LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXXIII. 1830

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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The Co-operative societies, which have been already alluded to in several letters, seem to have taken great hold of my father’s mind, doubtless from their main principle assimilating to that upon which the Pantisocratic Utopia of his early youth was to have been founded, and he had persuaded his unromantic friend Mr. Rickman to take a considerable interest in them, and to make the Co-operative papers his companions in a journey he was about to make in Scotland in the previous autumn. From thence he writes, “I have a large and undefined notion of investigating society with this view. How many actually independent incomes, or how much income is requisite as a nucleus wherein to sustain a population dependent upon
the expenditure of that income, and on the expenditure of each other? I suspect that this involution is much more powerful and extensive than is usually supposed; insomuch that a common payment for the creation of independent gentry (idlers if you please), pensioners and creditors of the public, is good instead of evil. The Co-operative plan naturally prompts one to think of the circles, the repetition of patterns in paper hangings or carpets, whereof the whole papered room or carpet is made; and by means of the little orbits of
Descartes I think I could depict society usefully, by condescending (you know I am in Scotland) on particulars, and by a camera-obscura view of the bustle of mankind.”

This set my father’s imagination working wonderfully, and after quoting this passage in a letter to Mr. Henry Taylor, he says, “Here I think we have something like a foundation for political economy to rest upon, your existing systems being built either upon sand or bottomless mud. My head is full of thought upon this subject and of seminal notions, which in due time will work out a channel for themselves. They are so busy there that I could almost fancy my work is but to begin, and that all I have hitherto done has only been in the school of preparation. Take notice, H. T., that the clock has just struck eight, that I dined at four, and drank only four glasses of green gooseberry wine; that after dinner I read some pages in Cudworth and the history of some half score Images of our Lady; that I then took half an hour’s nap, and afterwards drank tea; from which fact you are to conclude that I write
now in perfect sobriety, and with a healthy pulse that keeps time at its usual sober moderate rate.”

My father never had leisure to bring these notions into any thing like a definite form, and it is probable that had he attempted to do so, one difficulty after another would have occurred, until he would have given up the matter in despair; and it may be doubted whether any but an odd superstructure could be built upon such a foundation as Mr. Rickman’s.

The Co-operative scheme itself was destined to disappoint its supporters; for, as soon appeared from the language of these very persons who had commenced so moderately, the most dangerous and socialistic opinions quickly began to gain ground among them, as appears from the following letter.

To John Rickman, Esq.
“Jan. 5. 1830.
“My dear R.,

“. . . . . There was a meeting of Cooperatives in London in Nov., I think, the proceedings of which were printed in the News newspaper, and afterwards in a separate form. The rankest levelling language was held and applauded there, and the effect was to frighten one gentleman in this county, who, from Gooch’s paper in the Quarterly Review, was disposed to encourage such a scheme in his own neighbourhood. The best heads among them are very likely to take this wrong turn, and the
worst mischief they will do by it, and the first also, will be to cut themselves off from the encouragement which, if they keep within bounds, it is clearly the interest of the landowners to afford them. The Brighton writer must not preach about the growing omnipotence of such societies, if he would have them succeed. But this was to be expected, and is the greatest obstacle in the way of a very obvious and great good.

“I should like to see the inquiry which you suggested, pursued as to the quantity of expenditure needed for keeping a community of some given number in well being, say five hundred persons. To know the rate of circulation and the quantity of the circulating medium, would seem something like knowing that rate, &c. in the human body,—a means, in some degree, of ascertaining when and how the system is disordered. But, in the social system, there is no danger of disease from overfulness. The circulation can neither be too free nor too fast.

“I do not know who wrote the article on Home Colonies. They appear to me very desirable; but I conceive a regular and also regulated system of emigration to be necessary, to do for us in peace more than can be done in war, by taking off the greater part of those who are restless at home, or who have no prospect of prosperity. I apprehend that in the Dutch poor colonies a great deal has been done by the best management of manures. The Dutch may have learnt this from the Japanese.

“God preserve us from a population such as is devouring Ireland and threatening to devour us!
Emigration must at last be resorted to, as the only preventive which can save us from this. Meantime we may improve one generation by setting them to cultivate bad land; and train their children for good colonists. I believe there is a great deal of cultivable waste land in the north of England, and that at Bagshot is of the very worst kind in the island.

“The absolute necessity of discipline, and the outcry which would be raised against any exercise of it, are, doubtless, most serious difficulties in the way, yet I think superable ones, supposing the experiment to be wisely conducted, so that it might bear close, and full, and even hostile inspection.

“I am to review Ellis’s book. Pomare was probably a state convert, like Clovis and some of our first Saxon kings; yet not wholly so, for they were converted by politic missionaries, who, for the sake of such converts, made the new religion perfectly accommodating to all the practices which were tolerated by the old.

“God bless you and yours with a new year which may be prosperous in all things!

R. S.”
To Mrs. Hodson.
“Keswick, Jan. 20. 1830.
“My dear Mrs. Hodson,

“My poor brother Henry is left with seven young children, happily so young that five of them will not feel their loss, another soon cease to feel it, and only
the eldest feel it long and lastingly; for he (poor boy) has some malformation about the heart which must keep him always at home, and his understanding and affections have acquired strength and intensity as if in compensation for the incurable malady of his frame. I had known my
sister-in-law from her infancy, and loved her dearly, both for her own sake and her mother’s, who, take her for all in all, was the sweetest woman I have ever been acquainted with. Louisa herself was one of the violets of the world; nothing could be gentler or kinder. She seemed never to think of herself, and was wholly devoted to her family. . . . .

