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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 28 January 1820

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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“Jan. 28. 1820.
“My dear R.,

“. . . . . My knowledge is never so ready as yours. The less you trust your memory the worse it serves you; and for the last five-and-twenty years I have hardly trusted mine at all; the consequence has been, that I must go to my notes for everything, except the general impressions and conclusions that much reading leaves behind.

“Upon the deficiency of our Ecclesiastical Establishment and its causes, you will find an historical chapter in my Life of Wesley, agreeing entirely with your notes in all the points on which we have both touched. Since that chapter was written I have got at sundry books on the subject,—Kennet’s Case of Impropriations, Henry Wharton’s Defence of Pluralities, Staveley’s History of Churches—each very good and full of sound knowledge; Eachard’s Contempt of the Clergy and Stackhouse’s Miseries of the Inferior Clergy—books of a very different character, but of great notoriety in their day; and two recent publications by a Mr. Yates, which contain a great deal of information. I was led to them by the mention made of them in Vansittart’s speech upon the New Churches. . . . .

“I must borrow from some of the black letter men Sir Thomas More’s works, which are tolerably numerous; and when I am in London, I must ask you to turn me loose for two or three mornings among the statutes at large, for I must examine those
Henry VII. in particular. There is something about the process of sheep-farming in those days, which I am not sure that I understand. The double grievance complained of is, that it appropriated commons and turned arable land into pasture. Now, could this latter commutation answer in a country where the demand must have been as great for meal and malt as for wool and mutton? What I perceive is this, that down to the union of the Two Roses, men were the best stock that a lord could have upon his estates; but when the age of rebellions, disputed succession, and chivalrous wars was over, money became of more use than men; and the question was not, who could bring most vassals into the field, but who could support the largest expenditure; and in Sir T. More’s days the expenditure of the fashionables was infinitely beyond anything that is heard of in ours. So I take it they did as —— is now doing: got rid of hereditary tenants who paid little or nothing, in favour of speculators and large breeders, who could afford to pay, and might be rack-rented without remorse. I shall put together a good deal of historical matter in these interlocutions, taking society in two of its critical periods—the age of the Reformation, and this in which we live.

“God bless you!

R. S.”