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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to an anonymous correspondent, October 1829

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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“Oct 1829.
“My dear Sir,

“I have not seen Landor’s second edition, though Colburn was desired to send it me. Your judgment of the book is quite in conformity with mine, if (as I suppose) you except a few dialogues from the general censure, one or two being (to my feeling)
nearly perfect. What you have heard me say of his temper is the best and only explanation of his faults. Never did man represent himself in his writings so much less generous, less just, less compassionate, less noble in all respects than he really is. I certainly never knew any one of brighter genius, or of kinder heart.

“I am pleased, also, to find you expressing an opinion respecting Milton and Wordsworth which I have never hesitated to deliver as my own when I was not likely to do harm. A greater poet than Wordsworth there never has been, nor ever will be. I could point out some of his pieces which seem to me good for nothing, and not a few faulty passages, but I know of no poet in any language who has written so much that is good.

“Now, ——, I want you, and pray you to read Berkeley’s Minute Philosopher*; I want you to

* To the same friend he writes at another time:—“It is because your range of reading has lain little in that coarse that you suppose religious subjects have rarely been treated in a philosophical spirit I believe you have cast an eye of wonder upon the three folios of Thomas Jackson’s works, and that it would be hopeless to ask you to look into them for the philosophy and the strength of faith, and the warmth of sincere religious belief with which they abound. I do not recommend you to Dr. Clark as a philosophical writer, because I have never yet had an opportunity of reading him myself; but I believe you would find head-work to your heart’s content there. But I again recommend you to Berkeley’s Minute Philosopher and to Philip Skelton’s works.

“But he did not arrive at his belief by philosophical reasoning; this was not the foundation, but the buttress. Belief should be first inculcated as an early prejudice,—that is, as a duty; then confirmed by historical evidence and philosophical views. Whether the seed thus sown and thus cultivated shall bring forth in due season its proper fruit, depends upon God’s mercy. Butler, I believe, was a very pious man, though the bent of his mind was towards philosophical inquiry; but you may find among our divines, men of every imagin-

learn that the religious belief which
Wordsworth and I hold, and which—I am sure you know in my case, and will not doubt in his—no earthly considerations would make us profess if we did not hold it, is as reasonable as it is desirable; is in its historical grounds as demonstrable as anything can be which rests upon human evidence; and is, in its life and spirit, the only divine philosophy, the perfection of wisdom; in which, and in which alone, the understanding and the heart can rest. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”