3425. Robert Southey to Henry Phillpotts, 22 January 1820

3425. Robert Southey to Henry Phillpotts, 22 January 1820 ⁠* 

Keswick. 22 Jany. 1820

My dear Sir

I thank you for your Remarks upon the Edinburgh Review, [1]  – if every person who has been misrepresented & calumniated in that dishonest journal had vindicated himself as temperately & as ably as you have done, its credit would have gone down in the world much sooner than it did. Your pamphletts cannot fail of producing some good. Persons of the opposite party who are not so far gone in faction as to be irrecoverable, will like the manner & the temper so well that they will attend the more willingly to the reasoning which is so candidly but cogently set forth, & the dignified severity with which you conclude will be felt where it ought to be. Brougham, I well know, winces like a galled jade [2]  when he is touched.

The measures of government, [3]  & the manifestation of feeling which they have called forth from the sound part of the community, have produced a sudden calm over the country. The disease is not cured, but time is gained for administering alteratives. The three things needful are – to check the seditious press (which I fear is not sufficiently done) – to provide wholesome instruction for the rising generation, & to have a constant outlet open for restless spirits & superfluous hands. The attention of Government is directed to all these objects, & there exists a very general desire (quickened no doubt by a sense of danger) to alleviate misery & prevent crimes. If in the course of the next generation we are not made the most miserable of all nations by a radical Revolution, there is I think a fair prospect of our attaining to a greater degree of national happiness than has ever been enjoyed by any people in any age of the world. Utrum horum? [4]  We must hope & pray for the best, – & we who can, must labour for it also.

Believe me my dear Sir

Yours with much esteem

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ The Reverend H. Phillpotts,/ College,/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Seal: red wax, design illegible
Endorsement: Mr Southey/ 22 Jany. 1820
MS: Exeter Cathedral Library, ED 11/58/2. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Henry Phillpotts, Remarks on an Article in the Edinburgh Review, No. 64, entitled “Necessity of Parliamentary Enquiry” (1820). This was a reply to the review in Edinburgh Review, 44 (October 1819), 441–453, of Phillpotts’s pamphlet, A Letter to the Freeholders of the County of Durham on the Proceedings of the County Meeting holden on Thursday, 21st October 1819 – and Particularly on the Speech of J. G. Lambton, Esq., M. P. (1819). BACK

[2] Hamlet, Act 3, scene 2, lines 242–243. BACK

[3] Parliament had passed the Cabinet’s ‘Six Acts’ in November–December 1819 to suppress radical agitation. BACK

[4] ‘Which of these?’. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)