LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831

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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Towards the end of the following month (October) my father was on the move for London, whither he travelled slowly, having Mr. Henry Taylor for a companion, who had been passing a short time at Keswick. Their route lay by the great North Road, through York and Doncaster, at which latter place they amused themselves with fixing upon the identical house in which Dr. Daniel Dove had lived. While they were walking round the town, as incident oc-
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 121
curred, which is related in
The Doctor, &c., and may not unfitly be mentioned here:—“The group inside a shaving shop (Saturday evening) led us to stop for a minute, and a portrait over the fire induced us to walk in and look at it. It was an unfinished picture, and would probably have been a good one had it been completed. Upon inquiring whose it was, the barber said it had been in his possession many years before he knew; some friend had given it him because he said his shop was the proper place for it, the gentleman looking, by his dress, as if he was just ready to be shaved, with an apron under his chin. One day, however, the portrait had attracted a passing stranger’s notice, as it had done ours, and he recognised it (as I did upon hearing this) for a portrait of Garrick.”*

This visit to London was partly on business,—as he found it desirable occasionally to confer personally with his publishers,—and partly for the sake of being nearer to the scene of action in those stirring times. This was as well for the purpose of writing upon the state of the times in the Quarterly Review, as also because he was then planning a new series of Colloquies, on moral and political subjects, in which Mr. Rickman was to be the interlocutor. A considerable portion of the work was written in the course of the following year by these two parties, and even part of it set up in type; but the plan of a joint composition did not answer, being, as might be supposed, very unfavourable to anything like close

* To Mrs. Southey, Oct 1830.

reasoning and logical deduction; and from this and other causes it was never completed.

The following letter to Dr. Bell shows how restless a life he was compelled to lead in London.*

To the Rev. A. Bell, D.D.
“London, Nov. 25. 1830.
“My dear Sir,

“I came home at twelve this morning*, that I might write to you fully by this post, and found on my table a handbill of such a nature that I deemed it my duty to lose no time in sending it to the Home Office; it invites a subscription for arming the people against the police. Before this could be done, in came a caller, then another; and it is now three o’clock. Would that it were possible for me to convince you of what it is so desirable for you to be convinced of,—not merely that your system must make its way universally (for you have never doubted that), nor that your own just claims will one day be universally acknowledged (for this also you cannot doubt), but that such efforts as you now weary and vex yourself with making, and as you wish me to assist in, cannot possibly promote the extension of the system. . . . .

“The best thing that I can do, after touching upon the necessity of national education in the Christmas number (of the Quarterly Review), will

* From breakfasting out.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 123
be to prepare a paper upon the subject as early as possible; a task the more necessary, because many persons, I perceive, are beginning to apprehend that the progress of education among the lower classes has done more harm than good. It is, you know, not a matter of opinion with me, but of feeling and religious belief, that the greater the diffusion of knowledge the better will it be for mankind, provided that the foundation be built upon the rock, and that, above all things, the rising generation be instructed in their duties. I shall be well employed, therefore, in showing, that where any harm has been done by education, it is because that education has been imperfect, or because its proper object has been perverted by untoward circumstances. And the present state of the nation is such, that I shall be enabled to do this with better hope.

“I am entering far more into general society than in any of my former visits to London, for the purpose of seeing and hearing all within my reach. The Duchess of Kent sent for me to dinner on Wednesday last; there was a large party, not one of whom I had ever seen before. With the Duchess, who seems a very amiable person, I had a very little conversation, though quite as much as she could possibly bestow upon me; but with Prince Leopold, the only person to whom I was introduced, I had a great deal. I see men who are going into office, and men who are going out, and I am familiar enough with some of them to congratulate the latter, and condole with and commiserate the former. I meet with men of all persuasions and all grades of opinion, and
hear their hopes and their fears, and have opportunities (which I do not let slip) of seeing the mechanism of government, and observing how the machine works. I was to have dined with the
Archbishop on Wednesday, when the Duchess made me put off my engagement. . . . .

“My table is now covered with notes, pamphlets, and piles of seditious papers. You may imagine how I long to be at home and at rest. To-day I dine with Mr. Croker, who is likely to be prominent in opposition. The Duke will not; neither, by what I hear, will Sir R. Peel. But I do not think it possible that the present administration can hold together long; and Peel, who is now without an equal in the Commons, has only to wait patiently till he is made minister by common consent of the nation.

“Farewell, my dear Sir; and believe me always,

Sincerely and affectionately yours,
Robert Southey.”

My father was much gratified, on the occasion of this visit to the Duchess of Kent, by her bringing the Princess Victoria, then eleven years of age, to tell him she had lately read with pleasure his Life of Nelson. “With the Archbishop,” he says in another letter, “I dined afterwards; Wordsworth, Dr. Wordsworth, and Joshua Watson being of the party. The Duke of Wellington sent me a card, but I could not accept the invitation. But the oddest thing which befell me was, that as I rose from my knee at the
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 125
levee, my hand was unexpectedly caught hold of and shaken by
Lord Brougham.”*

He continued in London until the end of December, when he went down into Sussex with Mr. Rickman, and, after a few days, proceeded to his friend Miss Bowles, at Buckland, near Lymington, where he found perfect quiet and leisure to finish a paper for the ensuing number of the Quarterly Review. A few brief extracts from his account of his journey thither will show how observant a traveller he was, even over ground which most persons would find little to interest them in:—“. . . . . Our road lay through Kingston, where Huntingdon the Sinner Saved commenced his manner of living by faith; Esher, where Prince Leopold lives; Cobham, where some whimsical nobleman used to keep a hermit (he had three in succession in the course of one year); Guildford, where we had time to go into the prettiest almshouses in the kingdom, a foundation of Archbishop Abbot, into its chapel, where there are some rich painted windows and a good portrait of the founder; and Godalming, where I saw the church in passing. . . . . At Chichester, one of the canons, Mr. Holland (who married Murray’s sister), expected us. The cathedral is a very interesting pile on many accounts, and much finer than books or common report had led me to expect. A bookseller showed me a letter of Cowper’s and some MS. notes of his written in Johnson’s Life of Milton. Chillingworth’s grave is in the cloisters,

* At that time Lord Chancellor.

near Mr. Holland’s door.
Dr. Chandler the Dean came to us in the cathedral library, where, among other rarities, is the oldest volume of English sermons by Bishop Fisher. Bernard Barton’s brother also joined us there, to be introduced to me. After luncheon, Mr. Holland took me to see his Chichester poet, Charles Crocker, a shoe-mender, a very industrious, happy, and meritorious man, who is perhaps the best example of the good that may be done by education to persons in his rank of life. His poems are of very considerable merit. Then we went on the city walls, and lastly into the Bishop’s palace; so that I saw all that could be shown me in Chichester, a cheerful, pleasant city.”* The next letter gives some account of his further movements.

