2473. Robert Southey to John May, 22 August 1814

2473. Robert Southey to John May, 22 August 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. 22d Aug. 1814

My dear friend

Inclosed is Murrays promisory note for 105 £, which I have just received. Once more let me thank you for supplying me while it was delayed. The letter which inclosed it brought me the first intimation from him that the new edition of Nelson was published; [1]  – I write by this nights post to desire that he will send a copy in proper apparel to Tavistock Street. [2]  The book had the good fortune to please Mrs May, & I hope she she will do me the favour of accepting this copy, – which contains one material passage not in the first edition: it relates to the conduct of Sir Hyde Parker [3]  at Copenhagen, & was communicated to me by Mr Croker, on the authority of Admiral Domett, [4]  who was Sir Hyde’s Captain at the time, & related what he positively knew. [5] 

Mr Walpoles [6]  papers have most cruelly disappointed me. During his employment at Paris he kept copies of all his official correspondence, – but he ceased to do this when he went to Lisbon, – or at least no such correspondence appears. I find what the principal matters were upon which he was called upon to negociate, – but little of the progress of the negociation, & nothing of the result. Upon these points however I shall write to you fully erelong. – There are some very valuable papers respecting the country itself, & some interesting letters from Wm Stephens. [7]  There is also fresh proof, of which none were needed, of the injustice of the Pitt & Grenville  [8]  administration, when Mr Walpole applied with such px reason for an increase of salary.

The term which I allowed Coleridge for an answer to my letter has elapsed. I wait however yet a little longer, in case Mrs C should chuse to make a trial, as she seems inclined to do.

My poem [9]  will probably be compleated at the press in the c in the course of next week. And yesterday I informed Longman that the second vol: of Brazil might go to the printer as soon as the paper was ready for him to begin. [10]  This is my main employment at present: & it is not possible for any man to bestow more willing & unweariable diligence in collecting & arranging scattered & desultory materials. – Henry Koster who resides at Itamaraca, is translating my first volume for the use of one of his Portugueze friends. [11]  It is only by the Portugueze that the labour which has been bestowed upon this work will be duly appreciated.

Let me know that you have received this. Remember me most kindly to Mrs May, & believe me my dear friend

most affectionately yours

Robert Southey


* Endorsement: No. 175 1814/ Robert Southey/ Keswick 22d August/ recd. 25th / ansd 26th do
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Charles Ramos, The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 135. BACK

[1] The second edition of The Life of Nelson. BACK

[2] See Southey to John Murray, 22 August 1814, Letter 2474. BACK

[3] Sir Hyde Parker (1739–1807; DNB), commanding officer at the battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. Parker’s signal to discontinue the action against the Danish fleet, a signal that Nelson disregarded, led to the ruin of Parker’s reputation. BACK

[4] Sir William Domett (1752–1828; DNB), commander of the London during the Copenhagen action. BACK

[5] This new material described how on Domett’s urging the fleet had entered the Baltic directly through the Sound rather than through the Great Belt, as Parker had originally decided. As a result the fleet was more effectively positioned for the battle; see The Life of Nelson, 2nd edn, 2 vols (London, 1814), II, pp. 101–102. BACK

[6] Robert Walpole (1736–1810), Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal, 1771–1800. Prior to this he had served three years as secretary to the British Embassy in Paris. Southey had promised to write a Life of Walpole. BACK

[7] William Stephens (1731–1803) English industrialist in Portugal and owner of the Royal Portuguese Glass Factory, or ‘Fabric’, from which he amassed an enormous fortune. BACK

[8] William Pitt (1759–1806; DNB), Prime Minister 1783–1801, 1804–1806. William Wyndham Grenville, Foreign Secretary 1791–1801, Prime Minister 1806–1807. BACK

[9] Roderick, The Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[10] The second volume of The History of Brazil was not published until 1817. BACK

[11] Henry Koster’s translation was not published. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)