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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 5 April 1818

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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“April 5. 1818.
“My dear R.,

“I apprehended, as you know, some such demurrer on the part of the feeble. They are, I believe, the only persons who, when engaged in mortal combat, were ever afraid of provoking their enemies, or striking them too hard. . . . . .

Murray wrote me a brief note the other day, wherein, without any mention of this paper, he said he never desired to see another article upon either politics or religion in the Review, because they are ‘certain of offending a great mass of people.’ I replied to this at some length in a way which for a little while would impress the magnus homo; but because Mackintosh and a few other Ops. praise a number which does them no harm, he fancies because they are pleased the rest of his readers must be pleased too. This is the mere impression for the moment; but that the Review will ever proceed in a bold, upright, and straightforward course is not to be expected.

“I have a chance letter from Stuart: he says Cobbett has fallen one third in sale, and all such publications are declining, but the anarchists are as active as ever, and new opportunities will occur for bringing their venom into life. ‘These wretches’ he continues, ‘are effecting their purposes by libelling; they are driving off the ground every man that can oppose them; they are conquering by scandal, and
Ætat. 44. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 299
Ministers wish as much as others to keep out of the way. Unless this spirit of scandal is put down, unless the licentiousness of the press be restrained, certainly it will effect a revolution,—restrained I mean by new laws, and new regulations. It is altogether, as at present practised, a new thing, not older than the French Revolution. I can perceive every one shrinking from it,—you, me,
Wordsworth, Coleridge, &c. Every one about the press dreads Cobbett’s scandal; and thus when a man throws off all consideration of character, he has all others in his power. Even the Ministry, too, and their friends, I think shrink from those who fight their battles, when covered with filth in the fray.’

Stuart is wrong in two points. This sort of scandal is certainly as old as Junius and Wilkes, perhaps much older; and he mistakes my feelings upon the subject and Wordsworth’s.

“God bless you!

R. S.”