LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 16 February 1830

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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“Feb. 16. 1830.
“My dear R.,

“The Co-operatives* ought to be very much obliged to you; and would be so, if it were not the most difficult thing in the world to make men understand their own true interest.

“I suspect that in many things our forefathers were wiser than we are. Their guilds prevented trades from being overstocked, and would have by that means prevented over-production, if there had

* Mr. Rickman had written a paper on the subject for insertion in the Brighton Co-operator, and which he had sent to my father for his suggestions and remarks.

been any danger of it. The greedy, grasping spirit of commercial and manufacturing ambition or avarice is the root of our evils. You are very right in saying that in all handicraft trades wages are enough to allow of a very mischievous application of what if laid by would form a fund for old age; and I quite agree with you that tea and sugar must be at least as nutritious as beer, and in other respects greatly preferable to it. But there is a real and wide-spreading distress, and the mischief lies in the manufactories; they must sell at the lowest possible price; the necessity of a great sale at a rate of small profit makes low wages a consequence; when they have overstocked the market (which, during their season of prosperity, they use all efforts for doing), hands must be turned off; and every return of this cold fit is more violent than the former.

“There is no distress among those handicrafts who produce what there is a constant home demand for. But if we will work up more wool and cotton than foreigners will or can purchase from us, the evils of the country must go on at a rate like compound interest. Other nations will manufacture for themselves (a certain quantity of manufacturing industry being necessary for the prosperity of a nation), and this, with the aid of tariffs, may bring us to our senses in time.

“One tells me that there is likely to be a slight degree of consolidating pressure brought to bear upon the Ministry; another that they may very likely find themselves in a minority. I do not wish for a change of men, because I do not see what better
men could do in their places. Eighteen months ago circumstances might have been directed to a wise statesman’s will; now they must take their coarse: but, come what will, I shall never lose heart or hope. . . . .

“God bless you! Our best remembrances to your fireside.

R. S.”