2933. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 3 March [1817]

2933. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 3 March [1817] ⁠* 

My dear Tom

I sent a parcel of books to you some fortnight ago, by carrier, to Tinklers. [1]  You do not mention them, so I apprehend they have not arrived, – make enquiry therefore.

Hobhouse [2]  & Koster [3]  came safe.

Do you remember my red-hot Wat Tyler, which I wrote in 1794? Ridgeway & Symonds [4]  had it at that time to publish anonymously, which they undertook to do, & did not – From that time to this I never thought of it, – & now it is published, [5]  – & Brougham has attacked me about it in the H of Commons. [6]  – How little harm this can do me, & how little it can annoy me you may easily conceive. Wynn & Turner & Harry are to settle among themselves whether to sue for an Injunction for which the previous steps have been taken. [7]  But most likely it will be thought best to let the matter alone, as utterly unworthy notice.

My article has been grievously mutilated ‘in compassion to the terror of ministers.’ [8]  They intreat that they may not be called upon by their friends for expenditure, for they have no money. The Sinking Fund they look to as a resource in case of war whenever it may come. Meantime things are mending every where, & perhaps next year may give a surplus revenue.

The Champion has been sold by Scott, [9]  & is got into the hands of a mere oppositionist. [10]  If you get a daily paper let it be the New Times, – which the former editor of the Old Times conducts. [11] 

I shall certainly be with you in April, & not later than the second week.

God bless you. Love to Sarah, – in haste, – & in a tremendous gale of wind


3 March.


* Address: To/ Capt. Southey/ Warcop Hall/ near/ Brough
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Dating note: Dating from content, this was written at the time of the publication of Wat Tyler. BACK

[1] Thomas Tinkler (c. 1754–1824) of Brough; landlord of the Wheatsheaf Inn, Warcop, where deliveries for Thomas Southey could be left because the mail coach stopped there. BACK

[2] John Cam Hobhouse, 1st Baron Broughton (1786–1869; DNB), A Journey Through Albania, and Other Provinces of Turkey in Europe and Asia, to Constantinople During the Years 1809 and 1810 (1813). BACK

[3] Koster’s Travels in Brazil (1816) was reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review, 16 (January 1817), 344–387. BACK

[4] James Ridgway (1755–1838) and Henry Symonds (1741–1816), radical booksellers to whom Southey sent the manuscript of Wat Tyler in 1794; see Robert Southey to Edith Fricker, [c. 12 January 1795], The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part One, Letter 123. BACK

[5] Southey learned of the publication through a piece in the Morning Chronicle, 12 February 1817. BACK

[6] On 24 February 1817, in the debate on the Seditious Meetings Bill, Brougham had contrasted the government’s prosecution of radical writers with its refusal to take action against Southey’s Wat Tyler. BACK

[7] Southey did apply for an injunction against the publication of Wat Tyler; he lost his case on 18–19 March 1817. BACK

[8] Southey’s ‘Parliamentary Reform’, Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 225–278 (published 11 February 1817). Southey’s quotation is from a letter he received from William Gifford. BACK

[9] John Scott (1783–1821; DNB), author and journalist; The Champion (1814–1822) was a weekly paper of liberal views, which Scott had founded. BACK

[10] The Champion had been sold in 1816 to Joseph Clayton Jennings (1757–1839), West Indian lawyer and radical. In 1815 he accepted a government post in Demerara, but was made bankrupt in 1819. In later life he was a conservative and defender of slavery. His private life was notably dissolute. BACK

[11] John Stoddart (1773–1856; DNB) was the editor of The Times until dismissed, at the end of 1816, for the intemperate Toryism of his articles. In 1817 he was made editor of a new, pro-ministerial paper, the New Times (1817–1828). BACK