions and proclaiming the most flagitious principles, or he would have seen his errors and sung his palinodia,—perhaps have passed from the extreme of profligacy to some extreme of superstition. In the one case he would have been smothered in his own evil deeds. In the other he might have made some atonement for his offences.

“We shall now hear his praises from all quarters. I dare say he will be held up as a martyr to the cause of liberty, as having sacrificed his life by his exertions in behalf of the Greeks. Upon this score the liberals will beatify him; and even the better part of the public will for some time think it becoming in them to write those evil deeds of his in

* “You will, I do not doubt, consider his death as useful to the world; but do you not feel personal commiseration?”—H. T. to R. S., May 14. 1824.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 179
water, which he himself has written in something more durable than brass. I am sorry for his death therefore, because it comes in aid of a pernicious reputation which was stinking in the snuff.

“With regard to the thought that he has been cut off in his sins, mine is a charitable creed, and the more charitable it is the likelier it is to be true. God is merciful. Where there are the seeds of repentance in the heart, I doubt not but that they quicken in time for the individual, though it be too late for the world to perceive their growth. And if they be not there, length of days can produce no reformation.

“In return for your news I have nothing to communicate except what relates to the operations of the desk. I am going to press with the second volume of the Peninsular War, after waiting till now in hope of obtaining some Spanish accounts of the war in Catalonia, which it is now pretty well ascertained are not to be found in Spain, though how they should have disappeared is altogether inexplicable, unless the whole account of the books and their author, Francesco di Olivares, given by a certain John Mitford, some four or five years ago, in Colburn’s Magazine, is fictitious. I am reviewing Hayley’s Memoirs. Hayley has been worried as schoolboys worry a cat. I am treating him as a man deserves to be treated who was in his time, by popular election, king of the English poets, who was, moreover, a gentleman and a scholar, and a most kind-hearted and generous man, in whose life there is something to blame, more to admire, and most of all
to commiserate. My first introduction to Spanish literature I owe to his notes; I owe him therefore some gratitude. I have written some verses too, and am going on with the
Tale of Paraguay, resolutely to its conclusion.

“Farewell, my dear Sir; and believe me,

Yours with sincere regard,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, June 1. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“You deserve to be rated for saying that nothing is so cold as friendship, in saying which you belie yourself, and in inferring it as my opinion from what I said*, you belie me. A friend will not take half the trouble to do you a trifling service, or afford you a slight gratification, that an enemy would to do you a petty mischief, annoy your comfort, or injure your reputation. But this same enemy would not endanger himself for the pleasure of doing you a serious injury, whereas the friend would go through fire and water to render you an essential benefit; and if need were, risk his own life to save yours. Now and then, indeed, there appears a devil-incarnate who seems to find his only gratification in the exercise of

* “I could not but smile at the mode in which you speak of the difficulties of getting 200 subscribers to your brother’s book. Had I said anything half as censoriously true, how you would have rated me! But true it is there is nothing so cold as friendship, nothing so animated as enmity.”—G. C. B. to R. S., May 13. 1824.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 181
malignity; but these are monsters, and are noted as such. If I formed an estimate of human nature from what I observed at school, I should conclude that there was a great deal more evil in it than good; if from what I have observed in after life, I should draw the contrary inference. Follies disappear, weaknesses are outgrown, and the discipline of society corrects more evils than it breeds. You and I, and
Wynn, and Elmsley, and Strachey are very much at this time what each must always have expected the others to be. But who would have expected so much abilities from the two A.’s (mischievously as those abilities are directed)? Who would have thought that B——, boorish and hoggish as he was, would have become a man of the kindest manners and gentlest disposition; and that C—— would have figured as a hero at Waterloo? It is true that opposite examples might be called to mind; but the balance would be found on the right side.

“I am much gratified by what you tell me from Mr. Roberts.* Such opinions tend greatly to strengthen my inclination for setting about a Book of the State; which, though not capable of so deep and passionate an interest, might be made not less useful in its direct tendency. The want of books would be an obstacle, for I am poorly provided with English history, and have very little help within

* “Mr. Roberts is delighted with the Book of the Church, and desires me to say that he never read anything that afforded him so much at once of entertainment, and information, and general instruction upon any subject.”—G. C. B. to R. S., May 13. 1824.

reach. I should want (and do want for other objects also) the publications of the Record Committee. They were originally to be purchased; but they were beyond my means. The sale of them is given up I think (at least there was a report recommending that it should be discontinued, as producing little), and the remaining copies must be lying in lumber; and yet, though there is a pleasant opinion abroad that I can have any thing from Government which I please to ask for, I might as well whistle for a South wind against this blast from the East, as ask for a set of these books, well assured as I am that there is no man living to whom they would be of more use, or who would make more use of them. My end is not answered by borrowing books of this description, and I will explain to you why; when a book is my own, I read or look through it, and mark it as I proceed, and then by very brief references am enabled to refer to and compose from it at any future time. But if it is a borrowed book, the time which it costs to provide myself with extracts for future use may be worth more than the cost of the work; a lesson which I have learnt of late years at no little price. God bless you!

