2641. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 1 August 1815

2641. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 1 August 1815 ⁠* 

My dear Harry

This is the only proxy vote that I have any chance of obtaining for you: there is another within reach. Lady El. Courtenay, [1]  but this I take for granted you will obtain thro Bedford or Courtenay himself. [2]  My merry men who were called out on the last occasion are all likely to be out of reach upon this. [3] 

Henry Koster has been laid up on my sofa since the 20th – in consequence of an overturn on his way from hence to Kendal. He was on the outside, & his escape a very narrow one. The fascia lata of the left thigh was divided longitudinally over the rectus muscle – the skin not broken. This by mere bandaging seems now to have united, but when he should use this leg, he feels the other fail him, having strained the triceps so that he has no power without a bandage of lifting the foot from the ground. To day he has been able to walk from the wing bed bed room into the middle of the study, & this is all he can do. A chearfuller man in confinement I never saw, nor could I have had a pleasanter companion. He is hard at work translating my Hist: of Brazil into Portugueze, [4]  & I have found him very useful in assisting me to decypher the manuscript of Manoel Feliz de Lima the first explorer of the River Madeira, whose handwriting & orthography sometimes afford work enough for two heads: [5]  besides this assistance, he from his knowledge of Brazilian customs has explains passages which I should otherwise find utterly inexplicable. I shall send him to Streatham when he goes to town. My Uncle will be much pleased with him, & will find him full of information respecting Brazil where he resided two years, almost wholly among the Brazilians, & travelled 400 leagues.

I have not yet seen Dr Stanger, [5]  but I wrote to him immediately on the receipt of your letter, & have heard that he sent off the desired epistles. I am told as a secret by his sister Mrs Crothers that he is about to settle near Nunnery in this county: – in that case I hope some of his practise may fall into your hands, – which seems likely enough from the interest which Mrs Stanger [6]  here seems to take in your electioneering concerns.

Mr Bolingbroke [8]  has been here, but only for one night, & unluckily we were engaged out that evening so that I could not show him those civilities which I would fain have done. I was much taken with his manners & the cut of his jib. He had a heavy sort of homo with him whose name I did not catch. How is Gooch? this is a question that I am anxious to have answered. I have some Collectanea Obstetrica for him.

My neck is in status quo. Sometimes I think it will prove [MS torn] for the surgeons, & distrust my own theory. But of late my finger goes less often to the part, & I only recollect it when putting the cravat on or off. It is however a reason for thinking seriously of coming to London as soon as I can – which will hardly be before the fall of the leaf.

Give my love to Louisa. I have more than once thought of sending it to her herself in verses. Remember me also to Mrs Gonne

God bless you


1 Aug. 1815.


* Address: [in another hand] Warrington August four/ To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London/ CW Williams Wynn
Postmark: FREE/ 7 AU 7/ 1815
MS: Bodleian Library, Don. d. 3. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Lady Elizabeth Courtenay (d. 1815), daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Effingham (1714–1763) and mother of Thomas Courtenay (see footnote 2). BACK

[2] Thomas Peregrine Courtenay had previously been a civil servant at the Exchequer, where he probably encountered Grosvenor Bedford. BACK

[3] Henry Herbert Southey was standing for election to the post of Senior Physician at the Middlesex Hospital. Although the election was initially contested, by the time of the actual vote on 17 August 1815, Southey was the only remaining candidate. BACK

[4] Koster translated the first volume of The History of Brazil, but the work does not seem to have been published. BACK

[5] Manuel Felix de Lima (dates unknown) had explored the river system in the far west of modern Brazil in 1742–1743. Southey provided an extended summary of his voyages from Lima’s manuscript account in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 310–344. BACK

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

[6] Christopher Stanger’s sister, Hannah Stanger (d. 1818), who had married a distant cousin, James Stanger. BACK

[8] Possibly Henry Bolingbroke (1785–1855; DNB), author of A Voyage to the Demerary (1807), a book that was revised and edited by William Taylor. BACK

Places mentioned

Streatham (mentioned 1 time)