2361. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 7 January 1814

2361. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 7 January 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. Jany 7. 1814.

My dear Danvers

I would write to Coleridge if I had any expectation that he would open the letter: – this however is so little likely that I must again make use of you as Ambassador-Extraordinary.

What I would say is to dissuade him from this preceptoring plan. [1]  Supposing that he could so far controul himself as to attend regularly to the most wearying of all employments, the most exhausting of all kinds of xx intellectual drudgery, – supposing that he could depend also upon the regularity of his health; – even if both these xx difficulties were overcome, he would find himself less a gainer at the end of the year than he should by producing a play which would cost him three months labour, <or by any other literary labour in that line.> I advise him earnestly to raise what he can by lecturing for immediate emergencies; & then to come here, & write for the theatre, & for the Reviews. From the Reviews he may alone he may get if he chuses, as much as would suffice to keep Hartley at College. Let him but come down here & task himself merely to two hours in the day, – & he will make himself happy & do all that is needful for his family. But the plan of taking pupils would involve him in duties which he will never perform, & in difficulties <embarrassments> from which it may be very difficult to extricate himself.


I had forgotten in my former letters to say something about Mr Lunells [2]  book. I purchased a <defective> copy in London which was defective knowing that it might be made up by transcribing from Mr L.s. Will you employ some person who writes a clear hand to copy out the eight pages from p. 75 to 82, inclusive, – that I may have the book rebound & this manuscript inserted in its place. The size of the written page must be that of the printed one; – the writing not wider than the letter-press, – as for the size of the writing, it matters not so it be clear, or the eight pages be into how many pages the eight printed ones may be extended. The book is no beauty, – any more than its author at whose wig & the head face which is in it I dare say you have laughed as well as myself. Mr Doolittle the Engraver is aptly so named; at least he has not done much for President Stiles. [3] 

Your old friend & fellow traveller D Manuel [4]  is in England once more. He came over here in consequence of a wound in the arm which had injured the xxx bone.

You are mistaken if you suppose that the children have forgotten you. When will Mr Danvers come again, is a pretty frequent question: – & if Herbert hears that any other person is likely to visit us he seldom fails to reply – Oh but when will Mr Danvers come – I was not a little pleased to see how very much my portrait of you is better than Ashburners, [5]  – the likeness is to my feeling as superior as the drawing.

You may tell Coleridge that Derwent is very much improved in health during the last six months. – That cursed habit of xxxxxx letting all letters remain unopened makes him compleatly dead to his family, – I cannot think of it with patience, nor without a bitter sense of indignation. Hartley has outgrown his present school, & it is high time that something should not only be thought about his future destination, but done. – My earnest entreaty is that C. will give up this scheme of taking pupils; let him come down here, & allow me to give up two hours a day to his family, & he as well as they will then have nothing to want & little to wish for.

Ediths love – God bless you my dear Charles

Yrs very affectionately

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 1814/ Jany 7
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 91–92. BACK

[1] Coleridge had fallen ill at Bath in December 1813 and had been unable to deliver his planned course of lectures in Bristol. But he was toying with the idea of starting a school. BACK

[2] William Peter Lunell (1758–1840), prominent Bristol merchant, antiquarian and anti-slavery activist, with premises in Brunswick Square. The book is Ezra Stiles (1727–1795), History of the Three Judges of King Charles I (1794). See Southey to Charles Danvers, 15 June 1813, Letter 2269. BACK

[3] The New Englander Amos Doolittle (1754–1832), whose engraving of a somewhat forbidding looking Stiles appeared as a frontispiece to the latter’s History of the Three Judges (1794). Stiles was President of Yale College 1778–1795. BACK

[4] The fictitious narrator of Letters from England (1807). Southey did not produce a sequel. BACK

[5] Unidentified. BACK

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