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Robert Southey: History, Politics, Religion (Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters)

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Gooch; p. Gooch; pp. Robert Southey to John Murray, 31 January , in ibid. Southey did facilitate a contribution to the Edinburgh Annual Register, for The appearance of his first article in the Quarterly may also have been facilitated by John Taylor Coleridge, whose wife Gooch attended. Robert Ferguson to William Blackwood, [? Gooch Robert. Two Days with Dr. Protestant Sisters of Charity.

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Medicine and Morals in the Enlightenment. See also Wild. In: Coyer, Shuttleton, editors. Scottish Medicine and Literary Culture. Moir to William Blackwood, 20 November [? In: Morrison, Roberts, editors. Medical Attendance on the Country Poor. In addition to the Colloquies , see Southey Robert.

The Poor. On this missionary aspect of the project, see Dallas. His interest in the Beguines dates at least to Southey supported Gooch by sharing his previous research on the Beguines. The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey. For a detailed overview, see Williams Perry. Religion, respectability and the origins of the modern nurse. In: French, Wear, editors. British Medicine in an Age of Reform.

Macaulay Thomas. Robert Southey and Romantic Apostasy. For an overview of the politics of the Quarterly , see Cutmore. Cutmore, editor. Conservativism and the Quarterly Review. See for example Southey. Robert Gooch, M,D; p. Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey. See Story. Robert Southey: A Life. The Co-operatives. On the Constitution of Church and State. Rhyming Reason. A few examples of this metaphor regarding radicalism, scepticism, and unrest and the popular press may be found in vol. For a detailed reading, see Connell. The Modern Pythagorean. Ferguson Robert. Psychological inquiries.

For an overview of links between medicine and philosophy in Scotland, see Hamlin. Robert Ferguson. The Lancet. Medical Times and Gazette. Berard - Influence of Civilization on Public Health. Foreign Quarterly Review. The Cholera. Directions of the Privy Council in Case of Pestilence. Public Health and Mortality.

Robert Southey History, Politics, Religion Nineteenth Century Major Lives and Letters

Colliers and Collieries. Pentonville Prisoners. The Two Systems at Pentonville. Out-door Relief. For further on Scrope in the Quarterly , see Fetter. Scrope G. Poor Laws for Scotland. Foreign Poor-Laws - Irish Poverty. See for example Neaves Charles. Discontents of the Working Classes. Revolt of the Workers. The Employer and the Employed. What I am referring to is a general rhetorical emphasis within public health articles.

Robert Southey | English author |

Cooper Anthony Ashley. Infant Labour. Greg WR. Juvenile and Female Labour. See Gleig George Robert. The Country Curate. Contagion and Quarantine. Plague, a Contagious Disease. Letters from the Continent. Monographs, or book chapters, which are outputs of Wellcome Trust funding have been made freely available as part of the Wellcome Trust's open access policy. Turn recording back on. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Show details Coyer M.

Search term. Alison, Robert Gooch, and Robert Ferguson. He lives far away — Seven miles, and has seven parishes, they say, And his own private practice to attend. The husband is asthmatic and unable to work; the wife has just given birth and now has yet another starving child; and both have starved themselves and their children to hire an attorney to defend their eldest son against a false accusation of robbery. Ah, your honour! Robert Gooch and the Making of a Progressive Tory Social Medicine Robert Gooch was highly regarded for the clarity of his thinking and writing as well as for his utilisation of apt and vivid illustrations.

It was an ethical ideal that Gooch himself reflected in his public persona.

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The Healers. Pantisocracy would provide a foretaste of this triumph, and it gave him 'new life, new hope, new energy'. All the faculties of his mind, he said, were dilated letter of 12 Oct , New Letters , 1. He left Oxford and spent the next year and a quarter in the west of England, much of it in the animating company of Coleridge.

While planning emigration the two men gave ingeniously subversive public lectures. Their conversation, too, seems to have been downright audacious. They collaborated in writing a verse play on the death of Robespierre , and Southey composed a similar piece on Wat Tyler , who he supposed thinking of his aunt might be one of his forebears. It was at this time that he wrote his 'Botany Bay Eclogues' , exposing the injustices of the English legal system, and the experiments in classical metres 'The Soldier's Wife' , 'The Widow' so mercilessly parodied by George Canning in The Anti-Jacobin.

