LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 15 February 1817

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Keswick, Feb. 15. 1817
“My dear G.,

“Do you remember that twenty years ago a letter, directed for me at your house, was carried to a paperhanger of my name in Bedford Street, and the man found me out, and put his card into my hand? Upon the strength of this acquaintance, I have now a letter from this poor namesake, soliciting charity, and describing himself and his family as in the very depth of human misery. This is not the only proof I have had of a strange opinion that I am overflowing with riches. Poor wretched man, what can I do for him! However, I do not like to shut my ears and my heart to a tale of this kind. Send him, I pray you, a two-pound note in my name, to No. 10. Hercules Buildings, Lambeth; your servant had better take it, for fear he should have been sent to the workhouse before this time. When I come to town, I will seek about if anything can be done for him.

“I wrote to Wynn last night to consult him about Wat Tyler, telling him all the circumstances, and desiring him, if it be best to procure an injunction, to send the letter to Turner, and desire him to act for me. Three-and-twenty years ago the MS. was
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 239
put into
Ridgeway’s hands, who promised to publish it then (anonymously, unless I am very much mistaken), and from that time to this I never heard of it. There was no other copy in existence except the original scrawl, which is now lying upstairs in an old trunk full of papers. I wish the Attorney-General would prosecute the publisher for sedition; this I really should enjoy. Happy are they who have no worse sins of their youth to rise in judgment against them.

“Government are acting like themselves. Could I say anything more severe? They should have begun with vigour and rigour; and then, when they had the victory, have made their sacrifices ex propria motu, with a good grace. But they ought not, on any account, to have touched the official salaries,—a thing unjust and unwise, which, instead of currying favour for them with the rabble, will make them despised for their pusillanimity. I have neither pity nor patience for them. Was ever paper used like this last article has been to please them! They have absolutely cut it down to their own exact measure; everything useful is gone, and everything original; whatever had most force in it was sure to be struck out. Of all the practical measures upon which I touched, one only has escaped, and that because it comes in as if by accident,—the hint about transporting for sedition. If we come out of this confusion without an utter overthrow, it will be as we escaped the gunpowder plot,—not by any aid of human wisdom, and God knows we have no right to calculate upon miracles. The prospect is very dismal;
and it is provoking to think that nothing is wanting to secure us but foresight and courage; but of what use is railing, or advising, or taking thought for such things? I am only a passenger; the officers must look to the ship; if she is lost, the fault rests with them. I have nothing to answer for, and must take my share in the wreck with patience.

Murray offers me a thousand guineas for my intended poem in blank verse, and begs it may not be a line longer than Thomson’s Seasons!! I rather think the poem will be a post-obit, and in that case twice that sum, at least, may be demanded for it. What his real feelings towards me may be, I cannot tell; but he is a happy fellow, living in the light of his own glory. The Review is the greatest of all works, and it is all his own creation; he prints 10,000, and fifty times ten thousand read its contents, in the East and in the West. Joy be with him and his journal.

“It is really amusing to see how the rascals attack me about the Court, as if I were a regular courtier, punctual in attendance, perfect in flattery, and enjoying all that favour, for the slightest portion of which these very rascals would sell their souls, if they had any. Malice never aimed at a less vulnerable mark.

“God bless you!

R. S.

Longman has just sent me the Resurrection of Sedition. The verses are better than I expected to find them, which I think you will allow to be a cool philosophical remark.”