3659. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell [fragment], 26 March 1821*
Keswick, 26th March 1821.
My dear Sir,
... I can form no conception of a better man than Mr Watts – of one whose feelings and opinions were more uniformly what they ought to have been.  I never knew so much thorough prudence united with such perfect goodness. A madman, but of great genius, cast my nativity once, and pronounced that I had “a gloomy capability of walking through desolation.”  Mr Watts possessed something much more extraordinary, and much more desirable – a capability of mingling with the world, engaging in its pursuits, carrying on its business, partaking its pleasures, and enjoying its favours, and preserving his heart the while unstained and unhardened, and the strength of his religious feelings unabated....
* 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), III, pp. 629–630 [in part]. BACK
 Southey was writing a life of David Pike Watts (1754–1816), a fabulously rich wine merchant and philanthropist. Watts had been an important supporter of Andrew Bell’s educational schemes and owned the Storrs Hall estate on Windermere. His daughter and heiress, Mary Watts-Russell (1792–1840), had commissioned Southey’s account. It was privately printed in 1841 as Some Account of the Late David Pike Watts, Esq.: with Extracts from his Letters. BACK