But the exhilaration of this period could not be sustained. Pantisocracy failed because Southey and Coleridge lacked the money even to travel to Pennsylvania, let alone establish their settlement. Southey himself was in increased financial difficulties because Miss Tyler had cast him off when she learned of the emigration plan and the engagement to a seamstress. As time went on, too, Coleridge's flamboyant radicalism, coupled with his less stable temperament, created tensions which led to an estrangement.

Southey's uncle in Portugal helpfully invited his nephew to spend some months in that country, and he left Bristol for Lisbon on 19 November , having secretly married Edith Fricker on the 14th. She took up residence in the family of Joseph Cottle , the bookseller who had agreed to publish Joan of Arc and who later proved to be exceedingly generous in his assistance to both Southey and Coleridge. Southey's stay in Spain and Portugal lasted from mid-December to early May in the year following.

He visited Madrid, but spent most of his time in and around Lisbon. He obtained a good grounding in both Spanish and Portuguese, but was repelled by his encounter with the Roman Catholic church , a repulsion that proved permanent. In spite of this, and his disgust at the lack of cleanliness that he encountered, Southey enjoyed himself on this visit, an enjoyment manifest in Letters Written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal , a miscellany of verse and prose which proved quite popular and soon went into a second edition.

On his return to England, Southey and Edith began their married life in lodgings, and he embarked on his career as a professional writer. He worked on his Spanish and Portuguese Letters , wrote poetry for the Monthly Magazine , enjoyed the favourable reception that Joan of Arc received in the reviews, and, thus encouraged, went on with his next epic projects, Madoc and somewhat later, though published first, in the Arabian tale Thalaba the Destroyer. Joan of Arc , though it had been innovative in subject, was traditional in its blank verse form.

It illustrated some aspects of Islam as Southey understood it, commending the virtues of endurance and faithfulness. The poem at its best suggests an irrepressible buoyancy, as in the hero's journey in the little boat downstream, where:. Southey at this time needed all the resilience he could command, as his circumstances remained disquietingly unsettled.

The annuity from Wynn had been offered on the understanding that Southey would study law, so when the first instalment was paid early in he moved to London and was admitted a member of Gray's Inn. But London suited neither Southey nor Edith , and after some intermediate moves they settled for a few months in Burton in Hampshire, where he made another new friend who became important to him in later years.

This was John Rickman , soon to become secretary to the speaker of the House of Commons, and organizer of Britain's first census in In the next two and a half years Southey was often on the move, staying sometimes in London but more often in various parts of the south and west of England, finding indeed some sense of permanence in Martin Hall, the house he rented in Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol, from mid to mid Throughout this time he was studying law, but devoting more and more time to literature.

He had a contract to send poetry to the Morning Post , which led to his writing some of his most characteristic short lyrics. Here he showed, like Wordsworth , how far the language of the middle and lower classes was adapted to poetry. His work has less vitality, and is more conventional, than that of his rivals, which may account for his notoriously depreciatory assessment of Lyrical Ballads in the Critical Review. Although this was a productive period, its unsettled restlessness weakened Southey's health, and made a visit to a warmer climate desirable.

Once again help came from his uncle in Portugal, and he and Edith spent over a year there. By now he had conceived an ambitious project to write a history of Portugal, and he took every opportunity to collect materials, forming the nucleus of his remarkable collection of books in Spanish and Portuguese. This became a lifelong preoccupation, though the only part published was his History of Brazil — His health much improved, he returned to England in July Southey's friend Rickman now put him in the way of a post in the government of Ireland, recently reorganized under the Act of Union.