R. S.”
To the Rev. Nicholas Lightfoot.
“Keswick, June 16. 1824.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“I told you my reasons for declining the proposal of being named one of the Royal Literary Associates.
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Had it been a mere honour, I should have accepted it as a matter of course and of courtesy. In my situation any individual who pleases may throw dirt at me, and any associated body which pleases may stick a feather in my cap: the dirt does not stick, the feathers are no incumbrance if they are of no use, and I regard the one as little as the other. But in this case the feather was clogged with a condition that I was to receive a 100l. a-year, for which it was to be my duty every year to write an essay, to be printed if the committee approved it in their transactions. What should I gain by doing that once a year for this committee which I may do once a quarter for the
Quarterly Review? and which I could not do without leaving a paper in that Review undone. With this difference, that what I write in the Review is read everywhere, is received with deference, and carries with it weight: whereas, their transactions cannot by possibility have a fiftieth part of the circulation, and will either excite ridicule, or drop stillborn from the press. I would have accepted a mere honour in mere courtesy; and I would thankfully have accepted profit: but when they contrived so to mix up both as to leave neither the one nor the other, all I had to do was civilly to decline the offer.

“God bless you, my dear Lightfoot!

Yours affectionately,
R. S.”
To ——, Esq.
“Keswick, Aug. 7. 1824.
“My dear Sir,

“Your letter is not of a kind to remain unacknowledged, and my time is often less worthily employed than it will be in making a few remarks upon some parts of it.

“You tell me of the prevalence of Atheism and Deism* among those persons with whose opinions you are acquainted. Are those persons, think you, fair representatives of the higher orders, whom you suppose to be inflicted with such opinions in the same proportion? Or are they not mostly young men, smatterers in literature, or literati by profession?

“Where the principles of reasonable religion have not been well inculcated in childhood, and enforced by example at home, I believe that infidelity is generally and perhaps necessarily one step in the progress of an active mind. Very many undoubtedly stop there; but they whose hearts escape the corruption which, most certainly, irreligion has a direct tendency to produce, are led into the right path, sooner or later, by reflection, inquiry, and the instinct of an immortal spirit, which can find no other resting place in its weal, no other consolations in its afflictions. This has been the case in the circle of my

* “In numbering those with whose opinions I am acquainted, I find one-half of them to be Atheists and two-thirds of the remainder Deists: I should not be surprised if this were found to be about the general proportion in the higher orders of society, and infidelity has been brought among the lower orders by political disaffection.”—to R. S., Aug. 1. 1824.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 185
experience, which has not been a contracted one. I have mixed with men of all descriptions—Atheists, Roman Catholics, and Dissenters of every kind, from the Unitarians, whose faith stands below zero, to the disciples of
Richard Brothers and Joanna Southcote, whose trash would raise the thermometer to the point of fever heat. I have seen them pass from one extreme to another; and had occasion to observe how nearly those extremes meet. And now when I call to mind those persons who were unbelievers some thirty years ago, I find that of the survivors the greater and all the better part are settled in conformity with the belief of the national church, and this conformity in those with whom I am in habits of peculiar and unreserved friendship I know to be sincere. A very few remain sceptical and are unhappy; and these, with the best feelings and kindest intentions, have fallen into degrading and fatal habits, which gather strength as they grow older and older, and find themselves more and more unable to endure the prospect of a blank futurity. Some others, who were profligates at the beginning, continue to be so.

“According to my estimate of public opinion, there is much more infidelity in the lower ranks than there ever was before, and less in the higher classes than at any time since the Restoration. The indifferentists—those who used to conform without a thought or feeling upon the subject—are the persons who have diminished in numbers. Considering the connection of infidelity with disaffection in all its grades, and the alliance for political purposes between Catholics, Dissenters, and Unbelievers, I think with you that a
tremendous convulsion is very likely to be brought about; but I am not without hope that it may be averted; and even should it take place, I have no fear for the result, fatal as it must needs be to the generations who should witness the shock.

