2021. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 23 January 1812

2021. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 23 January 1812 ⁠* 

“After 20 or 30 years service as Quarter Master, one of the most comfortable stations an old sailor can fill, when eye sight & hearing fail, he gets removed from the Conn  [1]  & put in the Gunner crew &c” [2]  – Capt Southey, if you please, what is that word which I have underlined? It is distinct enough but I have no recollection of any such word.

Thursday. Jany. 23. 1812

No letter from the Long Man of the Row, which as I requested an answer, does not look well for the translation, – that is, it shows no eagerness for it. [3] 

Thank you for the extract. As for the Carpet it would be folly not to give the additional sixpence, when the Manufacturer lays so much stress upon it. so pray order the six shilling thread.

I have flourished in parcels since you left us, & I have had a grand arrival to night. Since you left us also, there has been a great alarm in Keswick. “Ugly fellows” as old Mr Bedford always calls them have been seen there, who frightend the whole town men women & children & not, it seems, without reason; for the ‘ugly ones’ decamped without beat of drum when they perceived themselves to be suspected. – & the next night poor Shelley got knocked down as he was coming out of his own door. [4]  Luckily he fell back into the house, which gave the alarm. The fellow got off. A patrol has been established, – I have loaded one of the old fowling pieces, & still further to satisfy the family have written to London for a brace of pistols & a Watchmans rattle. [5]  – Whether or not I shall ever xxxx solace myself with a solo upon this instrument by day, judge you Capt Southey, who know something of my musical propensities.

This is a dreadful story of the St George! [6]  all these hopes are the result of our folly in not seizing Danish Zealand! The no-news by way of France from Valencia looks well, & is in fact the best news. [7] 

Rickman has a son & heir, [8]  to whom I can wish nothing better than that he may be like his father. O Senhor Capitaō – I must conclude abruptly, – being suddenly taken with the growels, which must be attended to. – & the hour will not allow time to fill up the sheet after x the attention of the growels is over –

Love to SarahBeauty Doctor told an ugly story of her which I hope your note does not confirm



* Address: To/ Captain Southey/ St Helens/ Auckland/ Durham
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. gets removed from being responsible for steering the ship. BACK

[2] Southey quotes his own account of the importance of improving the treatment of elderly sailors, in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.1 (1812), 160–161. BACK

[3] Tom Southey had been hoping to earn money by publishing a translation of a travel narrative; see Southey to Thomas Southey, [c. 4 November 1811], Letter 1977. BACK

[4] This incident occurred on 19 January 1812. BACK

[5] See Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 January 1812, Letter 2018. BACK

[6] HMS St George a 98 gun second rate ship of the line. It was wrecked off the coast of Jutland on 24 December 1811, only 7 of the 738 crew survived. BACK

[7] Valencia had, unknown to Southey, fallen to the French on 9 January 1812. BACK

[8] William Charles Rickman (1812–1886). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)