“Norwich, Mrs. Opie tells me, is in a state of civil war; and infidelity is said to prevail there extensively among the weavers. I believe very few people who are not serving under its banners are aware how widely it has spread among all ranks, and of the imminent danger that threatens us from that cause. I am busy upon the Peninsular War and in finishing a life of John Bunyan for a handsome edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress, a task not of lucre but of love. The moment it is done I must no longer delay the introduction of John Jones’s verses. The Quarterly Review has only a short paper of mine upon Capt. Head’s book. The after number will have one on Maw’s Journal, and I must forthwith begin for it an account of the mission to Tahiti, which, however, you may read to more advantage in my textbook, Ellis’s Polynesian Researches. I have engaged to compose a volume of Naval History in bio-
graphical form for the Cabinet Cyclopædia, not for love but for lucre, though it will be done lovingly when in hand. And thus my life passes; little employments elbowing worthier and greater undertakings and shouldering them aside; and the necessity for providing ways and means preventing me from executing half of what I could and would have done for other generations. And yet, how much better is this than pleading causes, feeling pulses, working in a public office; or being a bishop with all the secular cares which a bishopric brings with it, not to speak of its heavier responsibilities.

“Believe me, my dear Mrs. Hodson,

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Feb. 16. 1830.
“My dear R.,

“The Co-operatives* ought to be very much obliged to you; and would be so, if it were not the most difficult thing in the world to make men understand their own true interest.

“I suspect that in many things our forefathers were wiser than we are. Their guilds prevented trades from being overstocked, and would have by that means prevented over-production, if there had

* Mr. Rickman had written a paper on the subject for insertion in the Brighton Co-operator, and which he had sent to my father for his suggestions and remarks.

been any danger of it. The greedy, grasping spirit of commercial and manufacturing ambition or avarice is the root of our evils. You are very right in saying that in all handicraft trades wages are enough to allow of a very mischievous application of what if laid by would form a fund for old age; and I quite agree with you that tea and sugar must be at least as nutritious as beer, and in other respects greatly preferable to it. But there is a real and wide-spreading distress, and the mischief lies in the manufactories; they must sell at the lowest possible price; the necessity of a great sale at a rate of small profit makes low wages a consequence; when they have overstocked the market (which, during their season of prosperity, they use all efforts for doing), hands must be turned off; and every return of this cold fit is more violent than the former.

“There is no distress among those handicrafts who produce what there is a constant home demand for. But if we will work up more wool and cotton than foreigners will or can purchase from us, the evils of the country must go on at a rate like compound interest. Other nations will manufacture for themselves (a certain quantity of manufacturing industry being necessary for the prosperity of a nation), and this, with the aid of tariffs, may bring us to our senses in time.

“One tells me that there is likely to be a slight degree of consolidating pressure brought to bear upon the Ministry; another that they may very likely find themselves in a minority. I do not wish for a change of men, because I do not see what better
men could do in their places. Eighteen months ago circumstances might have been directed to a wise statesman’s will; now they must take their coarse: but, come what will, I shall never lose heart or hope. . . . .

“God bless you! Our best remembrances to your fireside.

R. S.”
To Allan Cunningham.
“Keswick, March 4. 1830.
“My dear Allan,

“Thank you for your second volume*, which, if I had not been more than usually prest for time, I should have read throughout at a sitting immediately on its arrival; but of which I have read enough to know that it is very good. Indeed, I do not see how that part which I have read could have been better.

“If your lumbago be severe, I can tell you that at Yarmouth cod-liver oil taken internally used to be considered as a specific for that complaint; but in what quantity taken I cannot tell. It is a villainous complaint, as I know by some slight touches of it only; but complaints that threaten no serious consequences sit lightly on us even when they are heaviest. The flesh feels them, but not the spirit; and there it is we feel when those who are near and

* Of The Lives of British Painters, &c. in Murray’s Family Library.

dear to us are suffering. Spring, I hope, will bring with it recovery to your household.

“I am put to the daily expense of two hours’ walking to keep in order a liver which has a great inclination—as if the spirit of Reform had reached it—to try some new mode of action altogether inconsistent with the safety of the constitution. The remedy seems to answer well; and when the weather will allow me to take a book in my hand, it is not altogether lost time. I can read small print at the pace of three miles an hour; and when I have read enough to chew the cud upon, then in goes the pocket volume, and I add a mile an hour to my speed.

Galignani has sent me his edition of all my poems, with his compliments. He has put Lawrence’s name to the portrait, which is a worsened copy of ‘Fitzbust the Evangelical.’ He has got a most circumstantial memoir, in which every circumstance that is not totally false is more or less inaccurate; all Hazlitt’s abuse of me is interwoven and mixed up with a hodge-podge of panegyric, which in its particulars is just as false. Some rubbish which I had thrown overboard is raked up; one poem given to me which is Crowe’s, another which is Cottle’s, and a third which is I forget by whom. And one or two pieces are printed twice over. Withal it is a goodly volume; and will make my poems known on the Continent to the cost of their sale at home. I shall favour M. Galignani with a few lines, to be inserted in my epistle to you, when-
ever that is printed. Farewell, and believe me always

Yours with hearty regard,
Robert Southey.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, March 8. 1830.
“My dear H. T.,

Lord John’s budget is as much a masterpiece in its way as Lord Althorpe’s. It really seems as if the aristocracy of this country were to be destroyed, so marvellously are they demented.