“The progress of my own religious opinions has been slow, but steady. You may probably live to read it; and what is of more consequence—may, without reading it, follow unconsciously the same course, and by God’s blessing rest at last in the same full and entire belief.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct 4. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

Murray states that having conversed with Heber and some other literary friends upon my proposed History of the Monastic Orders, ‘he now comprehends its probable interest and popularity,’ and shall be happy to come to ‘closer quarters upon the subject.’ He says something of future papers for the Quarterly Review, asking me to undertake the Pepys’ Memoirs and Sir Thomas Brown’s Works, and writes requesting a brief sketch of my monastic plan. I have told him little more than that it may be included in six octavo volumes, and comprises matter hardly less varied and extensive than Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. If he
Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 187
offers me 500l. per volume, I will, ere long, make it my chief employment, but he shall not have it for less, and I am in no haste to proceed with the negotiation, being at present sufficiently employed, and to my heart’s content.

“The ‘medical practitioner’ would not have puzzled you if Fortune had permitted us to have been somewhat more together during the last ten years. Yet you have heard from me the name of Doctor Daniel Dove, and something, I think, of the Tristramish, Butlerish plan of his history, which, if the secret be but kept, must, I think, inevitably excite curiosity as well as notice. I have lately taken a pleasant spell at it, and have something more than a volume ready; that is to say, something more than half of what I propose to publish, following it or not with as much more according to its sale and my own inclination. One reason why I wished for you here at this time was to have shown it to you, and to have had your help, for you could have excellently helped me, and I think would have been moved in spirit so to do. If I finish it during the winter, of which there is good hope, I will devise some pretext for going to town, where I must be while it is printed, to avoid the transmission of proofs, by which it would be easy, from calculation of time, to ascertain how far they had travelled, and so of course to discover the author, to whom the printers are to have no clue.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 10. 1824.
“My dear Rickman,

“My literary employments have never, in the slightest degree, injured my health. For, in truth, I neither am, nor ever have been, a close student. If I do not take sufficient exercise, it is not from any love of the desk, but for the want of a companion or an object to draw me out when the season is uninviting; and yet I overcome the dislike of solitary walking, and every day, unless it be a settled rain, walk long enough, and far, and fast enough, to require the wholesome process of rubbing down on my return. At no time of my life have I applied half so closely to my employment as you always do to yours. They impose upon me no restrictions. There is nothing irksome in them; no anxiety connected with them; they leave me master of my time and of myself; nor do I doubt but they would prove conducive to longevity if my constitution were disposed for it.

“With regard to the prudence of working up ready materials rather than laying in more, upon whatever I employ myself, I must of necessity be doing both. The work which I am most desirous of completing is the History of Portugal, as being that for which most preparation has been made, and most time bestowed on it, and when the Peninsular War shall be completed, by God’s blessing, a week shall not elapse before it goes to the press; for it has
Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 189
been long in much greater forwardness than any work which I ever before began to print.

“I am, however, conscious now of a disposition the reverse of Montaigne’s, who loved, he said, rather to forge his mind than to furnish it. Avarice, you know, is the passion of declining years, and avaricious I confess myself to be of the only treasure I have ever coveted or ever shall possess. My temper or turn of mind inclines also to form new projects. But it is one thing to perceive what might be done, and another to dream of doing it. No doubt wherever Mr. Telford is travelling, he cannot help seeing where a line of road ought to be carried, a harbour improved, or a pier carried out. In like manner I see possibilities and capabilities and desirabilities, and I think no more of them. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 12. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“With regard to my labours in English history, the plan which I not long ago communicated to you, of sketching it in a Book of the State down to the accession of the reigning family, and following that by the Age of George the Third, is all that I dream of accomplishing. The works on which I ought to employ myself, Grosvenor, are those for which I have laid in stores, on which a large portion of my previous studies may be brought to bear, and for which
no other person is at present, or is likely to be hereafter, so well qualified. Such a work was the History of Brazil, and such will be, if I live to accomplish it, that of the Monastic Orders.

