1347. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 28 July 1807

1347. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 28 July 1807 ⁠* 

July 28. 1807.

My dear Danvers

I have heard from Sam Reid that the precious cargo is reshipped for Workington. [1]  This is well, as all danger of capture is over, & that of the sea comparatively so little that I regard them as safe. He asks me whether he shall send me the account of freight so far, or deliver it to you. To this, as his letter contains no address I could not reply except to you. Do you settle with him & I will ere long send you a draft upon the Long Men of the Row to settle balance my money account with you.

The picture came safe – which was a wonder for tho well secured behind, the front had nothing to cover <shield> it, & was compleatly covered with dust & straws that had worked thro the case. [2]  The frame is not as I directed – indeed it appears to have been a ready made one into which my print was squeezed at the expence of half-an-inch of its breadth: a very abominable trick which the <framer> could not have practised if it had not been sent to a distance. My directions were for a broad plain flat black frame with an inner rim of gold – it is neither broad, plain, nor flat, – & consequently looks not half so well as if it had. Of course I am fully sensible that you gave the directions which I sent, & my only motive for telling you all this is that you may never employ the same tradesman again, for nothing can be more abominable than chipping a print to fill a frame, – especially so costly a one as this is.

You would have heard from me sooner if I had known where to direct. The delay has had this good effect that it saves me the trouble of telling you Toms history; as you know more of it now than myself. His & your joint letter greatly disappointed me. I have written to him expressing rather a more confident hope than I feel, that he will soon be ordered into the country. [3]  The surgeon will think that if orders him he gives this opinion now, it will be a confession that his first opinion was a mistaken one, & this I fear will stand in Toms way. The whole of this business has made me very uncomfortable for a long time. There is an intolerable tyranny in the navy which we are not likely to see mended. Lord Cochranes motion [4]  was disposed of in a very disgraceful way, & Sir S. Hood [5]  is out of my good books for the part he took in answering it. Lord C. is a true honest-hearted sailor; & all who have sailed with him almost adore him. If he be not disheartened he will do much good in that great Stilton-Cheese of the constitution, commonly called the House of Commons.

This puts me in mind of the cheeses for my Uncle. It is not I hope too late to order him a couple.

Your brother D. I hope will do well, for he has no family-claim to consumption to counteract the means which Rex will use for his recovery. Remember me to him & say I hope to find him well enough in the winter to play a rubber at whist. – You ought by this time to have received two copies of Espriella, [6]  one of which is for his Majesty. Palmerin [7]  is still delayed by Pople, & it will be yet some weeks before it is finished: this will be no disappointment to you who have no more taste for Chivalry than I have for music:

Sam tells me also of the arrival at Liverpool of the books from Lisbon which were wanted for the Cid. As soon as they reach me, which should be on Thursday next I shall make my bargain with the Long-Men & put the work to press. [8] 

Julius Hutchinson, the Editor of Mrs H.’s Memoirs has written to me, thanking me for my review in the Annual.  [9]  He tells me that a second edition is to be printed, & asked for any advice that I could give, – which was a needless compliment. Earl Manvers, [10]  he says, a descendant of Pierrepoint, has on account of this book, made <got> his son a Lieu promoted to a Lieutenancy in the navy & has promised to be his friend in every way within his power. This Earl has also ordered the Annual Reviews upon the merits of this article of mine; – which said article has no other merit than that of fully acknowledging the merit <beauty> of the book, & being moreover a right republican one. – I have also had a letter from Miss Seward, containing such commendations of Madoc as perhaps never mortal man heard of his works before. [11]  Sir I am no longer a Crocodile & a Hyena, – & moreover I am to stop at Litchfield on my way South.

The Counts is a very good <book> upon Poland, & we all like it much. [12]  A few very few – omissions would improve it, but it is much to his credit. Here he is, working away at a book about the country, for which the Senhora Barkera will give him some drawings. [13]  We go to Lloyds as soon as his trunk arrives.

My son & my daughter go on prosperously. The next son I have is to be christened Danvers; I am likely to have a house full of books & of children, – the two best things a man can have.

God bless you

R Southey.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: Pliny – Nat Hist
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Having decided earlier in the year to stay at Greta Hall, Southey had sent for his books which were scattered between friends in London and the West Country. Those kept in Bristol had been sent by sea. Samuel Reid, who lived in Liverpool, had promised to look out for them when they arrived in port and have them forwarded on to Workington; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 20 April 1807, Letter 1308. BACK

[2] A print of the Armada; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 25 May 1807, Letter 1326. BACK

[3] This letter does not appear to have survived. For an account of Thomas Southey’s current troubles, see Southey to John Rickman, 26 June 1807, Letter 1336. BACK

[4] In parliament the newly elected Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (1775–1860; DNB), became a radical MP and critic of corruption and nepotism in the navy and in the government. On 7 July he called for an inquiry into places, pensions, and sinecures held by, or for, members, but it was defeated by the government. His call on the 10th for papers that would expose naval abuses did not even secure a division (DNB). BACK

[5] Sir Samuel Hood, 1st Baronet (1762–1814; DNB), like Cochrane a naval officer renowned for courageous engagement of the enemy. Hood became MP for Westminster in 1806; in the 1807 election he was returned for Bridport – a naval constituency – which he held until 1812. BACK

[6] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[7] Palmerin of England; by Francisco de Moraes. Corrected by Robert Southey from the Original Portugueze (1807). BACK

[8] Southey’s edition Chronicle of the Cid, from the Spanish was published by Longmans in 1808. It comprised translations from the Crónica particular del Cid (1593), with additions from the Crónica de España of Alphonso the Wise (1541) and Romancero e Historia del Cid (1632). The books had been sent by his uncle Herbert Hill. BACK

[9] In the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807), 361–378 appeared Southey’s notice of Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681; DNB), Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (1806), a posthumously published memoir by the widow of Colonel John Hutchinson (1615–1664; DNB), a Puritan commander in the English civil war and a signatory of the death warrant of King Charles I. The editor thanking Southey was the Rev. Julius Hutchinson (dates unknown) a descendant. BACK

[10] Charles Pierrepont, 1st Earl Manvers (1737–1816), the Nottinghamshire nobleman who owned estates in the area of Owthorpe House, formerly the seat of the Hutchinsons but by 1807 semi-derelict. Manvers had inherited the estates from his uncle, General Evelyn Pierrepont, 2nd Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull (1711–1773). BACK

[11] Madoc (1805). For Southey’s reply to this letter, see Southey to [Anna] Seward, 25 July 1807, Letter 1346. BACK

[12] View of the Present State of Poland (1807). BACK

[13] Burnett did not publish a work on the Lake District. BACK

People mentioned