25 MAY 1850, Page 15

SOUTHEY'S LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE. * Trris fourth volume extends from 1813,

when Southey was in his thirty-ninth year, to 1819, his forty-sixth. It has less of biogra- hical variety and fulness than the previous volumes, and is per- haps slightly overdone in the admission of correspondenee_ however, is rather felt than tangible ; for it would not be easy to' point out much that could have been omitted. The volume is very attractive for those who take an interest in literary or politi- cal history. The biographical circumstances, though scant, refer to events of importance as regards Southey's character, and to pub- lie opinion at the time. They also seem to show the instinctive truth of popular enmity. It would appear that Southey was

really the originator of the celebrated " Q Bills," in addition to his more patent offences against Whigs and

The chief literary events of the period were the publication of Don _Roderick, the composition and publication of the lives of Nelson and Wesley, and the substitution of the Quarterly Review for the Edinburgh Annual .Register as a source of income. Sou reckoned on a revenue of 4001. a year from this periodical, and sometimes obtained as ninth as 100L for a single article. He had also a feeler thrown out to make him a leading-article writer for the Times, with a general control, at a salary of 2,0001. a year and a share in the paper but this scheme he ni• d before it took a formal shape, as unsuitable to his tastes anm Habits. In private life, he lost his only son, at an. age (ten years) when the loss is deeply felt : a few years later, the loss was in part repaired by the birth of another son. He made several Continental trips ; and various cases in which he assisted unknown and unfriended youths with a turn for literature, by his advice and his purse, show the generosity and kindliness of his nature. His letters to his nu- merous correspondents are full of remarks on literature, life, and passing politics, thrown oat with perfect frankness, and in that ad- mirable style which flowed spontaneously from his pen. The points of greatest interest, however, are the negotiation for the laureate- ship, the connexion with the Quarterly Retrieve, and a proposition that he, Southey, should come up to London to consider the state ofublic affairs (1818-1817) with Lord Liverpool ! That the laureateship was offered to Scott, and declined by him as infra dignitatem, while he recommended it to his friend as an ap- propriate office, was known from Mr. Lockhart's Life. It was net however, known that Southey thought of the post as soon as he heard of Pye's death ; that the place was offered to Scott without the Regent's knowledge, which the Prince took in dudgeon, and Scott's refusal perhaps saved a court row ; that Southey made stipulations to the effect that he was not to "open a shop of condolence or con- gratulation "—which promises were broken ; that the negotiations exhibited the littleness of the Marquis of Hertford ; and that the office, late other offices, has its trammels. It is a curious chapter in literary history, and we will quote a few of the more remarkable passages. Croker and some of ,Southey's friends had moved in the business before Southey's arrival in London ; and when the poet came up he was advised to see the Secretary of the Admiralty. "'Accordingly I called on Croker. He had spoken to the Prince; and the Prince, observing that I had written some good things in favour of the Spaniards,' said the dike should be given me. You will admire the reason ; • The Life and Correspondence of Robert Souther_ Zdited by his Sore, the Re. reread Charles Cuthbert Southey, MA, Curate of PI;smbland, Cumberland. in six volumes. Volume IV. Published by Longman and Co.

and infer from it that I ought to have been made historiographer because I had written Madoc. Presently Croker meets Lord Liverpool, and tells him what had passed. Lord Liverpool expressed his sorrow that he had not known it a day sooner, for he and the Marquis of Hertford had consulted together upon whom the vacant honour could most properly be bestowed : Scott was the greatest poet of the day, and to Scott therefore they had written to offer it. The Prince was displeased at this ; he said he ought to have been consulted : it was his pleasure that I should have it, and have it I should. Upon this Croker represented, that he was Scott's friend as well as mine ; that Scott and I were upon friendly terms ; and for the sake of all three he requested that the business might rest where it was. " Thus it stood when I made my first call at the Admiralty. I more than half suspected that Scott would decline the offer, and my own mind was made up before this suspicion was verified."'

The remainder of the story exemplifies one of the " ills" that, according to Johnson, "assail the scholar's life "—the patron; and it is told in this letter to Scott.


" London, Nov. 5, 1813.

