885. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, [c. 15 January 1804]

885. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, [c. 15 January 1804] ⁠* 

Dear Danvers.

As Edith has sent for a box from Bristol I must take advantage of it. will you purchase for me a dissected map [1]  of England for Moses, & some marbled paper at Barrys [2]  – the best sort. he will remember what I used to have – six sheets of one pattern, 6 of another, 3 of a third, 3 of a fourth, & 2 each of three more to make up the quire. Send also in the box my pocket book or books, if you have more than one loose, & Halheds Code of Gentoo Laws [3]  a quarto volume, & if you have them Cardonnes Histoire d’Affrique & D’Espagne [4]  three duodecimo volumes. My memory quite fails me as to what books were left loose.

The wine I am sorry to say is not come, nor can I learn any tidings of it at Whitehaven. application has been made to Liverpool, but as this is thro a second person I cannot expect much enquiry & begin to be afraid it will be lost. If the ship xxx be a regular trader with Bristol we must enquire there what account the Captain can give. [5]  As soon as the Review [6]  is published, which will be in March, I will send you a draft on Longman for 30£ which will discharge the bill, & what expence Edith may be now contracting there – & leave some surplus in my bankers hands – meantime let Martha have what she may want in this account.

The mention of the Review reminds me of William Taylors reviewal of Thalaba in the Critical. [7]  I should like to see it – so buy the number for me & send in the box.

I have written a long article upon the Rise, Progress, Effects & Objects of the Methodistsm, [8]  which as you know I hate, abhor & abhominate. you will be well pleased with the main part of the reasoning, than which indeed, I have written nothing more forcible. perhaps you may not equally like the cry that the Church of England is in danger which I have loudly raised – yet I have told the Church to chuse while it can between reformation & ruin, & called upon it to abolish its articles. The Methodists would burn if they could, & no holocaust would raise up to them so sweet as a savour as a roasted Socinian. [9]  For the next Review they almost overtasked me – another batch has set me another weeks work I was when I was singing O be joyful because the burden was off my back.

On Friday I went to Brayton – Sir Wilfred Lawsons, [10]  & staid there two nights – an ugly place 18 miles off. His score & forty servants are the most insolent rabble I ever encountered in a great mans house. he is a good natured man – & his library very costly – 7000£ he has expended in prints & books of natural history – but the other collection is by no means proportionately valuable. he is liberal in the offer of his books & I brought home some of real value. it was very interesting to see his birds for he has all sorts of animals there – & the birds that can bear the climate were all at liberty – so tame that you may walk up to them, & so wild that they fly (the water fowl) six mile off to the nearest Lake. They put me in mind of Adam & Eves tame fowl. [11]  I met there some good sturdy politicians, & talked more to my hearts content than I had done for many a long day. Our politics here are very different from what they are in the West of England, I do assure you that it would be a source of some pride to me were I a Cumbrian by birth.

No farther tidings of Edward. Of Harry the news as good as I could wish. I hear from him that he is sensible of the necessity of œconomy & application – & hear of him that he is courted for & distinguished by his talents. – I was the worse for bad breakfasts – late dinners – much wine – much talking & late sitting up at Sir Wilfreds. my stomach chose to grow very sour upon the occasion. yesterday I came home, & am better to day, till this I never remember four months of such high health as I have enjoyed here – & I think I can feel it returning again. quiet & regularity suit me best, & home is the best place after all. I compare returning after a visit, to slipping off new shoes & getting into ones slippers again.

About Madoc – think no more of the subscription plan: it will not do. [12]  so I always thought, & so I am now convinced. Without many zealous friends such things inevitably fail – & I have but one who would bestir himself except yourself. besides it excites jealousy & ill will in booksellers, & is in fact a confession that my books do not sell, a truth which if so confessed would make them sell still worse. If Longman will go to the expence of good printing so as to give the poem all chance that finery & outside can give it I will be content to share the profit, in imitation of the great author of Alfred.

John Mays direction is Richmond Surry. you had better write to him & ask him where you shall address a draft – for he is in London only on Tuesdays. – You do not tell me if you received any direct answer from the Falmouth waggoner saying that he never received the books from Yescombe [13]  – that is the point to be ascertained – for I suspect they were never delivered, & that he poor fellow said he had done, what he designed to do.

God bless you.


Edith is tolerable.


