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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Jebb, 22 October 1823

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. 22. 1823.
My Lord,

I ought to have thanked you for your Visitation Sermon and for your Charge, both worthy of the
hand from which they come. I have thought, also, more than once, of expressing to yourself, as I have done to others, the sincere pleasure which your promotion gave me, from a public not less than a personal feeling, in these times, when it is of such especial importance that such stations should be so filled. . . . .

“My anticipations would be of the darkest kind, if it were not for a calm, unhesitating reliance upon Providence. Our institutions had need be strong when they are so feebly defended, and so formidably and incessantly assailed. Uncompromising courage was almost the only quality of a statesman which Mr. Pitt possessed; and that quality has not been inherited by his successors. At present they seem to think that all is well, because the manufacturers are in employ, and there is no seditious movement going on. And they would hardly look upon that writer as their friend who should tell them that this quiet is only upon the surface, that the leaven is at work, and that there is less danger from the negroes in Demerara or Jamaica than from a manufacturing population such as ours, with such a party of determined radicals and besotted reformers in Parliament to excite them. Would that I could perceive the remedy as clearly as I do the evil! I have, however, for some time been deliberately putting together my thoughts upon this subject in a series of Colloquies upon the Progress and Prospects of Society, taking for my motto three pregnant words from St. Bernard, Respice, aspice, prospice. I am neither so vain or
Ætat. 48. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 147
so inexperienced as to imagine that anything which I may offer will change any man’s opinions; but I may fix them when they are unconfirmed, make the scale turn when it is wavering, and give a right bias to those who are beginning their career.

“There is hope for us at home, because our institutions are so good that it is quite certain, if they were subverted, the miserable people would soon desire nothing so much as their re-establishment; and moreover, with the commonest prudence, they are strong enough to resist a revolutionary attack. But if we look abroad, the contending parties are both in such extremes of evil, that I know not from which the worst consequences are to be apprehended,—the establishment of old governments or the triumph of new ones. You would be pleased, I am sure, with the paper concerning Spain in the last Quarterly. It is by my friend Blanco White (Leucadio Doblado). A Spanish priest, who came over to this country in 1810, a thorough Jacobin and a thorough unbeliever, and is at this time as sincere a Protestant and as devout a minister as any whom the Church of England has in her service. There are few men whom I respect so highly.

“Before this letter reaches your Lordship, I shall be on the way to London, and as I shall not finally leave it before the beginning of February, it is possible that I may have the pleasure of meeting you there. It will indeed gratify me to accept of your obliging invitation if I can one day find opportunity and leisure: there is much in your country which I should like to see, and many points upon
which I should gladly seek for information. My Annual Ode two years ago was upon the king’s visit to Ireland, and the condition of that country. It would naturally have concluded with some complimentary and hopeful mention of
Marquis Wellesley, but my spirit failed. I felt that the difficulties of his situation were more than he could overcome; and the poem remained in this respect imperfect.

“That poem of Langhorn’s has certainly a Hebrew cast; but it must be rather a proof that this form of composition is the natural figure of passion, than of imitation. The principle, as a principle, he could not have understood, nor was he, being a lawyer, likely to have had any learning of that kind; nor indeed, being a Catholic, even to have been conversant with the scriptural style. The part given in the Quarterly Review is about a third of the poem, but the whole is in the same high and sustained strain of feeling.

“I am putting the last hand to my long promised Book of the Church. It will give great offence to the Catholics, and to all those Dissenters who inherit the opinions of the Puritans. But I hope and trust that it will confirm in many, and excite in more, a deep, well founded reverence for the Establishment.

Believe me, my Lord,
With great respect and regard,
Your Lordship’s obliged and obedient servant,
Robert Southey.”