2337. Robert Southey to John May, 28 November 1813
2337. Robert Southey to John May, 28 November 1813 *
Keswick. Nov. 28. 1813
My dear friend
Leave-taking is one of the evils of life, & I do not therefore regret that we did not meet in London just to say farewell. Here I am, recovered from three months of mental dissipation, & from three hundred miles mail-coaching, – the least fatiguing of the two: – my wife & children  all, thank God, in health, my books about me, my papers in order, & I myself in full enjoyment of health, happiness, & uninterrupted leisure.
I learnt at the Chamberlains Office that it is necessary to give you a letter of Attorney, because a receipt cannot be transmitted from hence, but must be signed at the office. Will you therefore procure one empowering you to receive all monies payable to me as Laureate, & Henry will thro Rickman transmit it to me in a frank for signature, & I will return it thro the same channel, & apprize you at what time the salary will be in course of payment. My appointment dates singularly enough from the 12th of August which is both the Prince’s birth day & my own, – the day after Pye’s death.  With pensions one quarter is never paid till another is due, & the Chamberlains office may perhaps be somewhat longer in arrear. There will be fees to the amount of nearly £20 to be deducted from the first quarter.
From Ballantyne I have heard nothing since I saw you – but a letter from Scott was awaiting me, in which he says he had seen James B (the Printer, had spoken to him on the subject, & was convinced that I should find the treatment which I was so well entitled to expect. – I account for the delay in closing my account by the much longer & heavier ones which they have to settle. That I shall lose my share in the Register  (£209) seems sufficiently certain. What is due to me I expect to recover, & am about to demand from them a bill payable to you in London.
When the Laureateship was first mentioned to me I thought little of it, & doubted whether I should accept it, if it were placed at my acceptance. I think very differently now. As an honour it was given me, & honourable I will make it. & I derive a satisf from the use to which it is applied a satisfaction greater than a much larger salary would have given me if devoted to my own immediate use.
My Ode  will be finished in the course of the week, – it is at once a Te Deum,  & an exhortation not to stop short in victory. I shall probably like it less than an Epistle to the Prince with which it is my intention to accompany it, concerning the office & myself.  Could I but strike off a beginning this would soon be written. I mean to do a good deal of volunteer duty, & meditate among other things a series of monumental inscriptions for the peninsular war. 
I found some valuable letters from Spain on my return. One from D Pedro Maria Ric  respecting Palafox & Zaragoza  which was especially gratifying. He tells me that the Junta of Aragon have sent me a series of their journals  – which I was very desirous of possessing. I am in high odour among in Spain, & shall obtain from thence every information which I know how to ask for. This is a great point. Perhaps no historical work was ever undertaken under more favourable circumstances. – I have not seen you since the battle of Leipsic!  Ask Mrs Walpole  xxx what she thinks <now> of my rose-coloured politics? My faith was that nothing founded upon evil could be permanent, – & that faith is now abundantly justified. We have now to look for the recovery of Italy,  on the capture of Davousts army,  & the submission of Denmark.  These we may expect, & it would not surprize me to hear that Buonaparte falls by the hands of the French. I think it likely that the Bourbons will be restored. I am not sure that I wish for their restoration. Pereat iste  however, – let who will succeed him.
I am anxious to know what intelligence you have from Brazil concerning the ship.
I left directions concerning the Bust.  Two in a week are all that can be cast without injuring the mould, – & the <artist> has fifteen & may probably have twenty to make. – Edith joins me in kind remembrances to Mrs May
God bless you –
Yrs very affectionately
Remember me to John Coleridge when you see him.
* Address: To/ John May Esqre/ Richmond/ Surry.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ 1 DE 1/ 1813; 10 o’Clock/ DE 1/ 1813 FNn
Endorsement: No. 169. 1813/ Robert Southey/ Keswick 28th November/ recd. 1st Decembr/ ansd. 9th Feb. 1814
MS: Brotherton Library, University of Leeds. ALS; 4p.
 Southey’s predecessor as Poet Laureate, Henry James Pye (1745–1813; DNB), had died on 11 August 1813. BACK
 Southey’s first Laureate ode Carmen Triumphale, published, after much revision, in a quarto of 30 pages on 1 January 1814. BACK
 The Spanish aristocrat and politician Pedro Maria Ric y Monserrat, Baron de Valdeolivos (1776–1831). BACK
 José Rebolledo de Palafox y Melzi (1780–1847), Spanish general, who in 1808 and 1809 commanded the defending forces at the first and second sieges of Zaragosa. BACK
 A contribution to what became 24 volumes of Spanish Gazetas, 1808–1813, no. 3472 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK
 The French were defeated by an allied army (composed of troops from Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden) on 16–19 October 1813. BACK
 There was no decisive victory for the Austrians in Northern Italy and the French Army of Italy only surrendered at the end of the war in April 1814. BACK
 The army commanded by the French Marshal Louis-Nicolas d’Avout (1770–1823), which was besieged in Hamburg. It did not surrender until the end of the war in April 1814. BACK
 Denmark was increasingly isolated and withdrew from the war under the terms of the Treaty of Kiel, 14 January 1814. BACK
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