To the Rev. J. W. Warter.
“Crediton, Jon. 12. 1831.
“My dear Warter,

“Here I arrived last night on my way home, and at the farthest point from it to which my circuit has extended; and, here at last, I have some hours upon which no demand will be made. This is the first use of my first interval of leisure. How I have been distracted in London no one can fully understand, unless they have been living with me there; and how I have been busied tooth and nail during

* To Mrs. Southey, Dec. 30. 1830.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 127
eleven days after I left it and got to
Miss Bowles’s, near Lymington, you may judge when you know that in that time I wrote the concluding article of the Quarterly Review all but the first seven pages. . . . .

“As to the state of the country, I am more hopeful than most persons. The change of Ministry was the best thing that could have occurred, because the Whigs must do what they would never have allowed the Tories to do; they must unsay much of what they have said; they must undo (as far as that is possible) much of what they have done. They are augmenting the army, which they compelled their predecessors to reduce. They have called for a yeomanry force, which they made their predecessors disband. They are endeavouring to curb the licence of the press. I think they must suspend the Habeas Corpus Act. I believe they must restore the one pound bills; I expect that they will find it impossible not to go to war; and I am sure that if the question of Parliamentary Reform should not be thrust aside by other events, it could not be brought forward so well by any other persons as by the Whigs in power. They have great stakes in the country; and they are now heartily afraid of the democracy which they have so long been flattering. They have raised the devil, and it is proper that they should have the task of laying him. But in this, all who think and feel as I do will lend them a cordial support; not for their sakes, but for the sake of ourselves and of the nation. While the Government
is what it is, we must support it in whatever hands it may be.

“We shall get through our difficulties, and the better if there be war to help us. The property of the country is yet strong enough to restore order. And if we have a change in the form of representation grounding it on property, and nowhere on numbers, we may gain by such a change more than we should lose by it. Soon we shall have a stronger Government, and something like police in the country as well as in London. . . . .

“I leave this place (whither I came only to spend three days with my old-fellow-collegian Lightfoot) on Saturday morning for Taunton, there to see my Aunt Mary, the last of my father’s generation; a dear excellent old lady, in whom I see what I am indebted for to the Southey part of my blood. Monday I go to Bristol, where I have not been for twenty years. I mean once more to look at the scenes of my birth and childhood, and have so much love for the place that I have the serious intention of writing a poem, descriptive, historical, and desultory, in honour of my native city.

“You may suppose how impatient I am to reach home, and resume once more the even tenour of my usual life. I bought a good many books in London, three or four consignments of which have arrived, and others are on the way. Some skill in packing will be required for arranging them. Neither my head nor hands were ever so full as at this time, and
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 129
I hope, with God’s blessing, to get through a world of work.

“And now, my dear Warter, God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”

It would seem that my father felt considerable surprise at Lord Brougham’s friendly greeting at the levee; partly because they had little or no personal acquaintance, having, I believe, only met once at Edinburgh in 1805 (see Vol. II. p. 349.), and partly because they had been so strongly opposed in politics, neither having spared the other when occasion served. Time, however, had somewhat softened the political asperities of both; and the greeting was only the prelude to a friendly letter from his lordship, which reached my father while on his journey, but to which he had not leisure to reply until his return. I subjoin it here, with the answer, having Lord Brougham’s kind permission to do so.

The Lord Chancellor Brougham and Vaux to R. Southey, Esq.
“Althorp, Jan. 1831.
“Dear Sir,

“I was prevented by various interruptions from writing to you while I was at Brougham upon a subject which greatly interests me, and I therefore take the earliest opportunity of bringing it before you.

“The Government of this country have long been
exposed, I fear justly, to the charge of neglecting science and letters. I feel it an impossible thing for me, whose life has been passed more or less in these pursuits, to allow this stain to rest upon any administration with which I am connected, and therefore that it is my duty, as far as in me lies, to turn the attention of the present Government to the best means of encouraging scientific and literary pursuits. With this view I have applied to the two men at the head of the physical and mathematical sciences, in my opinion, and I cannot look into the department of literature without being met by your name. I may probably apply in like manner to one or two more men distinguished in the same field, but I have not as yet selected any such. My wish is to have the benefit of your unreserved opinion upon the questions.

“1st. Whether or not letters will gain by the more avowed and active encouragement of the Government?

“2d. In what way that encouragement can the most safely and beneficially be given them?

“Under the first head is to be considered, no doubt, the chances of doing harm as well as the prospect of doing good. Thus it seems obvious that there is one danger to be guarded against—the undue influence of Government—capable of being perverted to political and party purposes. This includes the risk of jobs for unworthy persons, and the exclusion of men of merit. The applause of the public, it may be said, is a safe test and unbiassed reward of merit; not to be easily, at least not perma-
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 131
nently, perverted to wrong ends. I throw out this as one consideration, showing that the case is not so clear of doubt as it at first may seem to be.

“Under the second head several things present themselves for consideration. If the risk of abuse were not great, it is plain that pecuniary assistance would be the most desirable means of helping genius, because many a man of genius is forced out of the path of original inquiry and of refined taste by the necessities of his situation, and obliged to spend his time and talents on labour little better than mechanical. But the difficulties of arranging such aid systematically are so great, and the risk of abuse so imminent, that I question if more can be done in this way than by lending occasional assistance.

“The encouragement of societies has been already tried, not perhaps in the best way, but still a good deal has been thus attempted. These are susceptible of considerable improvement. A judicious foundation of prizes is another mode deserving consideration.

“The distribution of honours has been very partially tried, and many have proposed a more regular admission of men of science and letters to rank, confined to their own lives in cases where hereditary honours might be burthensome to their families. An order of merit has been proposed by some. But as all novelties in such a matter (of opinion and public feeling) are to be shunned, one of the existing orders of knighthood, as the Guelphic, has been by others suggested as free from the objection.

“I throw out these things more for the purpose of
bringing your mind to the details of the matter, than with the view of exhausting the subject.

“It will afford me great satisfaction to be favoured with your opinion upon the question, as fully as your leisure may permit. I shall, of course, keep it entirely to myself.

“It may very possibly turn out that, after all, nothing material can be accomplished; but, at any rate, I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without trying all means of accomplishing an object so desirable; and my anxiety on this score must plead my excuse for troubling you with so long a letter.

I am, dear Sir, your faithful servant,
To the Lard Chancellor Brougham and Vaux.
“Keswick, Feb. 1. 1831.
“My Lord,

“The letter which your lordship did me the honour of addressing to me at this place, found me at Crediton, in the middle of last month, on a circuitous course homeward. It was not likely that deliberation would lead me to alter the notions which I have long entertained upon the subject that has, in this most unexpected manner, been brought before me; but I should have deemed it disrespectful to have answered such a communication without allowing some days to intervene. The distance between Devonshire and Cumberland, a visit upon the way to my native city which I had not seen for twenty
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 133
years, and the engagements arising upon my return home after an absence of unusual lengthy will explain, and I trust excuse, the subsequent delay.

“Your first question is, whether Letters would gain by the more avowed and active encouragement of the Government?