“While London is intent upon these debates, I have been reading Miller’s* Sermons, ‘intended to show a sober application of scriptural principles to the realities of life.’ Recommend them to your mother and Miss Fenwick, and to any of your friends who are not indisposed to read such books. I think you saw Miller here one evening, with a

* The Rev. John Miller, of Worcester College, Oxford. Of these discourses, my father says to another correspondent:—“Would to God that such sermons were oftener delivered from our pulpits! Bad sermons are among the many causes which have combined to weaken the Church of England; they keep many from church, they send many to the meeting-house; hurtful they can hardly fail to be if they are not profitable: and one of the ways by which incompetent ministers disparage and injure the Establishment in which they have been ordained, is by delivering crude and worthless discourses, which chill devotion even where they do not offend and shock the understanding.

“These are, in the true sense of a word, which has been most lamentably misapplied—Evangelical. I do not know any discourses in which revealed truths and divine philosophy are brought home with such practical effect to all men. They have the rare merit of being at the same time thoroughly intelligible, thoroughly religious, and thoroughly discreet.”

brother and sister. His sermons are unlike any others which I have ever read; they are thoroughly Christian in their spirit, and philosophical; comprehensible by the plainest understanding, and as satisfactory to the judgment as they are to the feelings.

“If I had leisure I could write a very curious essay, historical and critical, upon sermons. . . . .

“I have been reading, too, for the first time. Lord Chesterfield’s Letters; with a melancholy feeling that the one and only grace which he despised might have made him a wise and good man.

Bishop Hacket and I go on well after supper. His are comical sermons: half Roman Catholic in their conceits, full of learning which would be utterly unprofitable if it did not sometimes call forth a shrewd remark, seasoned with piety; and having good strong sense mixed up with other ingredients, like plums in a pudding which has not too many of them.

“I think you will have another change at the Colonial Office ere long. This ministry cannot stand, if the aristocracy and monarchy are to be preserved. I believe they felt their weakness (how, indeed, could they fail to feel it after such a budget?), and therefore they went over to the Radicals at the eleventh hour, thinking so to find strength. Peel’s is said to have been the best speech he ever made. I am curious to see how far ‘the evil heart of fear’ will carry —— upon this occasion. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“March 14. 1830.
“My dear H. T.,

“Your views are darker than mine, though I see the danger clearly and look it fairly in the face. The bill will be thrown out, unless many members who are opposed to it absent themselves from the division in cowardice; and to some extent this no doubt will happen, as even public opinion inflicts no punishment upon moral cowardice, though when the poor body offends, it is punished with disgrace or with death.

“What astonishes me is, that the Greys, Russells, &c., do not look at the known character and certain motives of the men whose support they are actually courting at this time. . . . .

“I should like a law excluding from Parliament all persons against whom a verdict has been given for libels, public or private, adultery, or fraud of any kind, and all who having been bankrupts had not afterwards paid their creditors in full.

“I am reading the Doctrine de Saint Simon, preparatory to a paper upon that subject. The subject is very curious, and the book written with great ability. God bless you!

R. S.“
To Mrs. Hodson.
“Keswick, March 16. 1830.
“My dear Mrs. Hodson,

“. . . . . I have lost in Dr. Gooch one of the men in the world for whom I had the greatest regard. He saved this country from having the plague imported, by a paper some years ago upon the subject in the Quarterly Review. That paper upon Anatomy in the last number is his, and the forthcoming one I believe will contain one upon Mad-houses, the last subject that occupied him. Never was man more desirous of doing all in his power towards diminishing the sum of human misery.

“The article on the Internal Situation of the Country is not mine, nor do I know whose it is. You may be sure that I shall not be found complimenting the present Ministry, nor even excusing them, farther than by saying that they know not what they do. If I wish that they may keep their station, it is because I do not wish any other set of men so ill as to wish them in their place, and because I do not see any good which could be hoped for from such a change. Even the Swiss are looking with exultation for the downfall of British prosperity and power, which they believe to be fast approaching. But in this the enemies of England will be woefully deceived, whatever may happen to us at home.

“I am inclined to think that the Church is in more danger from the so-called Evangelical party among its own clergy than it would be from lay-
assistance. These clergy are now about to form a sort of union,—in other words, a convocation of their own, that they may act as a body. They have had a Clerical breakfast in London. The two Noels,
Stewart, who is brother-in-law to Owen of Lanark and was here with him some years ago, and Daniel Wilson were the chief movers. There have been two reports of the speeches in the Record newspaper, and a Mr. McNeil, who very sensibly objected to the whole scheme, had the whole meeting against him.

“Like you, I both dislike and distrust those who call themselves professors. They are just what the Pharisees were before them; but I want to embody in the service of the Church some of that honest enthusiasm which will otherwise be employed against it. I want field preachers while we have an ignorant and brutal population: there can be no other means of reclaiming them. They will not go to church—the preacher must go to them.

“Have you seen the Last Days of Sir Humphrey Davy? I knew him intimately in his best days: he would have been a happier and a greater man than he was if he had been less successful in his fortunes. No man was ever yet the better for living in what is called the world. God bless you!

