2650. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 29 August 1815

2650. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 29 August 1815 ⁠* 

My dear Harry

Dr Baillie & Sir Henry Halford [1]  are as much masters of their own time, as I am of mine at this season. It is one series of interruptions. – Eight & forty hours will be enough for me in town, in the way of business I shall have only to raise the supplies, & see my Uncle & Aunt with the ursine nobility [2]  of Streatham. You may call at my tailors for me (Hyde. [3]  1. Warwick Street Golden Square) & order a black coat with a pair of some speckled grey pantaloons of such make & materials as your Lordship (in these things of approved judgement) may think most suitable: they may be made in readiness & sent to your house. I must shoe myself at the patent warehouse, – for I have found the nail-shoes answer admirably well. And as I shall travel to London in that hat which I dare Louisa I dare say has not forgotten, you will perhaps think it expedient that I should purchase a new one in town, & accompany me, thro some bye streets, to a shop where I may be fitted in the newest fashion.

Thus far & not a word of the day when I set off. The delay cannot inconvenience you so much as it vexes me, for fear it should inconvenience you at all. I hope to leave home this day week, which will bring & in that case to reach London on Friday. It is not unlikely that Henry Koster will accompany me to town, & join us at Ramsgate. He has been laid up here so long, that now when he is got fairly upon his legs again, he seems like one of the family, & if he gets leave to go we shall find him a useful person to place upon the staff.

Good night! I must lose no time in letter writing. You shall hear again from me when I write to Carlisle to secure my place in the mail. – Should we not do wisely if we hoy’d it to Margate, baggage & all together? [4]  If you should approve of the hint you will doubtless give the preference to the Evangelical hoy. [5] 

Love to Louisa

God bless you


Tuesday. 29 Aug. 1815.

I am in great hopes of getting a set of the Acta Sanctorum in Flanders. Nothing would delight me so much, & scarcely anything would be of such essential utility. [6]  Indeed I expect to deal largely in books.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 1 SE 1/ 1815
MS: Bodleian Library, Don. d. 3. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The eminent London physicians Matthew Baillie (1761–1823; DNB) and Sir Henry Halford (1766–1844; DNB). BACK

[2] The Hills’ sons, Edward, Herbert, Erroll and Alfred. BACK

[3] Hyde (first name unknown; d. 1820), was Southey’s London tailor. BACK

[4] The hoy (a small ship or barge) was a popular way of travelling from London to the port of Margate, Kent. BACK

[5] In 1807 a weekly packet ship from London to Margate was advertised, which was aimed at religious travellers. ‘No profane conversation’ was allowed. It was the subject of much parody in the press. BACK

[6] Southey was to meet with mixed success on his book-buying expedition in Belgium and France. For a while, he hoped he had bought the complete set of the rare, 53 volume Acta Sanctorum (Brussels, 1643–1794), no. 207 in the sale catalogue of his library. In fact he received from the bookseller a 6 volume edition of 1783–1794, no. 152 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

People mentioned

Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Alfred (b. 1815) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Catherine (1775–1848) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Edward (1809–1900) (mentioned 1 time)
Koster, Henry (1793–1820) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Errol (1812–1844) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Streatham (mentioned 1 time)