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Mr Southey accuses us of attacking the religion of the country; and is he abetting it by writing lives of Wesley? One mode of worship is merely destroyed by another. There never was, nor ever will be, a country without a religion. We shall be told of France again : but it was only Paris and a frantic party, which for a moment upheld their dogmatic nonsense of theo-philanthropy. The church of England, if overthrown, will be swept away by the sectarians and not by the sceptics. People are too wise, too well informed, too certain of their own immense importance in the realms of space, ever to submit to the impiety of doubt. There may be a few such diffident speculators, like water in the pale sunbeam of human reason, but they are very few; and their opinions, without enthusiasm or appeal to the passions, can never gain proselytes—unless, indeed, they are persecuted—that, to be sure, will increase any thing.
Mr S., with a cowardly ferocity, exults over the anticipated « deathbed repentancer of the objects of his dislike; and indulges himself in a pleasant « Vision of Judgment,» in prose as well as verse, full of impious impudence. What Mr S.'s sensations or ours may be in the awful moment of leaving this state of existence neither he nor we can pretend to decide. In common, I presume, with most men of any reflection, I have not waited for a « death-bed» to
of my actions, notwithstanding the « diabolical pride» which this pitiful renegado in his rancour would impute to those who scorn him. Whether upon the whole the good or evil of my
may preponderate is not for me to ascertain; but, as my means and opportunities have been greater, I shall limit my present defence to an assertion (easily proved, if necessary,) that I, «in my degree,» have done more real good in any one given year, since I was twenty, than Mr Southey in the whole course of his shifting and turn-coat existence. There are several actions to which I can look back with an honest pride, not to be damped by the calumnies of a hireling. There are others to which I recur with sorrow and repentance; but the only act of my life of whieh Mr Southey can have any real knowledge, as it was one which brought me in contact with a near connexion of his own, did no dishonour to that connexion nor to me.
I am not ignorant of Mr Southey's calumnies on a different occasion, knowing them to be such, which he scattered abroad on his return from Switzerland against me and others: they have done him no good in this world; and, if his creed be the right one, they will do him less in the next. What his « death-bed» may be, it is not my province
to predicate: let him settle it with his Maker, as I must do with mine. There is something at once ludicrous and blasphemous in this arrogant scribbler of all works sitting down to deal damnation and destruction upon his fellow creatures, with Wat Tyler, the Apotheosis of George the Third, and the Elegy on Martin the regicide, all shuffled together in his writing desk. One of his consolations appears to be a Latin note from a work of a Mr Landor, the author of « Gebir," whose friendship for Robert Southey will, it seems, « be an honour to him when the ephemeral disputes and ephemeral reputations of the day are forgotten.» For one neither envy him «the friendship, nor the glory in reversion which is to acerue from it, like Mr Thelusson's forįune, in the third and fourth generation. This friendship will probably be as memorable as his own epics, which (as I quoted to him ten or twelve years ago in « English Bards ») Porson said « would be remembered when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, and not till then.» For the present, I leave him.