Yours truly,
Robert Southey.”
To J. W. Warter, Esq.
“Keswick, March 18. 1830
“My dear Warter,

“. . . . .You are going to a country* which has more in its history and its literature to recommend it than in its objects of art or nature. But to an Englishman it is a very interesting land, and the language of all others most akin to our own, and consequently easier than any other foreign one whatever. You will readily acquire it, and find the value of the acquisition, as an aid towards other northern tongues, and an indispensable step towards a lexicographical knowledge of our own.

“One subject will be very well worth your inquiry there,—the history of the Reformation, and the present state of the Church in Denmark and Sweden. For in those countries the work was more effectually done than anywhere else, and therefore it should seem, more wisely. The Romanists have never recovered strength there; nor have any sects acquired head enough to be troublesome. I have long (for my own satisfaction) been desirous of obtaining more information on this subject than I know where to find.

“There is much sound learning in Denmark, though it may not be of that kind which is rated so much above its real worth in our English Univer-

* Mr. Warter was about to be ordained as chaplain to the British Embassy at Copenhagen.

sities. Their two most distinguished poets are
Oehlenschlagen and Ingemann. If you will take over the Tale of Paraguay, and All for Love to them, these books may serve as an introduction, some civilities of this kind having heretofore passed between us: tell me, if you can make room for four such little volumes, where they may be sent for you.

“For the climate’s sake I shall be glad if you migrate to Naples. Such a migration is likely, because nothing can be more according to the wisdom of English diplomacy, than that a minister who has made himself acquainted with northern interests should be sent to a southern court—where he has everything to learn. But I hope you will lay your Danish and German foundations first. The Goths, who overthrew the Roman empire, were not superior in a greater degree to the Romans whom they subdued, than the Northerns are now in literature to anything that the South produces, or can produce as long as Italy is blasted by the Papal Upas. . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“April 15. 1830.
“My dear H. T.,

“Our political evils I impute mainly to the progress of every thing in the country, except good morals and sound policy.


“The specific evil which I ascribe to the Catholic Relief Bill is, that it has destroyed the principle of the constitution: the Revolution made it (and at a heavy price) essentially Protestant; it may be anything now. Parties are in consequence broken up, the process of dislocation is going on, every thing is out of joint, and, by-and-by, all will fall to pieces.

“I am not well, but I am able to work, and shall walk, in old English phrase, ‘for dear life;’ though life is not so dear to me, but that I could very willingly lay it down, if its continuance were not more desirable for others than myself. One pleasant thing, however, is, that I yesterday made arrangements for renewing my lease of this house; it expires in November next, six months earlier than I had thought; which is so much the better for me, for getting rid now of the little furniture which belongs to the landlord, I take it from that time at a reduced rent for five years; extensible at my option to five more. This it was prudent to secure, though, in all likelihood, a smaller tenement will suffice for me before that time.

“So I look upon myself as settled for life. Lack of employment I shall have none; for scarcely a week passes without some application to me.

“Sir —— told my brother that I was very fortunate man: I have been, and am so, God be thanked, in almost every sense of the word, except that in which Sir G. is likely to understand it.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To J. W. Warter, Esq.
“Keswick, April 23. 1830.
“My dear Warter,

“. . . . . I went abroad for the first time, at an earlier age, under circumstances not very dissimilar; for a shorter absence, but with much worse prospects. My disposition, however, was always hopeful; relying upon Providence, I could rely upon myself; and I can truly say that no anxiety concerning my worldly fortunes ever cost me a sleepless night, or an uncomfortable hour. When I had little I lived upon little, never spending when it was necessary to spare; and hitherto, by God’s blessing, my means have grown with my expenses.

“My voyage was to Portugal, and you know how much it has influenced the direction of my studies. My uncle advised me at that time to turn my thoughts towards the history of that country, when he saw how eagerly I was inquiring into its literature, and more especially its poetry. Then my mind was not ripe enough for historical pursuits; but the advice was not without effect; and when I went again to Portugal, after an absence of four years, I began to look for materials, and set to work.

“I am glad that Burton recommended the ecclesiastical history of Denmark and Sweden to your attention. It is an interesting subject, and if you only sketched it in a paper for the Quarterly or the
British Critic, it might be of use to you hereafter; still more, if you found pleasure enough in the pursuit, to follow it into its details, and make a volume. And this might lead you at length to meditate a history of the three Scandinavian kingdoms,—Norway, Sweden, and Denmark,—a singularly rich subject, having in its early periods an English interest; a romantic one in its middle, and even later ages; and a moral and political one, in a high degree, at last.

“As for composition, it has no difficulties for one who will ‘read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest’ the materials upon which he is to work. I do not mean to say that it is easy to write well; but of this I am sure, that most men would write much better if they did not take half the pains they do. For myself, I consider it no compliment when any one praises the simplicity of my prose writings; they are written, indeed, without any other immediate object than that of expressing what is to be said in the readiest and most perspicuous manner. But in the transcript (if I make one), and always in the proof sheet, every sentence is then weighed upon the ear, euphony becomes a second object, and ambiguities are removed. But of what is called style not a thought enters my head at any time. Look to the matter, and the manner takes care of itself. . . . .

