626. Robert Southey to Mary Barker, [mid-late November 1801] *
Charlotte Smith  I see is better acquainted with John Bunyan  than with Robert Southey. that she will find out whenever we meet.  as for panegyric, I never praised living being yet except Mary Wollstonecraft  – not even Bonaparte  in his honest days. she I perceive still clings to France – but France has played the traitor with Liberty. – Mary Barker – it is not I who have turned round. I stand where I stood looking at the rising sun – & now the sun has set behind me! –
England has mended – is mending – will mend. I have still faith enough in God & hope enough of man. but not of France! Freedom cannot grow up in that hot bed of immorality. that oak must root in a hardier soil – England or Germany. a military despotism! – popery reestablished – the negroes again to be enslaved!  – Why had not the man perished before the Walls of Acre  in his greatness & his glory! – I was asked to write a poem upon that defeat, & half tempted to do it because it went to my very heart –
I wish we could offer you a bed – lodgings cramp one sadly. Ediths love. – we are eager to see you –
* Address: To/ Miss Barker.
MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Robert Galloway Kirkpatrick Jnr, ‘The Letters of Robert Southey to Mary Barker From 1800 to 1826’ (unpublished PhD, Harvard, 1967), pp. 20-21 [where it is dated December 1801]
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 180–181.
Dating note: Miss Barker had visited Southey in London and left by 3 December 1801 (Southey to Danvers 2-3 December 1801, Letter 634). This letter was written in reply to a letter of Mary Barker’s and in expectation of her visit. A date of mid-late November 1801 can therefore be suggested for this letter. BACK
 Southey mentions Napoleon’s assumption of control in France by a military coup on 9 November 1799, the signature of a Concordat between France and the Papacy in July 1801, and preparations for an expedition, which sailed on 14 December 1801, to re-conquer the French colony of Haiti. BACK