1429.1 Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 7 March 1808]

1429.1 Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 7 March 1808] ⁠* 

My dear Harry

Since my arrival in town I have been so busy with unpacking & repacking my Uncles books, & so uncomfortable with a cold in the head, throat, chest & eyes which this malaria  [1]  never fails to give me, that I have had no leisure to see any body in the way of business yet. It was my intention to have gone this morning to Longmans, & have talked to him about Pinkertons [2]  books, & then have proceeded to King Arthur, – but my upper lips has broken out in full blossom during the night, my eyes smart xx even within doors, & there is a blasting East wind without, – so that I find it prudent to remain at home & go on with my indoor occupations.

I have been here just a week, & hope to get off in less than three more. I shall go to Taunton for the sake of seeing my Aunt, & of making a serious appeal to Mr T. Southey, upon the propriety of his helping you at this time. The fellow will not suffer my Aunt to read any of our letters to him, – for fear I suppose that we should give him hints of our wants. I will try to take him in good humour, & x see if his vanity can be wrought upon to your advantage.

Wm Taylor left London on Saturday. he tells me that Gooch is now at Norwich, – which I am sorry for, as I should have liked to see him. Most of my time has been past with my Uncle, – we dined together one day at Lord Hollands, – one day here, & yesterday at Burns.  [3]  He is putting in his claims with more perseverance than hope. – Carlisle has promised to write letters to Durham in your behalf. He served his apprenticeship in that city & thinks he can be of use to you there.

The book concerning Cintra [4]  has not come to light in the general overhaul, – but xxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxx surely your own recollections may suffice for an Athenaeum paper.  [5]  It is very likely that we shall find good employment for you in translating Portugueze papers to be printed as documents in the statistic account of Brazil, which we shall publish seperately from the history.  [6]  Rummage up your memory meantime, a description of Yarmouth & {another of} Norwich will make two good papers. As for other reviews it is I fear hopeless to think of them, for they are one & all mortal enemies to xx my name.

I have been so interrupted that there is only time to slip this into the frank – You Did I tell you that you have a niece Emma? [7] 

If things were as they should be in the Crescent at Bath much expence & inconvenience might be saved by my taking Mary S. to Keswick – but that is impossible under the existing circumstances of her family.  [8] 

God bless you


{I will write as soon as I have seen the Longmen & King Arthur}


* MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 5. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating from content; if, as Southey suggested in his letter to Rickman of 25 [February 1808], he arrived in London on 29 February, then, as this letter was written ‘just a week’ later, it should be dated to c. 7 March 1808. BACK

[1] Southey does not mean that he thought he had contracted the disease malaria, but that the ‘mal aria’, or ‘bad air’, of London had caused his discomfort. BACK

[2] John Pinkerton (1758–1826; DNB), compiler of A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World (1808–1814). Southey was encouraging Henry Herbert Southey to contribute translations of Portuguese and Spanish travels to this; see, for example, Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 April [1808], Letter 1447. BACK

[3] William Burn (fl. 1770–1810s) was a member of the Lisbon Factory. He was well-known to Herbert Hill and John May and had first met Southey in Lisbon in 1796. He moved to London in 1806 and Richmond in 1815. BACK

[4] Unidentified. BACK

[5] The Athenæum; A Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information (1807–1809), a monthly publication, for which Southey was writing. Henry Herbert Southey does not seem to have contributed any articles on the subjects suggested by Southey. BACK

[6] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) did not contain the ‘statistic account’ proposed here. BACK

[7] Emma Southey was born on 9 February 1808. BACK

[8] Mary Sealy’s father, Richard (c. 1752–1821), had sustained serious financial losses as a result of having to leave Lisbon after the French occupation of Portugal in autumn 1807; see Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 May [1808], Letter 1460. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Norwich (mentioned 2 times)
Cintra [Sintra] (mentioned 1 time)
Yarmouth (mentioned 1 time)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)