1136. Robert Southey to Daniel Stuart, 29 December 1805

1136. Robert Southey to Daniel Stuart, 29 December 1805 ⁠* 

Dear Sir

We are under some uneasiness concerning Coleridge. he left Malta early in September, & from Malta we have heard that he had reached Trieste, charged, as we suppose from his former letters, with dispatches overland from Naples. He would be at Vienna not much before the French, but the danger of travelling in a country full of soldiers is so great that I am far more alarmed than I think it proper to let Mrs Coleridge know. [1] 

I felt myself much obliged to you for inserting the articles respecting the Spanish Captures. [2]  There was no intention on my part to set the sailors against the service, but to show government that what they were doing had that inevitable tendency. The way in which the discussion was stopt fairly deceived me. Had the positive assurance that I was mistaken – & that the Sailors were to have the same share as usual, appeared in any other ministerial paper, I should have been suspicious, knowing that it was not an uncommon manœuvre last war in the Anti Jacobine [3]  to silence enquiry by a downright falshood. But in this case I expected that if my articles had been offensively worded, they would have been softened or suppressed – & that if you wished them to stop, you would as freely have told me so – as I had applied to you to insert them. However I consider myself much obliged to you & Mr Street for letting them appear.

A Mr Burrell [4]  with whom both Stoddart [5]  & Coleridge are acquainted used to have chambers in Grays Inn. The person you are in quest of must be either he or his brother who resides somewhere in the N. East of England, – Lamb can certainly procure you his address by means of Tobin, who is intimate with him.

I expect to be in London about the close of March & shall hope for the pleasure of seeing you –

believe me

yrs very truly

R Southey.

Sunday Dec. 29. 1805.


* Address: To/ D Stuart Esqr/ 9. Brompton Row, West./ xxxx Knightsbridge/ London./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ JAN 1/ 1806; 10o’Clock/.JA.1./ 1806F.N.n
Endorsement: Southey 1805/ Dec – 29 –/ fears about Coleridge
MS: British Library, Add MS 34046. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Mary Stuart (ed.), Letters from the Lake Poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, to Daniel Stuart (London, 1889), pp. 389–391. BACK

[1] Coleridge arrived back in Britain in August 1806. BACK

[2] In 1800 or 1801, Daniel Stuart had purchased The Courier newspaper with T. G. Street (first names and dates unknown). Although Street was described as the sole editor, Southey used his association with Stuart to publicise in The Courier a dispute over remuneration from the capture of enemy ships, which his brother, Tom, had become involved in. In December 1804 Tom’s ship, HMS Amelia, had captured the Spanish brig Isabella and the ship Conception, both laden with wine and brandy, and the ship Commerce, laden with cotton. Though it was customary for naval officers to be allotted a share of the value of ships and cargo captured in armed conflict, this case was contested because the ships were captured before Spain had declared war on Britain, on 14 December 1804. 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’. BACK

[3] The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, published between 1798–1821, was a ministerial paper, funded by government. BACK

[4] Unidentified. BACK

[5] Sir John Stoddart (1773–1856; DNB), writer and lawyer, who from 1803 to 1807 was an advocate for the king and the admiralty at Malta, in which capacity he became an associate of Coleridge. BACK

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