2075. Robert Southey to John Morgan, 10 April 1812

2075. Robert Southey to John Morgan, 10 April 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. April 10. 1812.

My dear Morgan

The same post which brought your letter, has enabled me to remove your anxiety concerning Coleridge, – or at least to convert it into temporary anger, – which is a much better kind of commutation than Parliament ever favours us with in the form of a tax. In consequence of a letter from Gale & Curtis [1]  I wrote last night to Penrith to enquire about him, & have just been informed that there he is still, – his delay has partly <been> owing to business about the Friend, partly to the state of the roads, – & to these no doubt he will wholly impute it. [2]  But latterly the real cause has been that he has not got up early enough to set off at ten in the morning. It is useless to grieve over these things – Coleridge will always sacrifice his own interests & the feelings of all belonging to him, rather than encounter the slightest temporary inconvenience, tho this xxxxx neglect of duty x is sure to bring immediately bring with it its immediate punishment. We must take him as he is, – alike unequalled for moral imbecility, & intellectual strength. – It is more likely that he has never sent you the draft than that it is lost.

I was exceedingly rejoiced to hear from Penrith that the Friend has been sent off to Gale & Curtis, – will you if you pass that way, step in & inform them so. Their letter was very urgent about it. It came directed to C. & Mrs C. opened it. You can say that without reference to this letter, that I have informed you the numbers were sent off to them on Tuesday last by the waggon.

Thank you about the spoons. I should prefer them plain, but as to size & form as handsome as they can be. Your mention of the motto is lucky, – mine is In Labore Quies. [3]  & this under the ancient S will look very well. xxxx xx xxxx xxx Edith will not be persuaded to have the case; one of these days perhaps we may collect things enough to want one.

Pray write to us when C. arrives, & tell us from time to time of his proceedings, – for it is vain to hope that he will write himself. –

You seem to suppose that C. has written to Wordsworth, which is not the case, – he often promised Mrs C that he would the next day, but it always proved like the rest of his promises. I wish with all my soul the breach were closed, for W. has been no otherwise to blame than in speak unreservedly but not unfriendlily of one friend to another, – the folly of having such a man as M. for a friend I most fully admit. [4] 

Our kindest remembrances –

Yrs very truly

R Southey.


* Address: To/ J J Morgan Esqr / 71. Berners Street/ Oxford Street/ London
Postmark: A/ 13 AP 13/ 1812
Endorsement: S.T.C. Esqre/ Crown Inn or/ George Inn/ Penrith/ Cumberland; R. Southey Esqre
MS: Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library, Misc 1910. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The London publishers and booksellers John Gale (dates unknown) and Thomas Curtis (1787–1859). In May 1812 they issued Coleridge’s The Friend in book form. It had originally appeared in 1808–1809 in 27 instalments. BACK

[2] Coleridge was in the Lakes between February-March 1812 to collect unstamped numbers of The Friend (1808–1809), prior to its reissue by Gale and Curtis. BACK

[3] ‘In labour is rest’. BACK

[4] This paragraph deals with the quarrel between Wordsworth and Coleridge, which had started in October 1810 when Basil Montagu told Coleridge he had been authorised by Wordsworth to say that his friends had ‘no hope’ for him. For a detailed account see E. L. Griggs (ed.), Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 6 vols (1956–1971), III, p. 389. BACK

People mentioned

Fricker, Sarah (1770–1845) (mentioned 2 times)
Wordsworth, William (1770–1850) (mentioned 2 times)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Montagu, Basil (1770–1851) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)