3642. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 27 February 1821

3642. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 27 February 1821⁠* 

My dear Harry

To my very great surprize Tom said to me this morning that he should like to go to Algoa Bay [1]  if any thing could be got for him, I told him I did not know that any thing was to be had except a grant of land, in which, probably, interest might be of some use as far as regarded situation; – & perhaps in the first instance employment to take charge of some settlers, if more were sent out, which would enable him to look out for himself, – this being what he proposed, to go & make preparations, while Sarah could live upon her own means, & upon Miss Wilbrahams payments. [2]  We talked about it, somewhat vaguely, but on my part so as to encourage him in the only sensible plan he can adopt, & the only way which is open to him for securing an independence for himself & his children; & he desired me to make inquiry whether there was any appointment which could be obtained for him there, or what he might expect. – I will set Bedford to feel the way, thro Herries, & when we know what is to be done, then try what I can do with Croker. If you can learn any thing, of course you will. It is very well that he ventures to look at his situation fairly, & that this thought should have occurred to his own mind, as it has long since done to yours & mine.

Can you find xx out the history of a Mrs Attersoll, – a woman of fashion & fortune, who has lately been unmarried, or rather dismarried, [3]  I know not by what process, nor for what good cause, & resuming the name of her father [4] is xxx now calls herself (writing from France) Madame S. Anne Holmes. Her father lives in Manchester St. Manchester Square. – She is certainly an odd personage, as well as a clever one, & seems in some things to resemble the poor Senhora. I should tell you that she is the Lady to whom one of the French translations of Roderic [5]  is dedicated, – & she favours me not only with her high approbation, – but also with letters nicely written upon the finest French paper, & sealed with yellow wax in the most delicate manner.

In making out a presentation list I totally forgot to order one for Kn Sir Wm K. – which of course ought to have been done. By this post I supply the omission, – it shall be sent to you with the bag & sword copy [6]  – & you will say what civil things with it you please.

What news of Miss Tyler?

Love to Louisa & the children & Mrs Gonne

God bless you

Yrs affectionately


Keswick. 27 Feby. 1821.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ 15. Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ MR 2/ 1821
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 4. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Now Port Elizabeth, in South Africa. A party of about 4,500 British settlers had arrived in April 1820, with government sponsorship. BACK

[2] Tom Southey’s lodger, Mary Laetitia Wilbraham (b. 1799), daughter of Randle Wilbraham (1773–1861) of Rode Hall in Cheshire. She later married Joseph-Harrison Tryer (b. 1797) of Whitley House, Northumberland. BACK

[3] Ann Attersoll had assumed the surname of John Attersoll (c. 1784–1822), merchant and banker and MP for Wootton Bassett 1812–1813. Though they were not married, she probably passed as his wife. She presumably stopped using his name because their relationship had ended. BACK

[4] Thomas Holmes, later Hunter (1751–1827), of Beoley Hall, Worcestershire. He was an East India merchant, who changed his name to Hunter on inheriting the Gobions estate in Hertfordshire in 1803. BACK

[5] Pierre Hippolyte Amillet de Sagrie (1785–1830), Roderic, Dernier Roi des Goths (1821), no. 2700 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] A copy of A Vision of Judgement (1821), in the same fashion as no. 2626 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, described as ‘superbly bound in blue morocco, leather joints, richly tooled and lined with silk’. Sir William Knighton presented this to George IV. BACK

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