“There are literary works of national importance which can only be performed by co-operative labour, and will never be undertaken by that spirit of trade which at present preponderates in literature. The formation of an English Etymological Dictionary is one of those works; others might be mentioned; and in this way literature might gain much by receiving national encouragement; but Government would gain a great deal more by bestowing it. Revolutionary governments understand this; I should be glad if I could believe that our legitimate one would learn it before it is too late. I am addressing one who is a statesman as well as a man of letters, and who is well aware that the time is come in which governments can no more stand without pens to support them than without bayonets. They must soon know, if they do not already know it, that the volunteers as well as the mercenaries of both professions, who are not already enlisted in this service, will enlist themselves against it; and I am afraid they have a better hold upon the soldier than upon the penman; because the former has, in the spirit of his profession and in the sense of military honour, something which not unfrequently supplies the want of any higher principle; and I know not that any substitute is to be found among the gentlemen of the press.


“But neediness, my Lord, makes men dangerous members of society, quite as often as affluence makes them worthless ones. I am of opinion that many persons who become bad subjects because they are necessitous, because ‘the world is not their friend, nor the world’s law,’ might be kept virtuous (or, at least, withheld from mischief) by being made happy, by early encouragement, by holding out to them a reasonable hope of obtaining, in good time, an honourable station and a competent income, as the reward of literary pursuits, when followed with ability and diligence, and recommended by good conduct.

“My Lord, you are now on the Conservative side. Minor differences of opinion are infinitely insignificant at this time, when in truth there are but two parties in this kingdom—the Revolutionists and the Loyalists; those who would destroy the constitution and those who would defend it. I can have no predilections for the present administration; they have raised the devil, who is now raging through the land: but, in their present position, it is their business to lay him if they can; and so far as their measures may be directed to that end, I heartily say, God speed them! If schemes like yours, for the encouragement of letters, have never entered into their wishes, there can be no place for them at present in their intentions. Government can have no leisure now for attending to any thing but its own and our preservation; and the time seems not far distant when the cares of war and expenditure will come upon it once more with their all-engrossing importance. But when better times shall arrive (whoever may live to see them), it will be worthy the consideration of any
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 135
government whether the institution of an Academy, with salaries for its members (in the nature of literary or lay benefices), might not be the means of retaining in its interests, as connected with their own, a certain number of influential men of letters, who should hold those benefices, and a much greater number of aspirants who would look to them in their turn. A yearly grant of 10,000l. would endow ten such appointments of 500l. each for the elder class, and twenty-five of 200l. each for younger men; these latter eligible of course, and preferably, but not necessarily, to be elected to the higher benefices, as those fell vacant, and as they should have approved themselves.

“The good proposed by this, as a political measure, is not that of retaining such persons to act as pamphleteers and journalists, but that of preventing them from becoming such, in hostility to the established order of things; and of giving men of letters, as a class, something to look for beyond the precarious gains of literature; thereby inducing in them a desire to support the existing institutions of their country, on the stability of which their own welfare would depend.

“Your Lordship’s second question,—in what way the encouragement of Government could most safely and beneficially be given,—is, in the main, answered by what has been said upon the first. I do not enter into any details of the proposed institution, for that would be to think of fitting up a castle in the air. Nor is it worth while to examine how far such an institution might be perverted. Abuses there would
be, as in the disposal of all preferments, civil, military, or ecclesiastical; but there would be a more obvious check upon them; and where they occurred they would be less injurious in their consequences than they are in the state, the army, and navy, or the church.

“With regard to prizes, methinks they are better left to schools and colleges. Honours are worth something to scientific men, because they are conferred upon such men in other countries; at home there are precedents for them in Newton and Davy, and the physicians and surgeons have them. In my judgment, men of letters are better without them, unless they are rich enough to bequeath to their family a good estate with the bloody hand, and sufficiently men of the world to think such distinctions appropriate. For myself, if we had a Guelphic order, I should choose to remain a Ghibelline.

“I have written thus fully and frankly, not dreaming that your proposal is likely to be matured and carried into effect, but in the spirit of good will, and as addressing one by whom there is no danger that I can be misunderstood. One thing alone I ask from the legislature, and in the name of justice,—that the injurious law of copyright should be repealed, and that the family of an author should not be deprived of their just and natural rights in his works when his permanent reputation is established. This I ask with the earnestness of a man who is conscious that he has laboured for posterity.

I remain, my Lord,
Yours, with due respect,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 137
To Herbert Hill, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 5. 1831.
“My dear Herbert,

“You may be perfectly at ease as to my anticipations of the changes which I might find at Crediton; they had no relation to anything but the knowledge that we must all of us either improve or worsen as we grow older, and that at no time is this more apparent than when we pass from youth to man- or woman-hood. Those whom I had left girls were now become young women; the change is not so great as from kitten to cat-hood; but if ever you have children of your own, you will then know how the joyousness which they impart diminishes, and the anxieties increase as they grow up. A little of this one feels for those friends to whom we are most attached; and you know that I have as hearty a regard for —— as he has for me. I never knew a better man, and have never known a happier one. A blessing seems to have attended him through life. . . . .

“Now for your own speculations as to the choice of a profession. And let me begin by admonishing you that this is a choice between risks, uncertainties, and difficulties (discomforts might be added to the list); not between two ways, each pleasant alike, and each leading surely to the resting-place which is the object of the journey.

“You hesitate between the professions of theology and medicine. Morally and intellectually both are wholesome studies for one who enters upon them
with a sound heart and a proper sense of duty. I should not say the same of the law, for that must in my judgment be always more or leas injurious to the practitioner. The comparative advantages and disadvantages seem to be these: the medical profession will require you to live in a town, most likely in London, or certainly in one of the larger cities: this may be a recommendation or otherwise, according to your inclinations. It requires means for supporting you till you get into practice, and this is slow and up-hill work, as well as being in a great degree uncertain; you may make a great fortune by it, but not till late in life, and your labours increase with your success.

“As a clergyman, then, you have your fellowship till you choose to vacate it; a less busy, but a less anxious life is before you. Talents and industry may do more for you as a clergyman; good manners and good nature may tell to better account as a physician. But the prudential balance is so nearly equipoised that the determination may fairly be a matter of free choice. With regard to the studies in which they would engage you, I think you would like that of physic best at first, but that the older you grew the better you would like and feel the value of those to which theology would lead you.

“Opinions must always be inherited, and happy are we who can refer to the title-deeds upon which ours are founded. As you read more and observe more, what are now prejudices will become principles, and strike root as such, and as such bring forth fruit in due season. Nullius addictus, &c. is the boast of
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 139
vanity and sciolism. There are very few who do not put faith in their apothecary and their lawyer; and we are less likely to be deceived when we confide in the opinions which have been held by men of whose learning) and ability, and integrity no doubt can be entertained. If the writers from whom I now derive most pleasure and most profit had been put into my hands when I was at your age, I should have found little in them that was attractive. Our higher intellectual faculties (perhaps it were better to say our spiritual ones) ripen slowly; but then they continue to improve till the bodily organ fails. Take this maxim with you, that in divinity, in ethics, and in politics there can be no new truths. Even the latter is no longer an experimental science, and woe be to those who treat it as such! . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Mrs. Hodson.
“Keswick, Feb. 7. 1831.
“My dear Mrs. Hodson,

“You may infer how incessantly I was engaged during my abode in town from the 1st of November to the 27th of December, when you are told that I could not possibly find time for writing more than the first six pages of that paper in the Quarterly Review, though the number was waiting for it. The remainder was written at Caroline Bowles’s, where I
shut myself up for eleven days, refusing all invitations, seeing no visitors, and never going out, except when she mounted her Shetland pony, and I walked by her side for an hour or two before dinner. That paper, however, is but the first fruits of my journey. I have a great deal more to say, and am busily employed in saying it.

