487. Robert Southey to Michael Maurice, 7 February 1800

487. Robert Southey to Michael Maurice, 7 February 1800 ⁠* 

My dear Sir

My brother Henry will return to Normanstone in the course of a few days. he has been visiting at Bath, & this has been one cause of an improper delay. I find him very greatly improved in every respect, indeed more so than I could have ventured to hope. it has not been in my power to continue his studies, we have not been under the same roof, & the state of my health condemns me to exercise & idleness. I have however seen enough of his acquisitions to be truly thankful for the attention which you must have bestowed upon him.

I thank you also Sir for noticing a tendency which it is of the utmost importance that he should subdue. I have myself observed the same fault & endeavoured to counteract it rather by example, & conversations so indirect that he himself must feel rather than perceive their object. immediate precepts would produce only a painful feeling & a momentary effect. But he is not always with me, & I am sorry to perceive that his other relatives want the thought & the steadiness to check his thoughtlessness. my endeavours have been directed to impress upon th him that without habits of frugality, it will be difficult to preserve integrity, & impossible to retain independance.

My health is considerably amended. I believe the use of the extraordinary gas [1]  discovered by my friend Davy has been greatly beneficial to me. but it is only from change of climate that I can expect compleat recovery. whether I shall wait till the Autumn & then revisit Portugal, or employ the summer in travelling thro Vienna to Trieste is yet undetermined. If our wise governors had acted with common honesty or common sense France & Italy would have been open. [2]  – to Italy indeed there is still access, but that country will probably again become the seat of war, & I should not willingly trust myself among our Russian allies.

with respects to Mrs M. believe me

yrs thankfully & sincerely

Robert Southey.

Feby. 7. 1800. Kingsdown. Bristol.


* Address: To/ The Reverend M. Maurice/ Normanstone/ near/ Lowestoff/ Suffolk/ Single
Stamped: BRISTOL
Postmark: B/ FEB 8/ 1800
Endorsement: Mr. Southey/ Febry 1800
MS: University of Kentucky Library. ALS; 3p. (c).
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Nitrous oxide, or ‘laughing gas’. BACK

[2] Southey is suggesting that if the French suggestions for peace negotiations at the end of 1799 had been taken up by Britain, then the Continent would be at peace. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Kingsdown Parade, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)