3537. Robert Southey to Benjamin Robert Haydon, 11 October 1820

3537. Robert Southey to Benjamin Robert Haydon, 11 October 1820⁠* 

Keswick. 11 Oct. 1820

My dear Sir

It is very gratifying to know that you are satisfied with my good endeavours, – & the more gratifying inasmuch as xxxx xxx the paper having been delayed nearly two years in the Editors hands, has suffered considerably by mutilation on its way thro the press. [1]  I had quoted much more largely from your pamphlett, – & in what follows the extract not only sentences, but whole paragraphs have been cut out. Mr Gifford has more than once promised me that he would not take these unwarrantable liberties with my papers, – but I believe he might as well promise to abstain from food, as from the exercise of his editorial authority.

The subject if treated by itself would only have filled three or four pages. – I thought it better therefore to xxxxx introduce it at the end of a paper considerable in length & treating of other important things; – sure of gaining thereby this advantage at least, that those persons who should be impressed by the facts stated, or the arguments adduced in the earlier part of the essay, would be disposed to agree with the writer throughout, & thus follow him with willing minds to the end.

The press has great power for producing immediate evil, – much less for bringing about any immediate good. But tho truth & good principles make their way slowly, they are sure to make it at last. And I have no doubt that whenever the Government finds itself at ease concerning the revenue the Arts will feel the benefit. The disposition is not wanting.

You have great subjects in hand, – & if any man can be equal to them – you are. [2]  I wish you health to compleat them, & many more, & all the success that you desire & deserve. But whatever your immediate success <reward> may be, your great object is attained, – you have proved the excellency of British art, & secured that triumph for your country.

Believe me my Dear Sir

with great respect

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: B.R. Haydon Esqre/ St Johns Place/ Lisson Grove North/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ 14 OC 14/ 1820; 10 o’Clock/ OC 14/ 1820 FNn
MS: Houghton Library, fMS Eng 1331 (12). ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Benjamin Robert Haydon: Correspondence and Table-Talk. With a Memoir by his son Frederick Wordsworth Haydon, 2 vols (London, 1876), I, p. 349. BACK

[1] Southey’s review of Benjamin Haydon, New Churches, Considered with Respect to the Opportunities they Offer for the Encouragement of Painting (1818) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (July 1820), 549–591, published on 5 October 1820. When Southey first submitted it, Gifford asked Southey to rewrite it to make it longer and he then made considerable alterations to the second draft before it was published; see Southey to John Murray, 19 October 1819, Letter 3368, and Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 October [1820], Letter 3535. BACK

[2] Haydon had embarked on a series of biblical and classical subjects. Southey had viewed his Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem (1820) on his visit to London in May–June 1820. Haydon’s works in hand included The Raising of Lazarus (1823). BACK

People mentioned

Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)