3343. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 13-15 August [1819]

3343. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 13–15 August [1819]⁠* 

Friday 13 August.

I leave home on Monday, early in the morning, & if I get a place in the mail at Carlisle, hope to breakfast in Edinburgh the following day. [1]  The Rickmans [2]  had a pleasant voyage, & one of their fellow passengers, a great sportsman & M.P. [3]  had the good xxxx <luck> to shoot a porpoise, which was hoisted on board, to the great delight of all the beholders, – the soldiers & sailors on board feasting on porpoise steaks. I should like well to have tasted xxx it – The M.P. should take a porpoise for his crest.

William Heathcote has not made his appearance. I hope he is gone into Scotland first. My absence is not likely to exceed three weeks. Telford is a man of business, & Rickman never throws away time.

Yesterday I was surprized by a visit from the Bp of London & his Lady. [4]  – A fit person, as Harry would say, to patronize. – They drink tea with us tomorrow. – Sir Watkin & Lady Harriet [5]  were here last week, – & I promised to patronize them on my way to London. Last week too I had Fazakerley [6]  here, – whom I once met at Holland House. A few years ago he went from Lisbon to Evora to see your old friend the AB. – without enquiring before he set out whether the AB was alive or not.

My third volume [7]  seems to be delayed by the Index, – tho to prevent delay I desired Pople not to send me the sheets for correction, leaving that task to the person who made it. [8]  He appears to have been more minute than was necessary, – this however is a fault on the right side for himself & for the reader. There are 70 copies left of the first volume, & 287 of the second. [9]  – It seems when a book is published volume by volume, a considerable number of sets are generally broken, – in this instance the proportion seems to be very great. In the course of the year ending at Midsummer 32 copies of the first vol. had sold, 42 of the second. The publication of the last volume will give a spur to the sale, & it is likely that the first volume may be gone in xx one or two years, – but whether the booksellers may think it advisable to print another edition is very doubtful. [10]  Perhaps not till the Peninsular War [11]  shall occasion a demand for my historical works.

I have written a paper for the QR in the course of the last month, [12]  & got on some way with the second vol. of Wesley, [13]  – upon which I shall set tooth & nail as soon as I return. If this book should sell as it ought to do, which I am very far from expecting, I may be tempted to add a third volume upon the progress of Methodism from Wesleys death till the present time. [14]  Soon after his death a schism took place among his followers in England, because the minority insisted upon having the sacrament administered by their own unordained preachers, & admitting the people to a full share in their Chapel-Government. [15]  Church Government I will not call it. Xx It was not long before the whole body in England chose to take the first step. But recently a second schism has occurred in Ireland upon the opposite ground, the old Methodists insist upon adhering to the Church of England in pursuance of Wesley’s design, – & they are likely by law to eject the others from the Meeting Houses. [16]  An opportunity this which might be made good use of, if the Bishops had courage to think of embodying an irregular force in their own defence.

What a difference between this Bp. of L. & his predecessor! [17]  This appears to be one of the kindest natured men in the world. – He desires to introduce me to Herbert Marsh [18]  when I come to London, – if Marsh were as pugnacious in conversation as he is in his writings, he would be the very last person I should wish to meet.

Have you heard that D. Juan [19]  came over with a dedication to me, in which Ld Castlereagh [20]  & I (being hand & glove intimates!) were coupled together for abuse as “the two Roberts.” A fear of prosecution from the one Robert is supposed to be the reason why it has been suppressed. Xxx Lord Byron might have done well to remember that the other can write dedications also, – & make his own cause good if it were needful, in prose or rhyme, against a villain [21]  as well as against a slanderer. [22] 

Love to my Aunt & the Orsini [23] 

God bless you


Sunday 15th


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surrey.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] 10 o’Clock/ AU. 18/ 19 FNn; 8 AU 18; 1819
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 184. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 141–142 [in part]. BACK

[1] Southey’s tour of Scotland with Rickman and Telford lasted from 17 August until 1 October 1819. For his record of events, see Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819, ed. Charles Harold Herford (1929). BACK

[3] Possibly Thomas William Coke (1793–1867), MP for Derby 1818–1826. He was known for his enthusiasm for all field sports (he may have been the first to take up Highland deerstalking), recklessness and fondness for practical jokes. He was in Scotland in August 1819 for the shooting on the Mar Lodge Estate; see John Scott, The Sportsman’s Repository; Comprising a Series of Highly Finished Engravings, Representing the Horse and the Dog, in all their Varieties (London, 1845), p. 200. Coke did not, however, acquire a porpoise as a crest – the Coke family’s crest was an ostrich. BACK

[4] Mary Frances Howley, née Belli (1783–1860). BACK

[5] Lady Henrietta Williams Wynn, née Clive (1786–1835). She was the daughter of Edward Clive, 1st Earl of Powis (1754–1839) and married Sir Watkin Williams Wynn on 4 February 1817. BACK

[6] John Nicholas Fazakerley (1787–1852), Whig MP for a variety of seats 1812–1820, 1826–1841. A member of a distinguished and wealthy Lancashire family, he had made an extensive continental tour in 1808–1812, including a visit to Spain in 1808. BACK

[7] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[8] Unidentified. BACK

[9] Five hundred copies were published of both the first and second volumes of the History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[10] A second edition of the first volume only of the History of Brazil (1810–1819) was published in 1822. BACK

[11] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[12] Southey’s review of Thomas Fosbrooke (1770–1842; DNB), British Monachism; or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England (1817), Quarterly Review, 22 (July 1819), 59–102. BACK

[13] Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[14] Southey did not write this book on the development of Methodism following the death of its founder, John Wesley (1703–1791; DNB). BACK

[15] Southey’s chronology is a little confused here. The first schism in Methodism following Wesley’s death was when the New Connexion left in 1797 over issues of church government. But this was after the final split between the Anglican Church and Methodism over the Plan of Pacification (1795), which confirmed that the Methodist Conference could appoint Ministers who would be able to administer the sacraments. BACK

[16] Methodism in Ireland had remained within the Church of England until a decision was made in 1818 to authorise Ministers to administer the sacraments. This produced a split between ‘Primitives’, who wished to remain within the Church of England, and ‘Wesleyans’, who did not, which was not healed until 1878. BACK

[17] John Randolph (1749–1813; DNB), Bishop of London 1809–1813. As Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University 1783–1807 he had played a role in excluding Southey from Christ Church in 1792, after he was expelled from Westminster School. BACK

[18] Herbert Marsh (1757–1839; DNB), Bishop of Llandaff 1816–1819, Bishop of Peterborough 1819–1839, noted foe of evangelicalism and controversialist. BACK

[19] The first two cantos of Byron’s Don Juan (1819–1824) were published anonymously on 15 July 1819. The ‘Dedication’, which attacked Southey and others, was suppressed. It soon became very well known, though it was not published until 1833. BACK

[20] Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh (1769–1822; DNB), Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons 1812–1822. The phrase ‘the two Roberts’ does not appear in the ‘Dedication’ to Don Juan, but Castlereagh was certainly singled out for attack in stanzas 11–14. BACK

[21] Southey’s response was eventually A Vision of Judgement (London, 1821), ‘Preface’, pp. xvii–xxii, where he denounced ‘the Satanic school’ of poetry, without naming any one poet, though Byron was clearly the intended target. BACK

[22] Southey’s A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M. P. (London, 1817), p. 28, which branded Smith a ‘SLANDERER’. BACK

[23] The Hills’ children. BACK

Places mentioned

Holland House (mentioned 1 time)