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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Henry Taylor, 28 March 1825

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, March 28. 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“Now then for my summer movements. Do not think me actuated by mere fickleness, if I propose crossing the Channel instead of the Severn, and drinking Rhenish wine instead of Welsh ale. I want to see Holland, which is a place of man’s making,

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country as well as towns. I want monastic books, which it is hopeless to look for in England, and which there is every probability of finding at Brussels, Antwerp, or Leyden. In the course of three or four weeks, going sometimes by trekschuits and sometimes upon wheels, we might see the principal places in the Dutch Netherlands, visit the spot where
Sir Philip Sidney fell, talk of the Dousas and Scaliger at Leyden, and obtain such a general notion of the land as would enable us better to understand the history of the Low Country wars. Neville White would perhaps join us; and always in travelling three persons are better than two, especially as neither you nor I (I suspect) are such good men of business as not to be glad if a better could be found to officiate as paymaster. Tell me if you like this scheme. If you do I will write to Neville without delay, and be ready to start from London by the 1st of June.

“I had heard of . . . as an American by birth, a man of great talents and unhappy opinions, which, from him, had spread widely among his contemporaries at Cambridge. Jeremy Bentham is now to such young men what Godwin was two or three and thirty years ago; for those who pride themselves most upon thinking for themselves, are just as prone as others jurare in verba magistri, only it must be a magister of their own choosing.

“I never made a speech since I was a schoolboy, and am very certain that I never had any talent for speaking. Had I gone to the bar, my intent was to
have spoken always as briefly and perspicuously as possible, and have endeavoured to win a jury rather by appealing to their good sense, than by mistifying their understanding.
Burke’s speeches, which will always be read, were never listened to; many members used to walk out of the House when he stood up. I believe that I derived great advantage from the practice sometimes of translating, sometimes of abridging, the historical books which are read in certain forms at Westminster. And, in like manner, I am inclined to think a habit of speaking upon business might be acquired by giving orally the substance of what one has just read. I have none of that readiness which is required for public life, or even which is looked for among diners out. When I am reading I have it; few things then escape me in any of their bearings. My mind is never so prompt as it is then. In writing it is sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow.

“So you do not like Hayley. I was born during his reign, and owe him something for having first made me acquainted by name with those Spanish writers of whom I afterwards knew much more than he did. Compare him with ordinary country gentlemen, and see what he gains by his love of literary pursuits. Compare him with the general run of literary men, and see to what advantage his unenvious and liberal spirit appears.

“My Vindication is in the press. It contains a fuller account of Bede than can be found elsewhere; and I shall introduce in it lives of St. Francis and of good John Fox, whom the Papists hate worse than
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they do the Devil, and belle as virulently and as impudently as they do your friend,

Robert Southey.”