LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXII. 1817

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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My father’s acceptance of the office of Poet-Laureate, together with his writings in the Quarterly Review, had drawn down upon him no small measure of hostility from that party whose opinions assimilated to those he had formerly held. Acknowledged by friends and foes to be a powerful writer, and by his own admission apt to express himself bitterly upon subjects of moral and political importance, they could not endure that he who in early youth had advocated Republican principles. should have outgrown and outlived them, and now, in the maturity of his judgment, bring his active mind and busy pen to the strenuous support of existing institutions.

It seems, indeed, that high as party-spirit often runs now, it boiled up in those days with a far fiercer
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 235
current. The preceding quarter of a century had been one of continued excitement,—commenced by the French revolution, kept up by the long war, and more recently renewed by its glorious termination. A large party in the country seemed imbued with what, to speak tenderly, must be called an un-English spirit: they would have been glad if their prognostications of
Bonaparte’s invincibility had been realised. “The wish was father to the thought;” and it can hardly be supposed they would have grieved if the imperial eagle had been planted a second time upon the shores of Britain.

Such was Hazlitt, whom even Mr. Justice Talfourd’s kindly pen describes as “staggering under the blow of Waterloo,”* and as “hardly able to forgive the valour of the conquerors.” Such my father’s friend, William Taylor of Norwich, who calls it “a victory justly admired, but not in its tendency and consequences satisfactory to a cosmopolite philosophy;” and says that “Liberty, toleration, and art have rather reason to bewail than to rejoice” at the presence “of trophies oppressive to the interests of mankind.”†

Neither is it difficult to imagine with what views such persons must have regarded all those questions upon which my father’s pen was most frequently employed; and to many of them his writings were peculiarly obnoxious, both as reminding them unpleasantly that “they had spoken a lying divination,” and also as boldly enunciating those principles which

* Final Memorials of Charles Lamb, vol. ii. p. 1.30.

Memoirs of William Taylor of Norwich, vol. ii. p, 461.

they were endeavouring with heart and soul to undermine and destroy.

Moved, doubtless, by some feelings of the kind, an attempt was now made by certain persons (and eagerly taken up by others) to annoy and injure him, which need only to be related to characterise itself, without requiring the use of strong language on my part,—an attempt, the chief effect of which was to increase his notoriety more than any other event in his whole life.

It appears that in the summer of 1794, when in his twenty-first year, he had thrown off, in a moment of fiery democracy, a dramatic sketch, entitled Wat Tyler, in which, as might be expected from the subject, the most levelling sentiments were put into the mouths of the dramatis personæ.

The MS. of this production was taken up to town by his brother-in-law, Mr. Lovel, and placed in a bookseller’s hands, Ridgeway by name; and my father happening to go up to town shortly afterwards, called upon this person, then in Newgate, and he and a Mr. Symonds agreed to publish it anonymously. There was also present in Ridgeway’s apartment a dissenting minister, by name Winterbottom.

It seems, however, that this intention was quickly laid aside, for no proofs were ever sent to my father; and “acquiescing readily in their cooler opinion,” he made no inquiries concerning the poem, and took so little thought about it, as not even to reclaim the MS.; indeed, the whole circumstance, even at the time, occupied so little of his thoughts, that I have not been able to find the slightest allusion to it in his
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 237
early letters*, numerous, and wholly unreserved in expression, as have been those which have passed through my hands.

In the spring of this year (1817), to my father’s utter astonishment, was advertised as just published, Wat Tyler, by Robert Southey; the time having been seized for doing so, when the opinions it contained could be most strongly contrasted with those the writer then held and advocated, and when the popular feeling† was exactly in that state in which such opinions were likely to be productive of the greatest mischief.

The first step taken in the matter, with the advice of his friends, was to reclaim his property, and to

* In one of the reviews of the first volume of this work, it is remarked (naturally enough) as strange, that Wat Tyler is not mentioned in the account of his Oxford life, when it was written. My reason for the omission was, that there being no mention of it in the papers or letters relating to that period, its history seemed properly to belong to the time of its surreptitious publication; especially, as had it not been so published, its very existence would never have been known.

† As a proof how well the movers in this business had calculated both the mischief the publication, at such a time, was likely to do, and the annoyance it would probably give my father, I may quote the following letter, in which a playbill of Wat Tyler was enclosed:—

To Robert Southey, Esq., Poet-Laureate and Pensioner of Great Britain.

Your truly patriotic and enlightened poem of Wat Tyler was last night presented to a most respectable and crowded audience here, with cordial applause; nor was there a soul in the theatre but as cordially lamented the sudden deterioration of your principles, intellectual and moral, whatever might have been the cause thereof.

Jack Straw.”

apply for an injunction against the publisher. The circumstances connected with this, and the manner in which the application was defeated, will be found in the following letters.

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 15. 1817
“My dear G.,

“Do you remember that twenty years ago a letter, directed for me at your house, was carried to a paperhanger of my name in Bedford Street, and the man found me out, and put his card into my hand? Upon the strength of this acquaintance, I have now a letter from this poor namesake, soliciting charity, and describing himself and his family as in the very depth of human misery. This is not the only proof I have had of a strange opinion that I am overflowing with riches. Poor wretched man, what can I do for him! However, I do not like to shut my ears and my heart to a tale of this kind. Send him, I pray you, a two-pound note in my name, to No. 10. Hercules Buildings, Lambeth; your servant had better take it, for fear he should have been sent to the workhouse before this time. When I come to town, I will seek about if anything can be done for him.

“I wrote to Wynn last night to consult him about Wat Tyler, telling him all the circumstances, and desiring him, if it be best to procure an injunction, to send the letter to Turner, and desire him to act for me. Three-and-twenty years ago the MS. was
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 239
put into
Ridgeway’s hands, who promised to publish it then (anonymously, unless I am very much mistaken), and from that time to this I never heard of it. There was no other copy in existence except the original scrawl, which is now lying upstairs in an old trunk full of papers. I wish the Attorney-General would prosecute the publisher for sedition; this I really should enjoy. Happy are they who have no worse sins of their youth to rise in judgment against them.

“Government are acting like themselves. Could I say anything more severe? They should have begun with vigour and rigour; and then, when they had the victory, have made their sacrifices ex propria motu, with a good grace. But they ought not, on any account, to have touched the official salaries,—a thing unjust and unwise, which, instead of currying favour for them with the rabble, will make them despised for their pusillanimity. I have neither pity nor patience for them. Was ever paper used like this last article has been to please them! They have absolutely cut it down to their own exact measure; everything useful is gone, and everything original; whatever had most force in it was sure to be struck out. Of all the practical measures upon which I touched, one only has escaped, and that because it comes in as if by accident,—the hint about transporting for sedition. If we come out of this confusion without an utter overthrow, it will be as we escaped the gunpowder plot,—not by any aid of human wisdom, and God knows we have no right to calculate upon miracles. The prospect is very dismal;
and it is provoking to think that nothing is wanting to secure us but foresight and courage; but of what use is railing, or advising, or taking thought for such things? I am only a passenger; the officers must look to the ship; if she is lost, the fault rests with them. I have nothing to answer for, and must take my share in the wreck with patience.

Murray offers me a thousand guineas for my intended poem in blank verse, and begs it may not be a line longer than Thomson’s Seasons!! I rather think the poem will be a post-obit, and in that case twice that sum, at least, may be demanded for it. What his real feelings towards me may be, I cannot tell; but he is a happy fellow, living in the light of his own glory. The Review is the greatest of all works, and it is all his own creation; he prints 10,000, and fifty times ten thousand read its contents, in the East and in the West. Joy be with him and his journal.

“It is really amusing to see how the rascals attack me about the Court, as if I were a regular courtier, punctual in attendance, perfect in flattery, and enjoying all that favour, for the slightest portion of which these very rascals would sell their souls, if they had any. Malice never aimed at a less vulnerable mark.

“God bless you!

R. S.

Longman has just sent me the Resurrection of Sedition. The verses are better than I expected to find them, which I think you will allow to be a cool philosophical remark.”

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 241
To Messrs. Longman and Co.
“Keswick, Feb. 15, 1817.
“Dear Sirs,

“There is, unluckily, a very sufficient reason for not disclaiming Wat Tyler,—which is, that I wrote it three-and-twenty years ago.

“It was the work, or rather the sport, of a week in the summer of 1794: poor Lovel took it to London, and put it into Ridgeway’s hands, who was then in Newgate. Some weeks afterwards I went to London and saw Ridgeway about it; Symonds was with him, and they agreed to publish it: (I believe, or rather I am sure, the publication was to have been anonymous), and what remuneration I was to have was left to themselves, as dependent upon the sale. This was the substance of our conversation; for nothing but words passed between us. From that time till the present, I never heard of the work: they of course, upon better judgment, thought it better left alone; and I, with the carelessness of a man who has never thought of consequences, made no inquiry for the manuscript. How it has got to the press, or by whose means, I know not.