“When I met Joanna Baillie at Rogers’s, her sister and my daughter Bertha constituted the whole party; for, as to literary parties, they are my abomination. She is a person whom I admired as soon as I read her first volume of Plays, and liked when I saw her as much as I had admired her before. I never talk much in company, and never carry abroad with me the cheerful spirits which never forsake me at home. But I was not sad that morning, though perhaps my thoughts might sometimes be more engaged than they ought to have been by the engagements of various kinds which were pressing upon me. Bertha said of me in one of her letters from town that I used to look as if I had more to think of than I liked. This was only because it was so much; not that I looked at the course of events with anything like despondency. Very far from it; I found few persons so hopeful, so confident, as myself; but those few were exactly the persons on whose judgment I have most reliance. The Whigs have already increased the army, called for the yeomanry force which they had disbanded, and begun to prosecute for sedition. I expect to see them suspend the Habeas Corpus, reissue one-pound notes, and go to war. We have at least a
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 141
Government now, and we have only had the shadow of one before since the great defection; and the men in power must, of necessity, do what their opposition would have prevented or deterred their predecessors from doing. This advantage is worth purchasing at the cost of that minimum of reform which is to be looked for at their hands.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Captain Southey.
“Keswick, Feb. 13. 1831.
“My dear Tom,

“. . . . . Heartily glad I am to be at my own desk by my own fireside, and once more at rest. In London I could not find any time for writing anything; it was less interruption to let in all callers than to receive and answer notes if they were excluded. I was at the most important debates which I could attend conveniently, because my quarters were with Rickman. I walked into the city on the Lord Mayor’s Day, and the day before, and saw the sort of multitude which had been brought together for mischief, and from various quarters I heard what the mischief was,—a Cato-street scheme, with this difference only, that instead of attacking the Ministers at a dinner party, the King and the Duke of Wellington were to have been killed in their carriages, and the new police massacred.


“The Quarterly Review was kept waiting for my paper. But yet I have a great deal to say upon the state of public affairs, both through the medium of the Quarterly and in other ways. As soon as possible I mean to address a series of letters to the people.

Murray is now reprinting my Moral and Political Papers, in a small cheap form, like his Family Library. About half a volume is printed, and in revising them for the press it is mournful to see that they are in the main as applicable now as when they were written; and that much of the present evil might have been averted if the warning which was then given had been taken in time. The evil has now, I think, become so great that it must draw on a remedy. And it is like a special judgment upon the Whigs, who have raised the devil, that they should be in a position which makes it their business to lay him if they can. They must do everything which they used to declaim against; and happily they can do it, because there will be no factious opposition to them.

“The Duchess of Kent sent for me one day to dine with her; the reason, as I learnt from Sir John Conroy, being that she thinks of making a northern tour with the little Princess, and intended to ask me what tour she should take, and what time it would require. No such questions, however, could the Duchess ask; for there were more than twenty persons at dinner, of whom I only got at the names of those nearest me, and of course she could have very little conversation with me. I took it quietly,
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 143
felt as I should have done at a table d’hôte where all were strangers; made a good dinner, and withdrew as soon as my
brother’s carriage came for me at a quarter before ten. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To the Rev. Neville White.
“Keswick, March 21. 1831.
“My dear Neville,

“. . . . .You know, my dear Neville, that I have endeavoured always to impress upon the public the necessity of educating the people. If that education is either so conducted, or left so imperfect as in many cases to do harm rather than good, the fault is not in the principle, but in the mismanagement of it. The great evil which at present it produces is that of making young persons discontented with the stations which they were intended to fill; and thus producing more claimants for the stations one degree higher than can be provided for in that class. Whenever the education which such persons receive shall become universal, this mischief must necessarily cease. It produced nothing but good in Scotland, because it was universal there.

“A more difficult question is, how to render the religious instruction which children receive at school of more effect. And where parents neglect, as they so very generally do in that station of life, this duty,
I do not see how this is to be done by schools and teachers. We want a reformation of manners to effect that without which manners, alas I cannot be reformed. This is evident, that boys and girls are taken from school precisely at that age when they become capable of, in some degree, understanding and feeling what till then they have only learnt by rote. Then it is that the aid of catechists is wanting. In a small parish the clergyman can do much; in large ones I do not wonder that they are deterred from attempting what with their utmost exertions they could not possibly accomplish.

“I am perfectly satisfied that no children ought to be left without education; so much as to enable them to read, write, cypher, and understand their moral and religious duties. But about infant schools I do not see my way so clearly; and am not sure whether some harm is not done, both to parent and child, by taking so much off the parent’s hands. No doubt it is a choice between evils. Of this I am sure, that half the crimes which disgrace this nation are brought on by street education, which goes on in villages as well as in towns. So far as infant schools tend to prevent this, they are greatly beneficial.

“You ask me about Magdalen institutions. There is scarcely any form of misery that can have so strong a claim upon compassion as that which these are intended to alleviate. Often as the intention may be disappointed, one case in which it succeeds may compensate for fifty disappointments. And these poor creatures are not so generally, I might say so uniformly, to be distrusted as prison converts.
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 145
In prisons, I believe, the common effect is, that the cleverest criminals add hypocrisy to their other sins.

“Look again at what I have said concerning the observance of Sunday, and you will perceive that I have argued against Dymond’s liberal notions about the day, and also against, not a religious, but a puritanical, observance of it; for that, I am sure, tends to promote irreligion. Of the two extremes I would choose rather the popish than the puritanical Sabbath. Let us keep the mean.

James Stanger is expected here next week, but for a short time only. He is a very valuable man, and I have a sincere respect for him, though very far from being as good a neighbour as he might like to find me, and, were he less considerate than he is, might expect me to be. But I have no time for neighbourly intercourse.

“No room is left for politics. My hope is that the Ministers will not think it expedient to resign till war begins; for something would seem wanting in political justice if it were not to be begun under their administration. God forgive them for the mischief they are doing by their portentous budget of reform; and for calling in, as they have done, and are doing, the aid of the villainous press, in order to carry it by intimidation. Passages in the ——, which even the Editor would not dare to write, are said to have been supplied to him for this purpose.

“Our kind remembrances to your fireside.

