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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 9 September 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, Oct. 20. 1821.
“My dear Neville,

“. . . . . You form a just opinion of the character and tendency of William Taylor’s conversation. A most unfortunate perversion of mind has made him always desirous of supporting strange and paradoxical opinions by ingenious arguments, and showing what may be said on the wrong side of a question. He likes to be in a state of doubt upon all subjects where doubt is possible, and has often said, ‘I begin to be too sure of that, and must see what reasons I can find against it.’ But when this is applied to great and momentous truths, the consequences are of the most fatal kind. I believe no man ever carried Pyr-
rhonism farther. But it has never led him into immoralities of any kind, nor prevented him from discharging the duties of private life in the most exemplary manner. There never lived a more dutiful son. I have seen his blind mother weep when she spoke of his goodness; and his kindness and generosity have only been limited by his means.

“What is more remarkable is, that this habitual and excessive scepticism has weakened none of the sectarian prejudices in which he was brought up. He sympathises as cordially with the Unitarians in their animosity to the Church and State, as if he agreed with them in belief, and finds as strong a bond of union in party-spirit as he could do in principle.

“With regard to his talents, they arc very great. No man can exceed him in ingenuity, nor in the readiness with which he adorns a subject by apt and lively illustrations. His knowledge is extensive, but not deep. When first I saw him, three-and-twenty years ago, I thought him the best informed man with whom I had ever conversed. When I visited him last, after a lapse of eight years, I discovered the limits of his information, and that upon all subjects it was very incomplete.

“Of his heart and disposition I cannot speak more highly than I think. It is my belief that no man ever brought a kindlier nature into this world. His great talents have been sadly wasted; and, what is worse, they have sometimes been sadly misemployed. He has unsettled the faith of many, and he has prepared for his own old age a pillow of thorns. To all
reasoning, the pride of reason has made him inaccessible; and when I think of him, as I often do, with affection and sorrowful foreboding, the only foundation of hope is, that God is merciful, beyond our expectations, as well as beyond our deserts.

“Thank you for the copy of Cromwell’s Letters. The transcriber has tasked his own eyes, and mine also, by copying them in the very form of the writing. I cannot attempt to read them by candle-light. You will by this time have seen my sketch of Cromwell’s Life. It is the only article of mine which was ever printed in the Quarterly Review without mutilation. Gifford has made only one alteration; that, however, is a very improper one. I had said that Hampden might have left behind him a name scarcely inferior to Washington’s; and he has chosen to alter this to a memorable name, not calling to mind that his name is memorable. The sentence is thus made nonsensical. Pray restore the proper reading in your copy of the Review. Murray wishes me to fill up the sketch for separate publication. I am fond of biography, and shall probably one day publish a series of English lives. I spent a week lately at Lowther Castle, and employed all my mornings in reading and extracting from a most extensive collection of pamphlets of Cromwell’s age. . . . .

“God bless you, my dear friend!

Yours very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”