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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Savage Landor, 19 December 1821

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. 19. 1821.

“At last I have received the books*,—a rich cargo, in which I shall find much to amuse, and not a little to profit by. As yet, I have only had time to catalogue them, and look into them as this was done. In so doing, I saw that you had given a Jesuit the lie, for what he said of the cause of the first rebellion. A lying Jesuit he is; but in this instance the falsehood is merely chronological. The Long Parliament passed a decree, forbidding all persons to bow at the name of Jesus; Sir Edward Dering made a very eloquent speech upon the occasion, which I shall send you ere long in the little sketch of our Church history which I am preparing. This decree was subsequent to the Irish massacre. The fact which the Jesuit might have dwelt upon with advantage is, that the intolerance of the Parliament seeking to enforce the penalty of death against recusant priests, when Charles, like his father, was inclined to toleration, gave a pretext for the rebellion, and furnished those who instigated it with means for alarming and enraging the populace.

* A present of various foreign books from Mr. Landor.


“I shall send your letter to Wordsworth, who will, I am sure, be much gratified at seeing what you say of him. His merits are every day more widely acknowledged, in spite of the duncery, in spite of the personal malignity with which he is assailed, and in spite of his injudicious imitators, who are the worst of all enemies.

“Nothing can be more mournful than the course of events abroad. All that the Spanish-Americans wanted they would have obtained now, in the course of events, without a struggle, if they had waited quietly. A free trade could not, from the first, have been refused them, nor any internal regulations which they thought good; and now the separation would have taken place unavoidably. As it is, it has cost twelve years of crime and misery. It is a most interesting part of the world for its natural features, for what we know of its history, and for what we do not,—how some parts should have attained to so high and curious a state of civilisation, and how the greater part of its inhabitants should have sunk so completely into savages. I will send you, in the next package, Humboldt’s Travels, as far as they are published. He is among travellers what Wordsworth is among poets. Of Italian nobility I would take your opinion without hesitation, knowing nothing of them myself; but in Spain and Portugal I would have had a house of peers, were it only in respect to great names, and those heroic remembrances which are the strength and glory of a nation. The nobles were, for the most part, deplorably degenerate; but as a bad spirit had degraded, a
Ætat. 47. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 107
better one would improve the next generation; and I would demolish nothing but what is injurious. My fear is, that they will demolish every thing, and this fear I have felt from the beginning. Deeply, therefore, as I detested the old misrule, I did not rejoice in the Spanish and Portuguese revolutions. In Portugal I wished for a great minister,—such as
Pombal would have been in these times; in Spain, for a court revolution, which should have sent Ferdinand to a monastery, and established a vigorous ministry under his brother’s name, by whom the reforms which the country needed might have been steadily but gradually effected. I entirely agree with you, that old monarchical states cannot be made republican, nor new colonial ones be made monarchical.

“Since the disappearance of the Queen’s fever this country has been unusually calm: little is heard of distress, and less of disaffection. Of the latter we shall hear plentifully when the bills of restriction are expired, and of the former also, when it shall be found (as it will be) that the renewed activity of our manufacturers will have again glutted the South American markets.

“God bless you!

R. S.”