1127. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 28 November 1805

1127. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 28 November 1805 ⁠* 

Dear Danvers

Letters from Tom this evening, by the convoy but of a later date than others which have reached me. What the Devil do you suppose he has sent me by the Aberdeen, Capt Cummings [1]  – bound to London – with direction to have it sent here by coach? – a Turtle!!! I have been laughing this half hour at the excellent absurdity of the present, & the dismay of all the women to think what the carriage will cost, & what is to be done with it when it comes, & I am hoping most heartily that the passengers will have eaten it in compassion both to me & to the poor turtle beast. [2]  But in case they should not I have made over all my right & title to it to Wynn. [3]  Meantime we remain in the xxx great fear of the Turtles arrival.

Now for the books – & truly I am sorry to occasion you so much labour as you will needs have in finding them. Remember they are in the among those which went from Horts, [4]  not in the other boxes. Chronica del Cid [5]  – a thinnish folio – the common small Spanish folio size – with a picture of a knight on horseback in the title page. you will know it by this – it was one of the books which Waterhouse [6]  left at your house, & a jackanapes acquaintance of his while it was at his lodgings scrawled in it Southey the Great with a pencil. – Coronica Geral de España que mandon recepebar el Rey D. Alonso el Sabio. [7]  a folio in <English> half binding with green lettering. A little volume in red morocco lettered Romances 1557 – or somewhere there about. [8]  If you meet with them in the search send in the parcel Mahometanism Explained [9]  – two smallish octavos, one of which has been burnt – I have some notions that it is one of the books left loose with you, as likely to be wanted. I wish to leave a corrected copy of Thalaba, [10]  & this is one of the books necessary for that. James’s Book about Alex. Selkirk [11]  – I have a compilation to review [12]  which gives me occasion to mention this, & if it were here I should notice it somewhat at length – but this is no matter. The Bank of Faith – upon which D Manuel must draw for a Letter. [13]  Be so good as to get from James [14]  the Periodical Accounts [15]  subsequent to No 14 & from Barry [16]  the numbers of the Missionary Transactions [17]  after the 12th. – If in opening the boxes you should meet with the Periodical Accounts (one volume half bound – & a few loose numbers as far as No 11 – they will be together) send them in the parcel or the box whichever it may be.

The other part of your commission relates to the two Ediths  [18]  Keswick Magnesia is abominably hard & gritty. send half a pound from the Druggists – of the best quality. Two pink-saucers – Barry sells them – & some sixpenny & shilling picture-books of birds & beasts or any thing else, for my daughter – not any thing that she her eyes can comprehend. About three such books will serve her for consumption while we remain here I conceive.

Miss Barker has left us suddenly recalled by the dangerous illness of her best friend. A Bristol gentleman to whom she stated her case very handsomely gave up his place in the Mail from Manchester to her, & went on the outside. I xxx suppose it was Mr Waldo, [19]  for the name she gives is very like that. She made many fine sketches here, & was as you may well suppose much delighted with this delightful country.

I can say nothing of Toms prize money – You perhaps saw what I said in the Courier – which you would know to be mine tho with no signature – & saw how they silenced me at last with a positive assurance that the sailors were to have their full share as usual. [20]  If Government means to deprive them of it, it is evidently ashamed to do it openly. – You told me in one of your letters that I judged too hardly of Edward – in that which mentioned his regimentals & that he was to be gazetted the following week. I made some effort to agree with you – but to no purpose. It is my deep feeling conviction that he is a worthless fellow, from whom no good can ever come; & this was my feeling seven years ago. He is with his Aunt I suppose – & perhaps she may get him into the army. it is very possible, but nothing which he says is to be believed. One would think he lied gratuitously from system, that he might do it with a good grace when it was to serve some purpose.

Sir Domine’s affair I do not consider as a serious evil – only as something unlucky – which will plague him & make him uncomfortable. I know not how it goes on, not having heard from him since I wrote last. It was at Ambleside that the matter begun. [21]  – Poor Cupid! the first of all my friends who ever came to the Gallows! [22]  – I sincerely hope he may be the last, & that one of my relations may not follow his example.

The Monthly Review [23]  must come from some poor Devil who suspects that I have reviewed him in, what he thinks, the same spirit of ill will. The Edinburgh Article [24]  is far more civil, & displays ten fold more talent, but the criticism is not a whit better. – Don Manuel goes gaily on, & will I suppose be published by the middle of spring – tho not yet in press. I shall not send it there till the first volume be ready, which will not be till much of the second is done, for I write as the humour takes me, not in regular series.

Remember me to Rex. how come on the Princesses? [25]  – I do not know the Rickwoman, at least do not know that I know her. – send the box by waggon. – how is Joe? [26] 

God bless you.


