Robert Southey to William Hone, 10 May, 1830

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

Robert Southey to William Hone, 10 May, 1830.1 β€” -TEI-

10 May. 1830

Altho' I have no copy of my letter, & might have written it more cautiously had I contemplated the possibility of its appearing in a newspaper β€” & would rather it should have come to light when the Resurrection men2 will be busy about me, β€” you are nevertheless at liberty to use it in the way you wish. But do not let me be misrepresented or misunderstood.

Judging of you (as I want myself be judged) by your work, I saw in the Editor of the Every-Day and Table Books a man who had applied himself with great diligence to useful and meritorious pursuits. I thought that time & reflection & affliction (of which, it was thus seen, that he had had his share) had contributed to lead him at this direction, which was also that of his better mind. What alteration has been produced in his opinions it concerned not me to enquire; here, there were none but what were unexceptionable.β€”in feelings but what were to be approved. From all that appeared I supposed that he had become "a sadder and a wiser man." I therefore wished him success in his literary undertakings, & decided to remember nothing more of the earlier life that the ability & presence of mind which he displayed upon his trial.

If the Times should rest its appeal upon other grounds than those which induce me to think of you with respect & good will, let it [one word][?] acquit me of making any approach to what it may call liberal opinions or the spirit of the age. On no other occasion should I ever ask, or expect, justice from that Journal.

Should it address itself chiefly to those persons whose general views accord with mine, the explanation will be unnecessary. The matter as you rightly observe, required very judicious management.

I wish the occupation in which you are endeavouring to enter [one word][?] better suited to your habits, acquirements, & inclinations. But such as it is, if the attempt prospers, you will find leisure for intellectual participation, & for that self-improvement which may be carried on with in the busiest recesses of life.

Wishing you success
I remain Sir
Yours with sincere good will
Robert Southey

Mr. W Hone
13 Gracechurch Street

British Library, Add. MS 40856, ff. 37-38. A more detailed account of the place of this letter in the context of the Hone/Southey relationship is available in the accompanying Conversation narrative. [return]
"Resurrection men" were grave robbers who dug up the recently deceased to sell the bodies to medical colleges as cadavers. [return]
Robert Southey. Date: 2014-04-24