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“May 3., 1830.
“My dear H. T.,

Hone* might have thriven if he had gone on as badly as he begun. But he was meant for better things, and published, at a cost which could only be covered by a large popular sale, more curious things than these penny purchasers were prepared for; so in outmarching the march of intellect itself, he outran the constable at the same time. His old sins averted from him one set of customers, and his better mind indisposed others, who would have dealt with him for garbage and such offal as goes to the swine trough of vulgar taste.

“Add to this that he has ten children, and his embarrassments are accounted for. It is too likely that they will at last break, not his spirit, but his constitution and his heart.

“I hold with Wilmot Horton about emigration, and think Sadler erroneous in his opinions upon the law of primogeniture; but, in the main, his book is a most important one. He has trampled upon Malthus’s theory, proving its absurdity and falsehood,

* “By the by, I have bought Hone’s Every Day Book and his Table Book, and am sorry I had not seen them before my Colloquies were printed, that I might have given him a hearty good word there. I have not seen any miscellaneous books that are so well worth having; brimful of curious matter, and with an abundance of the very best woodcuts. Poor fellow, he outwent the march of intellect; and I believe his unwearied and almost unparalleled industry has ended in bankruptcy. I shall take the first opportunity of noticing these books; perhaps it will be in Allan Cunningham’s periodical.”—To H. Taylor, Esq.

Ætat. 56. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 101
and his own views of the law of population deduce from facts, that it is what from feeling you would wish it to be. God bless you!

R. S.”
To the Rev. Robert Montgomery.
“Keswick, May 11. 1830
“Dear Sir,

“I had yesterday the pleasure of receiving your poems. As the note which accompanied them bears date in January, you may have wondered that they were not acknowledged sooner. Any single page of these volumes contains sufficient proof of ardour and power with which any thing may be done when they are disciplined. You are in the right path, with right principles to guide you, and good fortune, I trust, full in view. You have only to store your mind well (as you are storing it), and it will ripen of itself. You mention an introductory letter from one of the very best of men*; I shall be glad if this implies that you have an intention of coming into these parts, when I should have great pleasure in becoming personally acquainted with you.

Believe me, dear Sir,
Yours with sincere good will,
Robert Southey.”

* The late Sharon Turner.

To Mrs. Hodson.
“Keswick, May 15. 1830.
“My dear Mrs. Hodson,

“The poor King, it is to be hoped, will be released from the sufferings before this reaches you, if, indeed, he be not already at rest; it was thought on Monday that he could not live four-and-twenty hours. God be merciful to him and to us! He failed most woefully in his solemn and sworn duty on one great occasion, and we are feeling the effects of that moral cowardice on his part. The Duke expected to remove all parliamentary difficulties by that base measure, instead of which he disgusted by it all those adherents on whom he might have relied as long as he had continued to act upon the principles which they sincerely held; rendered all those despicable who veered to the left-about with him, and found himself as a minister weaker than either the Whigs whom he sought to propitiate, or the Brunswickers (as they are called), whom he has mortally offended.

William IV., it is believed, will continue the present Ministers, but act towards them in such a way that they will soon find it necessary to resign. Then in come Lord Holland and the Whigs, in alliance with the flying squadron of political economists under Huskisson. Beyond this nothing can be foreseen, except change after change; every successive change weakening the Government, and, consequently, strengthening that power of public
Ætat. 56. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 103
opinion which will lay all our. institutions in the dust. Yet I neither despair nor despond, and you may be assured I will not be idle.

The Peninsular War is my main employment now. It is yet a long way from its completion, but in good steady progress. I have at this time a head and both hands full. John Jones’s attempts in verse will make their appearance shortly; there is a long introduction, in fact, a chapter, of the history of English poetry, which ought to content those subscribers who will not feel the touches of nature which are in this poor man’s verses, but will feel the rudeness and the faults. I have taken public leave of all such tasks, and declined all inspection of manuscripts, &c. in a way which will amuse you: but I am very far from repenting of what I have done in this way and in this case; in this case, because I have rendered some little service, and afforded great delight, to a very worthy poor man.

“In the next Quarterly Review I have papers upon Maw’s passage over the Andes, and the conversion of Tahiti, where, with all my admiration for the spirit in which the missionaries begin and prosecute their work, you will see that I am not blind to the consequences of Calvinistic Christianity. This reminds me of Reginald Heber, upon whose portrait I have written a poem, which will appear in the forthcoming volume of his Letters.

“With our united remembrances to Mr. Hodson,

Always very truly yours,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“June 8. 1830.
“My dear R.,

“In increase of population, would not the increased proportion of infants augment the per-centage of mortality quite as much as the increase of youth would lessen it?

“And will not insufficient diet among the poor balance the effect of improved diet upon the general scale? The lower classes were worse fed formerly, but, except in seasons of extreme dearth, I do not think there were any who died of slow starvation, which is now no uncommon death. This we know in this place, where poor rates, formerly low, have prodigiously increased.

“Did I tell you that a semi-official offer of ground in the New Forest has been made, for the purpose of trying a pauper colony, if Government could have found an amateur philanthropist to undertake the management of it. The person fixed upon was a clergyman, an old school-fellow of mine; not wanting in good will for doing his duty at any time, but not so far wanting in common prudence as to take upon himself such a charge.