“I cannot but smile at your grave admonitions* concerning the Doctor, and would give something to have the satisfaction of reading to you the chapters which were written last week. Such a variety of ingredients I think never before entered into any book which had a thread of continuity running through it. I promise you there is as much sense as nonsense there. It is very much like a trifle, where you have whipt cream at the top, sweetmeats below, and a good solid foundation of cake well steeped in ratafia. You will find a liberal expenditure of long hoarded stores, such as the reading of few men could supply; satire and speculation; truths, some of which might beseem the bench or the pulpit, and others that require the sanction of the cap and bells for their introduction. And withal a narrative interspersed with interludes of every kind; yet still continuous upon a plan of its own, varying from grave to gay; and taking as wild and yet as natural a course as one of our mountain streams.

“I am reading Scaliger’s Epistles at this time,

* Mr. Bedford seemed to be under the apprehension that the “Cap find Bells” would be in too great requisition during the composition of the Doctor. “I am too ignorant,” he says, “of Dr. D. D.’s concerns to be able to speak about him, but there is one thing which ought not to be lost sight of, that a joke may be very well received across a table which would be considered the dullest thing in the world in print. The success of Tristram Shandy affords no argument in favour of a second attempt to induce the public to join in making fools of themselves.”—Oct. 7. 1824.

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treading in my uncle’s steps, who gave me the book when I was in town. Not long ago I finished
Isaac Casaubon’s. Oh what men were these! and thank God men will never be wanting, like them in one respect at least,—that they will pursue the acquisition of knowledge with as much zeal as others follow the pursuit of wealth, and derive a thousand-fold more pleasure in the acquirement.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 30. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Your ill news had reached me some days ago.*

“There are many things worse than death. Indeed I should think any reasonable person would prefer it to old age, if he did not feel that the prolongation of his life was desirable for the sake of others, whatever it might be for himself. If the event be dreaded, the sooner it is over the better; if it be desired, the sooner it comes; and desired or dreaded it must be. If there were a balloon-diligence to the other world, I think it would always be filled with passengers. You will not suppose from this that I am weary of life, blest with enjoyments as I am, and full of employment. But if it were possible for me (which it is not) to regard myself alone, I would

* Of the dangerous illness of their mutual friend, the Rev. Peter Elmsley.

rather begin my travels in eternity than abide longer in a world in which I have much to do and little to hope.

“Something upon this topic you will see in my Colloquies. They will go to press as soon as I hear from Westall in what forwardness the engravings are. Murray has announced the second volume of the War for November; it would require the aid of some other devils than those of the printing office to finish it before the spring; and this he knows very well, both the MS. and the proof-sheets passing through his hands. Just one quarter is printed, and I am about a hundred pages ahead of the printers. Of late I have made good progress in forwarding various works, in the hope of clearing my hands and bettering my finances. I cannot get on fast with the Tale of Paraguay because of the stanza, but on with it I am getting, and am half through the third canto,—a fourth brings it to its close. A good deal has been done to the Colloquies; which will gain me much abuse now, and some credit hereafter; and a good deal to the Doctor, which I should very much like to show you. You shall see me insult the public, Mr. Bedford, and you will see that the public wonders who it is that insults them, for I think that I shall not be suspected. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 193
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 9. 1824.
“My dear R.,

“I see by the papers that Mr. Telford recommends paving roads where there is much heavy carriage. In some of the Italian cities the streets are paved in stripes. The wheels run upon two lines of smooth pavement, as over a bowling green, with little sound and no jolting, and the space between, on which the horses go, is common pitching. This is the case at Milan and Como, and, probably, in most other places. Macadamising the streets of London is likely, I think, to prove Quackadamising. But the failure will lead to something better.

Lord Byron is gibbeted by his friends and admirers. Dr. Stoddart sent me those papers in which he had commented upon these precious conversations. The extracts there and in the Morning Herald are all that I have seen, and they are quite enough. I see, too, that Murray has been obliged to come forward. . . . . I am vindictive enough to wish that he had known how completely he failed of annoying me by any of his attacks. —— should be called Lord B.’s blunderbuss. There is something viler in regrating slander, as he has done, than in originally uttering it.

“If this finds you in town, and you can lay your hand on the Report on the Salmon Fishery, I should like to have it, as a subject of some local interest. I am working away steadily, and with good will,
making good progress with my second volume, and with the
Colloquies. We are all well, and Cuthbert in the very honeymoon of puerile happiness, being just breeched. God bless you!

