1938. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 15–16 July 1811

1938. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 15–16 July 1811 ⁠* 

Monday. July 15. 1811

My dear Harry

I saw Gooch yesterday, – he had been talking with Dr Knighton (I think that was the name) & the opinion which he had formed respecting your intended change of situation agreed entirely with what mine. Of your succeeding in London there can be little doubt, but you must be prepared to live two or three years without practise. Gooch expects to starve two years in the city; his prospect is more certain than yours, & you cannot reckon upon a shorter apprenticeship. The course therefore for you to pursue is obvious; save enough where you are, to meet the expenditure of two barren years, & then you may remove securely. I am well aware that what xxxx xxxxxx as <was to be wished was> an immediate removal, but this was utterly impossible xxx xxxxxx xx when it was most desirable.

Can you not come to us as soon as we return to Keswick? Tomorrow we leave Streatham, at Rickmans we shall remain about ten days, thence we go to John Mays for a day or two, & then proceed to Bristol. I leave Edith there while I go down to see my Aunt Mary, & pass a day at Stowey with Poole. On our way back we halt at Lanthony Abbey with Landor, & successively at Ludlow, [1]  Sir Edward Littletons, Hebers if he be at home as he expects, – Wynns, & Kosters: going like Q Elizabeth [2]  thus in progress from one house to another. By the end of August we reach home. You can either come with Gooch, if he make his fi visit first to you or meet him at Keswick & so travel back with him to Durham.


Tuesday. Tom talks of setting off tomorrow to join his ship, the Elephant, Capt Austin – a new 74. [3]  He has as compleat a promise of promotion as is ever given, – so Croker assures me, who has busied himself about it. The said Croker is a very pleasant man & gave me a very good dinner at the Admiralty. I give allow from three to six months for the performance of Yorkes promise: [4]  after the three I shall jog the first Lords memory, – but I hope after now that the thing has been directly asked by Perceval, there can be no doubt, & little delay.

You may guess in what a hurry of business & engagements I find myself xx when in London. To day we leave Streatham finally & remove to Rickmans. I am now in the midst of packing. yesterday I was called off from this letter, & if I do not finish it now Heaven knows when I shall be able to send it off. Yet I would have written sooner had I known not felt that at such times condolence & consolation are equally unavailing – To an xxxx one x with whom I was less nearly connected it might have been necessary for to observe these ordinary forms, – with you they were better unobserved. For griefs of this nature as Time is the only healer, so is he the sure one. [5] 

Ediths love.

God bless you



* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Durham
Postmark: CJY/ 16/ 1811; [partial] 3 o’Clock/ JY 16; [partial] JY 16/ 1811
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.79. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[2] Elizabeth I (1533–1603; Queen of England 1558–1603; DNB), famed for her royal progresses during which she would be lavishly entertained by a series of aristocratic hosts. BACK

[3] HMS Elephant was a 74 gun, third-rate ship of the line, launched in 1786. Between 1811–1814 it was stationed in the North Sea and the Baltic under the command of Captain Francis William Austen (1774–1865; DNB), a brother of the novelist Jane Austen (1775–1817; DNB). BACK

[4] Charles Philip Yorke (1764–1834; DNB), First Lord of the Admiralty 1810–1812. He had promised to assist Tom Southey’s promotion; see Southey to Herbert Hill, 12 May 1811, Letter 1921. BACK

[5] Henry Herbert Southey’s wife, Mary-Harriet, had died. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Streatham (mentioned 2 times)
Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Stowey (mentioned 1 time)
Llanthony (mentioned 1 time)