“The motive for publication is sufficiently plain. But the editor, whoever he may be, has very much mistaken his man. In those times and at that age, and in the circumstances wherein I was placed, it was just as natural that I should be a Republican, and as proper, as that now, with the same feelings, the same principles and the same integrity, when
three-and-twenty years have added so much to the experience of mankind, as well as matured my own individual intellect, I should think revolution the greatest of all calamities, and believe that the best way of ameliorating the condition of the people is through the established institutions of the country.

“The booksellers must be disreputable men, or they would not have published a work under such circumstances. I just feel sufficient anger to wish that they may be prosecuted for sedition.

“I would write to Turner, if my table were not at this time covered with letters; perhaps if you see him you will ask his opinion upon the matter,—whether it be better to interfere, or let it take its course.

Yours very truly,
R. Southey.”
To C. H. Townshend, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 16. 1817.
“My dear Chauncey,

“If there be any evil connected with poetry, it is that it tends to make us too little masters of ourselves, and counteracts that stoicism, or necessary habit of self-control, of which all of us must sometimes stand in need. I do not mean as to our actions, for there is no danger that a man of good principles should ever feel his inclination and his duty altogether at variance. But as to our feelings. You talk of mourning the loss of your trees, and not
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 243
enduring to walk where you were wont to see them. I can understand this, and I remember when I was little more than your age saying that
‘He who does not sometimes wake
And weep at midnight, is an instrument
Of Nature’s common work;’
but the less of this the better. We stand in need of all that fortitude can do for us in this changeful world; and the tears are running down my cheeks when I tell you so.

Thomas Clarkson I know well: his book upon Quakerism keeps out of sight all the darker parts of the picture; their littleness of mind, their incorrigible bigotry, and their more than popish interference with the freedom of private actions. Have you read his history of the Abolition of the Slave Trade? I have heard it from his own lips, and never was a more interesting story than that of his personal feelings and exertions. I have happened in the course of my life to know three men, each wholly possessed with a single object of paramount importance,—Clarkson, Dr. Bell, and Owen of Lanark, whom I have only lately known. Such men are not only eminently useful, but eminently happy also; they live in an atmosphere of their own, which must be more like that of the third heaven than of this every-day earth upon which we toil and moil.

“I am very ill-pleased with public proceedings. The present Ministry are deficient in every thing except good intentions; and their opponents are deficient in that also. These resignations ought to have been made during the pressure of war, uncalled
for, when they would have purchased popularity. They come now like miserable concessions forced from cowardice, and reap nothing but contempt and insult for their reward. Nor ought they at any time to have resigned part of their official appointments, because the appointments of office are in every instance inadequate to its expenses, in the higher departments of state. They should take money from the sinking fund, and employ it upon public works, or lend it for private ones, stimulating individual industry by assisting it with capital, and thus finding work for idle hands, and food for necessitous families. From the same funds they should purchase waste lands, and enable speculators and industrious poor to colonise them; the property of the lands remaining in the nation, as a source of certain revenue, improving in proportion to the prosperity of the country.

“God bless you!

Your affectionate friend,
R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Feb. 19. 1817.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“This poor wretched paper-hanger* has sent me another letter, because I did not reply to his first. Men are too prone to take offence at importunity, finding anger a less uncomfortable emotion than pity; this indeed it is; and for that reason I scold

* See p. 238.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 245
my wife and my children when they hurt themselves. As to this unhappy man, I hope you have sent him the two pounds; it will do him very little good, but it is really as much as I can afford to give him for the sake of the name, and a great deal more than I ever got by it.

“The tide seems to be turning, and if Government will but check the press they would soon right themselves. In this part of the country I hear that travellers (the bagmen) collect their money more easily than on their last rounds, and receive more orders. A fellow was selling Cobbett’s twopenny Register and other such things at Rydal the other day; he was, or appeared to be, a sailor, and his story was that he was going to Whitehaven, and a gentleman had given him these to support himself on the road by selling them.

“In grief and in uneasiness I have often caught myself examining my own sensations, as if the intellectual part could separate itself from that in which the affections predominate, and stand aloof and contemplate it as a surgeon does the sufferings of a patient during an operation. This I have observed in the severest sorrows that have ever befallen me, but it in no degree lessens the suffering. And whenever I may have any serious malady, this habit, do what I may to subdue it, will tend materially to impede or prevent recovery. But in petty vexations it has its use. I was more vexed than I ought to have been about this publication of Wat Tyler; for though I shook off the first thoughts, or rather immediately began to consider it in the right point of view as a thing utterly unimportant; still there was an un-
easiness working like yeast in my abdomen, and my sleep was disturbed by it for two nights; by that time it had spent itself, and I should now think nothing more about it if it were not necessary to determine how to act.
Wynn will find the thing more full of fire and brimstone perhaps than he imagines; and yet, perhaps, the wiser way will be not to notice it, but let it pass as a squib. Indeed, I could laugh about it with any person who was disposed to laugh with me. I shall hear from him again to-morrow, and probably shall receive a letter from Turner by the same post. Turner has a cool clear head; I have very little doubt that they will coincide in their opinion, and be it what it may, I shall act accordingly. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Sharon Turner, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 24. 1817.
“My dear Turner,

“My brother has written to dissuade me strongly from proceeding in this business. My own opinion is, that if I do not act now the men who have published the work will compel me to do so at last, by inserting my name in such a manner as to render the measure unavoidable. Indeed it was inserted as a paragraph in the Chronicle, which I suppose they paid for as an advertisment. Therefore I think it best to take the short and open course, believing that
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 247
in most cases such courses are the best. However, I have sent
Harry’s letter to Wynn, and, if his arguments convince him, have desired him to let you know. This was done yesterday, and if you have not heard from him before this reaches you, it may be concluded that he thinks it best to proceed. I suppose there can be no doubt of obtaining the injunction. The statement is perfectly accurate; I know not whether it be of any use to let you know that at the time the transaction took place I was under age. I was just twenty when the poem was written, and saw these booksellers about four months afterwards.

“I fully assent to what you say concerning political discussions, and intermeddle with them no farther than as they are connected not only with the future good, but as appears to me with the immediate safety of society. It is not for any men, or set of men, that I am interested; nor for any particular measures. But with regard to the fearful aspect of these times, you may perhaps have traced the ground of my apprehensions in Espriella, in the Edinburgh Register, and in the Quarterly, more especially in a paper upon the Poor about four years ago. It is now come to this question,—Can we educate the people in moral and religious habits, and better the condition of the poor, so as to secure ourselves from a mob-revolution; or has this duty been neglected so long, that the punishment will overtake us before this only remediable means can take effect? The papers which I shall write upon the real evils of society will, I hope, work for posterity, and not be
wholly forgotten by it; they proceed from a sense of duty, and that duty discharged, I shall gladly retire into other ages, and give all my studies to the past and all my hopes to the future.

“My spirits, rather than my disposition, have undergone a great change. They used to be exuberant beyond those of almost every other person; my heart seemed to possess a perpetual fountain of hilarity; no circumstances of study, or atmosphere, or solitude affected it; and the ordinary vexations and cares of life, even when they showered upon me, fell off like hail from a pent-house. That spring is dried up; I cannot now preserve an appearance of serenity at all times without an effort, and no prospect In this world delights me except that of the next. My heart and my hopes are there.

“I have a scheme to throw out somewhere for taking the Methodists into the Church; or borrowing from Methodism so much of it as is good, and thereby regenerating the Establishment. There is little hope in such schemes, except that in process of time they may produce some effect. But were it effected now, and would the Church accept the volunteer services of lay coadjutors, I should feel strongly inclined to volunteer mine. This is a dream, and I fear the whole fabric will fall to pieces even in our days.

Believe me,
Yours with affection and esteem,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 249
To the Rev. Herbert Hill.
“Keswick, Feb. 28. 1817,
“My dear Uncle,

“Your copies of Brazil are, I hope, by this time delivered at the Doctor’s, and in a day or two I shall send the third volume to the press; for if I should only get through a single chapter before my journey, it will be so much gained. My movements will be upon a wide scale. I purpose to start for London the second week in April, and, if you are then in Hampshire, to run down to you for a week, as soon as I have rested myself, and shaken hands with Bedford and Rickman; and on May-day, or as soon after as my companions can be ready, I start with Senhouse, of Netherhall, and my former compagnon de voyage, Nash, for the continent. From six weeks to two months is to be the length of our furlough, during which we mean to get as far as Lago Maggiore and Milan, back over the Alps a second time, and seeing as much as we can of Switzerland, to return by way of the Rhine, and reach home as early as possible in July.