" My dear Scott—If you have not guessed at the reason why your letter has lain ten weeks unanswered, you must have thought me a very thankless and graceless fellow, and very undeserving of such a letter. I waited from day to day that I might tell you all was completed, and my patience was nearly exhausted in the process. Let me tell you the whole history in due order, before I express my feelings towards you upon the occasion. Upon receiving yours I wrote to Croker, saying that the time was past when I could write verses upon demand; but that hit were understood that, instead of the old formalities, I might be at liberty to write upon great public events or to be silent, as the spirit moved,—in that case the office would become a mark of honourable distinction, and I should be proud of accepting it. How this was to be managed he best knew ; for, of course, it was not for me to propose terms to the Prince. When next I saw him, he fold me that, after the appointment was comideted, he or some other person in the Prince's con fidence would suggest to him the fitness of milking this reform in an office which requires some reform to rescue it from the contempt into which it had fallen. I thought all was settled, and expected every day to receive some Official communication ; but week after week passed on. My head-quarters at this time were at Streatham. Going one day into town to my brother's, I found that Lord William Golan, with whom I had left a card on my Silt arrival, had called three times en me in as many days, and had that morning requested that I would eall on him at eleven, twelve, one, or two o'clock. I went accordingly, never dreaming of what this business could be, and wondering at it. H' e told me that the Marquis of Hertford was his brother- in-law, and had written to him, as being my neighbour in the country,— placing, in fact, the appointment at his (Lord Williem's) disposal : therefore he wished to see me to know if I wished to have it. The meaning of all this was easily seen : I was very willing to thank one person more, and es- pecially a goodnatured man, to whom I am indebted for many neighbourly civilities. He assured me that I should now soon hear from the Chamber- lain's office ; and I departed accordingly, in full expectation that two or three days more would ware the affair. But neither days nor weeks brought any further intelligence,; and if plenty of employments and avocations had not filled up my mind as well as my time, I should perhaps have taken dudgeon, and returned to my family' and pursuits, from which I had so long been ab- sent.

" 'At length, after sundry ineffectual attempts, owing sometimes to his absence, and once or twice to public business, I saw Croker once'inore; and he discovered for me that the delay originated in a desire of Lord Hertford's that Lord Liverpool should write to him, and ask the office for me. This calling in the Prime Minister about the disposal of an office the net emolu- ments of which are about WI. a year, reminded me of the old proverb about iihearing pigs. Lord Liverpool, however, was informed of this by Croker; The letter was written ; and in 'the course of another week Lord Hertford wrote to Creker that he would give orders for making out the appointment. A letter soon followed to say that the order was given, and that I might be sworn in whenever I pleased. My pleasure, however, was the last thing to be consulted. After due inquiry on my part, and some additional delays, I received a note to say, that if I would attend at the Chamberlain's office at one o'clock on Thursday November 4th, a Gentleman-Usher would be there to administer the oath. Now it so happened that I was engaged to go to Woburn on the Tuesday, meaning to return on Thursday to dinner, or re- -main a day longer, as I might feel disposed. Down I went to the office, and solicited a change III the day : but this was in vain ; the Gentleman-Usher -had been spoken to, and a Poet-laureate is a creature of a lower description. I obtained, however, two hours' grace ; and yesterday, by rising by candle- light and hurrying the postboys, reached the office to the minute. I swore to bea faithful servant to the King, to reveal all treasons which might come to my knowledge, to discharge the duties of my office, and to obey the Lord 'Chamberlain in all matters of the King's service, and in his stead the Vice- Chamberlain. Having taken this upon my soul, I was thereby inducted into all the rights, privileges,. and benefits which Henry James Pye, Esq., did en- joy, or ought to have enjoyed.' "

- The Laureate's stipulation for only writing as the spirit moved was doubly violated : he was not only forced to write invite.

Minerva, but even the of of the god was interfered with.

"In the very first instance of official composition, ho was doomed to feel the inconvenience of writing to meet the taste of those in power. The time indeed, was most favourable to him : he could combine a work intended as a specimen of his fulfilment of the laureate's duties with the expression of his warmest feelings of patriotic exultation [at Napoleon's reverses and pro- bable downfall]. But there was a drawback : his feelings, on one point at least, far outrun the calmness of the temperament authorized in high places. It appeared that he might rejoice for England, and Spain, and Wellington, but he must not pour out the vials of his wrath upon France and Bonaparte. " This he had done liberally in the first draft of his first ode, the Carmen Triumpliale for the commencement of the new year ; but, having sent it, in MS., to Mr. Rickman, his cooler judgment suggested thit there might be an impropriety in some part of it appearing at the Poet Laureate's production. 'I am not sure,' hemp, .` that you do not forget that office imposes upon a man many restraints besides the one day's bag and sword at Carlton House. Put the ease that, through the mediation of Austria, we Make peace with Bonaparte, and he becomes, of course, a friendly power : can you stay in office, this Carmen remaining on record ? ' "

