2063. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell [fragment], 23 March 1812 

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2063. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell [fragment], 23 March 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick, March 23, 1812.

My dear Sir,

You misunderstood me in supposing that what was said in my last, was designed as a universal and unqualified censure. [1]  Collective bodies must be spoken of collectively. Their general character must be taken from the conduct of the majority, be the virtues of individuals what they may; and thus I meant only to say that the heads of the Church have done their duty at last, not because they have been persuaded to it by you, but because they have been frightened and shamed into it by the Dragon. Your bishop [2]  and a few others have been zealous and sincere well-doers; and their good deeds have sprung from that principle which gives them their value. As for certain other persons, we must be thankful for what they do, and bless God for the harvest, however unworthy the hands may be, which have sown some of the seed.


Notes

* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Robert Southey, Caroline Southey and Charles Cuthbert Southey, The Life of the Rev. Andrew Bell, 3 vols (London, 1844)
Previously published: Robert Southey, Caroline Southey and Charles Cuthbert Southey, The Life of the Rev. Andrew Bell, 3 vols (London, 1844), II, pp. 659–660. BACK

[1] Southey had criticised the Church for adopting Bell’s system only as a knee-jerk response to fear of Joseph Lancaster’s; see Robert Southey to Andrew Bell, 13 March 1812, Letter 2060. BACK

[2] Possibly Shute Barrington (1734–1826; DNB), Bishop of Durham 1791–1826. He had promoted both the inter-denominational Religious Tract Society (founded 1799) and the British and Foreign Bible Society (founded 1804). Bell had become Master of Sherburn Hospital, a lucrative sinecure in Durham, in 1809. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013