He accepted the position of secretary to Isaac Corry , the chancellor of the exchequer there, and spent a fortnight in Dublin in October But there was no work to be done, and no prospect of any apart from serving as a tutor to Corry's son. So he resigned, the more confidently because he could already feel that his literary reputation, even notoriety, was well established. Thus, when the newly founded and instantly influential Edinburgh Review wanted to attack poetic innovation, it was by way of reviewing Thalaba Then, too, he had some unusual qualifications: in particular, his knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese, which enabled him to undertake moderately well-paid translation work, notably of Amadis of Gaul , after the original by Vasco Lobeira.

He was recruited by Arthur Aikin to deal with a wide range of topics for his Annual Review , and for several years this periodical was an important source of income for him. Southey passed the winter of —2 in London. It was an unhappy time, as his mother died at the beginning of January, and Edith's health was poor. It now became more pressing for them to find a settled residence, and Coleridge , already occupying Greta Hall in Keswick in the Lake District, urged the couple to join him and Sara there.

Southey was at first unwilling because he mistrusted the climate, but when Margaret died in her first year he thought it best for Edith to be with her sister, and they moved to Keswick. It was to be the Southey home for forty years. Coleridge's marriage had long been under severe strain, and a few months after the Southeys' arrival he left for Malta in quest of a place in the government there. Southey thus had the responsibility of looking after Coleridge's wife and three children as well as his own. In Southey , with Joseph Cottle , brought out an edition of Chatterton's poems for the benefit of the poet's family.

He later performed the same service for Henry Kirke White in A second daughter, Edith May , was born to the Southeys in , a son, Herbert , in , then four more daughters, Emma , Bertha , Katharine , and Isabel , and, last of all, a second son, Charles Cuthbert. Southey took great pleasure in his family. As he put it in one of his last books, the rambling miscellany published as The Doctor , 'a house is never perfectly furnished for enjoyment, unless there is a child in it rising three years old, and a kitten rising six weeks' chap. Few things distressed him more than the mistreatment of children, and in the same work he deplores the wanton, wicked suffering too often inflicted on them out of obduracy, caprice, stupidity, malignity, cupidity, and cruelty.

He made sure that Greta Hall was a good place for young people, and the boisterous good humour that is one of the most attractive features of his work was evidently fostered by his home life. It enabled him to compose the one work of his which has proved unquestionably enduring admittedly now in a range of corrupted texts , his magnificent version of the story of the Three Bears. Perhaps one might also add the flamboyant evocation of the cataract of Lodore:. Poems , Settled in Keswick, Southey came to know the Wordsworths well, at first because of their association with Coleridge , but soon, living as they did not far away in Grasmere, out of neighbourly sympathy.

Through the Wordsworths he was introduced to the young Thomas De Quincey , whose vivid memories of the lake poets were later to cause great resentment. In he met Walter Scott and liked him very much, finding his conservative political outlook increasingly congenial. From the time of Southey's withdrawal from the pantisocracy scheme, his radical enthusiasm had weakened, but there were considerable fluctuations in his political sentiments. Until perhaps or he liked to think of himself as a Jacobin. Certainly many of the poems he wrote for the Morning Post in are emphatically subversive.

He always insisted on free and fearless thinking in religious matters. He never modified his disparagement of William Pitt , whose war policy he abominated. In he and Wordsworth shocked De Quincey with their cheerfully irreverent republican views De Quincey , —5. With the breakdown in of the brief peace of Amiens, however, he adopted the traditional British hostility to the French with enthusiasm. The hostility reached a climax in when the French invaded his beloved Spain and Portugal. From then onwards he saw the war as a crusade, and those who opposed it as little better than traitors.

His most ambitious publication during this period was Madoc , a long narrative celebrating the civilizing mission of virtuous Europeans in overcoming an inhumane culture in Mexico. He attached particular importance to this poem, regarding his previous work as exercises to prepare him for its composition.

The indifference of the reading public on this occasion disappointed him. Southey's state of mind in his first years at Greta Hall emerges clearly from Letters from England , the supposed work of an imaginary Spanish traveller, Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella.

The temper is generally relaxed, but he finds some aspects of English life alarming, particularly in its industrial and commercial expansion. He compares commerce to a witch who has cast a baleful spell on the entire population, tainting every aspect of society. There is too much wealth and too much poverty. Only a taxation policy aimed at breaking down great properties might serve to break the enchantment.

