3371. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 26 October 1819

3371. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 26 October 1819⁠* 

Keswick. 26 Oct. 1819

My dear Harry

I am very glad to hear that Louisa is safe in bed. [1]  Concerning the name which you have chosen, I who have a poets ears, always upon the alert on such occasions, feel a great objection to two names in sequence when the one ends & the other begins with S. This objection would be removed by putting another name between them – & the there would be good reason either for Gonne, or Hill. Gonne might prove luckier than Cannon has done, [2]  – but as for changing the luck, you & I (two out of the four [3] ) have not much reason to complain.

– Have you an extract from Cannon Southeys will? [4]  I cannot, after much search, find one, which I obtained several years ago, & which Turner submitted to Mr Bell [5]  for his opinion. The opinion was that I then <had> reasonable ground for a – suit in chancery. Lord Somervilles death must certainly have altered the question. And moreover there is a material difference between disputing for a contingent remainder, – & for the remainder when that contingency has taken place. If I understand the case rightly, Lord S. has sold the unexpired term part of a lease of 99 years, which was entailed upon me in case of his dying without issue. Whether it be worth claiming by course of law is what I must now ascertain. The course I believe would be to bring an ejectment against the present possessor; – & he has his remedy against the representatives of Lord S.

You will not see me till about the end of January, – that is, – till I shall have finished Wesley, [6]  & made up my ways & means in the Q.R. – which said ways & means press upon me pretty closely just now. I can do for myself – but I cannot assist Tom, as I have done while the sale of Roderick [7]  supported me & if the temporary deprivation of that assistance makes him look at the probability of being wholly cut off from it, in case of my death, – or of any illness which might disable me, – he will have cause enough for unhappiness in the prospect. He & his wife however both grow fat – & I have never heard a single hint of apprehension from either as to what is to become of their children [8] 

I have been passing three days on a visit to Ld Lonsdale at Whitehaven a place which I had never seen before. I am now sufficiently acquainted with that family to feel quite at ease there. They had invited me to meet Prince Leopold if I had returned from Scotland in time. [9] 

Mrs Gonne I think will remember enough of Mishis Gilpin (now Lady Gilpin) [10]  to enjoy a recent instance of her absence of mind. Having written a letter to Lady Ouseley, [11]  this comical woman actually directed it to Cardinal Wolsey & sent it to the post office.

Do you know anything of Bedford – whom I have not heard of since I went into Scotland. [12]  – Or any thing of my third volume [13] 

I hope Kenyon is coming to see me.

Edith’s love to Louisa & her mother. We are going on tolerably, – save that I cannot reason myself out of some uneasiness respecting Isabel. She is changing her teeth, & has a feverish tongue every morning, – without any fever which can be detected in the pulse, – but what makes me apprehensive is that [MS torn] a constant head ache, – not enough to disable her or destroy her spirits, – but it is plain that she always feels it, when she is not occupied or amused. The others are apparently in good health, – & Cuthbert very stout. My head is healed at last, – the sore has left a little hole, – which matters not.

God bless you



* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 29 OC 29/ 1819
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.104. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Henry Herbert Southey’s third son, Charles Gonne Southey (1819–1861), later an army officer in India, was born on 23 October 1819. BACK

[2] Southey and his three brothers had hoped to inherit property under the will of John Cannon Southey (d. 1768), though this had come to nothing; and their eldest brother, who died as an infant, was christened John Cannon Southey (1773–1774). BACK

[3] The remaining two were Southey’s other brothers Tom and Edward. BACK

[4] John Cannon Southey’s (d. 1768) fantastically complex will gave Southey some hope of inheriting property at Fitzhead after the death of his third cousin, and John Cannon Southey’s heir, John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765–1819; DNB). BACK

[5] Possibly John Bell (1764–1836; DNB), barrister and at this time England’s foremost expert in equity law. BACK

[6] The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

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

[8] Tom Southey had six children: Margaret Hill Southey (b. 1811); Mary Hill Southey (b. 1812); Robert Castle Southey (1813–1828); Herbert Castle Southey (1815–1864); Eleanor Thomasina Southey (1816–1835); and Sarah Louise Southey (1818–1850). They were followed by Nelson Castle Southey (1820–1834), Sophia Jane Southey (1822–1859) and Thomas Castle Southey (1824–1896). BACK

[9] Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865; DNB), widower of Princess Charlotte, had visited Lord Lonsdale at Lowther Castle 25–28 September 1819; he met ‘a numerous party of the gentry in the neighbourhood’ and received the Freedom of the Borough of Appleby, Morning Chronicle, 2 October 1819. BACK

[10] Aemilia Susanna Gilpin, née Irving (1742–1822), wife of Sir Joseph Gilpin (1745–1834), Inspector General of Army Hospitals, poet and Mayor of Carlisle, 1811, 1816 and 1820. He had been knighted in 1815. BACK

[11] Lady Gilpin had written to her niece, Julia Francis Ouseley, née Irving (d. 1850), wife of Sir William Ouseley (1767–1842; DNB), orientalist and linguist. Unfortunately, she had directed the letter to Thomas Wolsey (1473–1530; DNB), Cardinal and Lord Chancellor 1515–1529. BACK

[12] 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

[13] The third volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) had been delayed by a missing proof sheet. BACK

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