The whole story of the 'application or negotiation for Southey's irresponsible advice is curious for its various suggestions ; not the least of which is, that while the Castlereagh and Sidmouth Mi- nistry were looked upon as a raw-head-and-bloody-bones set of tyrants, they were really in a fright. The littkrateur comes out better than the statesmen : he was for up and doing ; they, like some later office-holders, were for doing not but using " a power o' words." The writer, too, was the more terested ; he steadily declined all present pay, as tending to lower his useful- ness; and with all his coercive projects, he recommended education and the improvement of the condition of the people. We make room for a passage in each strain, both from letters to Rickman.

"Four years ago I wrote in the Q. R. to explain the state of Jacobinism in the country, and with the hope of alarming the Government. At present they are alarmed ; they want to oppose pen to pen, and I have just been de- sired to go up to town and confer with Lord Liverpool. God help them, and is it come to this ! It is well that the press should be employed in their fa- vour; but if they rely upon influencing public opinion by such means, it be- comes us rather to look abroad where we may rest our heads in safety, or to make ready for taking leave of them at home.

"I wish to avoid a conference which will only sink me in Lord Liverpool's judgment : what there may be in me is not payable at sight; give me leisure and I feel my strength. So I shall write to Bedford (through whom, via /Ter- ries, the application has been made) such a letter as may be laid before him, and by this means I shall be able to state my opinion of the danger in broader terms than I could well do perhaps in conversation. The only remedy (if even that be not too late) is to check the press ; and I offer myself to point out the necessity in a manner which may awaken the sound part of the country from their sleep. My measures would be to make transportation the punishment for sedition, and to suspend the Habeas Corpus; and thus I would either have the anarchists under weigh for Botany Bay or in prison within a month after the meeting of Parliament. Irresolution will not do. "I suppose they will set up a sort of Anti-Jacobin journal, and desire me to write upon the state of the nation before the session opens. If they would but act as I will write,—I mean as much in earnest and as fearlessly,—the country would be saved, and I would stake my head upon the issue ; which very possibly may be staked upon it without my consent."

So much for repression. Southey's remedies are upon a broader scale ; though the idea of having an " honourable gentleman of the purchased seat," as a butt for Parliamentary joke-mongers, is unpractical enough : but his plans were comprehensive---too much so, indeed, for the red-tapists. "I wish to begin upon an exposure of the evils which exist in ourstate of society, and which it is the duty and interest of Government, as far as pos- sible, to mitigate and remove. Some things should be got rid of as matters of scandal. To destroy influence in elections _would be neither wise, if it were possible, nor possible if it were wise ; but it is not fit that menhluitild sell seam, in Parliathent, thmigh very fit that they should be bought- I would have these bought openly, like commissions in the army, snot the money applied to form a fund for public works, either national or provineial : a scandal is got rid of and a good produced, and the species of property. which would be touched by it is one which ought, not to have existed, as having always been contrary to.positive law. I think, too, that the few great sine-. cures which still exist should be given up, and applied during the lives of the present incumbents to some purposes of public splendour, that they may give them up with a grace. I would also give Members to the great towns which have none; restricting the voters' by such qualifications as should, as far as may be, disqualify the mere mOb. I would lay no stress on these things, further than as depriving the anarchists of the only topics which give a shadow of plausibility to their harangues. "The great evil, is the state of the poor ; which, with our. press and our means of communication, constantly exposes us to the horrors of a 'helium servile, and sooner or later,. if not remedied, will end in one. . . . .

"There are also great evils in the delays of law, which are surely capable

of remedy, and in the expense of criminal . . . .4. greater still in the condition of women—hem we are upon your old ground : and, passing from morals to religion, I think I could show how a great comprehension 'Mpac- ticable,—that is, how the Church might employ those who would else'lie en- listed against her. And if there be a mode by, which the tithes could be placed upon such a footing, or so commuted as to get rid of that perpetual

cause of litigation, you ere of all men most likely to point it out. ,

" One topic more, whieh is. not introduced here in its proper place, may conclude this long outline. All professions, trades, and means of getting a livelihood among us, are overstocked. We must create a new layer of cus- tomers at home by bettering the 'condition of the lower classes, and giving them more wants, with more means of gratifying them. We must 'extend establishments instead of diminishing them,—more clergymen, more colleges, more courts of law ; and lastly, we must colonize upon the true principle of colonization, and cultivate every available acre at home. God bless you! "