R. S.”
To George Ticknor, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 30. 1824.
“My dear Sir,

“I have delayed thus long to acknowledge and thank you for your last consignment of books in the hope of telling you, what I am now at last enabled to do, that Gifford has finally given up the Quarterly Review, and that, after the forthcoming number, it will be under John Coleridge’s management. This is a matter which I have had very much at heart, that there might be an end of that mischievous language concerning your country. I opposed it always with all my might, and forced in that paper upon Dwight’s Travels; yet in the very next number the old system was renewed. You may be assured that they have occasioned almost as much disgust here as in America. So far is it from being the language or the wish of the Government, that one of the Cabinet ministers complained of it to me as most mischievous, and most opposite to the course which they were desirous of pursuing. There is an end of it now, and henceforth that journal will do all in its power towards establishing that feeling which ought to exist between the two nations. Let
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me be peace-maker; and use what influence you have that the right hand of good will may be accepted as frankly as it is offered.

“I know not what the forthcoming number may contain; but I can answer for the Review afterwards. A friend of mine (Hughes, who wrote a pleasant book about the South of France) is preparing a paper upon your literature; and Buckminster’s sermons are reprinting at my suggestion.

“Now, then, let me thank you for Philip’s War, so long desired; for G. Fox, digged out of his burrows, and their companions. These Quaker books are very curious; it is out of such rubbish that I have to pick out the whole materials for my intended edifice, and good materials they are when they are found. Before this reaches you I shall have finished the Tale of Paraguay, which has hung like a millstone about my neck, owing to the difficulty which the stanza occasioned. As soon as I am rid of it I shall take up the New England poem as a regular employment, and work on with it steadily to the end. A third part is done; I am not making a hero of Philip, as it now seems the fashion to represent him. In my story the question between the settlers and the natives is very fairly represented, without any disposition either to favour the cause of savage life against civilisation, or to dissemble the injuries which trading colonists (as well as military ones) have always committed upon people in an inferior grade of society to themselves. Better characters than the history affords me, or, to speak more accurately, characters more capable of serving
the purposes of poetry, I need not desire. The facts are not quite so manageable. I may say, as a friend of mine heard
Bertrand de Moleville say when, after relating a story, he was told that the facts were not as he had stated them, Ah, monsieur! tant pis pour les faits. So I must deal with them in fiction, as a Frenchman deals with facts in history; that is, take as little truth, and mingle it with as much invention as suits my object. To what an extent the French do this I should hardly have thought credible, if I had not daily evidence in their memoirs upon the Peninsular War, comparing them with the undeniable documents in my hands.

“My niece desires me to thank you for the sweet story of Undine, which is surely the most graceful fiction of modern times. Some other pieces of the same author have been translated here, all bearing marks of the same originality and genius.

“I had made a half promise of going to Ireland, to visit one of the best and ablest persons there, the Bishop of Limerick. But it is not likely that the intention can be fulfilled. An Irishman, well informed of the state of things there, writes to me in these words, ‘Pray don’t think of going to Ireland. I would not insure any man’s life for three months in that unhappy country. The populace are ready for a rebellion; and if their leaders should for their own purpose choose to have one, they may have to-morrow a second edition of the Irish massacre.’

Wordsworth was with me lately, in good health, and talked of you. His brother, the Master of Trinity, has just published a volume concerning the
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Εικον Βασιλικη, a question of no trifling importance both to our political and literary history. As far as minute and accumulative evidence can amount to proof, he has proved it to be genuine. For myself, I have never, since I read the book, thought that any unprejudiced person could entertain a doubt concerning it. I am the more gratified that this full and satisfactory investigation has been made, because it grew out of a conversation between the two Wordsworths and myself at Rydal, a year or two ago.

“Remember me to all my Boston friends; it is a pleasure to think I have so many there. The only American whom I have seen this year is Bishop Hobart of New York. God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”

A most atrocious attack having appeared about this time upon my father in the Morning Chronicle, he took counsel with some legal friends as to the expediency of prosecuting that paper for a libel. “You will see Turner,” he writes at the time to Mr. John Coleridge, “though he recommends a course which I shall not follow,—that of proceeding by information, and involving myself in expense and trouble, for the purpose of giving a solemn denial to charges which most certainly are not believed by the miscreant himself who made them. He wishes to avoid any appearance of an attack on my part upon the press and the Morning Chronicle; whereas it appears to me, that if I have an opportunity of punish-
ing that newspaper for its abuse of the press, I ought just as much to do it in this case, as I would bring a fellow to justice for assaulting me on the highway. Allowing them as large a latitude as they desire for political abuse, I would rest solely upon the charge of ‘impious and blasphemous obscenities.’* . . . .

