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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

VIII. Southey

§ 13. The Life of John Wesley

The prose itself gave frequent nourishing and invigorating crops, if nothing of the rarest fruit. The Life of John Wesley (1821) is not much inferior to that of Nelson: the differences are chiefly that it has a less interesting subject and is longer. The History of the Peninsular War (1823–32)—second of the big histories on which he spent and, indeed, wasted much time—failed of success, as was common with him, partly by his own fault, but much more by his ill-luck. It was his fault that he set himself against the duke of Wellington’s wishes with that supererogatory conscientiousness which was one of his main failings, and thus lost an almost indispensable support; it was his misfortune that, owing to the pressure of bread-winning work, it was not finished till after the appearance of Napier’s much more brilliant and professional, though, perhaps, not altogether trustworthy, book. But it is much to be regretted that, in place of this, we have not a Life of George Fox and one of Warren Hastings, on which according to his wont, he wasted much time in preparation, and which would almost certainly have been very good.