“I learn from to-day’s Courier that Brougham attacked me in the House of Commons. I hope this affair will give no friend of mine any more vexation than it does me. Immediately upon seeing the book advertised, I wrote to Wynn and to Turner, giving them the whole facts, and proposing to obtain an injunction in Chancery. How they will determine I do not yet know. Perhaps, as Brougham has thus
given full publicity to the thing, they may not think it advisable to proceed, but let it rest, considering it, as it really is, of no importance. Men of this stamp, who live in the perpetual fever of faction, are as little capable of disturbing my tranquillity as they are of understanding it.

“I have just finished the notes and preface to the Morte d’Arthur, a thing well paid for. For the next Quarterly, I have to review Mariner’s Tonga Islands (including a good word for our friend the Captain*), and to write upon the Report of the Secret Committees; but I shall fly from the text, and, saying as little as may be upon the present, examine what are the causes which make men discontented in this country, and what the means which may tend to heal this foul gangrene in the body politic. Never was any paper so emasculated as my last; and yet it was impossible to resent it, for it was done in compassion to the weakness, the embarrassment, and the fears of the Ministry. They express themselves much indebted to me. In reply to their intimations of a desire to show their sense of this, I have pressed a wish that Tom be remembered when there is a promotion in the navy. For myself, I want nothing, nor would I, indeed, accept anything. They give me credit for a reasonable share of foresight, and perhaps wish that my advice had been taken four years ago.

“God bless you!

R. S.”

* Captain, afterwards admiral, Burney, who published a collection of voyages in the South Seas.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 251

It was now decided, upon the advice of his legal friends, that application should be made to the Court of Chancery* for an injunction to restrain the publication of Wat Tyler. This was done, but without success, upon the singular ground that as the work was calculated to do an injury to society, the author could not reclaim his property in it. This, which would seem a just decision in the case of the piracy of an immoral, blasphemous, or seditious work, applies very differently in the case of a publication, set forth without the consent or knowledge of the author, and apparently gives liberty to any scoundrel to plunder a man’s writing-desk, and send forth to the public any chance squibs he may have thrown off in an idle hour for the amusement of his friends.

These fellows must have reaped a rich harvest by their roguery, 60,000 copies being said to have been sold at the time.

* The following was Lord Eldon’s judgment upon this case:—“I have looked into all the affidavits and have read the book itself. The bill goes the length of stating that the work was composed by Mr. Southey in the year 1794; that it is his own production, and that it has been published by the defendants without his sanction or authority; and, therefore, seeking an account of the profits which have arisen from, and an injunction to restrain, the publication. I have examined the cases that I have been able to meet with containing precedents for injunctions of this nature, and I find that they all proceed upon the ground of a title to the property in the plaintiff. On this head a distinction has been taken to which a considerable weight of authority attaches, supported as it is by the opinion of Lord Chief Justice Eyre; who has expressly laid it down, that a person cannot recover in damages for a work which is in its nature calculated to do an injury to the public. Upon the same principle this court refused an injunction in the case of Walcot (Peter Pindar) v. Walker, inasmuch as he could not have recovered damages in an action. After the fullest consideration, I remain of the same opinion as that which I entertained in deciding the cases referred to. Taking all the circumstances into my consideration, it appears to me that I cannot grant this injunction until after Mr. Southey shall have established his right to the property by action.” Injunction refused.

To the Editor of the Courier.
“In Courier, March 17. 1817.

“Allow me a place in your columns for my ‘last words’ concerning Wat Tyler.

“In the year 1794, this manuscript was placed by a friend of mine (long since deceased) in Mr. Ridgeway’s hands. Being shortly afterwards in London myself for a few days, I called on Mr. Ridgeway, in Newgate, and he and Mr. Symonds agreed to publish it. I understood that they had changed their intention, because no proof sheet was sent me, and acquiescing readily in their cooler opinion, made no inquiry concerning it. More than two years elapsed before I revisited London; and then, if I had thought of the manuscript, it would have appeared a thing of too little consequence to take the trouble of claiming it for the mere purpose of throwing it behind the fire. That it might be published surreptitiously at any future time, was a wickedness of which I never dreamt.

“To these facts I have made oath. Mr. Winterbottom, a dissenting minister, has sworn, on the contrary, that Messrs. Ridgeway and Symonds having declined the publication, it was undertaken by himself and Daniel Isaac Eaton; that I gave them the copy as their own property, and gave them, moreover, a fraternal embrace, in gratitude for their gracious acceptance of it; and that he the said Winterbottom verily believed he had a right now,
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 253
after an interval of three-and-twenty years, to publish it as his own.

“My recollection is perfectly distinct, notwithstanding the lapse of time; and it was likely to be so, as I was never, on any other occasion, within the walls of Newgate. The work had been delivered to Mr. Ridgeway; it was for him that I inquired, and into his apartments I was shown. There I saw Mr. Symonds, and there I saw Mr. Winterbottom also, whom I knew to be a dissenting minister. I never saw Daniel Isaac Eaton in my life; and as for the story of the embrace, every person who knows my disposition and manners, will at once perceive it to be an impudent falsehood. Two other persons came into the room while I was there; the name of the one was Lloyd,—I believe he had been an officer in the army; that of the other was Barrow. I remembered him a bishop’s boy at Westminster. I left the room with an assurance that Messrs. Ridgeway and Symonds were to be the publishers; in what way Winterbottom might be connected with them, I neither knew nor cared, and Eaton I never saw. There is no earthly balance in which oaths can be weighed against each other; but character is something in the scale; and it is perfectly in character that the man who has published Wat Tyler under the present circumstances, should swear—as Mr. Winterbottom has sworn.

“Thus much concerning the facts. As to the work itself, I am desirous that my feelings should neither be misrepresented nor misunderstood. It contains the statement of opinions which I have long
outgrown, and which are stated more broadly because of this dramatic form. Were there a sentiment or an expression which bordered upon irreligion or impurity, I should look upon it with shame and contrition; but I can feel neither for opinions of universal equality, taken up as they were conscientiously in early youth, acted upon in disregard of all worldly considerations, and left behind me in the same straightforward course as I advanced in years. The piece was written when such opinions, or rather such hopes and fears, were confined to a very small number of the educated classes; when those who were deemed Republicans were exposed to personal danger from the populace; and when a spirit of anti-Jacobinism prevailed, which I cannot characterise better than by saying that it was as blind and as intolerant as the Jacobinism of the present day. The times have changed. Had it been published surreptitiously under any other political circumstances, I should have suffered it to take its course, in full confidence that it would do no harm, and would be speedily forgotten as it deserved. The present state of things, which is such as to make it doubtful whether the publisher be not as much actuated by public mischief as by private malignity, rendered it my duty to appeal for justice, and stop the circulation of what no man had a right to publish. And this I did, not as one ashamed and penitent for having expressed crude opinions and warm feelings in his youth (feelings right in themselves, and wrong only in their direction), but as a man whose life has been such that it may set slander at defiance, and who is unremit-
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 255
tingly endeavouring to deserve well of his country and of mankind.

Robert Southey.”

A letter addressed by Mr. Foster to Mr. Cottle, and published by him in his Reminiscences of Coleridge and Southey*, rather involves the matter in more difficulty than explains it.

“I wonder if Mr. Southey ever did get at the secret history of that affair. The story, as I heard it, was that Southey visited Winterbottom in prison, and, just as a token of kindness, gave him the MS. of Wat Tyler. It was no fault of Winterbottom that it was published. On a visit to some friends at Worcester he had the piece with him, meaning, I suppose, to afford them a little amusement at Southey’s expense, he being held in great reproach and even contempt as a turn-coat. At the house where Winterbottom was visiting, two persons, keeping the piece in their reach at bed-time, sat up all night transcribing it, of course giving him no hint of the manoeuvre. This information I had from one of the two operators.”

My father distinctly states he did not give the MS. to anybody, and that he did not put it into Winterbottom’s hands at all. But even if it had been so, how came Winterbottom to appear in court and justify the publication upon oath if the circumstances were as Mr. Foster relates?

It might have been supposed that with the pro-

* P. 235.

ceedings before the
Lord Chancellor, the matter would have ended; that the surreptitious publication of the crude and hasty production of a youth of twenty, long since forgotten by the writer, would hardly have been deemed worthy the attention of the public, especially as he had never concealed or suppressed his former opinions, which stood plainly on record in his early published works.

