2308. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 25 September 1813

2308. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 25 September 1813 ⁠* 

Saturday morning. Sept. 25. 1813. Q Anne Street

My dear Edith

Coleridge dined here yesterday, in good health & spirits. It will be a fortnight before he leaves town at least, for on Sunday Oct 3 we dine together with Stuart & on Saturday the 9th following, with Dr Stanger. [1]  It is possible that he may be detained longer, for as he was on the stairs going away last night, he said some thing about presenting a piece at Covent Garden & that if any alterations were recommended he might tarry a few days for the sake of making them on the spot. I could not xxx ask him any questions because the servant was before us lighting him to the door. Tomorrow morning I shall see him again. Of the Morgans I heard nothing yesterday of course, Gooch & Grosvenor Bedford being here.

My own business is going on well. Mr B. [2]  seems exceedingly well pleased, & took the first portion to the printer yesterday; – from seven to ten days more will finish it. that is so many days work. I expect to have compleated it before I come in to dine with Dr Stanger: & then by Gods blessing another fortnight will set me free. About my Laureateship nothing more has been done. I apprehend however that nothing will be lost by the delay, for that the salary will commence from the death of the last occupant. Should there be a levee when Parliament meets I must make my appearance at <it> in bag sword & ruffles!! with all which the Doctor can rig me out, thus saving an expence of no less than thirty pounds.

I am sorry you had any hesitation about the number of the Magazine, [3]  which it is always to be had upon sending for it. Miss Malone is exceedingly welcome to it.

Today I shall look for Robert. I have to call on Lord W Gordon [4]  who has been three times to look for me, & left word that he should be at home this morning, & I have afterwards to see Longman, & endeavour to negociate the arrangement between him & Murray about the Opus Magnum, [5]  of which the latter wanted to have the whole to himself & not very willingly offers to yield a fourth share. He talks largely about the manner in which he will bring it forth so as in point of views portraits &c to make it the finest national work that has ever yet appeared. Of the Nelson [6]  3000 were printed, & a second edition is to be sent to press as soon as I have looked it over & made such improvements as new matter may enable me to make. It will now be compressed by the printer into one volume as originally intended: & we may reckon upon the hundred guineas about Christmas.

The inclosed draft is for my Quarterly article, which having been printed for the present number, stands over for the succeeding one. Of course I care nothing about this arrangement, but am glad to receive payment for the sake of thus remitting a supply to you. I shall bring home with me plenty, or send it before me. – My seal is cut & you shall have a sample of it upon this letter: so also is a very pretty smaller one with the crest, which is intended to hang at your watch: & I have ordered another for you, which is a fit & proper seal for my wife, of which but which will not please Herbert quite so well as it will you.

Mrs Rickman is in the country so that I have not seen her. Mrs Turner [7]  I have seen, & need not say that she enquired xxx xxx xxx xx xxx particularly concerning you both she & her husband speaking with great pleasure of the time we past with them at Cheshunt. Yesterday I saw Sir Humphry & Lady Davy who had arrived in town the day before & are going abroad in about a fortnight, with the special permission of the French Government. Davy ought not to have asked it; – but he has long been going wrong. His wife (who by the by tells all her female friends they cannot imagine how well Sir Humphry looks in his night-cap) seems to be full ten years his elder, & never can have been handsome. I called at Miss Berry’s. [8]  Mrs Bannister leaves them tomorrow they & their father [9]  are not looking older than when you saw them.

My dispute with Ballantyne is ending well as far as the point in dispute; & I am making an attempt to recover the cost of my share. [10]  – Whether I shall be able to add any more to this latter is very doubtful, – breakfast is now ready, – I will however leave it open till I come in from my morning rounds, – & so till then xxx farewell.

Three o clock. – It is not a little amusing to discover when any thing friendly is to be done by men in power, how many are desirous of having a share in it. You remember Toms promotion was a sort of joint concern between Herries, & Croker & poor Mr Perceval. [11]  Today I saw Ld Wm Gordon, & was not a little surprized to learn that the whole affair of the Laureateship was left to him! Lady Wm is sister to the Marchioness of Hertford, [12]  – the appointment is in the gift of the Marquis & so as it was to be given to me Lord Wm is to have the credit of giving it. All this is comical enough. However he is a very good natured man, & has taken the trouble of calling upon me three times to tell me this, & it costs me nothing to say I am much obliged to him, which is all he wants: & when you see him which you will do before my return you may say the same.

I saw Robert this morning, looking remarkably [MS torn]ll, but not taller than Hartley & with almost [MS torn] much beard, tho of a different colour. I gave him [MS torn] pounds for an immediate supply. Pople was not at home. [MS torn] been unwell & spends much of his time in the country for the change of air.

God bless you


Love to all. My next will probably be directed to the Moon. [13] 


* Address: To/ Mrs Southey/ Keswick/ Cumberland
Postmark: SE/ 25/ 1813
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 73-76. BACK

[1] The physician Christopher Stanger (1759–1834; DNB). He was a member of a family that owned estates near Keswick. BACK

[2] William Barlow (1759–1839) a merchant and neighbour of Herbert Hill’s in Streatham. Brother of Sir George Barlow (1763–1846; DNB). Southey was writing a pamphlet entitled An Exposure of the Misrepresentations and Calumnies in Mr Marsh’s Review of Sir George Barlow’s Administration at Madras. By the Relatives of Sir George Barlow (1813). This was a defence of Sir George Barlow’s conduct as Governor of Madras in 1807–1813, especially during the army mutiny of 1809. It was a direct reply to Charles Marsh (c. 1774–1835; DNB), Review of Some Important Passages in the Late Administration of Sir G. H. Barlow, Bart., at Madras (1813). BACK

[3] Possibly the Monthly Magazine. Southey subscribed between 1796–1817; see no. 1989 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[4] Lord William Gordon (1744–1823), son of Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720–1752). He owned the Waterend estate on the west side of Derwentwater. BACK

[5] Possibly a reference to Southey’s proposed History of the Peninsula War (1823–1832). BACK

[6] The Life of Nelson (1813). The second edition appeared in 1814. BACK

[7] Mary (bap. 1768, d. 1843), who had married Turner on 18 January 1795. BACK

[8] The author Mary Berry (1763–1852; DNB) and her sister Agnes (1764–1852; DNB), confidantes of Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717–1797; DNB). BACK

[9] Robert Berry (d. 1817). BACK

[10] Southey had invested – unwisely – in the Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[11] See Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 12 May 1811, Letter 1921; and Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 4 August [1811], Letter 1943. BACK

[12] Frances Ingram-Shepherd (1761–1841), sister of Isabella Anne Ingram-Shepherd (1760–1834), second wife of the Marquis of Hertford, who as Lord Chamberlain was a key figure in the appointment of the Poet Laureate. BACK

[13] No letter to Herbert Southey from this period appears to have survived. BACK

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