The theme of sinister magic is one to which Southey recurs in his poetry, and in this respect he may have spoken to a rather pervasive anxiety at the time. Meanwhile his work as a translator of Portuguese and Spanish came to fruition in Palmerin of England and Chronicle of the Cid , a skilful fusion of several sources. Southey would have given up writing his own poetry altogether had it not been for Walter Savage Landor , whom he met in Landor offered to subsidize the publication of any future epics, an encouragement which prompted Southey to continue writing his next major poem, The Curse of Kehama This was a romance, like Thalaba in irregular verse, taking Hinduism as a background to a story of resilient endurance.

The invulnerability of the hero, Ladurlad, profoundly gratifies Southey's imagination, as does the eternal punishment inflicted on the aspiring Kehama:. Kehama was published some two years after the outbreak of the Peninsular War, and by that time the euphoria attending its first phase was beginning to give way to an anxiety deepening to panic when he contemplated the political scene in Britain. His earlier Jacobinism ceased to appeal once he was forced to recognize that it was allied with opposition to the war.

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  5. He was eager to take part in producing a new periodical, the Quarterly Review , dedicated to countering the influence of the widely read Edinburgh Review , which was proving lukewarm in its support of the Spanish patriots. While he had grave suspicions of the new journal's links with government ministers, the war issue took precedence over everything else. Besides, he was glad to strengthen the opposition to the Edinburgh politically since it had been hostile to his poetry.

    The pay, too, was excellent. At the outset the tory management of the Quarterly did not trust Southey with political subjects. His first contribution was a defence of the Baptist Missionary Society , in effect a reply to a scornful article in the Edinburgh. Even here the editor excised any indication of indifference to theological orthodoxy, and Southey was furious when he saw how cruelly his article had been mutilated. He hoped for better things when, in , he reviewed Charles W.

    Pasley argued for a more aggressive war policy, with fewer scruples about conquest. Southey called in Rickman to help him with economic arguments to support Pasley's views, and although the resulting article contradicts Southey's enduring hostility to the industrial revolution, he was still gratified at the idea that he was establishing a new and less inhibited habit of thinking about the war. But once again the editor intervened: he called in J. Croker to tone down the more offensive passages.

    Southey refused to acknowledge the review as his when he saw the published version. Southey had more freedom of expression in another publishing enterprise. This was the 'history of the year' that he contributed to the Edinburgh Annual Register , beginning with What he wrote in the first volume, which occupied him through the winter of —10, illustrates the final phase of his radical commitment. He strongly supported the Spanish patriots, showed goodwill to the British radical reformers, censured government patronage, and admired with some reservations Cobbett's vigorous and fearless journalism.

    While he was, of course, scornful of Samuel Whitbread and the peace campaigners, and disturbed when radicals like Sir Francis Burdett supported them, the continuity with his former views is still unmistakable. But when he came to write the history of the following year, during the winter of —11, he adopted an altogether different tone.

    He had to record the exposure of the duke of York's corrupt disposal of army commissions through his mistress, and the resulting 'political Saturnalia' which gave the mob an unwelcome taste of power Edinburgh Annual Register for , 1. As he was writing, the renewed mental illness of George III opened up the prospect of a regency and hence of a change of government, a change which might mean some weakening in the conduct of the war.

    By the time he had finished he was convinced that what the country needed was above all a strong leader. A regular opposition was absurd, and reform an invitation to anarchy. This was Southey's political creed for the next two decades. It gave him little comfort, as increasingly he felt that events were moving inexorably towards a destructive revolution. His fears were reinforced in May when a failed businessman assassinated the prime minister, Spencer Perceval , and crowds rejoiced in the streets.

    In a succession of articles in the Quarterly he called for stern measures against agitators coupled with an attempt to reverse the fatal dependence on manufacturing industry. There were now extremes of inequality which undermined social cohesion and were intolerable. It was this revulsion against the commercial spirit that led him to endorse the egalitarian plans of Robert Owen , and to listen sympathetically to the young and fiercely radical poet Shelley when he visited Keswick in In , partly through the efforts of Walter Scott , Southey was offered and accepted the post of poet laureate.

