2001. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 16 December 1811

2001. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 16 December 1811 ⁠* 

Monday Dec 16. 1811.

My dear Tom,

Your box has not made its appearance, – nevertheless I write, not waiting another day, because a letter may perhaps be longer in reaching St Helens, than in travelling to London. My reason for writing is to protest against the horse, because as we have no stable establishment the keep of that four-footed fellow would be reckoned at xxxx so much a day paid while you staid, & thereby become a reason for your <not> staying so long as otherwise you might.

I am not surprized at your feeling about the Spanish sending troops to S America, – considering the character of the struggle in that country when xx both parties are so much in the right & so much in the wong, – the natural feeling is sorrow, contemplate it how you will. But the Regency (however wrong they as well as their predecessors may have been in not preventing the troubles) have done wisely in sending out troops, & in fact could not act otherwise. [1]  You are the to remember that their main resource in money comes from thence, – in fact they have no money but what the colonies supply, except what little may be raised in Cadiz. If it be considered only in this direct political point of view you will not I think condemn them, – but there is another & higher point of view consideration. My first feeling was sorrow, & yet in that first feeling I could not but feel that there was more of the old Roman spirit in this than in any act of modern times. The enemy is at the gates, – & yet they send out troops to secure their remotest dependencies.

Wordsworth & his sister are here. – Your books about the Straits of Magalhaens [2]  which my Uncle regrets that you have lost are here. – I forgot them when the others were packed up.

Love to Sarah & the young one. here is a poem for the use of Miss M. when she is old enough to understand it. An extempore composition made this day for Queen Henry the eighth – as Bruin is now called –

If I were a little girl, I never would cry,
And I’ll tell my little girl the reason why:
Because when a little girl chuses to cry
It always brings tears in the little girl’s eye.

God bless you

Yrs in haste



* Address: To/ Captain Southey. R.N. / St. Helens/ Auckland/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Reports that British military aid to Spain had actually been used to try and preserve Spanish rule in its American colonies were causing some outrage at this time, e.g. The Times, 16 January 1812. They referred in particular to the despatch of 4,000 men to fight revolutionaries in Mexico in November 1811. BACK

[2] Unidentified. BACK

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