1829. Robert Southey to William Peachy, 27 November 1810

1829. Robert Southey to William Peachy, 27 November 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. Nov. 27. 1810

My dear Sir

I delayed writing to you till I could see Mr Calvert who has been with his family at Sunderland: having seen him at last, it has been to little purpose, for he thinks himself quite unqualified to give any opinion respecting a property <in> the matter <worth> of which the ordinary marketable points are the least things to be considered. All he can say is that the value must be very much increased since it has been in your possession, – both on account of your own improvements, & the progressive value of property all such things; & his op advice would be that if you were determined to part with it, you should advertise it at the commencement of the Laking season, & put a good price upon it. I told him you did not wish it to be known that you had any thoughts of selling it, at present.

Mr Nicholson [1]  continues much in the same state as when I wrote last. All immediate or apparent danger is over, & he walks about, – but he is completely broken. He thinks himself better than he really is, & attributes his uneasy sensations to the state of the weather, – with that sort of feeling so common in invalids, – glad <willing> to find imagine that the cause of their ailments exists any where rather than in themselves. His appetite is prodigious, which Dr Dickson [2]  says is no good sign. – I was on the island a few weeks ago, it was in great beauty. The trees are grown prodigiously & stand in need of their master to thin them.

Copplestones triumph over the Edinburgh Review is complete. [3]  I do not know who has reviewed the controversy in the Quarterly. [4]  There are some home strokes at the Scotchmen in the last number, – in the article upon Leslie, [5]  & in that upon Mr Pitt, the main part of which comes (I have no doubt) from Canning  [6]  I differ from hi the writer toto cœlo  [7]  in some main points, but that does not prevent me from admiring his masterly view of the subject, – & I fully go with him in his remonstrance against the Edinburgh Reviewers, who while they vilify Mr Pitt worship Lord Grenville. The public will soon cease to swear by those Wise Men of the North.

I look with great interest & great hope both to the Cortes, & to Lord Wellington: – to the Kings illness [8]  with a gr more apprehension – Years are against him, – & it will make form a most affecting termination to the history of his eventful reign, if either his final d fatal disease, or final loss of intellect should be occasioned by an interview with his dying daughter. [9]  God grant that it may be otherwise, for I see no good in any change which may be made, – & there may be some evil.

Mrs Southey & her sister beg to be kindly remembered. My brother also desires me not to forget his compliments. He & Mrs T. S. are lodging at Castle Rigg, in the house which the Barcrofts [10]  formerly inha[MS illegible]. They go to Durham to pass their Xmas with her family, & in the spring, if not summoned away sooner, Tom will once more try his fortune upon the seas.

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: [readdressed in another hand] To/ Colonel Peachy/ Browns Hotel/ Covent Garden/ London./ <Post-Office/ Oxford>
Endorsement: 1810/ Novr. 27
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 30 NO 30/ 1810
MS: British Library, Add MS 28603. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Mr Nicholson. Unidentified. He may have been a local man who looked after Peachy’s affairs in Keswick. BACK

[2] Dr Dickson (dates unknown). Presumably a medical practioner in the Keswick area. BACK

[3] The Edinburgh Review, 15 (October 1809), 40–53, had attacked ‘classical learning as currently taught in England’. The Oxford academic Edward Copleston (1776–1849; DNB), had then issued A Reply to the Calumnies of the Edinburgh Review against Oxford (Oxford, 1810). This noted that no one would ‘apply to the Edinburgh Review for information about the Classics’ (p. 118). The Edinburgh Review, 16 (April 1810), 158–187, responded with a further attack. Copleston followed up with A Second Reply to the Edinburgh Review (1810) and A Third Reply to the Edinburgh Review (1811). BACK

[4] ‘Replies to the Calumnies Against Oxford’, Quarterly Review, 5 (August 1810), 177–206. The review had been written by the Oxford theologian John Davison (1777–1834; DNB). BACK

[5] The article on Sir John Leslie (1766–1832; DNB), Elements of Geometry, Geometrical Analysis, and Plane Trigonometry (1809), in Quarterly Review, 4 (August 1810), 25–42. BACK

[6] . A review of Gifford’s biography of William Pitt (1759–1806; DNB), in Quarterly Review, 4 (August 1810), 207–271; its authors were Canning and Sir Robert Grant (1780–1838; DNB). BACK

[7] ‘By the whole extent of the heavens’, ie. ‘diametrically’. BACK

[8] George III (1738–1820, King of the United Kingdom 1760–1820; DNB) had become incapable of conducting public business in October 1810. BACK

[9] Princess Amelia (1783–1810; DNB), the king’s youngest and, reputedly, favourite child. BACK

[10] Joseph Barcroft (dates unknown). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)