But the opportunity was too tempting to be lost, and the subject was twice brought forward in Parliament,”—once by Mr. Brougham, the second time by William Smith, the member for Norwich, who, arming himself for the occasion with Wat Tyler in one pocket and the Quarterly Review in the other, stood forth in the House of Commons to contrast their contents.

In reply to this attack*, which was answered at the time by Mr. Wynn, my father published a letter to William Smith, defending himself against the charges brought against him, and stating his past and present opinions, and his views as to the condition of the country and the measures most likely to promote the welfare of the community. This letter, with the remarks that called it forth, will be found at the end of this volume, where I think it right to place it, as, from my father’s reprinting it in his Essays, it appears plainly that he intended it should be preserved, and as the history of Wat Tyler is incomplete without it.

* Mr. Wilberforce wrote to my father at this time, saying he could not feel satisfied until he had informed him that he was not in the House of Commons when William Smith brought the subject forward, or his voice would also have been heard in his defence.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 257
To Humphrey Senhouse, Esq.
“Keswick, March 22. 1817.
“My dear Senhouse,

“You see I am flourishing in the newspapers as much as Joanna Southcote did before her expected accouchement. And I have not flourished in Chancery* because a Presbyterian parson has made oath that I gave the MSS. to him and to another person whom I never saw in my life. There is no standing against perjury, and therefore it is useless to pursue the affair into a court of law. I have addressed two brief letters to William Smith in the Courier; and there the matter will end on my part, unless he replies to them. In the second of those letters you will see the history of Wat Tyler, as far as it was needful to state it. There was no occasion for stating that about a year after it was written I thought of making a serious historical drama upon the same subject, which would have been on the side of the mob in its main feelings, but in a very different way; and, indeed, under the same circumstances, I should have brained a tax-gatherer just as he did. The refaccimento proceeded only some fifty or three score lines, of which I only remember this short passage; part of it having been transplanted into Madoc. Some one has been saying, a plague on time! in reference to Tyler’s gloomy state of mind, to which he replies—

* My father seems to have mistaken the grounds of the Chancellor’s decision. Probably he had only been informed of the result, and had not seen the judgment.

‘Gently on man doth gentle Nature lay
The weight of years; and even when over laden
He little likes to lay the burden down.
A plague on care, I say, that makes the heart
Grow old before its time.’

“Had it been continued, it might have stood beside Joan of Arc, and perhaps I should have become a dramatic writer. But Joan of Arc left me no time for it then, and it was dismissed, as I supposed, for ever from my thoughts. I hear that in consequence of this affair, and of the effect which that paper in the Quarterly produced, Murray has printed two thousand additional copies of the number. And yet the paper has been dismally mutilated of its best passages and of some essential parts. I shall have a second part in the next number to follow up the blow.

“My fear is that when commerce recovers, as it presently will, Government should suppose that the danger is over; and think that the disease is removed because the fit is past. There are some excellent remarks in Coleridge’s second lay sermon upon the over-balance of the commercial spirit, that greediness of gain among all ranks to which I have more than once alluded in the Quarterly. If Coleridge could but learn how to deliver his opinions in a way to make them read, and to separate that which would be profitable for all, from that which scarcely half a dozen men in England can understand (I certainly am not one of the number), he would be the most useful man of the age, as I verily believe him in acquirements and in powers of mind to be very far the greatest.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 259

In the minds of many men who were not disposed to slander my father, nor to entertain hostile feelings towards him, there yet remained an impression that he attacked with intemperate language, the same class of opinions which he himself had once held. The next letter shows us how he defended himself against this imputation, when represented to him by Mr. Wynn.

To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq., M.P.
“Keswick, April 13. 1817.
“My dear Wynn,

“Do you not see that the charge of my speaking acrimoniously against persons for thinking as I once thought is ridiculously false? Against whom are the strong expressions used, to which you refer in the Quarterly Review and the Registers. Against the rank Bonapartists, with whom I had never any more resemblance than I have with the worshippers of the devil in Africa; and against those who, without actually favouring him as Whitbread did, nevertheless thought it hopeless to make our stand against him on the ground where we had every possible advantage? And as for the Jacobin writers of the day,—in what have I ever resembled them? Did I ever address myself to the base and malignant feelings of the rabble? and season falsehood and sedition with slander and impiety? It is perfectly true that I thought the party who uniformly predicted
our failure in Spain to be ignorant*, and pusillanimous, and presumptuous,—surely, surely, their own words, which are given in the Register, prove them to have been so. Can you have forgotten in 1809-10, how those persons who thought with me that there was reasonable ground for hope and perseverance were insulted as idiots, and laughed to scorn? For my own part, I never doubted of success; and proud I am that the reasons upon which my confidence was founded were recorded at the time. Had you been in power you would have thought otherwise than as you did, because you would have known more of the state of Europe. Arms were sent from this country to Prussia as early as the autumn of 1811. Believe me, the terms in which I have spoken of the peace party are milk and water compared to what I have seen among the papers with which I have been intrusted. But enough of this.

“If you saw me now you would not think otherwise of my temper under affliction than you did in the summer. I have never in the slightest degree yielded to grief, but my spirits have not recovered, nor do I think they ever will recover, their elasticity. The world is no longer the same to me. You cannot conceive the change in my occupations and enjoyments: no person who had not seen what my ways of life were can conceive how they were linked with his life. But be assured that I look habitually for comfort where it is to be found.

* “The paper in the Quarterly Review is directed against the Edinburgh Reviewer, whose words are quoted to justify the epithets.”—R. S.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 261

“God bless you! I shall be in town on the 24th, at my brother’s, and leave it on the 1st of May.

Yours affectionately,
R. S.”

An incident that occurred in the midst of the Wat Tyler controversy must now he noticed, as one which, had my father thought fit to take advantage of it, would have changed the whole current of his life, and which offered him the most favourable prospects of pecuniary advantage of any which presented themselves, either in earlier or later life.

This was a proposal made privately through the medium of his friend Mr. Henry Crabbe Robinson; and in the first instance, the simple question was asked, whether “if an offer were made him to superintend a lucrative literary establishment, in which he would have—if he desired it—a property, of which the emolument would be very considerable, and which would give him extensive influence over the whole kingdom, he were in a condition to accept it;” or rather, whether he was willing to listen to the details of such a proposal. “But,” it was added, “if he was so attached to his delightful residence, and to that kind of literary employment which alone gives fame, and must in its exercise be the most delightful, an immediate answer to that effect was requested.”

My father had no doubt from whom the proposal came and to what it referred, being aware of his friend’s intimacy with Mr. Walter, the pro-
prietor of the
Times; but so completely was he wedded to his present mode of life, so foreign to his habits would this sort of occupation have been, combined with a residence in London, and so much more strongly was his mind set upon future and lasting fame than upon present profit, that he did not even request to be informed of the particulars of the offer; but at once declined it, upon the plea that no emolument, however great, would induce him to give up a country life, and those pursuits in literature to which the studies of so many years had been directed. “Indeed,” he adds, “I should consider that portion of my time which is given up to temporary politics grievously misspent, if the interests at stake were less important.”*

The situation alluded to was that of writing the chief leading article in the Times, together, I suppose, with some general authority over the whole paper; and the remuneration which it was intended to offer was 2000l. a-year, with such a share in the profits as would have enabled him to realise an independence in a comparatively short time.

In a former letter my father speaks of an intention of making a tour of the Continent in the course of the spring. His habits of laborious study rendered some perfect relaxation absolutely necessary, and travelling abroad was the only way in which he could obtain it. At home he could not be unemployed; he had no tastes or pursuits of any kind to lead him from his books, and any journey he might

* R. S. to H. C. R., March 13. 1817.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 263
take in his own country was only a series of hurried movements from one friend to another. Of London, the reader need not be told, he had not merely a dislike, but absolutely a “horror;” and thus his mind was hardly ever completely unbent except on the few occasions when he could afford himself a foreign excursion.

From such a change (which at this time was particularly needful to him) no one ever derived more benefit or more pleasure. With his travelling garments he put on totally new habits, and set out with the determination to make the most of all pleasures and the least of all inconveniences, being thus as good-humoured and as accommodating a “compagnon de voyage” as it was possible to conceive. His journal on this occasion (like all his other journals) is elaborately minute, and shows how perseveringly he must have laboured at it in spite of fatigue. Every circumstance is detailed; in every place he seems to find objects of interest which would altogether escape the eye of an ordinary traveller. Indeed, the industry of his pen, the activity of his mind, and the quickness of his perceptive faculties, are nowhere so plainly shown as in these records of his foreign journeys.

Every spare moment of his time being thus occupied, his letters during this journey contain little more than the outlines of his route; a few of them, however, will not be thought out of place here.

