1334. Robert Southey to Thomas Smith, 25 June 1807

1334. Robert Southey to Thomas Smith, 25 June 1807 ⁠* 

My dear Sir

A good deal depends upon seeing this country the right way. Your best plan will be to cross the sands from Lancaster to Ulverstone, – from whence you will see Furness Abbey. Proceed up Coniston Lake, & then strike across to the Ferry on Winandermere, – cross there & go along the opposite bank to Ambleside. Ryedale, Grasmere & Thirlmere lie on the road to Keswick. From Keswick you will visit the Lakes which lie to the W. & S.W of us, Crummock & Buttermere, & Ennerdale & Was-water, the two last are seldom visited by tourists, tho they are remarkably fine. Ulswater should be taken on your return to Ambleside. This is the only plan by which every lake can be approached, in the proper manner, & you need not be told how the effect of such scenery is impaired by entering from the head instead of the foot. There is a good deal to be seen about Ambleside as well as about Keswick, but you had better practise mountaineering in the neighbourhood first, & when you return to Ambleside I will take care to meet you there if possible, or if not to provide you with a suitable guide. – The common tourist road is very good & will do for any carriage, – the wilder & finer parts of the country can only be seen reached on foot or on horseback.

Our summers begin late & continue long. If it were not that evening sets in so soon I should say autumn is the best season for coming, but summer evenings on the lake are so delightful that you should come in time for them.

I am sorry to say Danvers has no thoughts of revisiting Keswick yet he talked perhaps of my visiting him, which I xxx shall do during the winter.

Lord Howick was wise in not contesting Northumberland, because according to all human probability he must soon be called to the House of Lords by his fathers death. [1]  Lord Percy should rather have thrown out Colonel Beaumont, a man of more than ordinary imbecility. [2]  What Percys talents may be we have not yet seen. I like him for retiring from Westminster [3]  in deference to the feelings of the people, & I like him also for proposing the gradual abolition of slavery as well as of the slave trade. [4] 

My brother is on board the Pallas, a ship which Lord Cochrane formerly commanded, & which I wish he commanded now. [5]  He has left behind him the highest possible character both as a man & an officer, & there seems great reason to expect great things from him. I am well pleased with his speeches upon the hustings, & particularly with his attack upon Lord St. Vincent, who is the tyrant that he described him to be. [6] 

We beg to be remembered to Miss Smith [7]  & Miss Bayley, [8]  & shall be very glad to hear of your arrival in Keswick.

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey

June 25. 1807.


* Address: To/ Thomas Smith Esqr/ Bownham House/ near Stroud/ Gloucestershire
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ JUN 29/ 1807
Endorsement: xxx from Ulswater & Penrith/ Kendall/ Appleby & Brough/ Barnard Castle/ Staindross – Raby Castle B Babingtons/ Richmond – Duke of Leeds –/ Beedle 11/ Tanfield Hall 7// Windermere – Lowood/ Kendall/ Sedburg/ Ashcraig the fall of the Ure/ Kel Leyburn/ Middeham. [illegible words]/ Masham/ Tanfield Hall// Carlisle/ Wigton/ Keswick// Penrith/ along Ulswater/ Ambleside/ Keswick –
MS: Princeton University Library, Robert H. Taylor Collection RTC01, Box 17, Folder 27. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Charles Grey, Viscount Howick (1764–1845; DNB), became 2nd Earl Grey upon the death of his father Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey (1729–1807; DNB) in November. Howick was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1806 but did not contest the election to the House of Commons in spring 1807 because his sponsor, Hugh Percy, second Duke of Northumberland (1742–1817; DNB), withdrew his support in favour of his own son, Lord Percy, who had just come of age. Grey took his seat in the House of Lords in January 1808. BACK

[2] Colonel Thomas Richard Beaumont (1758–1829), of Hexham Abbey, Northumberland, was the second MP for the Northumberland constituency from 1795–1818. Enriched by the mining interests that he acquired on marriage, Beaumont was widely thought to benefit considerably from his wife’s advice. BACK

[3] The Duke of Northumberland, in an effort to ensure his son maximised his chances of being returned for parliament, had also entered Percy for the constituencies of Launceston and Westminster. BACK

[4] Hugh Percy, Earl Percy (1785–1847; DNB) had, on 17 March, proposed a motion in parliament for the gradual abolition of slavery in Britain’s Caribbean colonies. BACK

[5] Thomas Southey’s ship, launched in 1804, was a 32 gun fifth rate frigate, whose first captain was Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (1775–1860), a daring ship’s captain in the Napoleonic war, under whom she was involved in the capture of many French and Spanish warships. In 1807, command passed to Captain George Miller (dates unknown). BACK

[6] Cochrane, angry because he felt corruption in the administration of the navy had denied him and his men prize money and promotion, stood for election in April 1807 for the seat of Westminster, and attacked from the hustings the conduct of John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent (1735–1823; DNB), former First Lord of the Admiralty (until 1804) and, from 1806 to 1807, Commander of the Channel fleet. BACK

[7] Thomas Smith’s sister. BACK

[8] Untraced. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Furness Abbey (mentioned 1 time)