“God bless you, my dear Neville!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, May 3. 1831.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Would that I were more at leisure to converse with those who are at a distance; but leisure and I seem to have parted company for ever in this world, and occupation does not bring with it that quiet now which it used to do in less uneasy times.* Not that I have lost either heart or hope; for though nothing can be worse than all the manifestations of public feeling from all sides, I expect that the delusion will in a great degree be removed when the present excitement has spent itself; and though I have no reliance whatever upon the good sense of the people, there is yet goodness enough in the nation to make me trust in full faith that Providence will not deliver us over to our own evil devices, or rather to those of our rulers. Those who gave Earl Grey credit for sagacity, believed, upon his own representations, that time had moderated his opinions, and that he would always support the interests of

* “If I were in the seventeenth year of my age instead of the fifty-seventh, I might perhaps like the prospect of a general revolution in society, looking only at the evils which it was to sweep away, and the good with which it was to replace them. But I am old enough to know something of the course on which we have entered. Anarchy is the first stage—and there the road divides; one way leading by a circuitous route, and so difficult a one as to be scarcely practicable, back to the place from whence we start; the other by a broad and beaten way to military despotism. The tendency is to a despotism of institutions, which, when once established, stamps a whole people in its iron mould and stereotypes them.”—To H. Taylor, Esq, March 13. 1831.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 147
his order. Provoked at the exposure of his whole Cabinet’s incapacity, which their budget brought forth, he has thrown himself upon the Radicals for support, bargained with
O’Connell, and stirred up all the elements of revolution in this kingdom, which has never been in so perilous a state since the Restoration.

“The poor people here say they shall all be ‘made quality’ when this ‘grand reform’ is brought about. ‘O it is a grand thing!’ The word deceives them; for you know, Grosvenor, it ‘stands to feasible’ that reform must be a good thing, and they are not deceived in supposing that its tendency is to pull down the rich, whatever may be its consequences to themselves.

“May 14.

“This letter has lain more than a week unfinished in my desk. To-day’s paper tells me that his Right Honour* has gained his election; and this I am very glad of, hoping, however, that the head of the family, or one of those uncles who can so well afford it, will bear the costs. There is no statesman to whom I ascribe more of the evils which are gathering round us than Lord Grenville. The Catholic question was an egg laid and hatched in that family, and Leda’s egg was not prolific of more evils to Troy than that question has proved, is proving, and will prove to these kingdoms. . . . .

“I saw Lord —— this morning: he said ‘we

* Mr. Wynn.

are going to wreck;’ and I was shocked to see how ill he looked; twenty years older than when I dined with him at
Croker’s in December last. It is not bodily fatigue, but anxiety, that has produced this change; the clear foresight of evils which are coming in upon us with the force of a spring-tide before a high wind. Every one whom I see or hear from is in worse spirits than myself; for I have an invincible and instinctive hope that the danger will be averted by God’s mercy. In the present state of the world nothing seems to proceed according to what would have been thought likely. Who, for example, could have expected that France would not have been at war before this time, or that Louis Philippe would have been still on his uneasy throne? Who would have supposed that Russia would have been defeated in its attempt to suppress the Poles? or that Austria could have put down the insurrection in Italy? I say nothing of the madness which King, Cabinet, and People have manifested at home, because they really seem to be acting under a judicial visitation of insanity. But I am almost ready to conclude that we shall weather this storm, because all probabilities and all appearances are against it. Some unexpected event may occur; the war for which France has been preparing upon so formidable a scale may break out in time, and in a way which will render it impossible for our Ministers to remain at peace; or such a revolution may be effected in that country as will frighten the King and Ministry here into their senses. Some death may take place which may derange the Administration; some schism
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 149
may make it fall to pieces; the agricultural insurrections and the burnings may begin again, and act in prevention of a revolution which they would otherwise inevitably follow; or, perhaps, the cholera morbus may be sent us as a lighter plague than that which we have chosen for ourselves.

“Be the end of these things what it may, Grosvenor, ‘we’s never live to see’t,’ as an old man of Grasmere, whom Betty knew, said upon some great changes which were taking place in his time; ‘but we’s, may be, hear tell,’, he added; and so say I.

“Further, I say, come to Keswick this year; and remember, Grosvenor, that you and I have not many ‘next years’ to talk of, even if life were less precious than it is.

“I have a great deal to say to you, and a great deal to show you, if I had you by the fireside, and in the boat, and on the ascent of Skiddaw, and two or three other mountains, where I would walk beside your horse, if your own feet were too sensitive to perform their own duty. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Dr. Southey.
“Keswick, June 27. 1831.
“My dear H.,

“I returned home* on Friday, and Bertha arrived the same night, safe, and if not sound, yet much

* The next letter explains the object of this journey fully.

better than she had of late been, and I hope on the convalescent list. My journey ended as I expected, in my declining the proposed executorship, and giving good counsel to no purpose. The poor old
doctor* may live long, or soon be taken off. He is completely speechless, but in full possession of all his other faculties, and his mind is as quick and vigorous as ever. Nevertheless, I have reason to believe that the will will be contested, on a most untenable plea of insanity in the testator. If so, I must appear as a witness.

“The proofs which awaited my return I have got through; not so the letters, which are, as usual, de omnibus et quibusdam aliis. There were the proofs of an article upon the New Christianity and New System of Society, started by the St. Simonites in France; proofs of my Essays, of which half the first volume is printed, and which I dedicate to Inglis; and proofs of the Peninsular War. This will be ready for publication in November. You have got my Brazilian small stock out of the fire in good time: I should have thought myself lucky to get out at 50; and wonder that they have not fallen so low as to prove that there are no purchasers. No other revolution could be so injurious to the commerce of this country, nor produce such interminable evils in its own.

“Recommend Ivan Vejeeghan, a Russian Gil Blas, to those who wish to see a lively description of society in Poland and Russia. It contains a better account

* Dr. Bell.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 151
than can anywhere else be met with. Were the rest of the world undisturbed and unaffected by what may happen in and around Poland, the war there might be regarded with much indifference, as a process which cannot worsen the moral condition of either people, and might possibly improve it; though that possibility is a very poor one. But how anything better than a barbarous government, whether it be an oligarchy or a despotism, can be constructed in a country where there is no middle class, nor any persons in a condition to be raised into such a class, I do not perceive. The peasants are serfs, and trade is in the hands of Jews, the vilest, filthiest, and most superstitious of their race.

“If I had Aladdin’s lamp, the genius should transport me, and my household and my books, to Cintra; though, just now, perhaps, one might be safer under the paternal protection of Ferdinand than of Miguel. But I verily believe that Spain and Portugal are the safest countries in Europe; and that Spain will be a most peaceable and flourishing one for some years to come. God bless you!

R. S.”
To the Rev. Neville White.
“Keswick, July 15. 1831.
“My dear Neville,

“When your letter arrived I was absent from home on a melancholy business, obeying indeed a call from my poor old friend Dr. Bell, who told me that
he was speechless, and in a perilous state, and that he greatly desired to see me. I found him totally deprived of speech, by a gradual paralysis of the organs, but no otherwise in danger of death than that death is daily probable at his advanced age, and that this paralysis may extend to the neighbouring parts and prevent his swallowing, or descend and stop the digestive functions.