To Mrs. Southey.
“Neufchatel, Wednesday, May 28. 1817.
“My dear Edith,

“Yesterday we entered Switzerland, and reached this place after a week’s journey from Paris without let, hindrance, accident, or inconvenience of any kind.

“It is with the greatest difficulty that I find time to keep a journal. We rise at five, and have travelled from ten to twelve hours every day, going about twenty miles before breakfast. Hunger would hardly permit us to do anything in the way of writing before dinner, if there were not always something to see while dinner is preparing; and after dinner it requires an effort of heroic virtue to resist the pleasures of wine and conversation, and it becomes almost impossible upon taking the pen in hand to resist sleep. This morning we lay in bed till seven, that we might have the full enjoyment of a whole holiday. I remember at Westminster the chief gratification which a whole holiday on a Sunday afforded, was that of lying abed till breakfast was ready at nine o’clock.

“Our windows are within a stone’s throw of the Lake, and we see the Alps across it. The Lake is like a sea in its colour, its waves, and its voice, of which we are of course within hearing. The Alps, of which we have the whole extent in view, cannot be less than fifty miles distant in the nearest point, directly across the Lake, and Mont Blanc, which is at the extremity on the right, about fourscore. If
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 265
our horizon at Keswick were wide enough, I could sometimes show you the Alps in the clouds. They have precisely the appearance of white cumulated clouds, at the verge of the sky, resting upon the earth, and silvered with sunshine; and from such clouds they are only to be distinguished by their definite outline and permanent forms. It is idle to compare this country with our own; or rather it would be worse than idle to form any comparison for the purpose of depreciating either. Part of our yesterday’s journey* was so like Cumberland, that I could fancy myself within an hour’s walk of home; and this forced upon me such a sense of time and distance, and separation, that the tears were more than once ready to break loose. The mountains through which we passed from Pontarlier to this place rise behind the town, and in that direction the view as to its natural objects might be English. A huge harbour, or, still better, an arm of the sea, with such a sky as I have described, will give you a full idea of the rest.

“We hear dismal stories of famine and distress; but the scene continually recedes as we approach it, nor have we seen any indication of it whatever. From all that I can collect, the bad harvest of last year has acted here as it does in England, and must everywhere; it presses severely upon that class of persons who stood in need of economy before, and who, with economy, had a little to spare for others. There are plenty of beggars throughout France, and

* Across the Jura.

much squalid misery; but the children of the peasantry are as hale, and apparently as well fed, as far as all appearances of flesh and blood may be trusted, as those in our own country. What I have seen of France, about five hundred miles, from Calais to Pontarlier, is, on the whole, less interesting than an equal distance in Great Britain would appear to a foreign traveller; I mean that he would meet with a country more generally beautiful, finer parts, and better towns. But there have been very fine parts upon this journey, with a character and beauty of their own. In Switzerland every step must be interesting, and go in what direction you will it is impossible to go wrong.

“Nothing surprised me more in France than that there should be no middle-aged women among the peasantry; they appear to pass at once from youth to bagged old age, and it is no exaggeration to say that they look like so many living and moving mummies. Fond as they are of finery in youth (for they are then tricked out in all the colours of the rainbow), in old age their dress is as wretched and squalid as their appearance. I see nothing among them of the gaiety of which we have heard so much in former times. Not a single party have we seen dancing throughout the whole journey. The weather, indeed, has been unusually cold, but certainly not such as would check the propensities of a light-heeled generation, if they ever were as fond of a dance as their light-hearted progenitors. I must say, to their credit, that we have uniformly met with civility; not the slightest insult or incivility of any kind has been
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 267
offered to us; and if some extortion has been practised generally at the hotels, it is no more than what is done everywhere, and perhaps more in England than anywhere else.

“God bless you! Give my love to all.

Your affectionate husband,
R. S.”
To Mrs. Southey.
“Turin, Wednesday, June 11. 1817.
“My dear Edith,

“I wrote to you on this day fortnight from Neufchatel, since which time all has gone well with us, and we have travelled over very interesting ground. Half a day brought us to Yverdun, where the other half was passed for the sake of seeing Pestalozzi.* The

* “The castle is a huge, plain, square building, with few windows, and a round tower at each corner with an extinguisher top. This has been assigned to Pestalozzi; and having taken up our quarters at the Maison Rouge, forth we sallied to pay our respects to this celebrated personage.

“We ascended the steps and got into the court; the first person whom we accosted was a boy, who proved to be a young Philistine, and replied with a petition for petite charité; just then we got sight of one of the scholars, and at his summons Pestalozzi himself came out to us. I have seen many strange figures in my time, but never a stranger than was now presented to our view: a man whose face and stray tusk-like teeth would mark him for fourscore, if his hair, more black than gray, did not belie the wrinkles of his countenance; this hair a perfect glib in full undress, no hat or covering for the head, no neckcloth, the shirt collar open, a pair of coarse dark trousers, and a coat, if coat it may be called, of the same material, which Hyde would as little allow to be cloth as he would the habilement to be ‘a coat at all.’ He speaks French nearly as ill as I do, and much less intelligibly, because his speech is rapid and impassioned, and moreover much affected by the loss of his teeth. I introduced myself as a friend of Dr. Bell, who had read M. Julien’s book,

next day to Lausanne, where for the mere beauty of the place we staid a day. Tuesday to Geneva, seeing

and the American work upon his system, but was desirous of obtaining a clearer insight into it. In his gesticulations to welcome us he slipt into a deep hole, and might very easily have met with a serious hurt. He led me into a small school-room, hung round with vile portraits of some favourite pupils, apparently works of the school; his own bust was there, strikingly like him, but large enough for Goliath, he himself being rather below the middle size. There happened to be a display of fencing; where the beau monde of Yverdun were at this time assembled, and the military band giving them tunes between the acts. Here his tutors were gone, and many of his boys, but in the evening, he said, he hoped to show us practically the system which he now explained: the sum of his explanation was, that true education consists in properly developing the talents and faculties of the individual. It was not likely that so metaphysical a head should think more of Dr. Bell than Dr. Bell, in his practical wisdom, thinks of such metaphysics. I mentioned Owen of Lanark, and the Essay upon the Formation of Character, and presently perceived that I had touched the right string. We parted till the evening. A large party were dining at the hotel, as if it were a club or public meeting, which, however, the waiter said was not the case: but there was unusual business in the house; perhaps many persons had come from the country round to see the fencing. We walked about the town, and saw the view which it commands.

“We met Pestalozzi in a walk without the town; he had dressed himself, and was in a black coat, but still without a hat, and he was arm-in-arm with a figure more extraordinary than his own; a man some twenty-five or thirty years of age, dressed in a short and neat slate-coloured jacket and trousers trimmed with black, his bonnet of the same materials and colour; and his countenance so full, so fixed, so strongly and dismally charactered, that a painter might select him for one of the first disciples of St. Francis or of Loyola. In the course of our walk we went behind the castle into a large open garden, and there we saw some of the pupils employed in developing their bodily powers: a pole, about eighteen feet high, was securely fixed in an inclined position against a ladder; the boys ascended the ladder and slid down the pole; others were swinging in such attitudes as they liked from a gallows. About six, P. called upon us to show us the practice of his system; it was exhibited by two very intelligent teachers as applied to drawing and arithmetic. In drawing, they were made to draw the simplest forms, and were not instructed in the laws of perspective till the eye and hand had acquired correctness; just as we learn to speak by habit before we know the rules of grammar. In arithmetic, it appeared to me that the questions served only to quicken the intellect, but were of no utility in themselves, and acted upon boys just as the disputes of the schoolmen formerly acted

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 269
Fernay on the way. Wednesday we halted to see this famous, most ugly, most odd, and most striking city, compared to which Lisbon is a city of sweet savours. Friday to Aix,—that Aix where the adventure of
King Charlemagne and the Archbishop happened: Pasquier (in whom I found the story) mistakes it for Aix-la-Chapelle. There is a lake here, and a magnificent one it is. N. and S. both made sketches of it before breakfast on Friday. We reached Les Echelles that night, and Saturday visited the Chartreuse: this was a horse expedition, and a whole day’s work; but we were most amply rewarded for the heat and fatigue which we endured. I am fully disposed to believe, with Wordsworth, that there is nothing finer in Switzerland than this. The place took us two stages out of our way, which we had to retrace on Sunday; they happened to be remarkably interesting ones, having the mountain pass of the Echelles in one, with a tunnel through the mountain, and by the road in the other the most glorious waterfall I ever beheld. That evening we entered the Savoy Alps at Aiguebelle and slept at La Grande Maison, a sort of large Estalagem in the midst of

upon men. A son of Akerman’s, in the Strand, was one of the boys, and said he was much happier than at an English school. His cousin of the same name, a German by birth, is one of the teachers; he had been in England, where he knew Wordsworth, and he studied under Mr. Johnson at the Central School, and he had travelled in Switzerland with Dr. Bell. He also was very curious concerning Owen; with him I had much conversation, and was much pleased with him. M. Julien also was introduced to us; author of those books which I bought at Aix-la-Chapelle. We wrote our names at parting, and although Mr. P. knew no more of mine than he did of Tom Long the carrier’s, he was evidently gratified by our visit, and we parted good friends, with all good wishes.”—From his Journal.

