308. Robert Southey and Margaret Southey to Thomas Southey, [30 April 1798]

308. Robert Southey and Margaret Southey to Thomas Southey, [30 April 1798] ⁠* 

Thank God my dear Tom we did not know you were wounded till your letter this evening informed us. As you may suppose we were very uneasy at the first account of the action. [1]  the Gazette yesterday removed our apprehension – we saw you honourably mentioned, & as no notice was taken of your being hurt we concluded you were sound as well as safe. [2] 

I merely write to desire you to draw for money for your journey home – as we now expect you fully.

I cannot tell you all I think & feel on this occasion. we hear of these things coldly – & it is not till they come home to us that we are sensible what they are. I have never contemplated them with indifference – & yet this it has been so with me.

My Mother wishes you to write to Lisbon. my Uncle will be anxious, & a full true & particular account will greatly gratify him.

We came here on Saturday last. I go for London the 18th of May – but long before that I hope to see you.

Whether or no this reaches you is of little consequence, if so, well – if not – we shall see you the sooner – but if you should receive it write immediately & let us have regular bulletins respecting your health.

God bless you.

yrs affectionately

Robert Southey.

I am commissiond with a cargo of boxes &c, in the regular course of exchange.We have just heard from the mother of the Captains Clerk [3]  that you are coming home.

[section in Margaret Southey’s hand begins]

My Dear Child

It is not in my power to tell you what I have felt on this occasion or the thankfullness of heart for your wonderfull preservation – I shall forbare to say any more as I hope soon to see you yet I fear you make less of your wounds than what they are

Adieu God bless you – yours affectionately M Southey


* Address: To/ Mr Southey/ H.M.S. Mars/ Falmouth
Stamped: BATH
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 3p.
Dating note: Dating is from internal evidence. The Southey family learned of Tom’s wounds on 30 April. See Southey to John May, 1 May [1798], Letter 309. BACK

[1] Thomas Southey had been wounded in the action between the Mars and L’Hercule on 21 April 1798. BACK

[2] The London Gazette, 28 April 1798, printed a letter from Lord Bridport singling out Thomas Southey for his bravery. Tom was not listed amongst the wounded until 1 May; see the London Gazette for that date. By 5 May the Whitehall Evening Post was reporting that his wounds were not ‘dangerous’. BACK

[3] Unidentified. BACK

People mentioned