“He had deposited 120,000l. 3 per cents, in the hands of certain trustees belonging to the university of St Andrew’s; and when I arrived, this sum had been divided into twelve parts, six of which went to the university and town, and four for founding Madras schools at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness. I was consulted about the disposal of the remaining two, and my advice was that he should dispose of one for the augmentation of small livings (which might have been so managed by vesting it in trustees, as to call forth an equal sum from Queen Anne’s bounty, and thus augment forty livings), and apply the other to founding his own schools in the parishes so augmented: to which suggestion I trusted for making the other acceptable. He was delighted at first with the thought, and readily agreed to it. But the next day he returned to the one thought which has always possessed him, and education was to have it all. I urged in vain that the Church of England had some claim for a part of the large sum which had almost wholly been derived from it

“There will be a residue of his property, and I suspect of considerable amount, by his anxiety as to the
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 153
disposal of it. About this too I was consulted, but to no purpose, for all will go in some shape or other to schools. I pleaded for his relations earnestly, but in vain. He considers it his duty to devote his whole property to the object which has occupied his whole life.

“He wished me to be one of his executors; but this was impossible, without neglecting my own business for an indefinite time. As his will then stood, he had bequeathed a thousand pounds each to me and Wordsworth, with the charge of editing his works. The will was to be re-made, and I think it not unlikely that this bequest may be omitted at last. For though I believe there is no person for whom he has a higher regard, and though I am sure that the advice which I gave him cannot have lowered me in his esteem, whatever it may in his liking; yet if he weighs me in the balance against a Madras school to be established in any part of Scotland, my scale will kick the beam.

“He has been a most devoted friend to children: he has loved them with all his heart, so indeed as to have left little room in it for any other affections. I passed four mournful days with him, and was absent twelve days from home, which is to me a serious loss of time. . . . .

“About the Liturgy I have left myself little room to write. It wants few alterations, and those very easy and unobjectionable. I would divide the Morning from the Communion Service; the two together, with the addition of a sermon, being far too long,
both for the priest and the people. Some of the first lessons might better be changed, and a few of the Psalms passed over, as not being for edification. When Church reformation begins, if revolution does not render it unnecessary, I fear we shall find many Judases in the Establishment. It was more by her own treacherous children that she was overthrown in the Great Rebellion than by the Puritans. But this must ever be the case. . . . .

“God preserve us from the cholera morbus, from which nothing but his mercy can preserve us! It is a fearful thought that perhaps in his mercy he may bring it upon us as the least of the evils which we deserve! Yet I have that comfortable reliance upon Providence, that even in these times I am not cast down.

“God bless you, my dear Neville! And believe me always

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, July 15. 1831.
“My dear H. T.,

“This day being Friday, when no letters go for London, I intended to have sent you a note of introduction to Sir Walter; but this day’s newspaper brings account that he has had another attack, and is in extreme danger. I fear this is true, because I
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 155
wrote to him last week*, and should most likely have heard from him in reply if he had been well. His make is apoplectic, and I dare say he has overworked himself, with much wear and tear of anxiety to boot, which is even more injurious. Latterly his spirits have failed him, a good deal owing to the prospect of public affairs: that indeed can exhilarate such persons only as ——, and those who hope to fish in troubled waters.

“The sort of statesman that we want is a man who yields nothing that he ought not to yield, who would dispute all the way from London to Witton-le-Weir, taking Oxford on the road: who will summon cabmen when it is proper so to do, and engage with a whole quarterly meeting of Quakers in argument. . . . .

Wordsworth in all likelihood will be at home at the time you wish. I saw him last week; he is more desponding than I am, and I perhaps despond less than I should do if I saw more clearly before me. After seeing the reign (I cannot call it the government) of Louis Philippe’s last twelve months, Poland resisting Russia, and Italy not resisting Austria, William IV. dissolving Parliament in order to effect parliamentary reform, and Prince Leopold willing to become king of the Belgians,—who can tell what to expect, or who would be surprised at anything that was most unexpected, most insane, or most absurd! Certainly what seems least to be expected is that we should escape a revolution, and yet I go to sleep at night as if there were no danger of one.

* The later letters to Sir W. Scott have not come into my hands.—Ed.


“. . . . . Have you seen the strange book which Anastasius Hope left for publication, and which his representatives, in spite of all dissuasion, have published? His notion of immortality and heaven is, that at the consummation of all things he, and you, and I, and John Murray, and Nebuchadnezzar, and Lambert the fat man, and the living skeleton, and Queen Elizabeth, and the Hottentot Venus, and Thurtell, and Probert, and the twelve Apostles, and the noble army of martyrs, and Genghis Khan, and all his armies, and Noah with all his ancestors and all his posterity,—yea, all men and all women, and all children that have ever been or ever shall be, saints and sinners alike,—are all to be put together, and made into one great celestial eternal human being. He does not seem to have known how nearly this approaches to Swedenborg’s fancy. I do not like the scheme. I don’t like the notion of being mixed up with Hume, and Hunt, and Whittle Harvey, and Philpotts, and Lord Althorpe, and the Huns, and the Hottentots, and the Jews, and the Philistines, and the Scotch, and the Irish. God forbid! I hope to be I myself; I, in an English heaven, with you yourself—you, and some others, without whom heaven would be no heaven to me.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 157
To John Kenyan, Esq.
“Keswick, Sept 11. 1831.
“My dear Kenyon,

“I am always glad to receive a letter from you. It reminds me of many pleasant meetings, and of years upon which, though they have long gone by, it is not yet become painful to look back.

“Something we must all have to regret; I have done much since you first became acquainted with me, but much less than I hoped to have done, than I should have done under more favourable circumstances, and than I might have done under those in which I have been placed. You have chosen rather to enjoy your fortune than to advance it; and with your power of enjoyment I am far from thinking that you have chosen ill. You would be neither a wiser, happier, or better man, if you were sitting on the bench all be-robed and be-wigged as Mr. Justice Kenyon; nor if you were in the House of Commons, flitting, like the bat in the fable, between two contending parties, and not knowing to which you properly belonged. Men make a great mistake when they fancy themselves useful members of society, because they are busy or bustling ones. You have seen a great deal of the world, and your recollections and observations, were you to employ yourself in preserving them, might produce something which posterity would not willingly let perish.

Poole will be here on a flying visit next week: he
says it will be his last visit to the north. I know not why it should be so, if he continue, as he tells me he now is, in good health. I have lately lost in
Duppa one who, though somewhat less than a friend, was much more than an acquaintance. In him the link is broken which connected me with some who are gone before me to their rest, and with places which I shall never again see. Some pages of Espriella are his writing; and not a few of my cheerful recollections have ceased to be cheerful now, because he forms a part of them; I have very few friends younger than myself, and this is a misfortune.

“The General* is here, in good health and spirits. It is very pleasant to see the perfect boyishness with which he enters into all youthful sports. He spells Sir Nicholas’s name, plays forfeits, dances, and wears a false nose, as gravely and with as much serious enjoyment as he used to play the cymbals five or six and twenty years ago. Senhouse also is here with his family. Both desire to be remembered to you.

“I am writing some Colloquies, but not with the same interlocutor; and I am collecting my political papers, lest my claims to unpopularity should be forgotten: some of my friends may say the publication in this respect being ill-timed to a nicety. This year will clear my hands of the Peninsular War; and then the History of Portugal will go to press, the work which I have most at heart. Whether any thing will come of the collections which I have made for other undertakings not less extensive in their

* General Peachey.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 159
kind, God knows. I sometimes fear that I shall have the reflection at last of having heaped up much treasure of this kind in vain.

