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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Henry Taylor, 2 December 1837

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, Dec 2. 1837.
“My dear H. T.,

“I have received Spring Rice’s circular about the pensions, and take for granted that it comes as a mere circular, and therefore requires no answer.

Moore and I being coupled upon this occasion, it is not likely that our pensions will be objected to, on either side of the House, upon the ground that literature, like any other profession, brings with it its own emoluments. But if that argument should be used against an enlargement of the copyright, which is not unlikely, it will be fitting that some one should state how the case stands in my instance. That followed as a profession, with no common diligence, and no ordinary success, it has enabled me to live respectably (which without the aid of my first pension it would not have done), and that all the provision I have been able to make for my family consists in a life-insurance, of which about three-fourths are covered by the salary of the Laureateship. Were I to die before Talfourd’s Bill passes, the greater part of my poems, and no little of my prose, would be seized immediately by some rascally booksellers, as property which the law allowed them

Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 355
to scramble for. It is true that, as the law now stands, I secure a new term of copyright by the corrected edition now in course of publication. But these fellows would publish from the former copies, and thereby take in all those purchasers who know nothing about the difference between one edition and another.

“It is well that Windham is not living, and that there is no one in either House on whom his mantle has fallen. For he would surely have taken the opposite side to Talfourd, and argued upon the folly of altering an established law, for the sake of benefiting one or two individuals in the course of a century. He would ask what the copyrights are which would at this time be most beneficial to the family of the author: the Cookery Book would stand first: within my recollection, the most valuable would have been Blair’s Lectures, the said Blair’s Sermons, Taplin’s Farriery, Burn’s Justice, and Lindley Murray’s English Grammar. . . . .

“Monday, 4.

“Thank you for the Examiners; they shall be duly returned. I would never desire better praise, and must not complain because there is more of it than is good. In the piece which they praise as resembling Cowper, there is nothing Cowperish. And on the other band, in the substitution of the general crimes of the Terrorists in France, for the instances of Brissot and Madame Roland, there is nothing but what is in perfect accord with the pervading sentiment of the poem.
Madame Roland’s praise is left where it was appropriate, in the second volume. As for Brissot, I knew him only by newspapers, when his deaths and that of the great body of the Girondists with him, kept me (as I well remember) a whole night sleepless. But I know him now by two volumes of his
Memoirs, which though made up, are from family materials; and I know him by nine volumes of his own works, and thereby know that he was a poor creature. And I know by Garat’s book, that the difference between the Brissotines and the Jacobines was that, playing for heads, the Brissotines lost the game.

“God bless you!

R. S.”