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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 18 June 1815

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, June 18. 1815.
“My dear Wynn,

“You have done many things which have given me great pleasure since your last letter. I never was more rejoiced than when Lord Grenville gave his full and manly support to a war which, beyond all others in which we have been involved, is necessary and inevitable. I am very glad, also, to see that you are doing something to promote vaccination. Much may be done towards the cure and prevention of diseases, by wise legislative interference; and this is one of the points in which the state of society is susceptible of great improvement. . . . .

“The question of incest was touched upon, and you very properly recommended that the case of should rest upon the existing law, rather than make it the subject of a specific (and superfluous) clause in the act of divorce. But has it never occurred to you, my dear Wynn, that this law is an abominable relic of ecclesiastical tyranny? Of all second marriages, I have no hesitation in saying that these are the most natural, the most suitable, and likely to be the most frequent, if the law did not sometimes prevent them. It is quite monstrous to hear judges and lawyers speaking, as they have done of late, upon this subject, and confounding natural incest with what was only deemed to be incestuous, in order that the Church might profit by selling dispensations for its commission—a species of marriage, too, which was not only permitted by the Levitical law, but even
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 115
enjoined by it. I should be glad to know in what part of the Christian dispensation it is prohibited as a crime. The probable reason why the law was not swept away in this country at the Reformation, was, because it involved the cause of that event; but surely we owe no such respect to the memory of
Henry the Eighth, that it should still continue to disgrace a reformed country.

Longman was to send you my poems. You will perceive how very few have been written since I was twenty-five, and that may account for the numberless and incorrigible faults, and the good-for-nothingness of a great part of them, which, had they been my own property, would have gone behind the fire.

“They have made me member of another academy at Madrid—the R. A. of History—a body which have rendered most efficient service to the literature of that country. This gives me some privileges*, which I should be very glad to profit by, if I could afford a journey to Spain, for I should have better access to archives and manuscripts than any foreigner has ever enjoyed.

“You will see in the next Quarterly a picture, which I found in M. Larrey’s book—Bonaparte sleeping in the Desert by a fire of human bodies and bones—the remains of travellers who had perished there, and been dried by the sun and sands! It is

* The same privileges as if he had been a member of the royal household. “I do not know,” he says in another letter, “how this will accord with the English privilege which I must use of speaking my free opinion of Ferdinand’s conduct.”

one of the most extraordinary and appropriate situations that ever fancy conceived. . . . .

“God bless you my dear Wynn.

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”