“God bless you!

Yours very sincerely,
Robert Southey.”
To John May, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct 1. 1831.
“My dear Friend,

“. . . . . The prospect before me is not so clear as it was. The state of politics has affected every branch of business, and none more than that upon which I have to depend. It cannot be long before it be determined whether the Quarterly Review will continue to pay me at its former rate; or whether I must withdraw from it, and look about for other means of support. Other employment equally profitable and certain in its profit, as this has hitherto been, it may not be easy to find; but I have no fear of getting on well at last, and my disposition saves me from all disquietude which is produced by needless anxiety.

“Your own cares at this time can have left you little leisure for those fears which the moral, political, and physical state of Europe awaken in every one who has leisure to look before him and around him. The spirit of insubordination, connected with every thing that is most false and perilous in po-
litics, morals and religion has extended so widely, so all but generally, throughout the working classes, that the white inhabitants in Jamaica are not in more danger from the negroes, than we are from our servile population. This spirit has been greatly aided by the agitation which the Reform Bill has excited; and whatever plan of reform may be at length agreed on, and to whatever extent it may be carried, the consequences of such a ferment must long be felt. One issue leads to certain revolution, the other gives only a chance of averting it. With these prospects at home, and the cholera rapidly advancing to the opposite coast of the Continent (it is daily expected at Hamburgh), I do not think that England, since it was England, has ever been threatened by such serious dangers. For any pestilence must be more dreadful than in former times, in proportion to the increased density of our population and the rapidity of communication throughout the country. And any revolution, instead of throwing down (as in former convulsions) a few high towers and old houses like a storm of wind, would rend and overthrow the foundations of society, like an earthquake. These reflections occur to me so frequently and with so much force, that the deprecations in the Litany which apply to these specific dangers, have for some time made part of my prayers at night and morning.

“My occupations of late have been the Peninsular War, of which I hope to see the end in a few weeks after my return; the Colloquies on the vulgar Errors of the Age, for which Westall has made some
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 161
most beautiful drawings; and a
review of Moore’s Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, which I must take with me to finish in Shropshire. The reprint of my Essays might have been completed long since, if Murray had pleased. But he is the most incommunicable of men; and the book hitches upon some notion of his that the papers upon the Catholic question, which were intended to conclude the volumes, would injure their sale. I tell him that those who hate my opinions will not buy my books whether those papers are included or not; and that those who agree with me will like to have what the collection professes to be, the whole of my Political Essays. But here the matter rests, and the press stands still.

“One thing I had nearly forgotten to tell you. A selection from Wordsworth’s poems for young persons has answered so well, that a similar volume from mine is now in the press; and if this succeeds, as it may almost be expected to do, there will be a companion to it of prose selections. In this way I may derive some little profit, now that the sale of the works themselves is at a dead stop. And in this way some good will be done, as far as the selections circulate. Two mottoes have fallen in my way for them, which I think you will deem applicable:—
‘Nullo imbuta Veneno
is the one; both are from
Janus Douza: the other,
‘Quales filiolis suis parentes,
Quales discipulis suis magistri,
Tuto prælegere et docere possint.’

“Believe me always, my dear and excellent Friend,

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct 14. 1831.
“My dear Rickman,

“Since you last heard from me I have taken a round of about 300 miles,—by way of Liverpool to Shrewsbury, and by way of Manchester home; and, among all the persons with whom I fell in, in stagecoaches and at inns, there was but one reformer, and he a Londoner. The others generally wanted a little encouragement to draw them out, but, when I had spoken boldly, were glad to declare themselves.

“Manchester* was perfectly quiet when The Times described it as being in a state of dreadful excitement. There was alarm enough on the day of the meeting, but the Radicals, having routed the Whigs to their heart’s content, spent the evening in jollity instead of mischief. The Whigs called the meeting, the

* “The borough-reeve of Manchester tells James White that if that town were rid of about thirty fellows, who are the notorious movers of all political mischief there, it would be as quiet and as well-disposed as any place in England. Does that government deserve the name of government which has no power to keep such fellows in order?”—To J. Rickman, Esq., Oct. 25. 1831.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 163
Radicals had their own way at it, and both have done what the Conservative party would have wished them to do.

“Among the means which have occurred to me for lessening the power of the newspapers, one is that the debates should be officially published and sold at a low price, so that their comparative cheapness might carry them into circulation. I would have also, whether connected with the debates or not, a paper as official as the Moniteur, and as authentic as the Gazette, in which Government should relate as much news as can possibly be related, never deceiving the people. This, if ably conducted, might prevent much delusion and consequent mischief. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”

On my father’s return from this short journey, he found an invitation awaiting him to offer himself as a candidate for the Professorship of Humanity at Glasgow, and it was represented to him that the chances of success were not doubtful. “Under the present circumstances of the publishing trade,” he says, “it would have become a question of prudence in which inclination must not have been suffered to interfere, if it had not so happened that the invitation found its way to me too late to admit of my making inquiries concerning particulars which it did not communicate. If, as I suspect, the professors are required to subscribe the Kirk’s articles of faith, there could have been no choice.”

To a suggestion from another friend of the prac-
ticabllity of obtaining some permanent position of this kind, he says, “headships are out of the question both as to the requisite knowledge and the way of attaining them. No,
H. T., I have nothing to look for but what comes out of this inkstand. There may be some temporary inconvenience, but unless all things are subverted about me that inkstand will supply my wants till death or infirmity overtake me. For the first I am sufficiently prepared as to worldly affairs, for the latter I trust that Providence will save me from it, or support me under it.”*

To Herbert Hill, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct 30. 1831.
“My dear Herbert,

“. . . . . The study of the Fathers opens so wide a field, that I, who have long cast a longing eye thitherward, have been afraid to enter it, because it was too late in the day for me; and yet few men can be prepared in mind and inclination for such pursuits early enough to go through with them. Routh, I suppose, has published most of what your friend recommends to you. It is in the early Fathers that you will find least admixture of other than theological matter; their successors offer a mine which has been very imperfectly worked as yet of historical materials; that is, for the history of manners and opinions. Let nothing of this kind escape you. I not unfre-

* To Henry Taylor, Esq., Oct. 23. 1831.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 165
quently find notes useful which were made five-and-thirty years ago, when I could little foresee to what use they would be applied.

“In a note of Isaac Reed’s to Dodsley’s Old Plays, he quotes a MS. from ‘a chest of papers formerly belonging to Mr. Powell (Milton’s father-in-law), and then existing at Forest Hill, about four miles from Oxford, where, he says, in all probability, some curiosities of the same kind may remain, the contents of these chests (for I think there are more than one) having never yet been properly examined.’ This note was written fifty years ago, and most likely the papers have now disappeared; but it may be worth while to inquire about them, for the bare possibility of discovering some treasures.