Friday. Nov 28. 1805.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ DEC 2
Endorsement: Chronicca de la Famoso Cavallero Cid Ruy Diez Campeador
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Unidentified. BACK

[2] The turtle did not reach Keswick, but died in quarantine; see Southey to Thomas Southey, 1–5 January 1806, Letter 1140. BACK

[3] see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 24 November 1805, Letter 1125. BACK

[4] William Jillard Hort (1764–1849): Unitarian Minister and writer, was one of the many acquaintances who stored Southey’s books. BACK

[5] Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (c. 1043–1099), Chronica de la Famoso Cavallero Cid Ruy Diez Campeador (1593). This was no. 3344 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] Samuel Waterhouse (dates unknown), an English merchant in Lisbon. BACK

[7] Chronica de Espana (las Quarto Partes Enteras de la) que Mandó Componer el Rey D. Alfonso el Sabio (1541), a history book written on the initiative of Alfonso X (1221–1284; King of Castile 1252–1284), who was also known as ‘El Sabio’ or ‘the Wise’. This was no. 3338 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] Lorenzo de Sepúlveda (fl. 1551), Romances Sacados de Historias Antiguas de la Chronica de Espana (1566). This was no. 3448 in the sale catalogue. BACK

[9] Muhammad Rabadan (fl. 1603), Mahometism Fully Explained (1723), trans. Joseph Morgan (fl. 1707–1739). BACK

[10] Southey’s poem Thalaba the Destroyer, published in 1801. BACK

[11] Isaac James (dates unknown), Providence Displayed: or, the Remarkable Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, of Largo, in Scotland...on whose Adventures was Founded the Celebrated Novel of Robinson Crusoe (1800). BACK

[12] James Stanier Clarke (1765?-1834; DNB), Naufragia, or, Historical Memoirs of Shipwrecks (1805–1806), which Southey reviewed in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807), 71–72. BACK

[13] William Huntington (1745–1813; DNB), a London-based fashionable preacher and religious writer, formerly a rural labourer, authored God the Poor Man’s Guardian, and the Bank of Faith, or a display of the Providences of God which have at sundry periods of time attended the author (1784). Southey discussed this work in Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella: Translated from the Spanish (1807), Letter 53. BACK

[14] Isaac James (b. 1759) was the son of Samuel James (1716–1773), Baptist minister at Hitchin. He came to Bristol in 1773 as a student at the Baptist Academy. He kept a shop as a bookseller, dealer in tea (and sometimes undertaker), first in North Street and then in Wine Street. BACK

[15] The Periodical Accounts Relative to the Baptist Missionary Society were published as a periodical beginning in 1793, but also as bound volumes from 1800. Southey owned a copy of the five-volume Periodical Accounts of the Baptist Missionary Society (1800). He reviewed the Periodical Accounts (1800–1801) in the Annual Review for 1802 (1803), 207–218. BACK

[16] Bartholomew Barry (dates unknown), a Bristol bookseller and stationer. BACK

[17] The Transactions of the Missionary Society were the periodical reports of the non-denominational London Missionary Society, founded in 1795, to establish missions in the South Pacific islands and Africa. They were published as bound volumes after 1804. Southey reviewed the Transactions of the Missionary Society in the Annual Review for 1803, 2 189–201, and in the Annual Review for 1804, 3 (1805), 621–634. BACK

[19] Untraced. BACK

[20] In December 1804, the naval ship HMS Amelia, of which Thomas Southey was a lieutenant, had captured the Spanish brig Isabella and the ship Conception, both laden with wine and brandy, and the ship Commerce, laden with cotton. It was customary for naval officers to be allotted a share of the value of ships and cargo captured in armed conflict, but in this case the prize money was contested because the ships were captured before war was officially declared. Southey took up his brother’s cause to have his share of the prize money reinstated and The Courier published a paragraph supporting the sailors’ claim to the prize-money on Saturday 24 August 1805. This was followed by a longer defence of their position in The Courier on 31 August 1805 under the title ‘Indemnification to the Spanish Merchants’. A ‘reply from a Spanish merchant’ appeared in The Courier for 6 September 1805. Southey’s response, that the prize money was being withheld from the sailors in a measure that was ‘impolitic, ungenerous and unjust’ was published in The Courier of 25 September 1805, p. 2. This was refuted by an editorial article in The Courier of 28 September 1805, where it was stated that there was no truth in Southey’s assertion. BACK

[21] While at the home of Charles Lloyd near Ambleside, Harry had met Emma Noel (d. 1873). She was the daughter of Gerard Noel Edwardes, of Exton Park, Rutland (1759–1838; DNB), who had adopted the surname Noel in 1798, and inherited a baronetcy in 1813 to become the 2nd Baronet Barham. When her family objected to the couple’s plans to marry, the relationship soon ended. See letter 1117 of this edition. BACK

[22] Cupid was originally Southey’s dog; he was now in Danvers’s care. He was hung for raiding a hen-roost. BACK

[23] John Ferriar (1761–1815; DNB), a Scottish physician who practised medicine in Manchester, often contributed articles to the Monthly Review, including this one on Southey’s Madoc (1805). See Monthly Review (October 1805), n.s. 48, 113–122. BACK

[24] Francis Jeffrey reviewed Madoc in the Edinburgh Review, 7 (October 1805), 1–29. BACK

[25] Southey’s nickname for his friend John King’s daughters. BACK

[26] Originally Thomas Southey’s dog, which Danvers was looking after. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Ambleside (mentioned 1 time)