1948. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell, 5 September 1811

1948. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell, 5 September 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. Sept. 5. 1811.

My dear Sir

On my return home after an absence which has greatly but unavoidably exceeded its proposed length, I find your welcome letter with its inclosure. One from Murray has also reached me which is to the same purport. I have not yet got thro the bustle of unpacking & arranging my books & papers, – tomorrow however I gird up my loins for the contest, – the Quarterly waits for me, & I promise you ample vengeance upon your Edinburgh enemy & calumniator, whom I understand to be Brougham, – not Jeffrey as I had erroneously supposed – Tros Tyriusve mihi &c [1]  – whether Scot or English Borderer makes no difference, I shall convict him of falshood & deal with him accordingly. [2] 

Should you go into the West there is a school at Enmore about eight miles from Bridgwater & as many from Taunton, which it would gratify you to see. It was established by the clergyman Mr John Poole, under the Earl of Egmonts patronage, & is under his immediate superintendence. [3]  I was affected as well as delighted to see how excellently the children profited by your invaluable discovery. Go on my dear Sir! these are the true reforms for which they who understand their duty towards God & Man xxx must be strenuous. When I think of you & of Clarkson it gives me a feeling of pride beyond any other circumstances of my life to think that I have the xxxx honour of numbering among my friends the two greatest benefactors of the human race who have appeared since Martin Luther. [4] 

Yrs most truly & respectfully

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Dr Bell/ Sherburn House/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Seal: Black wax, design illegible
Endorsement: Mr. Southey 5 Septr 1811
MS: Lehigh University, Special Collections. ALS; (c).
Previously published: Caroline Southey and Charles Cuthbert Southey (eds), The Life of the Rev. Andrew Bell, 3 vols (London, 1844), II, pp. 631–632 [in part]. BACK

[1] A contraction of Aeneid, Book 1, line 574: ‘Trojan or Tyrian, it shall make not difference to me’. The offending article was probably that in the Edinburgh Review, 17 (November 1810), 58–88, which had criticised Bell and proclaimed Joseph Lancaster’s educational methods superior. BACK

[2] Southey’s defence of Bell appeared in the Quarterly Review, 6 (August 1811), 264–304. It was, however, severely edited before publication, and his personal attacks on the Edinburgh Review were removed; see the account in Jonathan Cutmore, The Quarterly Review Archive. BACK

[3] In 1810 Enmore School was the first National School to be established in England. It provided free, elementary education in an Anglican environment and used Andrew Bell’s methods. Its founders were John Poole (c. 1770–1857), Rector of Enmore and John Perceval, 3rd Earl of Egmont (1737/8–1822). Poole was the author of The Village School Improved (1812) and a relative of Coleridge’s friend and Southey’s old acquaintance Thomas Poole. BACK

[4] Martin Luther (1483–1546), founder of Lutheranism and key figure in the European Reformation. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)