“Should it appear as clear in law as it is in equity that it is a foul and infamous libel, which any judge and any jury must pronounce such, then certainly I would bring an action for damages against the Morning Chronicle, without caring who the author may be, that paper having not only inserted it, but called attention to it in its leading paragraph. The rest may be thrown overboard. Let them revile me as an author and a politician till their hearts ache. Their obloquy serves only to show that my opinions have an influence in society which they know and feel. And if it gives me any feeling, it is that of satisfaction at seeing to what base and unmanly practices they are obliged to descend. But this goes beyond all bounds of political and even personal animosity; there can be no villany of which a man would not be capable, who is capable of bringing forward such charges upon such grounds. True it is that my character needs no vindication, and I would not lift a finger to vindicate it, but if I have a villain by the throat, I would deliver him over to justice. Nevertheless, if you and Turner agree in opinion that I had better let the matter alone, I shall with-

* He conceived this to have been founded “literally upon an extract from a Roman Catholic Book of Devotions to the Virgin Mary, in the first volume of the Omniana.”

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out hesitation follow the advice. And it is well to bear in mind that there has more than once been manifested a most reprehensible disposition on the part of the judges to favour the wrong side, lest they should be suspected of leaning towards the right.”

The advice of these friends being that he should not adopt legal proceedings, he patiently acquiesced. A private remonstrance was, however, carried to the Editor by Allan Cunningham, who was well acquainted with him, and who showed him an anonymous letter my father had received from the writer of the published attack, which was couched in terms of the most horrible and disgusting kind. The editor affected to recognise “the hand of a young nobleman;” to which Allan Cunningham replied, “that he would sooner have cut his hand off than have written such a letter;” and to the excuse that Mr. Southey had “insulted the Scotch and the Dissenters,” he rejoined, “that had this been the case, he, who was a Scotchman and a Presbyterian, would never have been his friend.” The attack was also promptly replied to by his friend Mr. Henry Taylor, whom he thanks in the following letter for his friendly interposition.

To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, Jan. 10. 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“I thank you for both your letters,—the one in writing, and the one in print. As laws, judges, and
juries in these days always favour the wrong party, partly from principle, partly from fashion, and a little in the middle, if not the latter case, from fear, I am advised not to prosecute the
Morning Chronicle, and as I have no desire ever to put myself in the way of anxiety, the advice is deferred to, without hesitation or reluctance. A more atrocious libel was never admitted into a newspaper, bad as the newspapers have long been. You suspect something more than the malignity of party-spirit in it; so did I; and that suspicion has been verified by an anonymous letter from the author, which reached me this day. The letter is as blackguard as words can make it, and comes from a red-hot Irish Roman Catholic, who shows himself in every sentence to be ripe for rebellion and massacre. It is well they have no Prince Hohenlohe among them, who can kill at a distance as well as cure; for if they had, I should certainly be murdered by miracle.

“But I thank you heartily for what you have done. The letter is what it should be,—manly, scornful, and sincere. I am very glad to have such a friend, and not sorry to have such enemies. They can only stab at my character, which they may do till they are tired without inflicting a scratch. The only mournful thing is to think that the newspapers should be in the hands of men who not only admit such infamous slanders, but lend their active aid to support them.

“The last review not having reached me, I have not seen your father’s paper upon Banks. In that upon Landor, I liked every thing that had no reference to him, and nothing that had. The general
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tenour I should, no doubt, have liked better, if
Gifford had not struck out the better parts; but nothing could have reconciled me to anything like an assumption of superiority towards such a man. Porson and I should not have conversed as he has exhibited us; but we could neither of us have conversed better.

“My letter to the Courier* was in all its parts fully justified by the occasion which called it forth. I am never in the habit of diluting my ink. The sort of outcry against it is in the spirit of these liberal times. The gentlemen of the press assert and exercise the most unlimited licence in their attacks, and allow no liberty of defence.

“I shall publish a vindication of the Book of the Church, in reply to Mr. Butler, with proofs and illustrations. In this I shall treat him with the respect and courtesy which he so well deserves, but I will open a battery upon the walls of Babylon. Think of the Acta Sanctorum,—more than fifty ten-pounders brought to bear in breach.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To John Taylor Coleridge, Esq.
“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
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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.”

To John May, Esq.
“Keswick, March 16. 1825.
“My dear Friend,

“It is a very old remark that one sin draws on another; and as an illustration of it, I believe one reason why you have not had a letter from me for so long a time is that my Autobiography has been standing still. This is the first symptom of amendment, and in pursuance of it when this letter is despatched I propose to begin the 17th of the Series.

