nent position which, at the instance of Walter Scott, he assumed as a contributor to the ‘Quarterly Review,’ for which he wrote regularly until 1839, contributing altogether ninety-five articles, mostly on publications of the day. The position was not altogether comfortable. Gifford and his successors, Sir John Taylor Coleridge and Lockhart, permitted themselves liberties with Southey's manuscripts which greatly tried his self-esteem, and his correspondence is full of complaints on the subject; but the emolument, which eventually came to be 100l. an article, was too considerable to be lightly resigned. Though a selection of his contributions was published in 1831 as ‘Essays Moral and Political,’ they did not, with one exception, conduce to his permanent literary celebrity. His style and treatment were too smooth and equable to give his articles genuine distinction. An article on Nelson, however, formed the basis of his ‘Life of Nelson’ (1813, London, 2 vols. 8vo), the peerless model of short biographies. From 1809 to 1815 he edited, and principally wrote, the ‘Edinburgh Annual Register,’ much of which afterwards passed into his ‘History of the Peninsular War.’
The alliance with Sir Walter Scott proved advantageous in other ways. Scott failed in procuring him the post of historiographer royal, but, when in 1813 the poet-laureateship was offered to himself, he generously transferred it to Southey, who on his part showed a becoming spirit by accepting it only on condition that he should be excused the drudgery of composing birthday odes. The affairs of the time afforded a sufficiency of more congenial matter. He wrote ‘Carmen Triumphale’ on the glories of 1814, ‘The Poet's Pilgrimage to Waterloo’ (1816), Princess Charlotte's epithalamium and her elegy (1817), and ten odes on public events. If not marked by any conspicuous inspiration, these performances did no discredit to the themes or to the writer. On the other hand, ‘The Vision of Judgment,’ an apotheosis of George III in English hexameters (London, 1821, 4to), an experiment worth making, should have been made by a more accomplished metrist, and upon some other subject. It was viewed by liberals as a challenge to liberal opinion, and as such incited Byron, who had long been exasperated against Southey, to pillory him in the great satiric parody which bore the same title.
Byron was not the only scoffer. The change in Southey's political and religious opinions which made the republican of 1793 a tory, the author of ‘Wat Tyler’ a poet laureate, and the independent thinker whom Coleridge had just managed to convert from deism to unitarianism a champion of the established church, inevitably exposed Southey to attack from the advocates of the opinions he had forsaken. There can be no question of Southey's perfect sincerity. The evolution of his views did not differ materially from that traceable in the cases of Wordsworth and Coleridge. But the immediate advantage to the convert was more visible and tangible, and Southey provoked retaliation by the uncharitable tone he habitually adopted in controversy with those whose sentiments had formerly been his own. Every question presented itself to him on the ethical side. But constitutionally he was a bigot; an opinion for him must be either moral or immoral; those which he did not himself share inevitably fell into the latter class, and their propagators appeared to him enemies of society. At the same time his reactionary tendencies were not unqualified. He could occasionally express liberal sentiments. Shelley testified in the Hitchener letters to his liberality in many points of religious opinion. He warmly welcomed Carlyle's ‘French Revolution.’ His articles in the ‘Quarterly Review’ on the poor law exhibit him in the light of a practical statesman who was ahead of public opinion. In a letter to Wiffen, years before the introduction of railways, he pointed out with force and precision the advantages of tramways. His prophecy that Napoleon's interference with Spain would be his ruin was a striking example of sagacious political prediction.
In 1817 the revolution that Southey's opinions underwent was brought conspicuously to public notice by the piratical issue of his early drama, ‘Wat Tyler,’ which he had indeed contemplated publishing in 1794, but which had long passed from his hands and his mind. He failed in obtaining an injunction from chancery to stop the publication, but it is scarcely possible to believe with him that sixty thousand copies were sold. A derisive allusion to the circumstance in the House of Commons by William Smith (1756–1835) [q. v.], M.P. for Norwich, produced a letter from Southey to that gentleman, which was intended to have been annihilating, but was not even pungent. He declares that he would not have noticed the matter at all but for the concern it occasioned his wife; and his mind was still under the shadow of the greatest sorrow of his life, the death in the preceding year (17 April 1816) of his eldest and most gifted son, Herbert. Another grief of the same nature befell him by the death of a daughter in 1826.
Apart from such incidents, the history of