LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 28 December 1813

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, Dec. 28. 1813.
“My dear Uncle,

“. . . . . I am sorely out of humour with public affairs. One of our politicians (Mr. Canning, I believe) called Bonaparte once the child of Jacobinism; but, whether Jacobinism or anything worse bred him, it is this country that has nursed him up to his present
fortunes. After the murders of the
Duc d’Enghien and Palm—avowed, open, notorious as they were,—we ought to have made the war personal against a wretch who was under the ban of humanity. Had this been our constant language, he would long since have been destroyed by the French themselves; nor do I think that Austria would ever have connected itself by marriage with a man so branded. But it is impossible to make the statesmen of this country feel where their strength lies. It will be no merit of theirs if peace is not made, morally certain as every man, who sees an inch before his nose, must be, that it would last no longer than it serves this villain’s purpose. He will get back his officers and men, who are now prisoners upon the Continent; he will build fleets: he will train sailors; he will bring sailors from America, and send ships there, and we shall have to renew the contest at his time, and with every advantage on his side.

“I spoilt my poem, in deference to Rickman’s judgment and Croker’s advice, by cutting out all that related to Bonaparte, and which gave strength, purport, and coherence to the whole. Perhaps I may discharge my conscience by putting these rejected parts together*, and letting them off in the Courier before it becomes a libellous offence to call murder and tyranny by their proper names.

“You will see that I have announced a series of inscriptions recording the achievements of our army

* These, with some additions, are published in the collected edition of his poems, under the title of an “Ode written during the Negotiations with Bonaparte in Jan. 1814.”

in the Peninsula. Though this is not exactly ex officio, yet I should not have thought of it if it had not seemed a fit official undertaking. This style of composition is that to which I am more inclined than to any other. My local knowledge will turn to good account on many of these epigrammata.

“I had a letter a day or two ago from Kinder who is at this time forming a commercial establishment at St. Andero. The Spanish troops, he says, had behaved so ill that Lord W. had ordered them all within their own frontier. From the specimens which he had seen, he thought they combined a blacker assemblage of diabolical qualities than any set of men whom he ever before had an opportunity of observing. Now Kinder is a cool, clear-headed man, disposed to see things in their best colours, and, moreover, has been in Brazil and Buenos Ayres. The truth seems to be that, though there never was much law in Spain, there has been none during the last six years, and the ruffian-like propensities of the brute multitude have had their full swing. Kinder had been to the scene of action, and dined frequently at head-quarters. He finds Biscay more beautiful than he expected, but has seen nothing to equal the Vale of Keswick. I shall make use of him to get books from Madrid. My friend Abella is one of the deputies for Aragon to the New Cortes.

“The South Sea missionaries have done something; at last besides making better books than their Jesuit forerunners. They have converted the King of Otahëité. His letters are in my last Evangelical Magazine, and very curious they are. If he should
prove conqueror in the civil war which is desolating the island, this conversion may, very probably, lead to its complete civilisation. Human sacrifices would, of course, be abolished, and schools established. His Majesty himself writes a remarkably good hand. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”