3258. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 5 March 1819

3258. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 5 March 1819 ⁠* 

Keswick. 5 March. 1819

My dear Harry

Both mother & child are doing well. The former recovers strength slowly, but is recovering it.

I shall probably set out for London at the end of April. By that time the Brazil [1]  will be finished, & I will leave Wesley [2]  undone rather than delay my journey till a less convenient time. The less visiting the better. Indeed I shall have a good deal of hard work, at public offices & public libraries. Gooden (whom you refused in marriage) has embargoed some Brazilian papers for my use. [3]  He has been one of my most useful caterers, – so don’t refuse him again if another opportunity should offer.

This election will do Lambton good, & help to ripen him into a moderate Whig. [4]  If the mob had applied a few rotten eggs to him, – or a brick bat as they did to Sir Murray Maxwell, [5]  it would very considerably have accelerated the process. – It is odd that no person asked Hobhouse upon the hustings whether he was the author of that letter to Canning. [6]  Twas a comical election, – & I am well pleased at the result.

Love to Louisa & her mother

God bless you



* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: [partial] KESWICK
Postmark: E/ 8 MR 8/ 1819
Seal: red wax, design illegible
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 4. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[2] Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[3] The ‘Preface’ to History of Brazil (1822) [unpaginated], thanked Archibald Constable (1774–1827; DNB), Scottish publisher, bookseller and stationer, for ‘a collection of original dispatches from the home Government to D. Luiz de Sousa, during his administration of Brazil’. Luis de Sousa, Conde do Prado (c. 1580–1643) was Governor-General of Brazil 1617–1621 in the reign of Philip III (1578–1621; King of Spain and Portugal 1598–1621). This manuscript had been brought to Southey’s attention by James Gooden and Constable had agreed to purchase it and let Southey make use of it for his History of Brazil. BACK

[4] The by-election in the Westminster constituency on 3 March 1819. The Whig candidate, George Lamb (1784–1834), MP for Westminster 1819–1820, MP for Dungarvan 1822–1834, narrowly defeated John Cam Hobhouse (1786–1869; DNB), MP for Westminster 1820–1833, MP for Nottingham 1834–1847, MP for Harwich 1848–1851, who had much radical support. John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham (1792–1840; DNB), Whig MP for Durham 1812–1828, had supported Lamb. BACK

[5] Sir Murray Maxwell (1775–1831; DNB), naval hero and unsuccessful pro-government candidate for Westminster at the General Election in 1818; he had been badly injured by a paving slab thrown by a hostile crowd. BACK

[6] Canning had overreacted to the circulation of an anonymous pamphlet that attacked his speech in the House of Commons on 11 March 1818 on the Indemnity Act (1818). The pamphlet, A Letter to the Right Hon. George Canning, was withdrawn the day after it was published, but it was circulated under blank covers by the radical bookseller and printer James Ridgway (1745–1838). Canning’s response was to write, via Ridgway, on 10 April 1818, effectively challenging the anonymous author to a duel. This letter became public on 12 April. Many thought the pamphlet to have been the work of John Cam Hobhouse, but no reply was received and a duel was avoided. BACK

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