3240. Robert Southey to Elton Hamond, 5 February 1819

3240. Robert Southey to Elton Hamond, 5 February 1819 ⁠* 

Keswick. 5 Feby. 1819


I lose no time in replying to your extraordinary letter. [1]  – If as you say, the language of your papers would require to be recast, – it is altogether impossible for me to afford time for such an undertaking. But the style of your letter leads me to distrust your opinion upon this point, – & if the papers are written in as perspicuous with equal perspicuity, any change which they might undergo from another hand would be to their injury. It appears therefore to me that they would only require selection & arrangement. It would

Now Sir, it so happens, that I have works in preparation of great magnitude & (unless I deceive myself) of proportionate importance. [2]  And there must be many persons capable of preparing your manuscripts for the press, who have time to spare & would be happy in obtaining such an employment. There may possibly also be another reason why another person may better be applied to on this occasion. The difference between your opinions & mine might be so great, that I could <not> with satisfaction or propriety, become the means of introducing yours to the public. This would be the case if your reasonings tended to confound the distinctions between right & wrong, – or to lessen our hopes of a future state shake the foundations of religious belief. And yet I think that if there had been a great gulph between us, you would hardly have thought of making me your editor. Indeed if there had not been something in your letter which seems to make it probable that I should feel a lively interest in the transcript of your thoughts & feelings, – my answer would have been brief & incisive. Dxxxxxxxx I cannot xxxxxx it, –

Supposing then that there xxxxxx xxx xxxx difference of opinion

I should like to see a specimen of the papers, – such as might xx enable me to form a judgement of them: – perhaps I might more than this I cannot say, at present. – I cannot but admire the temper of your letter. You are looking wisely & calmly toward the grave, – xx allow me to add a fervent xx hope that you may <also> be looking with confidence & joy beyond it.

Believe me Sir

Yrs with respect

Robert Southey.


* Endorsement: Hamond/ (I) Southey to Elton Hamond
MS: Dr Williams’s Library, London, Crabb Robinson MSS. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Thomas Sadler (ed.), Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robinson, 3rd edn, 2 vols (London, 1872), I, p. 344. BACK

[1] Hamond had written to Southey on 3 February 1819 asking if he would act as his literary executor. BACK

[2] At this time, primarily Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)