December 29 1814: Laus Deo!

On December 29 1814, Robert Southey writes to his friend  Grosvenor Charles Bedford,

Laus Deo! – Peace with America. All difficulty about the Ode is thus terminated, & instead of singing O be Joyful,  – I must set about another. Te Duivel! as my friends the Dutch say: So I shall pen one for the fiddlers, & alter the other either to be published separately or with it. Coming extra-officially it cannot be offensive, – & being in the press it cannot be suppressed without losing the price of the printers labour. 

As for any such possibilities as those at which you hint, they are so very like impossibilities that I do not know how to distinguish them. For in the first place you may be sure that if the men in power were ever so well disposed toward me, they would think me {already} liberally x remunerated for my literary merits: – they cannot know that by gaining a pension of £200. I was actually a loser of 20 £ a year;  they, if they thought about it at all, n would needs suppose that it was a clear addition to my former means, & that if I lived decently before, the addition would enable me to live with ease & comfort. Secondly they are never likely to think about me farther than as I may in pursuing my own principles happen to fall in with their view of things. This happened in the Spanish war, & would have happened in the Catholic question, if the Quarterly had not been under Cannings influence. [8] Thirdly I am neither enthusiast nor hypocrite, but a man deeply & habitually religious in all my feelings, according to my own views of religion; which views differ from those of the Church which I defend, in material points; – otherwise I should be in that church. I am too old to bring my own opinions upon this subject into discussion unnecessarily; but when I am conversing with persons in whose zeal I can sympathize I take scrupulous care that they may {not} misunderstand me, & imagine that because we agree in feeling we agree also in points of faith: But there is no occasion to do this in public. I write religiously because I write as I feel. Not being of the Church I hold the Church Establishment one of our greatest, perhaps the greatest of our blessings; & conscientiously desire to strengthen & support it. Not believing in the inspiration of the Bible, but believing in the faith which is founded upon it, I hold its general circulation as one of the greatest benefits which can be conferred upon it {mankind.} Not believing that men are damned for not being Christian I believe that Christianity is a divine religion, & that it is our duty to diffuse it. See whether whatever I write in my person is not consistent with this exposition. – The consequence a naturally is that I am le exposed to a double imputation, of  {enthusiasm} from those who believe less, – of irreligion from those who believe more. And whether they regard me at court in the one light or the other, the effect must be equally prejudicial.

No Grosvenor; I shall never get more from Government than has already been given me, & I am & ought to be well contented with it: – only they ought to allow me my wine in kind, & dispense with the odes.  When did this fools custom begin? Before Cibbers time? – I would have made the office honourable if they would have let me. If they will not, dishonour will not be mine. And now I am going to think about my rhymes so farewell for the night.

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