“A great deal depends upon the issue of the present struggle in France. The people will not be satisfied with a limited monarchy; they must either be under a tyrannical democracy or an absolute king. If the crown should succeed, I should think it bad policy in this country to oppose any schemes of French conquest on the Barbary shore; there is room enough
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for ambition there, but at such a cost, that France, with such an issue open, would feel little inclination or strength for troubling the repose of Europe.

“The march of intellect has had an odd effect upon Sharon Turner. He thinks past history is likely to attract so little attention in future, and carry with it so little interest, that he advised me to begin my series of British Biography with Sir Wm. Temple! A few steps more in the march and we shall have to begin the history of philosophy with Jeremy Bentham, and the history of England with Joseph Hume; and the history of literature with the foundation of the London University.

“God bless you!

R. S.

“I am working very steadily, and improving a most wet and wintry season by the fireside.”

To J. W. Warter, Esq.
“Keswick, June 9. 1830.
“My dear Warter,

“. . . . . Are there any remains at Shrewsbury of the Amphitheatre which in Elizabeth’s reign had been made there in an old quarry between the city walls and the Severn? Churchyard the poet (a Shrewsbury man) describes it as holding ten thousand spectators; the area served for bear-baiting, wrestling, &c., and
on better occasions your school predecessors acted plays there; certainly in a more classical theatre than the Dormitory at Westminster.
Sir Philip Sydney and his friend and biographer Lord Brook, entered that school on the same day; and it was then in as high estimation as any public school in England.

“Danish is so easy and straightforward a language that you may make yourself acquainted with it without study, while you are studying German; and enlarge your vocabulary thereby, without confounding your grammar. Danish seems to me the easiest language into which I have ever looked, not excepting Spanish and Portuguese; but German is as difficult as Greek, and the difficulty is very much of the same kind. I am glad you are under the necessity of acquiring the one; the other you cannot help acquiring. Lamentable experience makes me know how much is lost by a monoglot traveller: that epithet, perhaps, is not exactly what should be applied to myself, who get on with a mingle-mangle of many languages, put together without regard to mood, tense, gender, number, or person; but my ear is the very worst in the world at catching sounds, and I have therefore more difficulty in understanding others than in making them understand me. . . . .

“Do not think anything which relates to the manners or appearance—the in- or out-of-door nature—of a foreign country, unworthy of noticing in your journal or note-book. At your age I was satisfied with two or three lines of memoranda, when the same objects would now give me good matter for
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perhaps as many pages. I should like to know a great deal more of Denmark than I can gather from books; there is no later book than
Lord Moleworth’s that gives me any satisfaction, and in that there is very much wanting. Coxe is, as he always was, dry and dull; giving only the caput mortuum of what information he had gathered, which was generally from the most accessible authorities, when it did not consist of statistic details. Later travellers tell us a great deal more of Sweden. I want to know why Denmark is a poor country, the people being industrious, and the government neither oppressive nor wasteful. Two years ago, having occasion to make some inquiry concerning foreign funds, I thought Danish the safest, looking upon the government as safe, and the nation as honourable and honest, and not likely to be involved in wars or revolutions. But I was informed that it paid the interest of its debt with borrowed money, and, therefore, that it was not a safe stock in which to invest money. This came from a person more than ordinarily versed in such things; but the stock has gradually risen ten per cent, since that time; and will be more likely to keep up than that of any other country, if there should be a convulsion in France, which God in his mercy avert.

“We are in no slight danger here: unless the Whigs are alarmed in time at the progress of their own opinions. In this country there are symptoms of their being so. But it must be a strong sense of their own danger in the men of property that can save us from a popular parliamentary reform in the
course of the next parliament: the direct consequence of which will be a new disposal of church property, and an equitable adjustment with the fund-holders: terms which in both cases will be soon found to mean spoliation. . . . .

“Meantime it is a comfort to know that though man proposes, the disposal is ordered by a higher power. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, July 10. 1830.
“My dear Henry Taylor,

“I dare say it will generally be felt that Mrs. Heber’s book does not support the pretensions which its title, and still more its appearance, seems to hold forth. The materials would have appeared to more advantage in a different arrangement.

“There is certainly an air of book-making about the publication; which is not lessened by the funebrial verses that it contains. Mine might have accompanied the portrait, in which case they would have seemed to be appropriately introduced; in fact, they were composed with that design. But this book ought not to detract from his reputation, the estimate of which must be taken from those things which he prepared for the press, and from his exertions in India. He was a man of great reading, and in his Bampton Lectures has treated a most important part
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of the Christian faith with great learning and ability. His other published sermons are such, that I am not surprised my brother
Henry should think him the most impressive preacher he ever heard.

“As a poet he could not have supported the reputation which his Palestine obtained; for it was greatly above its deserts, and the character of the poem, moreover, was not hopeful; it was too nicely fitted to the taste of the age. Poetry should have its lights and shades, like painting; like music, its sink and swell, its relief and its repose. So far as the piece was intended for success in a competition for a prize, and for effect in public recitation, it was certainly judiciously done to make every line tell upon the ear. But to all such poetry the motto under one of Quarles’s Emblems may be applied, ‘tinnit, inane est.

“He had a hurried, nervous manner in private society, which covered much more ardour and feeling than you would have supposed him to possess. This I believe entirely disappeared when he was performing his functions; at which time, I have been assured, he seemed totally regardless of everything but the duty wherein he was engaged.