“Thus much has been left undone, and now for what I have been doing. You may have learnt from John Coleridge that I sat to work for him as soon as he was installed into his new office*, and sent him a paper upon the Church Missionary Society, and a few pages upon Mrs. Baillie’s Letters from Lisbon.

“You must have heard of Mr. Butler’s attack upon the Book of the Church. My uncle says of it—his contradicting you and saying that you had misstated facts may have the same answer as Warburton gave to one of his antagonists: ‘it may be so for all he knows of the matter.’ The Bishop of London wrote to ask if I intended to answer it, for if I did not they must look about for some person who would, ‘as it had imposed upon some persons who ought to have known better, and he hoped I should demolish what he called his flimsy structure of misstatements and sophistry.’ Upon my replying that

* As successor to Gifford in the editorship of the Quarterly Review.

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it was my intention so to do, he communicated to me an offer of any books that might be useful from Lambeth. But it does not do to have bulky volumes sent 300 miles, when the object is to consult them, perhaps only for half an hour. However, I shall avail myself of this permission when next I may be at Streatham. My reply will bear this title, ‘
Vindiciæ Ecclesiae Anglicanæ’—the Book of the Church Vindicated and Amplified. The first portion of the manuscript would reach London this morning on its way to the press.

“Last week I spent at Rydal with Wordsworth, going thither partly in the hope that change of air might rid me of a cough, which, though apparently slight, has continued upon me long enough to show that it is deep seated. It was left behind some two months ago by an endemic cold that attacked the throat in a peculiar manner. I am better for the change. But it will be necessary for me to take a journey as soon as the summer begins, in the hope of escaping that annual attack which now regularly settles in the chest. I meant to have visited Ireland, but this I must give up on Edith’s account, for I was strongly advised not to go by a man in power, who knew the country well, and said he would not insure any man’s life there for three months; and this, with a sort of cut-throat anonymous letter from an Irishman (the same that made that infamous attack upon me in the Chronicle) abusing me as an Orange Boy in the foulest and most ferocious terms, has made her believe that I should be in danger there: and of course I should not think it right to
leave her with that impression upon her mind. My intention therefore is to make a hasty visit to Streatham, and run down again to the west, unless I should meet with a suitable companion who would go over with me to Holland for three or four weeks.

“God bless you, my dear Friend!

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To the Rev. William Lisle Bowles.
“Keswick,” March 19. 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“I am induced to write to you by a letter which I have this day received from G. Peachey. In answer to the request which he communicates, though I am little behind you in the vale of years, and likely, perhaps, to reach the end of our mortal journey by a shorter road, yet, should I prove the survivor, any wish which you may please to signify, I will faithfully, and to the best of my power, discharge. There are three contemporaries, the influence of whose poetry on my own I can distinctly trace. Sayers, yourself, and Walter Landor. I owe you something, therefore, on the score of gratitude.

“But to a pleasanter subject. Peachey tells me that you had begun to print some observations upon Mr. Butler’s book, but that you have suppressed them upon hearing that I was engaged in answering it. I am sorry for this, because the more answers
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that are called forth the better. False and shallow as the book is (the
Bishop of London calls it, very justly, ‘a flimsy structure of mis statements and sophistry’), it imposes upon shallow readers, and is gladly appealed to as an authority by the Liberals, who are at this time leagued against the Church. Every answer that may appear would have a certain circle, within which no other can act with equal effect. And I am so persuaded of this, that I desired Murray not to announce my intended work, lest it should have the effect of preventing others from coming forward in the same good cause. I hope, therefore, that you will resume the pen. The Church ought not to be without defenders at this time. If the Catholic writers had been put down whenever they appeared during the last five-and-twenty years, as they might and ought to have been, by an exposure of their gross and impudent misrepresentations, that party would not have been so daring as it now is.

Dr. Phillpotts* is answering the theological part of Butler’s book.† My business, of course, must be,

* Now Bishop of Exeter.

Dr. Philpott’s had thus courteously communicated his intention to my father:—

“I know not whether it may interest you to be informed that (feeling as I do the absolute necessity of some detailed confutation of Mr. Butler’s statement of the doctrines of his Church, contained in the Letter X. of his book, especially when so many various misstatements of those doctrines are continually made by other writers and speakers,) I have resolved speedily to undertake that work; indeed, I am at present as busy with it as infirm health will permit. Mr. Butler’s book did not fall in my way until these three or four weeks.

to attack him along the whole of his line, which I am doing most effectually. For the sake of relieving the tone of controversy, I take the opportunity of introducing biographical and historical matter, and call my work therefore,
Vindiciæ Ecclesiae Anglicanae,—The Book of the Church Vindicated and Amplified. My temper is not controversial. I had much rather be industriously and thankfully reading old books, than detecting the defects and vices of new ones. But when I am provoked to it, I can wield a sledge-hammer to as good purpose as my old friend Wat Tyler himself. God bless you, my dear Sir!

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, March 28. 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“Now then for my summer movements. Do not think me actuated by mere fickleness, if I propose crossing the Channel instead of the Severn, and drinking Rhenish wine instead of Welsh ale. I want to see Holland, which is a place of man’s making,

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country as well as towns. I want monastic books, which it is hopeless to look for in England, and which there is every probability of finding at Brussels, Antwerp, or Leyden. In the course of three or four weeks, going sometimes by trekschuits and sometimes upon wheels, we might see the principal places in the Dutch Netherlands, visit the spot where
Sir Philip Sidney fell, talk of the Dousas and Scaliger at Leyden, and obtain such a general notion of the land as would enable us better to understand the history of the Low Country wars. Neville White would perhaps join us; and always in travelling three persons are better than two, especially as neither you nor I (I suspect) are such good men of business as not to be glad if a better could be found to officiate as paymaster. Tell me if you like this scheme. If you do I will write to Neville without delay, and be ready to start from London by the 1st of June.

“I had heard of . . . as an American by birth, a man of great talents and unhappy opinions, which, from him, had spread widely among his contemporaries at Cambridge. Jeremy Bentham is now to such young men what Godwin was two or three and thirty years ago; for those who pride themselves most upon thinking for themselves, are just as prone as others jurare in verba magistri, only it must be a magister of their own choosing.

“I never made a speech since I was a schoolboy, and am very certain that I never had any talent for speaking. Had I gone to the bar, my intent was to
have spoken always as briefly and perspicuously as possible, and have endeavoured to win a jury rather by appealing to their good sense, than by mistifying their understanding.
Burke’s speeches, which will always be read, were never listened to; many members used to walk out of the House when he stood up. I believe that I derived great advantage from the practice sometimes of translating, sometimes of abridging, the historical books which are read in certain forms at Westminster. And, in like manner, I am inclined to think a habit of speaking upon business might be acquired by giving orally the substance of what one has just read. I have none of that readiness which is required for public life, or even which is looked for among diners out. When I am reading I have it; few things then escape me in any of their bearings. My mind is never so prompt as it is then. In writing it is sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow.

“So you do not like Hayley. I was born during his reign, and owe him something for having first made me acquainted by name with those Spanish writers of whom I afterwards knew much more than he did. Compare him with ordinary country gentlemen, and see what he gains by his love of literary pursuits. Compare him with the general run of literary men, and see to what advantage his unenvious and liberal spirit appears.

“My Vindication is in the press. It contains a fuller account of Bede than can be found elsewhere; and I shall introduce in it lives of St. Francis and of good John Fox, whom the Papists hate worse than
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they do the Devil, and belle as virulently and as impudently as they do your friend,

Robert Southey.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, May 2. 1825.
“My dear H. T.,

“You do not expect enough from Holland. It is a marvellous country in itself, in its history, and in the men and works which it has produced. The very existence of the country is at once a natural and a moral phenomenon. Mountaineer as I am, I expect to feel more in Holland than in Switzerland. Instead of climbing mountains, we shall have to ascend church towers. The panorama from that at Harlaem is said to be one of the most impressive in the world. Evening is the time for seeing it to most advantage.

“I have not yet forgotten the interest which Watson’s Histories of Philip II. and III. excited in me when a school-boy. They are books which I have never looked into since; but I have read largely concerning the Dutch war against the Spaniards, on both sides, and there is no part of Europe which could be so interesting to me as historical ground. Perhaps my pursuits may have made me more alive than most men to associations of this kind; but I would go far to see the scene of any event which has made my heart throb with a generous emotion, or the grave of
any one whom I desire to meet in another state of existence.

“My translatress, Katharina Wilhelmina Bilderdijk, is old enough to be your mother. She dedicates her translation to me in a very affecting poem, touching upon the death of her son, whom she lost at sea, and in what manner, before she knew his death, she had applied certain passages in Roderick to herself. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”