Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
133. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 10 June 1804*
June 10th 1804
You will contrive to let my Mother have the enclosed letter as soon as possible, as she may want some trifling article before she starts. and if they agree to ride on Monday the 18th you will apprize me of it by letter to be received on Monday morning. So much for the journey.—I dare not speak on politicks as I could wish because it is such an endless subject, but certainly after seeing in the french people that wonderful attatchment to Monarchy and to Monarchs, which as a national and characteristic foible, (so it was call'd) excited the ridicule of Smollet  and most English writers; and latterly seeing them so vehemently attatched to the Hero of Marengo;  the Consulship, and the Emperorship have not at all surprized me. It is an old trick of theirs, the pendelum has been to its length and is returning.—and though the making an Emperor, and then asking the people to vote, be the quintessence of a political joke, I belive less of the possibility of the operation of fear and force than many do, and believe that an astonishing power arises for him in the pride of military France, in the blaze of his enterprizing mind, and his unpresidented victories. Therefore he is formidable. I had a long letter the other day from Mrs Palmer at paris, but not a Word of Politicks!! She acts very prudently, and I may see her again.—I still think that the general system of instruction, and the downfall of the feudal rights of families, with the present religious toleration &c are fruits of the revolution not to be despised; and though I long thought, and still think that the Bourbons are likely to have the power again, I care less about them and the new Emperor than I ever did in my life. all my desire of the french is that they would keep at home, and I trust they are strong enough to destroy any thing we could send to their coast to molest them there.
Perhaps Pit may turn out to be Sampson with his head shorn, perhaps the good old king may resign his power, and then perhaps proposals for peace. I should like to gossip with you face to face about these perhapses, and more particularly on the subject of englands boast 'the liberty of the press.' I think two pints of Ale would make us talk very wisely on this head, and endeavour to find whither we have any thing to boast of or not.—
I am going for a day or two about 14 miles from Town to visit a Mrs Sharp and her daughter, (relations of Surgeon Sharp) they live at Clare Hall, near South Mims in Hertfordshire. They have orderd books, and the young lady has written an invitation which it is not easy to resist, nor advantageous to my family to slight.