“Few persons took so much interest in my writings, which may partly have arisen from the almost entire coincidence in our opinions and ways of thinking upon all momentous subjects; the Catholic question alone excepted. Mrs. Heber told me that I had had no little influence in directing his thoughts and desires towards India: and I have no doubt that some lines in Joan of Arc set him upon the scheme
of his
poem on the death of King Arthur. My personal acquaintance with him was but little; but we knew a great deal of each other through Charles Wynn. . . . .

“I am fond of irregular rhymeless lyrics, a measure wherein I have had few to approve and still fewer to imitate me. The proof of the poetry, however, is not like that of the pudding, in the taste of those who partake it. Thalaba might very probably have been popular had it been in rhyme. None of my lyrical pieces could have been so; and methinks it makes little difference whether there be three or four to admire them, or five or six.

“There are friendships of chance and friendships of choice; and it was of the former which I meant to speak; they are the more numerous, and probably the more lasting, because generally beginning earlier, they have time to strike root in us, and partake of the nature of a habit, as the latter may be said to do, in some degree, of a passion. For the same reason you are not so likely to be deceived in them. One whom you have known from early boyhood may disappoint your hopes and expectations; but you will seldom be deceived in your moral estimate of him; if he was ingenuous and kind-hearted he will continue so through life. A good apple tree may be blighted, or cankered in its growth, but it will never produce crabs.

“Ministers will delay the meeting of Parliament as long as they can; just as schoolboys would prolong their holidays if they could. But they may be
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flattered or frightened into anything, good, bad, or indifferent: no persons who ever filled that station before have been politically so weak, and most pitiably conscious they are of their weakness. A promise to convoke it without delay may probably be extorted from them. ‘Gentlemen’ have other business than that of the nation to attend to in the month of September; and I do not expect them to meet till they have had a campaign against the pheasants as well as the partridges. So I look to be in town somewhere in October. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To J. W. Warter, Esq.
“Keswick, Aug. 25. 1830.
“My dear Warter,

“The late events in France have placed both that country and this in some respects in the same sort of relation to each other that they were in forty years ago, after the fall of the Bastile, where my distinct and full recollections of history begin. There they are in the honeymoon of their new revolution, and here they are applauded and admired by persons as rash as those who fraternised with the old French revolutionists, and as ignorant. Their language now is more open and more violent, because they are much more numerous, and perfectly aware of their own power. Yet on the whole I am inclined to think that the course of events is rather likely to retard
our progress towards revolution than to accelerate it; a formal revolution I mean, the moral one having already been brought about

“The aristocracy are likely to be awakened to a sense of danger: in this country, indeed, I know that they are so; though they want either the courage or the honesty to make their public conduct agree with their private declarations. But this course of double dealing cannot long be continued if Europe should be involved again in revolutionary wars, from which I hardly see how it can escape. For I cannot think that the new King of the French will possess that throne in peace.

“As to military means, we have never been so well prepared for war, and the excitement which it would bring with it, and the impulse which it would give to every branch of industry, would put an end at once to all the present distress, whatever might be the eventual consequences of a war expenditure.

“But enough of this subject, which occupies more of my thoughts than I could wish.

“I have written a biographical paper for the Quarterly Review, which will interest you much, if you have not already read the book from which it is composed. It is the Life of Oberlin, a Pastor of the Ban de la Roche in the Vosges Mountains. I am upon the latter part of a reviewal of Dymond’s Moral and Political Philosophy; and I have sent off a short paper upon the Negro-English New Testament, for printing which the Bible Society has been greatly inveighed against. The Testament is a great curiosity, and I think myself very fortunate in having
Ætat. 56. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 113
obtained one. But I do not join in the outcry against the Bible Society: in my judgment they are completely justified in having printed it, but every means for superseding it ought to be used, by teaching either Dutch or English in all the English schools. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To the Rev. Neville White.
“Keswick, Aug. 27. 1830.
“My dear Neville,

James Stanger gave me your message yesterday evening, and thereby made me perceive that I must have been mistaken in supposing I had written to you immediately after Mr. Fletcher’s visit. I received from him the Religio Medici, which I was very glad to see; and I now say to you, what I then said to him, that when the book is ready I will do the best in my power to serve it in the Quarterly Review. It will be a very beautiful edition of an author whom I value most highly. I was much pleased with Mr. Fletcher himself, and wish there were more booksellers so well-principled and so well-disposed.

“Since his appearance we have had much anxiety concerning Cuthbert; first from a slight but decided attack of scarlet fever, and, before he had recovered his strength, from a much more serious bilious one, which alarmed us greatly, and left him exceedingly
reduced. By God’s mercy he has been spared to us, and is, I thinks gaining strength now day by day. I endeavour to be thankful for this and for other mercies, and, without an endeavour, am always mindful of the uncertainty of human life; without endeavour I say, because that feeling has become habitual. . . . .

Ellis, the missionary, whose book I reviewed in the last Quarterly Review, has been here, and we were very much pleased with him. I was gratified by hearing from Sir Robert Inglis, in a letter which I received yesterday, that he thought that reviewal of mine was likely to be of much use; the circles in which he moves afford him opportunities of observing how the observations which I made upon the errors of the Missionaries, and the dangers consequent upon those errors, are received among persons who have some influence in directing their proceedings.

“This letter would have been finished and despatched yesterday, if Dr. Bell had not unexpectedly arrived on a flying visit, or rather on his way to Scotland. He is a marvellous person for his years, and yet I see a difference since he was here in 1828.

