2981. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 28 April 1817

2981. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 28 April 1817⁠* 

My dear Edith

I write a few lines to day – because I can find a few minutes for doing it, being now at Bedfords, on my way from H. Inglis’s to Rickmans. Money I cannot inclose, merely because it would be inconvenient to send you so large a bill as 100£. – You shall have half bills in smaller sums to that amount before I go. Nash cannot start till Tuesday the 6th. [1]  – so that a six days will be deducted from the time I must else have remained in town on our return.

My Tender Epistle [2]  brought me a very handsome compliment from Lord Sidmouth, [3]  & Murray tells me it is spoken of in the highest terms by all whom he sees. In other quarters it will doubtless be found bitter to swallow & hard of digestion, 500 were sold yesterday morning.

I did not get to bed last night xx till after two o clock – kept up till that hour by conversation with Wilberforce Sir Thomas Acland &c – without any person having the least suspicion of the lapse of time Sir T’s <carriage had been xxxxx xxxx three hours waiting for him. It seems an age since I xxx have been in town. I go to Rickmans tomorrow, thence on Tuesday with Mr Coppendale [4]  to meet John & Wm. Coleridge – Thursday at Sir G Beaumonts – Friday with Mr Butler – Saturday xx Royal Academy [7]  – Sunday Mrs Gonne.

I am advised & urged to buy the house, [6]  – the money may be obtained without any difficulty in the common course of business. When this is fully determined I will write to Wordsworth.

And now I must go to Wynn, who is close at hand

God bless you my dear Edith


Sunday 3 o clock.


* Address: [in another hand] London Twenty Eight April 1817/ Mrs Southey/ Greta Hall/ Keswick/ Cumberland/ Free/ Rickman
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey, Nash and Senhouse were about to embark on a prolonged continental tour. BACK

[2] William Smith had denounced Southey in the House of Commons on 14 March 1817 in the debate on the Seditious Meetings Bill, condemning ‘the settled, determined malignity of a renegado’ and comparing Southey’s arguments against radical views in the Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 227, with those expressed in Wat Tyler (1817), Act 2, lines 103–112. Southey’s response was A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M.P. (1817) published by Murray. BACK

[3] Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844; DNB), Prime Minister 1801–1804, Home Secretary 1812–1822. Southey had met him on 26 April 1817 at the house of Robert Harry Inglis. BACK

[4] Thomas Coppendale (d. 1833), John May’s uncle and business partner. BACK

[7] The Royal Academy’s Anniversary Dinner on 3 May 1817; Southey was invited as Poet Laureate. BACK

[6] The bankruptcy of Samuel Tolson Jnr (dates unknown), owner of Greta Hall and the surrounding estate had left the future of the Southeys’ tenancy in doubt. BACK

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