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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 3 February 1809

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Keswick, Feb. 3. 1809.

“We want a Nelson in the army. Poor Sir John Moore was too cautious a man. He waited in distrust of the Spaniards, to see what course the war would take, instead of being on the spot, to make it take the course he wished. When Hope was at the passes of the Guadarrama mountain, he and the rest of the army should have been at Samosierra, the other key to Madrid. There would have been reinforcements sent, if he had not positively written to have empty transports; and the men were, therefore, disembarked. Had there been twenty thousand fresh troops at Corunna, to have met the French, what a victory should we have obtained; when even with the wreck of an army, foot-sore, broken-hearted, and half starved, we defeated them so completely at the last! One thing results from this action,—the fear of invasion must be at rest for ever. We can beat the French under every possible disadvantage, and
Ætat. 35. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 211
with two, almost indeed three to one, against us. Come, then,
Bonaparte! the sooner the better.

“Ministers are jarring with each other. It is Canning who stands up for Spain; and I learn from Walter Scott, that they will stand by the Spaniards to the last, cost what it may. But they paralyse one another, and the rest of the Cabinet—by meeting him half way, doing half what he proposes—utterly undoes everything. Still if we had a few such men as Cochrane in the army—men who would have the same faith in British bottom by land as we have at sea; that faith would redeem us. To be upon the defensive in the field is ruin. Men never can win a battle unless they are determined to win it, and expect to win it; and that cannot be the case when they wait to be attacked. 100,000 men in Spain would overthrow and destroy Bonaparte; but we send them in batches to be cut up. We squander the strength of the country, we waste the blood of the country, we sacrifice the honour of the country, and bring upon ourselves a disgrace, which Bonaparte, were he ten times more powerful than he is, could never inflict upon us, were there but true wisdom and right courage in our rulers.

“But though Bonaparte may take the country, he cannot keep it. He would not have done what he has, if the Spaniards had proclaimed a republic; for which, you may remember, I pointed out the peculiar fitness which their separate states afforded.

“The new review is to be called the Quarterly, and will, I suppose soon start. I fancy W. Scott has
taken care of
the Cid there. Of the new edition of Thalaba, nine books are printed. It would be convenient if I could borrow from my Hindoo gods a few of their supernumerary heads and hands, for I find more employment than my present complement can get through.

“Holding that my face will ‘carry off a drab,’ I have a new coat of that complexion just come home from Johnny Cockbains, the king of the tailors.

“God bless you!

R. S.”