Edward, the eldest of my uncle’s sons, is passing the long vacation with me, and has been joined here by the third brother, Erroll. I hope to have much comfort in these young relations; and have now more satisfaction than I can express in manifesting towards them my love for their father.

“God bless you, my dear Neville!

Yours most affectionately,
R. S.”
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To Mrs. Hodson.
“Keswick, Sept 10. 1830.
“My dear Mrs. Hodson,

“You might have had another reason for disbelieving the statement of my appearing as a witness in behalf of Mr. St John Long, to wit, that I am not likely to put myself into the hands of a quack. Probably he has had a patient of the same name, and the news’ reporters supposed it to be me. It was contradicted in the Times by my brother (I suppose), who perhaps thought it some derogation to his own doctorship as well as mine.

“I am troubled at the course of events, yet I can find some considerations, which, if they do not allay my disquietude, have in them a growing comfort. Had it been in my power to turn the balance between the contending principles of France,—which were Liberalism and Jesuitism,—I should have laid my hand with great misgiving on either scale; and, if I had decided on that which was, for the time, the cause of order, and brought with it the least immediate evil, it would have been with no clear conviction or good will. The complete triumph of the old Bourbon system would be the re-establishment of such a religion and such a court as those of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. Charles X. did not desire such a court, neither did the Dauphin his son, but they both deemed it their duty to do all that could be done by sovereign power for the holy Roman Catholic Church.


“The royal family fully understood that a scheme for expelling them and putting the son of Philippe Egalitè in their place had been carrying on ever since the battle of Waterloo, but they were strangely mistaken with regard to their strength, and did not calculate on the means of resistance which had been prepared. Otherwise, they had troops on whom they could have perfectly relied, who could have been brought up, for they were within two days’ march.

“It is better as it is, for they had put themselves glaringly in the wrong by the Ordinances, having been wholly in the right before. You might have been with them for mere political considerations (and those only temporary ones), if they had succeeded; but you could not have been with them in principle and in heart. But all three are now united in the Duke de Bordeaux’ cause. Oh, how blind of intellect and dead of heart must the Duke of Orleans be to have thrown away such an opportunity of securing himself a good and glorious name! Had he insisted upon that child’s right, and the plain policy of maintaining it—had he acted for him as a faithful regent,—he would have had, not the mere recognition of unwilling courts, nor the ‘hey, fellow!’ recognition of Cobbett and Co., but the sure support of all the European Powers, and the grateful attachment of all the old Royalists, and of all Frenchmen who desire tranquillity; and his name would have become as illustrious as that of Washington.

“Did you ever read the Abbé Terasson’s Sethos? There this Duke might have found a better model for himself than Fenelon exhibited for his pupil in
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Telemachus. It is so fine a romance in part of its story, and in its conception of moral greatness, that I have always wondered how a Frenchman could have written it. But Louis Philippe is already tasting the bitter relish of that ambition which was sweet at the first draught Take away from his party the adventitious supporters (who make use, or hope to make use of him as an instrument, one faction against another), and his party is the weakest in France: the Napoleonists are stronger; so are the Republicans; so are the Loyalists. These last would be the most numerous if quiet voices were ever counted in clamorous times. The Republicans are the most active and the most daring, and therefore they are most likely to have their day of triumph. War then becomes inevitable, and the new King’s best policy, as against both Republicans and Napoleonists, may be to keep a mischievous nation quiet at home by engaging in hostilities with his neighbours, and taking up the old scheme of fraternization and conquests. This is what I expect, and then huzza for another Battle of Waterloo!

Believe me, always yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Sept. 11. 1830.
My dear R.,

“Parliamentary Reform is no longer a doubtful matter; in some shape or other it must come; and,
in fact, the present state of things gives us some of its worst effects, as seen in Yorkshire and Middlesex. The old ground of defence, therefore, that the system works well, is no longer tenable; indeed, I have long seen that what wise men ought to look to is, to devise in what manner they may best construct a raft from the wreck of the old ship. I would have fought her to the water’s edge rather than have run among the breakers in the vain hope of escaping the enemy’s fire.

“It has been said that the King meant by his own prerogative to issue writs for Birmingham, Manchester, and perhaps Leeds and Sheffield. I wish he would, because it is better this should be done as an act of grace than of yielding; and it would be wholesome to exert the prerogatives in a way that would be popular. The qualification might be fixed at a reasonable standard, and then let the cry for universal suffrage take its course.

“A curious circumstance has come to my knowledge, showing that the Liberals were ready to strike a blow before the Ordinances gave a good colour to their cause. A Frenchman employed in Child’s banking-house in their foreign correspondence, at 170l. a-year, asked leave (before the Ordinances were fixed) to go to Paris, and was refused: he said he must go; they said, if so, they must fill up his place. He then told them that he was one of the national guard; that he was bound, as such, by a secret oath to repair to Paris whenever he might be summoned, and wherever he might be, disregarding all other objects: the summons had reached him, and go he must. He went
Ætat. 56. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 119
accordingly, and would arrive just in time for the struggle.

“Has any thought been given at the Admiralty to the effect which steam navigation must produce upon naval war? I fear we shall have to make our experiments in actual war, and learn that as we did engineering in Spain.

“By good fortune our enemies are as ignorant in it as ourselves. God bless you!

R. S.”