“I am, I hope, settled to my winter’s work, heartily glad to be so, though with darker prospects than at any former time. But I am in good hopes, and trust that, though we are under the worst Ministry that ever misconducted the affairs of a great nation. Providence will preserve us. Even if they succeed in bringing upon themselves the destruction which they deserve, you will live to see a restoration of the Monarchy and the Episcopal church.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. S.”
The Rev. J. W. Warter.
“Keswick, Dec 27. 1831.
“My dear Warter,

“The merry Christmas that we wish you will be over before our wishes can reach Copenhagen, and the new year will be far on its way to February,—may it, however, be a happy one in its course! None within my memory has ever opened with such threatening aspects; but this consideration, which enters night and morning into my prayers, affects me very little at other times; partly because I am too busy to entertain it, partly because my constitutional hilarity overcomes it, and still more, perhaps, because I have a strong persuasion, such as might almost be called an abiding trust, that Providence will visit this country, sinful as it is, rather in mercy than in vengeance.

“The misconduct of those people who let the cholera into Sunderland has been, if possible, exceeded by that of the Government which has let it out! instead of shutting it up and extinguishing it in the first house where it appeared. But even in the King’s speech the question of contagion is spoken of as doubtful, and the Government have dealt with this pestilence just as they did with the Catholic question,—allowed the evil to increase, till they could plead its extent as an excuse for yielding to it: they kept up the farce of a quarantine upon the ships and allowed free intercourse by land. The cholera is now as fairly denizened as the small pox.

Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 167

“I have always thought Copenhagen one of the safest places from this disease, because your Government there is an efficient one in such cases, and is perfectly aware of the danger, and yet has few points to guard, which being guarded it cannot be brought to you. In England it will have as free a course as sedition, treason, and blasphemy. This house is as favourably situated as any one can be that is not at a distance from an inhabited place; and with this assurance we shall commit ourselves to God’s mercy, if it should be imported into Keswick. . . . .

“You ask me about the insurrection at Bristol. Government are well informed that it was part only of a wider scheme in which Birmingham, Nottingham, and other places were to have taken part. The Bishop behaved manfully; the mob were masters of the city, and one of the minor canons waited upon him before the hour of service, and represented to him the propriety of postponing it. ‘My young friend,’ said the Bishop with great good nature, laying his hand upon his shoulder as he spake, ‘these are times in which it is necessary not to shrink from danger. Our duty is to be at our post.’ The service accordingly was performed as usual, and he himself preached. Before evening closed, his palace was burnt to the ground, and the loss which he sustained (besides that of his papers) is estimated at 10,000l. Except the books and papers which were consumed there, nothing has been destroyed but what may be replaced; for though the fire has done no good (that is, though it has burnt none of those filthy dens of
wretchedness with which all our cities are disgraced), it has touched none of the antiquities of the place. A letter from Bristol gives this description, by an eye-witness, of what was going on all night in Queen’s Square, the main scene of action:—‘The mob gave notice of the houses they meant to attack by knocking at the doors, and they allowed the family a quarter of an hour to escape. This interval they spent in dancing: they cleared a circle in the middle of the square, and went round hand in hand, prisoners in their prison dresses (drunk with the delight of having been set free) and women of the worst description. The light from the blazing houses made them all appear black: and the dance was to many of them the dance of death; for they were so improvident for their own escape, that they set many rooms and different stories on fire at the same time; and when the roofs fell in many of them were seen to drop into the burning ruins.’ It is not known how many perished there, but the number killed and wounded by the soldiers was not short of 500.

“This event has made the decent part of the people understand what the populace are, and has made the populace fear the soldiers. Latterly, indeed, the mob were so drunk that a handful of resolute men might have knocked them on the head, as sailors kill seals upon an unfrequented island.

“The truth is, that the West Indian planters are not in more danger from their negroes, than we are from our servile population. The old habit of obedience is destroyed, and what is even worse, there is no longer the bond of mutual interest between the
Ætat. 57. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 169
workmen, whether in manufactures or agriculture, and their employers. The poor are poorer than they ought to be; they know this, and they know their own numbers and their strength. Where this is the case, no system that depends upon cheap labour for its prosperity can continue. Great changes in the constitution of our society are therefore inevitable; but the changes which our Ministers are moving earth and hell to effect, cannot even alleviate any one existing evil; their direct tendency is to give more power to that part of the people who have already far too much, and who, in truth, cannot possibly have too little, in any well-ordered state.

“How much matters of this kind have been in my thoughts during the last three-and-twenty years, you will see whenever my Essays reach you. I expect daily to see them advertised. . . . .

“I am glad to hear that you have been buying books. I have subscribed to the Bibliotheca Anglo-Saxonica; and to Jonathan Boucher’s Glossary, which is at last about to be completed and published as a Supplement to Johnson. If the continuation be as good as Boucher’s own part, it will be the best work of its kind, I believe, in any language. Cuthbert and I are reading the Merchant of Venice in the Friezeland Dialect, Halbertsma having sent me, from Deventer, a translation by Posthumous of that play and of Julius Cæsar.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec 28. 1831.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“You have taken a wise man’s view of the prospect before you: only in one point, I think you anticipate something worse than is at all likely to happen; for it is by no means likely, that your retiring allowance will be so niggardly, as to impose upon you the necessity of any retrenchment. I shall be sorry when this vile measure is carried into effect, believing, upon your judgment, that it is a bad measure in itself; but I should be sorry for it, as a mere change, unless there were some great and certain good to arise from it; and even then I should be sorry, for the sake of the poor old Exchequer itself, and my more than forty years’ acquaintance with it. But for your sake, certainly, if your future allotment depended upon my will, your harness should be taken off, and to grass you should go for the rest of your life; but with a comfortable shed for winter and bad weather, and plenty of good winter food there, and warm litter. Whatever becomes of the Exchequer, this would be my wish for you. The latter years of life ought to be our own; by the time we reach the threshold of old age, the cares of the world have had from us all that ought to be exacted for them. . . . .

“You ought, by this time, to have received my Essays, reprinted from the Quarterly Review, and
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Edinburgh Annual Register; and with the passages restored, which poor Gifford cut out, that is, where I was lucky enough to recover either the MSS. or the proofs. Except the dedication to Sir Robert Inglis, they contain nothing that will be new to you; but you will like to have them thus collected; and when you are cutting the leaves open, you will see many proofs of melancholy foresight. My intention was, if these volumes should obtain a tolerable sale, to follow them with similar volumes ecclesiastical, historical, literary, and miscellaneous, about eight or ten of which my stores would supply. But in the present state of things an encouraging sale is not to be expected, especially for a book containing the most unpopular opinions expressed in the strongest language in which I could convey them.

“At present, thank God, we are all in tolerable health, and in good spirits: these you know, never fail me. Your godson is a tall fellow, nearly as tall, and only some months younger than I was, when you first saw me across the school, little thinking at the time what you and I should be to each other in after years.

“God bless you, my dear G. My love to Miss Page and your brother, and as many new years to you all as may be happy ones. The Smoaker* is desired to accept the assurances of their high consideration from the Cattery of Cats’ Eden.

R. S.”

* A favourite cat of Mr. Bedford’s.