    His immediate predecessor, Henry James Pye , was extremely undistinguished, but Southey saw the appointment as an opportunity to offer much needed leadership to a nation threatened by catastrophic disruption. Though some of his odes dealt with traditional laureate subjects like a royal marriage, he lost no opportunity of making a lofty political point. He denounced the idea of negotiating with Bonaparte , celebrated the victory over France in , commended programmes of emigration, and warned the nation of the dangers of faction and sedition.

    His last major narrative poem, Roderick, the Last of the Goths , reinforced this martial message, evoking warlike passions strangely at variance with the pacifism implicit in poems like 'The Battle of Blenheim' of some fifteen years earlier. Admittedly the mood is very different in his Poet's Pilgrimage to Waterloo , where a sad visit to the battlefield is followed by an inspiring vision of the future, of a world transformed by beneficent British rule. The Life of Nelson belongs to this period, a book which continued to find readers long after most of Southey's work was forgotten.

    This is understandable, for Nelson was congenial to both sides of Southey's character, the kindly and the aggressive, being a war hero who was both indomitable and affectionate. Southey was a poet laureate who took his duties as a bulwark of good order very seriously—duties which inevitably exposed him to ridicule by those who were in opposition to the tory government.

    Critics accused him of absurd self-importance, and were quick to point out the contrast between his former radicalism and his present role as a courtier. The contrast was underlined in when a mischievous publisher obtained a copy of Southey's youthful play Wat Tyler and printed it. The publication was enormously successful, and was acutely embarrassing to a poet laureate, although he defended himself forcefully.

    In his Letter to William Smith he argued that his basic convictions had never changed. His concern had always been to remove obstacles to human progress.

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    The sympathy that Southey felt for Nelson does not inform the more ambitious Life of Wesley , impressive though this is as a conscientious account of the rise and progress of an important religious movement. Southey is stern about Methodism's enthusiasm and extravagance, and hopes that it will see its way to becoming an auxiliary of the established church. On one occasion, at least, Southey's standing as a champion of established institutions gained him recognition that gave him unmixed pleasure. In June his old university awarded him the degree of LLD, and at the ceremony he told his daughters, 'there was a great clapping of hands and huzzaing at my name' Southey , Life and Correspondence , 5.

    But there were few cheers a year later when his laureate career reached an unhappy climax with A Vision of Judgement. This was an elaborate poem in hexameters describing the king's triumphant entry into heaven.

    His manifest innocence put to shame those who had so troubled him during his lifetime. Rather rashly, Southey identified political opposition with discipleship of Satan, and in the preface further attacked what he called the satanic school of poetry. Lord Byron took this personally, and in his own hugely entertaining Vision of Judgment interpreted the events imagined by Southey in a way far less flattering to the dead king.

    Southey's reputation has never recovered from Byron's ridicule. Southey was unfortunate in coming to the laureate's office at a time of acute social disruption, when political conflicts were savage and apocalyptic hopes and fears all too plausible. The harsh tone of his political writing after , though ugly, was a natural enough reaction to a pervasive sense of insecurity.

    The insecurity was intensified by distresses nearer home. His much loved son Herbert died in when only nine years old, and with his death Southey lost something of his hopes for the future. In Southey's view the threats to order and good government continued to multiply through the s. The main focus of his concern was the so-called Catholic question.

    Until Roman Catholics in Britain and Ireland were excluded from many public offices and were forbidden to sit in parliament. Southey strongly defended these exclusions, mainly on the ground that Ireland, where most of the Catholics lived, was a barbarous country, and Catholicism a characteristic element in the barbarity: inherently, incurably, and restlessly intolerant. Unchecked, it would threaten the whole fabric of the British constitution, and attempts at conciliation served only to whet destructive appetites. Southey's contribution to the defence was to publish The Book of the Church , a history of Christianity in England.

    It celebrated the emergence of an established church which had shown itself the guardian of religious and political liberty. The book became the focus of fierce controversy, to which Southey responded in Vindiciae ecclesiae Anglicanae , making its political significance explicit.