3518. Robert Southey to John May, 31 July 1820

3518. Robert Southey to John May, 31 July 1820⁠* 

My dear friend

Your letter gives me much concern, – because tho the present immediate evil is over, the same want of consideration & of proper feeling (to use no stronger terms) which has occasioned it now, may bring it on again at any time, & thus your tranquillity interest, & what is of still more consequence, your peace of mind, are made to depend almost as much upon another as upon yourself. – [1] 

Herewith you have the commencement of my promised autobiography. [2]  You will see by the dates at the beginning & end that it has <been> written at different snatches of time, – & there has been some delay occasioned by copying it, as I have made a transcript for the double purpose of having it at hand to refer to that I may not say the same thing twice, – & of inserting in its proper place any thing that I may not have called to mind in its order. I shall begin a second letter [3]  without delay, – & preserve as many recollections as I can of manners that even within my remembrance have past away.

We are all well, thank God. I am very busy, laying in materials largely for various works, & proceeding with several of them. – Mr Walpole is not forgotten. [4]  Remember me most kindly to Mrs May & your daughers: [5]  – & to John Coleridge when you see him

God bless you

Yrs affectionately

R Southey.

31 July 1820


* MS: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Robert Southey Papers A.S727. ALS; 1p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] May was experiencing increasing financial difficulties, and Southey was anxious about the activities of May’s younger brother and business partner in Brazil, William Henry May (1785–1849). BACK

[2] Southey to John May, 26 July 1820, Letter 3514. BACK

[3] Southey to John May, 1–15 August 1820, Letter 3520. BACK

[4] Southey’s proposed, but unexecuted, memoir of Robert Walpole (1736–1810), the British envoy to Portugal 1771–1800. BACK

[5] May’s daughters, Mary Charlotte (b. 1804), Susanna Louisa (1805–1885) and Charlotte Livius (b. 1812). BACK

People mentioned