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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Neville White, 5 May 1827

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, May 5. 1827.
“My dear Neville,

“I do not see how these ministerial changes can affect my brother Tom’s future prospects. . . . My means have always been precarious. My books are less productive than they were ten years ago; very materially so, as Longman could tell you. Their novelty is gone by, and with all the reputation which I have fairly won I have never been a fashionable, still less a popular, author. At the end of the first twelve months’ sale my profits upon the Tale of Paraguay fell short of eighty pounds. I have, God be thanked, been able to make a moderate provision for my family, but not by anything that I have laid by; solely by my life insurance, my books, copyrights, and papers. In other respects I am in a worse situation than I was ten or fifteen years ago. My poems had then a much greater sale, and I stood upon better ground in the Quarterly Review. . . . . I am writing a paper at present for
Ætat. 52. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 297
the first number of a
Foreign Quarterly; possibly it is the last that I may ever write for a review. There was an engagement which might have enabled me at once* to have come to this resolution, but the last year’s failure compelled the publisher to recede from it. I do not, however, expect any difficulty in renewing it elsewhere, and have no fear that that Providence which has hitherto made the labour of the day sufficient for its support, will withdraw from me its continued blessing. . . . . I have always done for my brother Tom all I could, and not seldom to my own embarrassment in so doing. . . . .

“The question about National Education you will see discussed in my Colloquies, when they are completed. Here is the gist of the question. The human mind is like the earth, which never lies idle. You have a piece of garden ground. Neglect it, and it will be covered with weeds, useless to yourself and noxious to your neighbours. To lay it out in flowers and shrubbery is what you do not want. Cultivate it then for common fruits and culinary plants. So with poor children. Why should they be made worse servants, worse labourers, worse mechanics, for being taught their Bible, their Christian duties, and the elements of useful knowledge? I am no friend of the London University, nor to Mechanics’ Institutes. There is a purpose in all these things of excluding religion, and preparing the way for the overthrow of the Church. But God will confound their devices; and my principle is, that where a religious foundation is laid, the more education the
better. Will you have the lower class Christians or brutes? . . . .

“God bless you, my dear friend!

Yours affectionately,
R. S.”