3313. Robert Southey to John May, 11 June 1819

3313. Robert Southey to John May, 11 June 1819⁠* 

My dear friend

I perceive by the inclosed that you are more ready at all times to pay money on my account, than to receive it. Wm Nicol had just been desiring Bedford to remind me of the same business, – from the twofold application it may fairly be inferred that the Treasurers of this office derive no benefit from keeping the money in their hands. [1] 

Wordsworth is with me & I have no time to write more, – except to say that my journey to London must be deferred till the fall of the leaf: – the reason why, – that an engagement to go into the Highlands with Rickman which has for various causes been put off three successive years, can be put off no longer. He must go this year, – to see the Caledonian Canal before he draws up the final report. [2] Telford the Engineer goes with him, – & there is room in the chaise for me. [3]  Such an opportunity was not to be lost, – & the delay will enable me to bring out Wesley [4]  before I go to town, & to recruit my finances by a good spell at reviewing, – they have been on the ebb during the six months which have been devoted to Brazil. [5]  – I must not omit to tell you that D Manuel Alvarez Espriella [6]  is to be of the party into Scotland. – You shall hear from me again soon. meantime

God bless you

Yrs most affectionately


11 June. 1819. Keswick.


* Endorsement: No. 207 1819/ Robert Southey/ Keswick 11th June/ recd. 14th do./ ansd. 1st Juxx:
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ALS; 2pp.
Previously published: Charles Ramos (ed.), The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 177. BACK

[1] John May possessed a power of attorney to receive Southey’s salary as Poet Laureate – he then used the money to pay for a life assurance policy for Southey with the Equitable Assurance Company, of which he was a Director. Southey had received reminders from George Talbot (d. 1836), Paymaster of the Household 1782–1836, and William Nicol (d. c. 1855), who held a minor court post, as Assistant Paymaster in the Lord Steward’s office, that the salary had not been collected. Though the sum was only £100, some of it was paid from the accounts of the Royal Household and some from the Lord Steward’s office. BACK

[2] Rickman was Secretary to the Commission responsible for the construction of the Caledonian Canal 1803–1822. BACK

[3] Southey’s tour of Scotland lasted from 17 August until 1 October 1819. For his record of events, see Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819, ed. Charles Harold Herford (1929). BACK

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

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

[6] The fictitious narrator of Southey’s Letters from England: By Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella (1807); Southey did not produce a sequel based on his 1819 tour of Scotland. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)