Borrowdale scenery upon a large scale. Nash made a view from the window. I do not stop to describe things because my journal will do all this. Monday we continued our way up the valley, following the course, or rather ascending the river Arco; such a river! the colour of my coat precisely, which though Mr. Hyde admits it to be a very genteel mixture as well calculated to hide the dust, is a very bad colour for a river; but for force and fury, it exceeds anything that I had ever before seen or imagined: we followed it as far as Lans le Bourg, a little town at the foot of Mount Cenis, and itself as high above the sea as the top of Skiddaw. Yesterday (Tuesday) we crossed Mount Cenis, descended into the plain of Piedmont, and, after the longest of all our days’ journeys in point of time, reached Turin just as it grew dark.

“From Besançon to this place it has been one succession of fine scenery, yet with such variety that every day has surprised us. Fine weather began on the 1st of June, and here in Italy we have found a great difference of climate. On the other side the Alps, the cherries are not larger than green peas; here they are ripe. Currants, oranges, and Alpine strawberries are in the markets, and apricots, which are perfectly worthless.

“Our journey has been in all respects pleasant, and I shall find the full advantage of it in the knowledge which it has given me, and the new images with which it has stored my memory. Of the Alps, I will only say here that they make me love Skiddaw better than ever, and that Skiddaw will outlast them;
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 271
at least, will outlast all that we have yet seen, for they are falling to pieces. The wreck and ruin which they display in many places are hardly to be described.

“We are burnt like gipsies, especially Senhouse. ‘All friends round Skiddaw’ has been our daily toast; and we drank it in all kinds and qualities of wine. As for news, we know not how the world goes on, and have ceased to think about it. The only thing for which we are anxious is to get letters from home, and this we shall do when we get to Mr. Awdry’s. If I could but know that all was well!

“God bless you! Good night, my own dear Edith.

R. S.”
To John May, Esq.
“Brussels, Aug. 1. 1817.
“My dear Friend,

“I wrote you a long letter* from Geneva, on our way to Italy, and since that time I have written twice to London; so that I conclude you would hear by roundabout means that I had reached Milan, and afterwards, that we had safely returned into Switzerland. From Geneva we made for Mont Cenis, and turned aside from Chamberry to visit the Grande Chartreuse, which, after all that we have since seen,

* This seems to have been a letter of elaborate description. It never reached its destination, having been destroyed by the person to whom it was given to put into the post, for the sake of appropriating the postage money!

remains impressed upon our minds as one of the finest imaginable scenes. . . . . At Milan I purchased some books. Thence to Como, where I found
Landor, and we remained three days. Bellaggio, twenty miles from Como, upon the fork of the lake, is the finest single spot I have ever seen, commanding three distant lake views, each of the grandest character. Lugano was our next stage, and somewhere here it is, that if climate and scenery alone were to be consulted, I should like to pitch my tent; perhaps at Laveno upon the Lago Maggiore. The Isola Bella, upon that lake, is of all extravagant follies the most absurd. Having crossed the lake, we entered upon the Simplon road, which, on the whole, I do not think so fine as the passage of Mont Cenis. But it is foolish to compare things which are in so many respects essentially different. In the Maurienne, and indeed when you begin to descend into Piedmont, the world seems tumbling to pieces about your ears, of such perishable materials are the mountains made. In the Simplon, you have generally rocks of granite. A glorious Alpine descent brought us into the Valais, which, even more than the Maurienne, is the land of goitres and cretins, both more numerous and more shocking to behold than I could have believed possible. At Martigny, we halted and crossed to Chamouny by the Tête Noir. In the album at the Montanvert, I found John Coleridge’s adventures in going to the Garden, as it is called: unluckily the ink with which he wrote has made them in part illegible.

“We returned by the Tête Noir as we came,
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 273
the Col de Balme being still covered in great part with snow; and proceeding by Vevay and Lausanne, returned to
Mr. Awdry’s, at Echichens, where we rested three days. Just four weeks had elapsed since we left that place, and it was a high enjoyment to find ourselves again among friends. . . . . Proceeding to Berne*, we sent our carriage to Zurich,

* The following account of Fellenberg’s Institution at Hofwyl near Berne, may interest the reader:—“Immediately after breakfast we drove to the noted spot. Fellenberg was not within when I delivered Sir T. Acland’s letter and the book with which he had entrusted me; a messenger was despatched to seek him, and a young man meanwhile carried us over the institution, and to a warehouse full of agricultural machines and instruments made upon new principles, many of them so exceedingly complicated that it seemed as if the object had been how to attain the end desired by the most complex means; to the smiths, the blacksmiths, &c. &c.; we also visited the dairy, which was really a fine one, being so contrived that in hot weather half the floor is covered with cold water, and in time of severe frost with hot; the granaries, &c., and the place of gymnastics, where the boys are taught to climb ropes, and walk upon round poles. About an hour had been passed in this manner when F. returned. His countenance is highly intelligent; his light eyes uncommonly clear and keen; his manners those of a man of the world, not of an enthusiast. He entered into a long detail, rather of his own history than of his system. He had been the only member of the Council, he said, who, at the first invasion, proposed vigorous resistance, so as to make all Switzerland a la Vendée: they talked of shooting him, &c. Afterwards, some of the Swiss directory who knew him, and whom he knew to be desirous of doing the best they could for their country under such calamitous circumstances, induced him, as he was at Paris on private business, to remain there as secretary to the embassy, and serve Switzerland as well as he could against her own ambassador and the French government. This, I think, was intended as an apology for his political life. His object, he said, was, in the first place, to fulfil his duty as father of a family, and as a citizen. He wished to restore the moral character of Switzerland; to raise her again to her former respectable state; and to make her the means of rendering services to Europe which other powers might receive from her without jealousy. This part of his plan turned out to be a wild scheme of instituting a seminary for those who were destined by birth to hold offices; princes, peers, and statesmen: they were to be educated so as to know and love each other: the purest Christianity was to be practically taught; and his institution was then to co-operate with the

and struck into the Oberland, where we travelled ten days by land and water, on horseback or on foot, sometimes in cars, and sometimes in carts. The snow rendered it impossible to cross the Grimsel without more risk than it would have been justifiable to in-

Christian Alliance, which was the favourite scheme of the Emperor Alexander and the Emperor of Austria. This part of his institution, though very high prices were paid by the individuals, did not support itself, the expense of masters being so great. The agronomic part afforded funds, from the farm (which appeared in beautiful order) and the manufacture of agricultural implements upon his improvements, the demand for them being great. All that we had seen were about to be sent off to those who had bespoken them. About 200 workmen are employed; a third part assisted in the education of poor destitute children,—there were only about thirty; these amply supported themselves by the employments in which they were trained. The aristocracy of Berne discouraged him; treated him as a visionary, and even forbade the circulation of those books which expounded his views; I should not be able to get them anywhere in Switzerland, only at Geneva: so he gave me the collection. As for the seminary for statesmen, I cannot but suspect there is more of humbug than of enthusiasm in it. F. neither looks nor talks like a man who can suppose himself destined to found a school like the philosophers of old. If he has any enthusiasm it is respecting agriculture, which he spoke of as the means of developing moral virtues. And he was proud of his inventions, and evidently hurt that the Board of Agriculture had not acknowledged the receipt of some which he had presented to them, and not published the result of experiments made with them. He had also made experiments of great importance upon the nature of different soils, as to their property of retaining heat and moisture. Of Dr. Bell he was disposed to speak slightingly, saying he was an enthusiast and an excellent schoolmaster, but unfit for a director*. Upon this point I told him of Madras; he thought that the Doctor pushed the principle of emulation too far, and used means for encouraging a spirit which is in itself but too prevalent. On this point he spoke in a manner which in some measure accorded with my own judgment.

Kosciuzko’s name was in the book of visitors. He requested me at my leisure to give him some account of the best works which had been published in England during the French Revolution, that he might send for them for his library; for though he did not speak our language he understood it, and was desirous that our literature should be cultivated on the continent. He had about 250 acres in cultivation, and inspected his labourers from a tower with a telescope; because, as one of his people said, he cannot be in all places at the same time.”

