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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to James White, 6 February 1832

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, Feb. 6. 1832.
“My dear James,

“The endless round of occupation in which my days are past, has prevented me from thanking you, as long ago I ought and intended to have done, for the trouble and the care which you took for, and of, my daughter. This delay lies on my conscience for another reason, though happily what I have to say is not yet too late; it is to give you my most serious and earnest opinion, that when the cholera reaches Manchester, your duty is not to look after the sick. Upon the Roman Catholic system it would be; it is not upon the principle of the Reformed Church. The progress of the disease is too rapid, and when it proves fatal, its effects are also too violent, to admit of any good being done by religious instruction: this matter I have talked over with Mr. Whiteside here, and he entirely agrees with me. Preach rousing sermons to your people, tell them death is at their doors, and exhort them to hold themselves in readiness for his summons. Do as you are doing to pre-
Ætat. 58. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 177
pare against the evil by other means, but do not expose yourself unnecessarily to infection when it comes. No man is less likely to take it than you are; your very ardour being the best prophylactic; but you are not to presume upon that.

“I think it would be prudent, if those who have authority were to enjoin that the funeral service should not be performed where the disease is raging in individual cases, nor even over many at one time; but that when the disease has ceased, there should be a general service in every place for those who have died of it; this would much lessen the spread of the contagion, and have a solemn effect at last.

“One good I confidently hope for from this visitation. The preparatory measures of precaution have made the squalid misery of the lower orders matter of public notoriety. What you and I have so long known, and what was always known to those whose business or duty leads them among the poor, is now brought publicly to the knowledge of those who, if not ignorant of it, might at least excuse their gross inattention to this great and crying evil, by affecting to be so. They who are insensible to the moral evils of such poverty, and even to its political dangers, may be roused by the physical consequences, when they see it acting as a recipient and conductor not only for sedition and rebellion, but for pestilence also. . . . .

“There will be only a short paper of mine in the next Quarterly Review upon Mary Colling’s Fables. You will be interested with her story, and amused
perhaps with the Introduction of the Poet-Laureate of Trowbridge.

“Pray remember me to Mr. Swain when you see him. I had been much pleased with his poems, and was not less pleased with him; for, indeed, he seemed to be in all things such as I could have wished to find him.

“To-night I begin the last chapter of the Peninsular War, and you may well suppose that I shall proceed rapidly, seeing the end so near.

“Take care of yourself; that is, do not attempt more than flesh and blood can perform. You can do no greater good to others than by sparing yourself, and keeping yourself in health for the service of some more manageable flock in a different sort of pasture.

“God bless you, my dear James!

Yours affectionately,
R. S.”