1664. Robert Southey to Humphrey Senhouse, 4 August 1809

1664. Robert Southey to Humphrey Senhouse, 4 August 1809 ⁠* 

Keswick. Aug. 4.1809.

Dear Senhouse

Many thanks to you for your letters & the friendly part you have taken. The business I hope is now in a fair train, for it is by no means likely that such an appointment should have been promised without Lord Lonsdales concurrence. [1]  Of course I must go to Lowther, & it will be far more pleasant to do so while you are there, than to make my appearance as a stranger. If you hold your intention of going on the 14th, I will follow you by the next days stage.

I have just bound myself to this country for better for worse, by taking a lease of these premises for one & twenty years; – a necessary precaution, because poor Jackson my Landlord has long been dying by inches, & cannot possibly linger much longer.

If we mean to keep Walcheren & the other Islands when we have taken them, [2]  it will lessen the chances of invasion, & be a prouder manifestation of British power than any which we have yet seen. Any thing short of this would be wasting great means that might be well employed elsewhere, but this would be worth doing, because it would be so proud a proof of our strength to the Continent, & so intolerably galling to Bonaparte.

Soults army in their flight before Wellesley had to cross a bridge over a ravine.  [3]  – the parapet was low, & when the pursuers came up they found the ravine to the right & left choaked up with men & horses who had been jostled over in their haste. This was communicated to W Scott by an officer of cavalry who was foremost in the pursuit. Remember us to Mrs S & at Netherhall

yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ Humphrey Senhouse Junr Esqr/ Maryport/ Cockermouth
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Seal: Red Wax
Endorsement: Augt. 4. 1809/ R. Southey to H.S
MS: University of Rochester, Rare Books Library, A.S727 1:2. ALS; 3p.
Watermark: crest [partially obscured by seal]/ 1803/ T BOTFIELD
Unpublished. BACK

[1] In July 1809, Southey was informed by Richard Sharp that the stewardship of the Derwentwater Estates (which were owned by Greenwich Hospital) would soon become vacant on the death of the incumbent. Southey asked several friends to intercede on his behalf, including Senhouse and George Beaumont, but in the end it was considered unsuitable for him; see Southey to Walter Scott, 8 August 1809 (Letter 1666) and Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 August 1809 (Letter 1669). BACK

[2] The Walcheren expedition was an unsuccessful British attempt to open another front in the Netherlands in support of the Austrian Empire’s struggle with France. Approximately 40,000 soldiers with supporting horses and artillery landed at Walcheren on 30 July 1809. There was little fighting but the army sustained heavy losses from sickness, and in December 1809 the rest of the force withdrew. BACK

[3] The French general Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia (1769–1851), whose invasion of Portugal in the spring of 1809 was to have been the first step in Napoleon’s plan to end the Peninsular War. After taking command of the British troops in Portugal in April 1809 Wellington advanced on Soult’s troops at Porto, on 12 May. Their attempts at a defence were in vain, ending in a disorderly retreat from the city and the failure of the second French invasion of Portugal. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)