2116. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 17[–19] June 1812

2116. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 17[–19] June 1812 ⁠* 

June 17. 1812. Keswick.

Huzza! Givez-vous me joy My Lord Thomas Sir Admiral! huzza! I have finished my third volume, [1]  – huzza, hay-go, jumpetum down-derry-down, radderer-to tadderer-tee, radderer tadderer tandoree, huzza! Aballeboozobanganorribo, – by the Lord I have a right to talk nonsense after getting thro such a jo. huzza – Aballeboozo – shake hands with the letter tho you cannot shake hands with me, & give me joy, for I am come to the End, the Finis of my third years Register, yea verily this very evening have I amen’d the volume. And never was I more glad after a long sermon on a cold day, to come to those dear words “Now to God the father” – & “the Peace of God” [2]  – words which were for so many years that the sweetest to me in the whole church-service, & which I shall love as long as I live. – Sarah! don’t look grave! tis not a very sinful confession, – & in my conscience I believe that you must xxx very often <have had> a sneaking kindness for the words yourself.

Well – Ista feita, [3] xx tomorrow with fresh spirits to something new, & thus the world goes with me. You may have seen by the newspapers that the old Frenchman is dead, & that he might as well have lived till doomsday for any good that has fallen to me by his departure. [4]  I had plenty of friends upon the occasion, & plenty of applications were made, – but the appointment lay with the Chamberlain, & the Prince chose to recommend xx one of his Chaplains – so that good Ship the Historiographer is given to Stanier Clarke, – a pains-taking man & so far fit for it, – but a most extraordinary blockhead & so far unfit. My comfort is that it is only worth half as much as I was led to expect. Lord Lonsdale applied for me, so did Croker without my knowledge & in the most zealous manner, he went to Ld Liverpool, to Ryder [5]  & to the Chamberlain. Scott wrote to Lord Melville. [6]  See what a nibble I had, – tho Stanier Clarke caught the fish. The office will do him more good than he will do the office, – much good may it do him, – he is the better for it, & I nothing the worse. I had almost forgotten to say that it produced me a very friendly letter from Canning. Had it been in the powers of ministers I should have had it – but it seems the Prince can chuse an historian for himself, & if he never does more ill by chusing amiss it will be well for him & for old England.

Tomorrow I go tooth and nail to the Quarterly, for the purpose if possible of making our men in power see the xxx imminent danger in which our throats are at this moment from the Luddites [7] xxxx the genuine offspring of the dragons teeth which Burdett & the opposition have so long been sewing. Call this a fortnights work. – I know not when Danvers comes – whether with Martha from Liverpool on Saturday next, or a fortnight after her.


Most likely Danvers will not be here till he has past a fortnight at Liverpool, – where he was to arrive last Wednesday. here he will probably stay a week or ten days & we shall be something less than a week reaching you. One day to Carlisle one to Gilsland one to Newcastle. We shall dine with Losh the next day if we find him, & perhaps walk on to sleep at Shields. See Tynemouth, cross the Tyne, see Jarrow & get to Sunderland the fifth day, – perhaps you will meet us at Durham. – Of course I shall apprize you of our movements as soon as they are fixed. I hope to leave my cold somewhere upon the road, it is at this time about a month old.

The Register [8]  will be printed before I start. The 31st sheet is now before me, there are about four more to come. & the volume will as nearly xx as possible hit the publishers print of perfection in size. Next year the business of South America & of the Cortes will materially lengthen my labours – for which I must make room for curtailing the debates. Bullion is a happy subject for curtailment. [9] 

Nelson [10]  will now soon go to press – I send off a third part next week, & will make an arrangement for franking the proofs to you. How comes on the Argentina? [11]  – I must set you to work upon something more to your taste – a volume of Letters upon the West Indies. [12]  You must put together all your recollections & memoranda. – I will put together my gleanings & thinkings, – & so we will make a joint-volume.

Love to Sarah & a kiss to my niece. Kate is arrived at months of discretion enough to enjoy the story of what she calls ‘naughty Green’ [13]  – being the memorable history of that Johnny Green who threw poor Pussey-Cat into the well. It is a great pleasure to me to think that Tommy Stout who saved the cat upon that occasion, proved a pious & good man, as was to be expected from this <such an> act, for that he was so I conclude from the nature of the present which he made to Sarah. I never tell <sing> the story <song> without thinking of that present (& sometimes indeed mentioning it xx in the song, – ) but Sarah when she looks at the present must not always think of Bim-bim-bim-bim-bim-bim-bom-bell.

God bless you


I suppose I shall reach xxxxx xx xxx xxx xxxx xxx Durham in the second week of July.

I have a message from Edith who requests that she may have a full, true & particular account of all the goings on, talking & walking, ways & customs of her niece Margaret.

We are in daily expectation of Miss Barker. You have seen Sir Edwards death – he has left her 1500£ in money, & 400£ a year free from all legacy & property tax. What a provoking thing – White’s Betsey [14]  has taken the new house next us for three years White is dead & has left her 20,000£ in the funds – besides other property. [15] 


* Address: To/ Capt Southey/ St. Helens/ Auckland/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 281–283 [in part]. BACK

[1] i.e. Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810 (1812). BACK

[2] These two phrases are the beginnings of short prayers that were often used to conclude Anglican church services. BACK

[3] i.e. ‘That is done’. BACK

[4] Louis Dutens (1730–1812; DNB), who had held the post of Historiographer Royal. He died on 23 May 1812. Southey’s campaign for the post proved unsuccessful and it went to one of his particular bêtes noires, James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB). BACK

[5] The Tory politician Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby (1762–1847; DNB). A Pittite loyalist and member of Perceval’s cabinet, he became Lord President of the Council on the formation of Lord Liverpool’s ministry in June 1812. BACK

[6] Robert Saunders Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville (1771–1851; DNB), who had become First Lord of the Admiralty earlier in 1812. For Scott’s letter see H. C. Grierson (ed.), The Letters of Walter Scott, 1787–1832, 12, vols (London, 1932–1937), III, pp. 123–124. BACK

[7] The Luddites smashed textile machinery that they saw as a threat to their livelihoods. The movement was based in the East Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire. Southey expressed his fears in a review of Patrick Colquhoun (1745–1820; DNB), Propositions for ameliorating the Condition of the Poor: and For Improving the Moral Habits, and Increasing the Comforts of the Labouring People (1812), Quarterly Review, 8 (December 1812), 319–356. BACK

[8] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810 (1812). BACK

[9] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), dealt with the question of whether British paper currency should again become convertible into bullion (104–113); and discussed the Spanish Cortes (364–366) and the situation in South America (367–421). BACK

[10] The Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[11] Tom was transcribing Ruy Diaz de Guzman (1558–1629), La Argentina, y Historia de las Descubrimento de las Provinicas de la Rio de la Plata (1612). The copy made by Tom was no. 3836 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] Southey encouraged Tom to write a history of the West Indies, which finally appeared in 1828. BACK

[13] The popular nursery rhyme ‘Ding Dong Bell’. BACK

[14] The mistress of William White (d. 1811), she moved into Greta Lodge, the house next to Greta Hall, much to Southey’s annoyance as he had hoped Mary Barker would settle there; see Robert Southey to Mary Barker, 28 May 1812, Letter 2102. BACK

[15] I have a message … property: written upside down at top of fol. 1 r. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)