299. Robert Southey to James Losh, 28 March [1798]

299. Robert Southey to James Losh, 28 March [1798] ⁠* 

Wednesday 28 March.

Locke [1]  has at last answered my letter. I had directed it wrongly, & this accounts for the delay. his letter is a very odd one, & unsatisfactory as to the Blue Alms. [2]  he himself only states that the fee is certainly worth one hundred thousand pounds, & proceeds to state <point out> some other instances of money “ridiculously applied.” at the conclusion he says “if you intend to intitle yourself to any future observations of mine, you must give me a friendly critic on a piece now in Tom Norris’s press (Taunton) intitled An Evidential union with Jesus Christ. Pre-existence of Souls & universal restitution treated as scripture doctrines.” [3]  the Postscript tells me what stages pass his door. he is a comical fellow, but we shall get no information from him.

yrs truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ James Losh Esqr/ St Jameses Parade/ Bath
Stamped: BRISTOL
Watermark: shield, 1796 beneath
Endorsement: Letter from Southey the poet to Mr. Losh who gave it to/ JD
MS: Newnham College, Cambridge, Harold Young Papers 382b. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Richard Locke (1737–1806; DNB), antiquarian and agriculturist. BACK

[2] Southey had asked Locke for information about the financial mismanagement of the Blue Alms Charity, Bath, which was funded by the revenue from a farm. Locke had surveyed the farm in 1774 and estimated that it was ‘worth little less than 10,000l. per annum’; but ‘notwithstanding the marvellous increase of rents’ the Blue Alms Charity used this vast income for ‘the maintenance of thirteen people only!’, Letters and Papers on Agriculture, Planting, &c. Selected from the Correspondence-Book of the Society Instituted at Bath, For the Encouragement of Agriculture, Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (Bath, 1790), p. 184 n*; see also Robert Southey to John May, 6 April 1798, Letter 303. BACK

[3] Richard Locke, The Pre-Existence of Souls and Universal Restitution Considered as Scripture Doctrine Extracted from the Minutes and Correspondence of Burnham Society, in the County of Somerset (1798) was printed in Taunton by Thomas Norris (fl. 1784–1800). BACK