1028. Robert Southey to John May, 26 January 1805

1028. Robert Southey to John May, 26 January 1805 ⁠* 

My dear friend

I received a letter last night from Harry which has vexed me a good deal. he mentions the receipt of the last ten £ you sent him, & the inconvenience which he suffers for want of more regular & adequate supplies he goes on in these words ‘To write to a person with whom I have so little personal acquaintance as Mr May upon this subject is disagreeable to myself & must be troublesome to him. I have indeed so often annoyed him that I feel unwilling to write now, the more so, as I cannot express myself so strongly as I would wish without appearing rude. In a fortnight I shall be pressed for money if I do not receive some. Let me be regularly supplied even with little, & let me know what I am to expect, & I shall accommodate myself to my situation – or endeavour to better it.’ – he says also – ‘I do not lead an extravagant life, on the contrary I never was more œconomical in my habits’.

A year & half hence when he has his diploma in his pocket it will be very well that he should endeavour to attempt better himself – but any attempt of that kind now would ruin all his professional views – & I own it is what I have been at times apprehensive of, recollecting the effect of a similar pressure upon myself – tho my supplies were more scanty than his.

What I know of my Uncles English income was communicated in my last, [1]  & I hope soon to communicate a confirmation of it from his agents. at any rate I am sure there will be more than 300 £ – prob the next quarter as the allowance from Wm Taylor will be coming in, there will be no call on my Uncle – under these circumstances I think I am justified in requesting you to send him 20 £ – tho I write with almost as much reluctance as he himself would have done – for in all likelihood it is asking you to advance – in plain English to lend – the money. & the habit of receiving obligations from you has as little blunted the feeling with which I remember them – as it has the sense of their value.

There would have been money in abundance but for what has been squandered upon Edward. fifty you remitted to Miss Tyler – for his first fitting out – on which she did not expend a third part of the sum. 140 Dr Thomas expended – all this in one year – when a third part would have done all we wished for Harry. – the same revenues which supplied this money will are coming in again, & you may be assured that had there been a doubt of the whole 300 £ being paid in, my Uncle would not have preferred Edward to his brother. his intention was to increase our power of disposing of his money – not to limit it.

When you

Can you tell me Mrs Gonnes direction? I should have said Mr Gonnes for if I know his mercantile address – that will not be likely to change like a town residence – & tell me if you can whether that poor child of hers whom I saw in May last be dead.

God bless you

yrs affectionately


Sunday. Jany 26. 1805.


* Endorsement: No. 108. 1805/ Robert Southey/ No place. 26th Jany./ recd. 30th do/ ansd. 31st do.
Watermark: Crown with GR, 1803
MS: Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Don. c. 79. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] See Southey to John May, 25 January 1805, Letter 1026. BACK

People mentioned

Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 2 times)
Southey, Edward (1788–1847) (mentioned 2 times)
Gonne, Mary (1768-1825) (mentioned 1 time)
Taylor, William (1765–1836) (mentioned 1 time)
Gonne, William (d.1815) (mentioned 1 time)
Tyler, Elizabeth (1739–1821) (mentioned 1 time)