3383. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 7 November 1819

3383. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 7 November 1819⁠* 

My dear Harry

Wynn tells me that one trial of Cañon Southeys will is to be found in the 6 Vol. of Term Reports. p. 213 Somerville v. Lethbridge. [1]  This case related to the bequest of the Fitzhead lease, & the decision made the limitation to my father void, – leaving it of course to the right heirs of C. Southey. – Now whether I am the heir of a Cannon [2]  as sure as your boy is the son of a Gonne, – is what I cannot tell. But I think it is most likely. And moreover if it be so, it is very possible that the notions entertained by my Aunt, & the people in that country respecting my expectations upon Lord S.s death may have some ground. For tho my Fathers name is only mentioned in the device of the Fitzhead lease, there & it is by no means unlikely that the other property entailed upon Lord S. & his issue, may revert to the heirs of the testator, upon the death of Lord S. without issue. So you see the whole will should be perused by Turner.

I have written to my Aunt upon this new glimpse of light, – to tell me how the relationship stands – & when the old piece of artillery went off. I guess about 1770, – but this may very likely appear in the Report of the Trial, & it will not be difficult to find the other trials (for there were several) in the Report Books. Lord S. sold the whole property, – which he was not entitled to do till he had a son of age to consent to it. The first business is to discover whether I have any claims, – then what they are, – & then whether they are worth pursuing. The prospect <chance> appears better than I thought it

Love to Louisa & her mother

God bless you


7 Nov. 1819


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 10 NO 10/ 1819
Seal: [partial] red wax
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.106. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Charles Durnford (1759–1807) and Edward Hyde East (1764–1847; DNB), Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King’s Bench, from Michaelmas Term, 26th George III to Trinity Term, 40th George III, 8 vols (London, 1817), VI, pp. 213–216, reporting the case of John Southey Somerville v. Mary Lethbridge and seven others, 27 January 1795. 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

[2] Southey was John Cannon Southey’s heir at law, i.e. the person who has a right to inherit the real property of someone who dies intestate; but this fact did not help his claim on the Fitzhead estate. BACK

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