Southey had a strange career, moving from extreme radicalism in the 1790s to a gloomy conservatism by the 1810s. Born in Bristol, he was educated at Westminster and Balliol College, Oxford, where he met Coleridge and planned a liberated American settlement, Pantisocracy, on the banks of the Susquehanna. In 1794 he joined with Coleridge in a drama, The Fall of Robespierre. An annuity enabled him to settle at Greta Hall (Keswick), with Coleridge and Wordsworth nearby. He was made poet laureate in 1813 and from 1835 received a pension of £300 p.a. from the government. Of greatest historical interest was his Life of Nelson (1813), the History of the Peninsular War (1823–32), his essays for the Quarterly Review, and the curious Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829).