12. Robert Southey to Charles Collins, [begun 4 June 1792] *
My dear friend
Pestered yesterday with the Athanasian creed  & a sermon in defence of incomprehensibility besides the epistle from the Revelations. believe me I lost all patience & tho’ the sermon denounced damnation to me if I doubted the Trinity I still must doubt & deny. the present state as well of religion [MS torn] politicks is very very bad — church & state are rotten at the heart & [MS torn]hould be hewn down & cast into the fire. but government raises a mob to burn the dissenters houses  & oppression leads his thousands against the French. a good flaming libel is wanted very much & were there a possibility of publishing it safely I would sweat the whole system of government — if you were to tie up your dog should not you think it very hard were all the curs in town to worry you? now apply this to the French they have tied up their King from doing mischief & all the rest of that cursed breed are “letting loose the dogs of war”.  the second part of Junius’ letters  would be well timed but I have already experienced the ill effects of speaking truth — the whole bench of Bishops & every Schoolmaster in the Kingdom are my avowed enemies & so I must take warning. yet methinks were a good hot inflammatory piece of treason sent to the Revolution society  they would perhaps publish it without inquiry. unless Paine comes forward this inquisitorial proclamation will subvert the Rights of Man. 
a paper upon wigs (too much like No 5  for publication) with a few imitations & some occasional lines are all I have written here — you saw Birch in imitation of Watts’ divine hymns so take this as Shenstone.  [MS torn]
I shall see you this week most probably so do not write. you must allow a little fiction in poetry. I never cared for the birch you know, tho’ the birchen monarch  cared for me.
* Address: Mr C Collins/ opposite the Lying in hospital/ Lambeth/
near/ Westminster Bridge
Postmark: JU/ 7/ 92
MS: Huntington Library, HM 44798. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Roland Baughman, ‘Southey the Schoolboy’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 7 (1944), 261–263. BACK
 Thomas Paine (1737–1809; DNB), writer and political controversialist. His works included Common Sense (1776), The Rights of Man (1791–1792) and The Age of Reason (1793). The reference is to the Royal Proclamation against seditious writings of 21 May 1792 and the simultaneous prosecution launched against The Rights of Man. BACK