291. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 7[-8] March 1798

291. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 7[–8] March 1798 ⁠* 

March 7th 98. being the day appointed for a Fast.

My dear Harry

If, as I am apprehensive, my letter inclosing a two pound bill did not reach Burnett, you are ignorant that it is my intention to visit Yarmouth at the end of May, & pass a fortnight with you. how I shall arrange my march remains to be settled, & I must consult the map, as if it be not too far out of the road I should like to see Amos Cottle at Cambridge on the way. of this however more in due season.

We are now at Bristol, on Kingsdown Parade, within a few doors of the Montague. [1]  you will direct to Cottles, altering however his direction to Wine Street, as he this day removes to the house which Wade last inhabited. [2]  in consequence of this revolution, he gives up the house in the Barton. this is news for Burnett, tho it may not interest you.

My book [3]  is now rapidly advancing & the first volume will be finished within a week. when it is compleated I shall make up a parcel, & I hope to get the books from the Green by that time. I have Livy & Herodian & (I believe) Velleius Paterculus. [4]  What book are you now reading? by that time Jardines sermons [5]  will be published, & I suppose Burnett will chuse to have them. As a “lucid piece of mystical divinity” I may venture, without having yet seen it, to recommend him a sermon upon the last verse of the first chapter of Matthew by ––– Gilbert, now in the press. [6]  Lloyds book [7]  will also be compleated. so that you will have a respectable cargo. Lloyd has begun another novel, [8]  also in Letters. he tells me that one only character is introduced in it, & that it will more resemble Werter [9]  than any other book. In that stile of writing, in anatomizing the feelings, I believe Lloyd will exceed any writer that this country has ever produced. & perhaps – almost equal Goethe & Rousseau. Lamb has written a little tale, about one volume full – of which I only know that it is very dismal & called Rosamund Grey. [10] 

Is there a book society at Yarmouth like that of which Estlin Danvers & the Morgans are members? if not I think Burnett would do well in setting some such scheme on foot, & I will send them <him> the regulations of the Bristol one. Mr Pitt [11]  means to tax printing. this is part of his plan to check the diffusion of information & it cannot be too vigorously counteracted.

I know not whether a little Bristol tittle-tattle may be news to Burnett – however let it go. John Morgan is to be married to Caroline Kiddell. [12]  poor Gilbert is deplorably in love with one of the daughters of that Wainhouse [13]  whose poems are to be found in Burnetts Library, he says “she has a greater compass of mind than any woman he ever conversed with. She ridicules him I understand. A debating society meet every Saturday night at the Red Lodge, the members are respectable, & Gilbert the Cicero [14]  of the forum. I have never visited them yet, nor shall I speak when I go. I do not like these societies, they only encourage vanity & excite bad feelings. When you ridicule the arguments of another you injure him & yourself.

I ought to have written to you before – but my leisure time is little, & no man wants more leisure than myself. the idea of visiting Yarmouth pleases me much. I have not shaken Burnett by the hand since August 1796. I hope I look forward to having a house in London in the course of the winter as a possible thing; so I hope George will be in town to assist my taste in fitting it up, & fill the friends bed. this is possible, & if the possibility shall not be destroyed by any relaxation of exertion on my part. To live always in lodgings is very expensive & very uncomfortable; I want to feel at home, & to have a home for my friends.

Have you written any themes yet? of course I mean English th[MS torn] of all exercises I look upon this as the most useful. facility of composition is useful in every possible situation.

My Uncle Hill has been in England. he came however no farther than Falmouth, & merely to recover his health by the effect of a voyage, for he had been some time unwell. he wishes Tom to get on the Lisbon station, & if Tom chuses to go, Lord Proby will take him over. I have written him word of this, & he will determine as his judgment thinks best.

Edith is better. our love to Burnett. write soon. [MS missing]



* Address: To / Henry Herbert Southey/ with the Reverend George Burnett Yarmouth./ Single
Stamped: BRISTOL
Postmark: B/MR/ 9/ 98
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 3. AL; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 161–163.
Dating note: 7 March 1798 was a Wednesday. The letter was completed the following day. BACK

[1] The Montague Tavern in Kingsdown Parade, Bristol. BACK

[2] The Bristol businessman Josiah Wade (fl. 1790s-1830s). He was particularly friendly with Coleridge. BACK

[3] Joan of Arc (1798). BACK

[4] The Roman historians Titus Livius (59 BC–AD 17); Herodian of Syria (c. AD 170–240); and Marcus Velleius Paterculus (19 BC–AD 31). BACK

[5] Sermons, By the Late Rev. David Jardine, of Bath. Published from the Original Manuscripts, by the Rev. John Prior Estlin (1798). BACK

[6] An unidentified publication by William Gilbert, based on Matthew 1: 25: ‘And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name Jesus’. BACK

[7] Charles Lloyd’s Edmund Oliver (1798). BACK

[8] Possibly Charles Lloyd’s novel Isabel, not published until 1820. BACK

[9] Johann von Goethe (1749–1832), Die Leiden des Jungen Werther (1774). BACK

[10] Charles Lamb, A Tale of Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret (1798). BACK

[11] William Pitt, the Younger (1759–1806; DNB), Prime Minister 1783–1801, 1804–1806. BACK

[12] Possibly a relative of the Bristol merchant George Kiddell. Southey’s information was incorrect: Morgan eventually married Mary Brent. However, Morgan’s connections with the Kiddell family continued and in 1815, a George Kiddell assisted him in the negotiations over the publication of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817). BACK

[13] William Wainhouse (1738/9-1797), Rector of Badgworth in Somerset and author of Poetical Essays (Latin and English) Intended for Instruction and Amusement (1796). BACK

[14] Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BC), Roman orator and politician. The Red Lodge is a Tudor building on Park Row in Bristol. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Yarmouth (mentioned 3 times)
College Green, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)
Kingsdown Parade, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)
Cottles (mentioned 1 time)