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 275
cur. We slept on the Righi. At Zurich a day’s halt was necessary for the love of the washerwoman. We then set off homeward in good earnest, through the Black Forest. . . . . We then made for Frankfort and Mentz, and down the left bank of the Rhine to Cologne, where we saw the three kings, and a very considerable number of the eleven thousand virgins—certainly some thousands of them—a sight more curious than any of its kind in Portugal or Spain. Here we arrived last night. . . . I have made large purchases, which, with the Acta Sanctorum, now at last completed, will fill three chests. Verbiest has promised to despatch them immediately. You may well imagine how anxious I am to hear from home, and how desirous to get there. As for news, we have lived so long without it, that the appetite seems almost extinguished. By mere chance I got at Zurich a German account of
Massena’s campaign in Portugal, written by a physician of his army. My knowledge of the subject assisted me greatly in making out the meaning, and I have found in it some curious matter. As far as I can learn, this is the only original document concerning the war which has yet been published in Germany.

“I have been perfectly well during the journey, and the knowledge it has given me amply repays the expense both of money and of time. It has been with great difficulty that I could keep up my Journal, so fully has every day and every hour been occupied, from five and frequently four in the morning. I have, however, kept it. My spirits have been equal
to any demand which outward circumstances might make upon them; but to live always out of oneself is not possible, and in those circumstances which frequently occur amidst the excitement and exhilaration of such a journey, my lonely feelings have perhaps been more poignant than they would have been amid the even tenor of domestic life; but I have learnt to give them their proper direction, and when I am once more at home, I shall feel the benefit of having travelled.

“God bless you, my dear friend! And believe me most truly and affectionately,

Robert Southey.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq., M.P.
“Keswick, Aug. 23. 1817.
“My dear Wynn,

. . . . . They tell me, both here and in town, that travelling has fattened me. Certainly it agreed with my bodily health most admirably; whether it be attributable to early rising, continual change of air, or copious libations of good wine, or to all these. The early rising is unluckily the only practice which it would be possible to continue here. As for the wine*, when I

* Let not the reader suppose from this and other commendations of the juice of the grape, that my father was inclined to over-indulgence therein; for no man was ever more strictly temperate. Indeed, his constitution required more generous living than he ordinarily gave it; and part of the benefit he always derived from continental travelling was, as he here intimates, from his partaking more freely of wine when abroad than in the regularity of his domestic life.

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think of the red wines of Savoy (the Montmelian in particular), and the white wines of the Rhine and the Moselle, I feel something as the children of Israel did when they remembered the flesh-pots of Egypt. Were I to settle anywhere on the continent, Switzerland should be the country, and probably Lausanne the place. There are lovelier places in the Oberland of Berne, and the adjacent small cantons; but Lausanne has all those comforts which are desirable, and there is as good society in the canton of Vaud as need be desired. We could not gain admittance into
Gibbon’s garden, though his house belongs to a banker on whom we had bills. The assigned reason for refusing was, that the way lay through a chamber which was occupied by an invalid. I confess that I doubted this, and could not believe that the only way into the garden should be through a bed-chamber. This was a mortifying disappointment. As some compensation, however, our own apartments were not more than 100 yards off, and opened upon a terrace which commanded exactly the same view of the lake and mountains, with no other difference of foreground than a hundred yards will make in looking over gardens and groves of fruit-trees. . . . .

“Does this country, you will ask, appear flat and unprofitable after Alpine scenery? Certainly not. It has lost very little by the comparison, and that little will soon be regained. Skiddaw is by much the most imposing mountain, for its height, that I have yet seen. Many mountains, which are actually as high again from their base, do not appear to more advantage. I find here, as Wordsworth and Sir G.
Beaumont had told me I should, the charm of proportion, and would not exchange Derwentwater for the Lake of Geneva, though I would gladly enrich it with the fruit trees and the luxuriant beauties of a Swiss summer. Their waterfalls, indeed, reduce ours to insignificance. On the other hand, all their streams and rivers are hideously discoloured, so that that which should be one of the greatest charms of the landscape, is in reality a disgusting part of it. The best colour which you see is that of clean soap-suds; the more common one that of the same mixture when dirty. But the rivers have a power, might, and majesty which it is scarcely possible to describe.

“God bless you, my dear Wynn!

Yours most affectionately,
R. S.”
To John May, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 13. 1817.
“My dear Friend,

“The notion of writing again that letter which the rascal Louis destroyed at Geneva, has, I verily believe, prevented me from beginning one in the natural order of things. I can place myself at Thebes or at Athens on every occasion, dive into Padalon, or scale Mount Calasay*; but to remember what I then wrote, further than the journal you

* See the Curse of Kehama.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 279
have seen might remind me of the facts, Is beyond my power. Let us see, however, what can be done, with as little repetition as possible, of what you have taken the trouble to decipher. In speaking of Paris, I probably might have remarked what an out-of-door life is led by the inhabitants, and how prodigiously busy those people are who have nothing to do. There is more stir and bustle than in London, and of a very different character. In London they bear the stamp of business. You see that the crowds who pass by you in Cheapside have something to do, and something to think of; and in Paris you see as clearly, that restlessness and dissipation bring people into the street because they have nothing to do at home. I should think France decidedly inferior to England in beauty of country: yet I did not find the scenery altogether so uninteresting as I had been taught to expect. Picardy has much historical interest to an Englishman, and perhaps the recollection of great events makes me enjoy scenes which might else have been insipid. For I thought of the struggle between Burgundy and France; and in tracts where there was little more than earth and sky to be seen, I remembered that that same earth had been trodden by our countrymen before the battles of Cressy and Agincourt, and that that same sky had seen their victory. The towns, also, have many interesting antiquities, where an antiquarian or artist would find enough to employ him. The rivers have a magnitude and majesty to be found in few English streams. On the other hand, there is a want of wood or of variety of wood. Poplars give a sameness to the
scene, and a sort of sickly colouring, very different from the deep foliage of our oaks and elms. The very general custom of housing the cattle is unfavourable to the appearance of the country; there is a want of life, and motion, and sound. I believe, also, that there are fewer birds than in England. I scarcely remember to have seen a crow or a bird of prey. The most beautiful part of France which we saw (except the Jura country, which has a Swiss character), was French Flanders, which is indeed exceedingly beautiful. The country from Lisle to St. Omers may vie with the richest parts of England.
John Awdry was much disappointed with the South of France; perhaps this was because he entered it from Switzerland and Savoy; but the features, as he described them, were naturally unfavourable. The country upon the Loire has been much extolled. Landor told me it had the same fault which I had observed in other parts,—a pale and monotonous colouring from the poplars, which was not relieved by vineyards, and in summer, by sands which the river then left bare. We came upon a fine country as we approached Besançon. The air of the Jura mountains seemed congenial to me; and If I did not look upon the people with some partiality because they were mountaineers, they were a better race in many respects than the natives of Burgundy and Champagne. Were I to visit Switzerland again, I should wish to see more of the Jura. I do not think that a traveller can enter Switzerland in any better direction than by way of Pontarlier and Neufchatel. If the wine of this latter territory could reach Eng-
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 281
land, I should think it would have a great sale, for it has the flavour of Burgundy and the body of port. If the duties are lowered (as I understand they are likely to be), it will find its way by the Rhine. . . . .

“If the general use of tea could be introduced, it might prove a general benefit. A French breakfast has neither the comfort nor the domestic character of an English one; it is had better at a restaurateur’s or an hotel than at home. But domestic habits are what are wanting in France; and if it were the fashion to drink tea, they would be very much promoted by it. In Morocco, tea is gradually superseding the use of coffee. I do not know why it is so little liked upon the continent of Europe, when among us it has become one of the first necessaries of life. We tried it sometimes, but scarcely ever with success; and it is curious enough that we never on any occasion met with cream, except at Chalets in Switzerland, which is famous for it. Neither in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, or the Netherlands, rich in dairies as all these countries are, do the inhabitants ever appear to use it. Perhaps I described the lakes of Neufchatel and Geneva in my last letter, and the abominable odour of the great city of Calvinism.

“Since my return we have had much company, and, in consequence, I have been led into much idleness.* Winter is now setting in: although the weather continues fine, the days are shortening fast; long evenings will confine me to my desk, and the retirement

* His friend Mr. Bedford had been passing some weeks at Keswick to their great mutual enjoyment; and Mr. Rickman had also been there for a short time.

which this place affords during the dark season is such, that I am in no danger of being disturbed. At present, I am finishing a
paper upon Lope de Vega for the next Quarterly, and preparing the first chapter of the Peninsular War for the press.

Believe me, yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Chauncey Hare Townshend, Esq.
“Oct. 31. 1817.
“My dear Chauncey,

“During this fine autumn (the finest which we can remember in this country) I have frequently regretted that you were not with us, upon our mountain excursions; and thought sometimes how busily your hammer would have been at work among the stones, over which I was treading as ignorantly as the cart-horse in our company.

