2869. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 30 November 1816

2869. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 30 November 1816⁠* 

My dear Harry

Of course I shall be very pleased to have Mr Sydenhams papers, [1]  say this for me in the civillest terms you can devise & let them come thro the Grand Murray. They will give me a spur. – unless that opus goes to press it will never be finished, – that I see already, –so I shall set to when the humour comes upon me to compleat the introductory chapter, – & then keep the press going which it will not be difficult to do. [2] 

Sir Doctor xxxxxx it becomes me to have some silver forks, & for the first time in my life I think it is does not misbecome me to afford them. Will you who know how to get these things, get for me two dozen large & a dozen & half small, – with the crest, – & I will send you a draft upon the Long Man for the amount. Silver is not likely to be cheaper than it is at present. [3]  I am in no hurry for them, – as it is very little likely that we shall see any strangers before the summer.

I am very busy prosing & versing. The Tale of Paraguay is for my next years ways & means, & must come out before the summer, [4]  – a half guinea book like the Pilgrimage [5]  – by help of some drawings which Nash is to make for me, from such materials as in Norfolk dialect we found up here. [6]  He is at Sir George Beaumonts now, but will probably reach London in the course of a week or ten days. You will like to see his sketches & a drawing which he has made of Sara & Edith

Remember me to Louisa & Mrs Gonne

God bless you


30 Nov. 1816.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 3 DE 3/ 1816
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 4. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Benjamin Sydenham (1777–1828), a soldier in India and friend of Marquess Wellesley. He was Commissioner of the Board of Excise 1809–1819. He had offered Southey the papers of his brother, Thomas Sydenham (1780–1816), a soldier who served in India and then Spain 1811–1812, before ending his career as Minister Plenipotentiary at Lisbon 1814–1816. He too was a close friend of Marquess Wellesley, with whom he served in India. BACK

[2] Chapter 1 of Southey’s History of the Peninsular War, 3 vols (London, 1823–1832), I, pp. 3–62. BACK

[3] The Coinage Act (1816) had introduced new silver coins (the first minted since 1787) for denominations under £1, but coins that contained less than their face value in silver. This reduced the demand for silver coins to be melted down or exported. BACK

[4] A Tale of Paraguay (1825). BACK

[5] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816) sold for 10s.6d. (half of one guinea or 21s.), as did A Tale of Paraguay (1825). BACK

[6] Nash’s death prevented this plan; A Tale of Paraguay was published with two engravings after designs by Richard Westall (1765–1836; DNB). In contrast, there were eight engravings in A Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK