1201. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 11 July [1806]

1201. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 11 July [1806] ⁠* 

Keswick. Friday July 11.

My dear Tom

All well. Thank God you are arrived. [1] 

I wrote a long letter designing to send it for the West Indies from the Admiralty. it lies in Grosvenor Bedfords desk to be by him directed as soon as he learns your arrival, so that very probably you may receive it before this can reach you. [2]  I have nothing to add as to our home politicks except that the Doctor [3]  has been here about ten days. – Yet I recollect when finishing the sentence that there is something to add. The old boy is dead & has named none of us in his will. A distant relation of his mothers family has one newly purchased estate. 2000£ goes in legacies – all the rest to his brother Tom, – who concludes his letter upon the occasion with an invitation to you & to me. Aunt Mary is to live with him at the Cottage.

So much for that. – I have still a light heart & a thin pair of pantaloons to go thro the world with, & having had not hopes felt no disappointment.

My daughter will be delighted to hear you are coming – if any thing can add to her present delight, as she has just put on a new pair of green shoes.

Caradocs complection is Welsh: [4]  among the Celts there is no choice but between flax & carrots. You are right in objecting to the battle with the women at Caermadoc. it is the worst part of the poem, & is to be altered. I have a great dog who is to play his part there. The Gorsedd [5]  cannot be spared because it introduces Caradoc. the wind on the harp is in the second instance only a little circumstance of the moment – not operating so as to influence the action of the poem. there is therefore no sameness of imagery <action> such as would make it faulty. Lincoyas death is in character. he is a savage of the best possible constitution, & all savages all are as violent in their loves as in their enmities. The old mans story is introduced to give effect to his death – in fact the manner of his death grew out of the story. I do not think it needful to cover Madocs loins – on the contrary there would be an indecency in doing it. It would look like the bough of the tree which always sticks out straight before Adam & Eve.

Your two letters arrived this evening – that to which I have been replying bearing the Portsmouth post–mark – the other announcing your return from Deal.

Perhaps you may be able to get leave of absence so soon that there will not be time to receive any directions from me. You must go thro London. Call on Rickman whose name you will find on his door, in St Stephens Court – New Palace Yard – it is the court in which the Speaker lives. [5]  And close by the gate way which leads into that Court is a flight of stairs leading up into the Exchequer. Ask of an old man who sits there if Bedford is in the office – if he is, go up the stairs, & at the end of the passage a top [sic] is a door on the left hand – mark you at the very end. go in & down one or two steps into a room wherein is another door on the left – & opening that you will see Bedford – who will be very glad to see you.

This is supposing you have a day hanging upon your hands. Your best way of travelling will be to come in the Carlisle Mail from the Bull & Mouth, [6]  which will bring you to Penrith (take your place no farther) – 18 miles from hence, about twelve o clock the second morning.

Any land crabs? [7]  I hope so. If so leave them with Carlisle , whose name is on the door in Charles Street – corner of Soho Square – or with Rickman for him.

God bless you Tom


You are come in x time for Espriella [8]  – & in pudding time for gooseberry pye.


* Address: To/ Lieutenant Southey/ H. M. S. Amelia/ The Downs <Sheering> [deletion and readdress in another hand]/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298; DEAL 74
Postmark: E/ JUL 14/ 1806
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Thomas Southey had been serving in the West Indies as part of the British campaign to achieve naval dominance in the Caribbean during the Napoleonic wars. BACK

[2] See Southey to Thomas Southey, 22 May 1806, Letter 1186. It was sent to Bedford on 27 March; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 27 May 1806, Letter 1188. BACK

[3] Henry Herbert Southey had graduated as MD on 24 June 1806. BACK

[4] A character in Southey’s Madoc (1805); the paragraph discusses incidents in Part 1, ‘Madoc in Wales’. BACK

[5] The meeting of Welsh bards that occurs in Madoc (1805), Part 1, Book 11. BACK

[5] John Rickman’s employer, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Charles Abbott. BACK

[6] An inn in St Martin le Grand, near Smithfield, London, from which coaches and wagons departed for the north. BACK

[7] Thomas Southey had promised to bring some land crabs back from the West Indies; see Southey to John Rickman, 20 January 1804 (Letter 886) and Southey to John King, 5 March 1804 (Letter 908). Although he kept his promise, the last of these died on the return journey; see Southey to Richard Duppa, 5 August 1806, Letter 1206. BACK

[8] Southey’s Letters from England: by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella; Translated from the Spanish, published in 1807. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)