“You have not estimated Neville White more favourably than he deserves. There does not breathe a better or a nobler heart. Men are sometimes strangely out of their place in this world: there, for instance, is a man living in Milk Street, and busied about Nottingham goods, who, if he were master of a palace and a princely fortune, would do honour to the one, and make the best possible use of the other. I felt towards him just as you have done, at first sight; and recognising instantly the character, scarcely perceived that the individual was a stranger. There is more in these sympathies than the crockery
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class of mankind can conceive, or than our wise men have dreamt of in their philosophy.

“Your picture of the Norfolk scenery is very lively and very just. I have been twice in my life at Norwich, and once at Yarmouth, many years ago, long enough to have drawn from that open and level country some images, which were introduced in Thalaba. I remember writing an epistle in blank verse from thence in 1798*, which had some descriptive lines that might be worth transcribing, if they were at hand. It was the unbroken horizon which impressed me, appearing so much wider than at sea; and the skyscapes which it afforded. I had the same impression in passing through Picardy; and if I lived in such a country, should perhaps find as many beauties in the sky as I do here upon the earth. Anywhere I could find food for the heart and the imagination, at those times when we are open to outward influences, except in great cities. If I were confined in them, I should wither away like a flower in a parlour window. Did you notice the cry of the bittern in that country? I heard it between Yarmouth and Norwich. Its spiral flight, when it takes wing, is as remarkable and as peculiar as its cry. This bird has been extirpated here; only one has been seen since I have resided at Keswick, and that was shot by a young Cantab, who ate it for his dinner, and had no more brains in his head than the bittern.

“Having nothing to hope in this world, and nothing to desire in it for myself, except as quiet a

* See vol. i. p. 336.

passage through it as it may please God to grant, my mind, when it takes its course, recurs to the world which is to come, and lays as naturally now the scenes of its day-dreams in Heaven, as it used to do upon earth. I think of the many intimacies I have made among the dead, and with what delight I shall see and converse with those persons whose lives and writings have interested me, to whom I have endeavoured to render justice, or from whom I have derived so much pleasure and benefit of the highest kind. Something perhaps we shall have to communicate, and oh! how much to learn! The Roman Catholics, when they write concerning Heaven, arrange the different classes there with as much precision as a master of the ceremonies could do. Their martyrs, their doctors, their confessors, their monks and their virgins, have each their separate society. As for us poets, they have not condescended to think of us; but we shall find one another out, and a great many questions I shall have to ask of
Spenser and of Chaucer. Indeed, I half hope to get the whole story of Cambuscan bold; and to hear the lost books of the Faëry Queen. Lope de Vega and I shall not meet with equal interest, and yet it will be a pleasant meeting.

“What are you now about? If I had seen you here, where we could have conversed at leisure and without reserve, I would have told you of my own projects, formed in youth and now never to be resumed, talked over your own, and have endeavoured to show you where you might gather the freshest laurels. God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 285
To the Reverend John Jebb.*
“Keswick, Dec. 6. 1817.

“A volume like yours needs no other introduction than its own merits. I received it last night, and rejoice to see such topics treated in a manner so judicious, so forcible, and so impressive. You are treading in the steps of the great and admirable men by whom our church has been reformed and supported; and those who are to come after us will tread in yours. Unless I deceive myself, the state of religion in these kingdoms is better at this time than it has been at any other, since the first fervour of the Reformation. Knowledge is reviving as well as zeal, and zeal is taking the best direction. We stand in need of both when evil principles are so actively at work.

“I am writing the Life of Wesley in such a manner as to comprise our religious history for the last hundred years. It is a subject which I have long meditated, and may God bless the labour. Perhaps you can give me some light into the reasons why Methodism should have made so little progress in Ireland, where the seed seems to have fallen upon a most ungenial soil, though it was scattered with abundant care. In Scotland its failure may be explained by the general respectability of the Scotch clergy, the effect of education, the scattered population, and the cold and cautious character of the

* Afterwards Bishop of Limerick. The book referred to is his first publication: a volume of sermons with notes.

people. Is the jealousy with which the Romish priests watch over their deluded flocks sufficient to account for its failure in Ireland? If so, why was not Quakerism equally unsuccessful?

“I will not apologise for asking your opinion upon this subject. Even if we were not both fortunate enough to possess the same valuable friends, we are now known sufficiently to each other; and men of letters, who hold the same faith, and labour, though in different ways, for the same cause, are bound together by no common ties.

Believe me, Sir,
With sincere respect.
Your obedient servant,
Robert Southey.”
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 17. 1817.

“Perhaps the Lugano Gazette may not have given you the great news from the North, which excites much more interest in me than any thing which is going on at present in the political world. The Greenlandmen, last season, got as far as 84°, and saw no ice in any direction; they were of opinion, that if they could have ventured to make the experiment, they might have reached the pole without any obstruction of this kind. The coast of East Greenland, which had been blocked up for four or five centuries, was open. It is believed that some
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great convulsion of nature has broken up the continent of ice which has during those centuries been accumulating; and it is certain that the unnatural cold winds which were experienced throughout the whole of May last, from the S. and S.W., were occasioned by this ice floating into warmer latitudes. This effect is more likely to have been produced by volcanic eruption than by earthquakes alone, because for the last two years the fish have forsaken the Kamtschatka coast, so that the bears (ίχθυόϕαγοι) have been carrying on a civil war among themselves, and a war plus quam civile with the Russians. Earthquakes would not discompose the fish much, but they have a great objection to marine volcanoes. We are fitting out four ships for a voyage to the pole and the north-west passage. We shall have some curious facts about the needle; possibly even our climate may be improved, and trees will grow large enough for walking sticks in Iceland.

“The amusements of Como may very probably become the amusements of England ere long.* This I think a likely consequence, from the death of the Princess Charlotte. In the lamentations upon this subject there has been a great deal of fulsome canting, and not a little faction; still, among the better part and the better classes of society, there was a much deeper and more general grief than could have been expected or would easily be believed. Two or three persons have told me that in most houses which they entered in London the women were in tears.

* This refers to the Princess of Wales, then living at Como.

“’Tis not the public loss which hath imprest
This general grief upon the multitude;
And made its way at once to every breast,
The old, the young, the gentle, and the rude.
’Tis not that in the hour which might have crowned
The prayers preferred by every honest tongue.
The very hour which should have sent around
Tidings wherewith all churches would have rung,
And all our echoing streets have pealed with gladness,
And all our cities blazed with festal fire,
That then we saw the high-raised hope expire.
And England’s expectation quenched in sadness.
This surely might have forced a sudden tear.
Yet had we then thought only of the state,
To-morrow’s sun, which would have risen as fair,
Had seen upon our brow no cloud of care.
It is to think of what thou wert so late;
Oh, thou who liest clay-cold upon thy bier,
So young and so beloved, so richly blest
Beyond the common lot of royalty;
The object of thy worthy choice possest,
The many thousand souls that prayed for thee,
Hoping in thine a nation’s happiness;
And in thy youth, and in thy wedded bliss,
And in the genial bed—the cradle drest—
Hope standing by, and joy a bidden guest.
’Tis this that from the heart of private life
Makes unsophisticated sorrows flow:
We mourn thee as a daughter and a wife,
And in our human natures feel the blow.*

“Have you succeeded in getting sight of the aspide? In Cyprus they stand in such dread of this serpent, that the reapers have bells fixed to their sides and their sickles: κουϕ they call it there. One traveller names it the asp, and another asks veterum aspis? so I suppose it to be your neighbour. I do not know if the venom of your serpent produces death (as some others do), by paralysing the heart,

* This has never been published. The Funeral Song for the Princess Charlotte is a much more elaborate and beautiful composition.

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but it may be worth knowing, that in that case the remedy is, to take spirit of hartshorn* in large doses, repeating them as long as the narcotic effect is perceived. A surgeon in India saved himself in this manner, by taking much larger doses than he could have prescribed to any other person, because he understood his own sensations, and proportioned the remedy accordingly. He took a tea-spoonful of the spiritus ammoniæ compositus in a madeira glass-full of water every five minutes for half an hour, and seven other such doses at longer intervals (according to the symptoms) before he considered himself out of danger; in the whole, a wine-glass full of the medicine. This is a very valuable fact, the medicine having lost its repute in such cases, because it was always administered in insufficient doses.

“God bless you!

R. S.”

* Spirit of hartshorn, immediately applied, is the best remedy for the sting of a wasp: there may be some affinity in the two cases, only the application is inward in the one, and outward in the other.—Ed.