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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 12 February 1808

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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“Feb. 12. 1808.
“My dear Coleridge,

De Origine et Progressu Officii S. Inquisitionis, ejusque dignitate et utilitate, Antone Ludovico a Panamo, Boroxense, Archidiaconio et Canonico Legionense. . . 1598, folio. The book is in the Red Cross Street Library. I read it six years ago, and sent up an account of it within the last six weeks for Dr. Aikin’s Biography, where it will be in villanously bad company. You will find there that God was the first Inquisitor, and that the first Auto da Fè was held upon Adam and Eve. You will read enough to show you that Catholic writers defend the punishment of heretics, and quite sufficient to make your blood run cold. I have the History of the Portuguese Inquisition to write, and look on to the task with absolute horror. I am decidedly hostile to what is called Catholic Emancipation, as I am to what is called peace.


“I have had a correspondence with Clarkson concerning the best mode of publishing my Brazilian history; and what he points out as the best plan is little better than the half-and-half way, and involves a great deal of trouble, and what is worse, a great deal of solicitation. I am a bad trading author, and doomed always to be so, but it is not the bookseller’s fault; the public do not buy poetry unless it be made fashionable; mine gets reviewed by enemies who are always more active than friends; one reviewer envies me, another hates me, and a third tries his hand upon me as fair game. Thousands meantime read the books; but they borrow them, even those persons who are what they call my friends, and who know that I live by these books, never buy them themselves, and then wonder that they do not sell. Espriella has sold rapidly, for which I have to thank Stuart; the edition is probably by this time exhausted, and, I verily believe, half the sale must be attributed to the puffs in the Courier. The sale of a second edition would right me in Longman’s books. Puff me, Coleridge! if you love me, puff me! Puff a couple of hundreds into my pocket!

“As for the booksellers, I am disposed to distinguish between Longman and Tradesman nature (setting human nature out of the question): now Tradesman nature is very bad, but Longman nature is a great deal better, and I am inclined to believe that it will get the better of the evil principle, and that liberal dealing may even prove catching. It is some proof of this that his opinion of me and conduct
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 135
towards me alter not, notwithstanding the spiders spin their webs so securely over whole piles of
Madoc and Thalaba. . . . .

“I am strongly moved by the spirit to make an attack upon Jeffrey along his whole line, beginning with his politics. Stuart would not be displeased to have half a dozen letters. Nothing but the weary work it would be to go through his reviews for the sake of collecting the blunders in them, prevents me. He, and other men who are equally besotted and blinded by party, will inevitably frighten the nation into peace, the only thing which can be more mischievous and more dishonourable than our Danish expedition. I wish to God you would lift up your voice against it. Alas! Coleridge, is it to be wondered at, that we pass for a degenerated race, when those who have the spirit of our old worthies in them, let that spirit fret itself away in silence!

Lamb’s book I have heard of, and know not what it is. If co-operative labour were as practicable as it is desirable, what a history of English literature might he and you and I set forth! . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”