1242. Robert Southey and Thomas Southey to Charles Danvers, [12 December 1806]

1242. Robert Southey and Thomas Southey to Charles Danvers, [12 December 1806] ⁠* 

My dear Danvers

I shall be glad of Whitfields Memoirs [1]  – & also of his Letters [2]  if the copy you speak of be in good & cleanly condition, there being I think some danger of its displaying the unction of female fingers. Have you any friend at Bath who can buy me a book there? – for I remember years ago in Hazards Catalogue, [3]  where it is likely to remain still – the Pilgrims Progress from Quakerism to Christianity by a Mr Bugg, [4]  – a name of such remarkable beauty as not easily to be forgotten. Now a few shillings may well be ventured upon this Essence of Bugg, – for I have to review Clarksons book, [5]  & also to write one of Espriellas letters upon the Quakers, [6]  & if this book be any way correspondent to its title it would repay its own cost.

As it seems you have to look out the books again (– indeed I am sorry to give you so troublesome a job –) add to them a small 4to – Juniperized [7]  in [MS obscured] & lettered Romances Sueltos. [8]  & Wesleys Journal – 5 Vols in boards. [9] 

Almost I may say that the only uncomfortable thoughts or feelings I have are when I think about my poor books, & certainly it does fret my very heart strings to think how much I want them & how much they want me, – & that instead of being the pride of my eyes & joy of my life as they would be, they are a source of inconvenience & vexation. I will try my very utmost to raise money next year, & settle them & my family before I go abroad – if abroad it should be possible to go. My Cid [10]  will – with its historical introduction, its notes, & its appendix of bibliography & criticism, well fill a quarto volume, – so do my plans usually extend before me! When this is ready I will offer the copy right for sale, & ask three hundred xxx for it, resolving to take 250. It is doubtful whether I can get this, yet I think not unlikely. It is not pleasant to do it, because it is parting with the principle, – & if it pays the bookseller for this price, it would have paid me better not to have sold it, – but – where there is no remedy patience.

Oh how busy I am! – half thro Palmerin [11]  – about 70 pages of Espriella yet to write – which is more than half a volume. A cargo to ship off tomorrow for Dr Aikin – & then to fall to upon more reviewing than I expected or calculated upon. & yet with all this have spent this morning in walking with Tom around the Lake.

[in Thomas Southey’s hand]

Dear Charles

Robert has of course answered that part of your letter which concerns him about the books – &c – for myself I have little to tell you – except that I am exceedingly glad I made a point of seeing Sir Saml [12]  and am perfectly satisfied with the result – my hopes of promotion are raised since I saw you – my Uncle writes from Lisbon that he <has> written to his friend the Duke of Bedford [13]  – whose brother is one of the Admiralty lords about me [14]  – this with what the first lord said to Wynn – leads me to hope when next I go to sea twill be as Captain – if so my time is certainly better employed here than it could be on board.

I shall write to Harry shortly – and will mention the cause of the Taunton letter – he is dashing about at Norwich and will be for three weeks longer – then he goes to walk the hospitals in London –

I am just returned from Old Brathay – when I either see or write to them again your remembrances shall not be forgotten – writing from Bath you ought to have told me how Miss Phillot [15]  did – I hope if you saw her my compliments were not neglected – as you expected in London my time was so completely taken up and I was so tired that I could not see Mrs Rickards I hope however the letters I was entrusted with reached her safe inquire of Rebecca Reed [16]  when next you see her – & make my remembrances at the same time –

To the Mr Madox’s particularly Mr Charles [17]  I beg my best respects – when does your brothr go to Plymt? I am very glad he has got the appointment he wished –

Roberts health is tolerable – we seldom let an opportunity of walking escape – but the weather is damnable – I wish to God he was fixed & his books round him three hundred miles further South – the want of them and the idea of how much they want him – is the only thing I know of that vexes him –– Coleridge is here his stay uncertain – I understand he goes to the Wordsworths in Leicestershire from hence ––

Sincerely Yours

Ths. Southey


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [illegible]
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. AL; 4p.
Dating note: from internal evidence; Thomas says he has ‘just returned from Old Brathay’ and this was on Friday 12 December 1806 according to letter 1247 to Thomas Southey, dated 21 December 1806. BACK

[1] George Whitefield (1714–1770; DNB), Calvinistic Methodist leader, whose Journals were published in an unauthorised version in 1738. The authorised version, The Two First Parts of Whitefield’s Life, with his Journals Revised, Corrected and Abridged, appeared in 1756. Whitefield is discussed in Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella; Translated from the Spanish (1807), Letter 53. BACK

[2] In the sale catalogue of Southey’s library after his death, no. 3010 is George Whitefield’s Select Collection of Letters (1772). BACK

[3] Probably Samuel Hazard (dates unknown), printer and bookseller of Cheap Street, Bath. BACK

[4] Francis Bugg (1640–1727; DNB), The Pilgrim’s Progress from Quakerism to Christianity … Together with a Remedy Proposed for the Cure of Quakerism (1698). BACK

[5] Southey reviewed Thomas Clarkson, A Portraiture of Quakerism, as Taken From a View of the Moral Education, Discipline, Peculiar Customs, Religious Principles, Political and Civil Œconomy, and Character, of the Society of Friends (1806), in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807), 594–607. BACK

[6] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella: Translated from the Spanish (London, 1807), Letter 57. BACK

[7] To ‘Juniperize’ meant to add a gold border and lettering to the bindings of Southey’s books, with a possible allusion to Friar Juniper, disciple of St Francis, who cut the silver bells off the gold border of an altar cloth to give to a poor woman begging alms. BACK

[8] This is probably no. 3720 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, Romances Sueltos en Verso Espanola. Published in Alicante, Seville and Valladolid, the date of publication is unknown. BACK

[9] The journals of John Wesley (1703–1791; DNB) were first published in twenty parts (London, 1740–1789). BACK

[10] Southey’s edition, Chronicle of the Cid, from the Spanish was published by Longman in 1808. BACK

[11] Southey published an English translation of Palmerin of England, by Francisco Moraes in 4 volumes in 1807. BACK

[12] Commodore (later Vice-Admiral) Sir Samuel Hood, 1st Baronet (1762–1814; DNB), in command of the fleet in which Tom had served in the West Indies. BACK

[13] John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766–1839; DNB): known as Lord John Russell until 1802, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1806–1807. BACK

[14] William Russell (1767–1840), brother of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766–1839; DNB), was a Civil Lord of the Admiralty. BACK

[15] Miss Phillott (first name and dates unknown) was an acquaintance of Bristol days and a member of a prominent family of professionals and tradesmen centred on Bath. BACK

[16] Rebecca Ann Reid (1785–1834), younger sister of Southey’s old friend from Bristol, Sam Reid, would marry Benjamin Rickards (dates unknown), of London. Here the Mrs. Rickards with whom Danvers was to check was presumably her prospective mother-in-law or sister-in-law. BACK

[17] Danvers lived in Park Street, Bristol, with his old business partner, Charles Madox (or Maddox) and his brother, John (dates unknown). BACK

Places mentioned