3460. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 1 April 1820

3460. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 1 April 1820⁠* 

My dear Harry

My purpose is (as far as such things can be determined) to leave home on Monday the 17th & to be about ten days on the road, halting first at Llangedwin, & afterwards at Ludlow, – from Ludlow you shall hear when I have secured a place in the stage from that place.

I returned from Rydal to day, where I have been passing two days with Dr Wordsworth. This post carries back the concluding proofs of Wesley, [1]  – which some blundering agent of Longmans has contrived to review in the Literary Gazette before it is published [2]  – a thing of no other consequence, than that those persons who expect copies from me will wonder at not receiving them. I suppose they will be delivered about a week after you receive this. If you see John May in the meantime, tell him that I have desired a copy for John Coleridge may be sent with his, not knowing how else to direct it. – You will marvel at the size of the book, & will find in it some fine things, a good many odd ones, & more facts than I know how to explain, either physically or metaphysically. It is likely enough to be talked about. & tho I do not expect to arrive at the honour of being placarded, like Jet Blacking, as in the reign of my Uncle Wat, [3]  no doubt I shall have a hail storm of criticism, ridicule, & controversy (all xx from all points of the compass. Rattle away my boys! the more, the merrier!

I hope we have taken leave of the Influenza, – that is to say, that it has taken leave of us. A fine season for the profession, Doctor! Edmondson never remembers so severe an endemic in the course of seven & thirty years practise.

Love to Louisa & Mrs Gonne

God bless you


Turner has sent me a very ugly opinion of Shadwells. [4]  But if it satisfies him, it will satisfy me.

Keswick. 1 Apr. 1820.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ 15. Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ 4 AP 4/ 182
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 4. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

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

[2] London Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c., 166 (25 March 1820), 203–206; 167 (1 April 1820), 213–215; 168 (8 April 1820), 231–233; 169 (15 April 1820), 246–248; 170 (22 April), 263–266. BACK

[3] In other words, Southey did not expect to be receive as much publicity over The Life of Wesley (1820) as he had at the height of the furore over his Wat Tyler (1817), when he suggests his name was displayed on placards, like an advertisement for a commercial product such as jet blacking (a polish used to blacken items like fire grates). BACK

[4] Sir Lancelot Shadwell (1779–1850; DNB), eminent barrister in the Court of Chancery, specialising in real estate law. He had been one of Southey’s counsels in his action to try and stop the publication of Wat Tyler (1817). He had delivered a legal opinion on John Cannon Southey’s (d. 1768) fantastically complex will, which 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). Essentially, Shadwell told Southey he had no claim on the Fitzhead estate; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 28 March 1820, Letter 3459. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Rydal Mount (mentioned 1 time)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)