* Address: To/ Mr Danvers/ Bristol./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ JA/ 18
Endorsement: [illegible word] Hughes of Bristol deld to Mr Thomas of Liverpool who dld it to Mr MacDonald Dock Master who fwd [illegible word] the freight to [MS obscured] who promised to fwd it 5 weeks ago
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928. ALS; 4p.
Dating note: Southey went to Wilfred Lawson’s on Friday 13 January and stayed ‘two nights’ according to internal evidence. This puts the earliest date of the letter as 15 January 1805. BACK

[1] What would today be termed a jigsaw-puzzle map. BACK

[2] Bartholomew Barry (dates unknown), a Bristol bookseller and stationer. BACK

[3] Southey owned a copy of A Code of Gentoo Laws, or Ordinations of the Pandits (1786), translated by Nathaniel Brassy Halhed (1751–1830; DNB). It was no. 1167 in the sale catalogue of his library after his death. BACK

[4] Denis Dominique Cardonne (1721–1783), Histoire de l’Afrique et de l’Espagne, sous la Domination des Arabes; Composée sur Différens Manuscrits Arabes de la Bibliothèque du Roi (1765). BACK

[5] See Southey to Charles Danvers, 1 February 1804, Letter 892, which confirms the wine has arrived. BACK

[6] The Annual Review for 1803, 2 (1804), in which Southey wrote the following reviews: James Burney, A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ... Illustrated with Charts (Vol. 1; 1803), 3–12; James Stanier Clarke (1766–1834; DNB), The Progress of Maritime Discovery, from the Earliest Period to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, Forming an Extensive System of Hydrography (1803), 12–20; James Curtis (dates unknown), A Journal of Travels in Barbary in 1801 ... With Observations on the Gum Trade of Senegal (1803), 20–23; Louis Maria Joseph, Count O’Hier de Grandpré (1761–1846), A Voyage in the Indian Ocean, and to Bengal ... To Which is Added a Voyage in the Red Sea, Including a Description of Mocha, and of the Trade of the Arabs of Yemen (1803), 48–54; John Davis (1774–1854), Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America, During 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802 (1803), 54–59; Lockhart Muirhead (dates unknown), Journals of Travels in Parts of the Late Austrian Low Countries, France, the Pays de Vaud and Tuscany in 1787 and 1789 (1803), 59–63; Charles William Doyle (1770–1842), A Non-Military Journal; Or, Observations Made in Egypt, by an Officer upon the Staff of the British Army: Describing the Country, its Inhabitants, their Manners and Customs (1803), 63–66; William Wittman (fl. 1799–1804), Travels in Turkey, Asia Minor, Syria, and Across the Desert into Egypt During the Years 1799, 1800, and 1801, in Company with the Turkish Army and the British Military Mission (1803), 66–71; [Ann Blund (dates unknown)], Journal of a Short Excursion among the Swiss Landscapes (1803), 79–80; Isaac King (dates unknown), Letters from France (1803), 88–90; Part the First of An Address to the Public from the Society for the Suppression of Vice, Instituted, in London, 1802, Setting Forth, with a List of the Members, the Utility and Necessity of such an Institution, and its Claim to Public Support (1803), 187; Transactions of the Missionary Society (Vol. 1, 1803), 189–201; William Myles (1756–1828), A Chronological History of the People called Methodists ... With an Appendix, Containing Two Lists of the Itinerant Preachers ... With the Last Will and Testament of the Rev. J. Wesley (1803), 201–213; Thomas Malthus (1766–1834; DNB), An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society; with Remarks on the Speculations of W. Godwin, M. Condorcet and Other Writers (1803), 292–301; William Godwin, Life of Geoffrey Chaucer ... Including Memoirs of ... John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; with Sketches of the Manners, Opinions, Arts and Literature of England in the Fourteenth Century (1803), 462–473; George Mason (1735–1806; DNB), The Life of Richard Earl Howe (1803), 499–501; Joseph Ritson (1752–1803; DNB), Ancient Engleish Metrical Romanceës (1802), 515–533; George Ellis, Specimens of the Early English Poets (3rd edn 1803), 538–542; Richard Mant (1776–1848; DNB), The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Warton (1802), 543–546; William Hayley (1745–1820; DNB), The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper, Esq. (1803), 457–462; Peter Bayley (bap. 1778–1823; DNB), Poems (1803), 546–552; Henry Kirke White, Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with other Poems (1803), 552–554; Josiah Walker (d. 1831), The Defence of Order, a Poem (1803), 557; The Inquiry. Part 1, 557–558; William Barnes Rhodes (1772–1826; DNB), Epigrams (1803), 558; James Woodhouse (bap. 1735–1820), Norbury Park, a Poem with Several Others Written on Various Occasions (1803), 558; Henry William Tytler (1752/3–1808), The Voyage Home from the Cape of Good Hope (1803), 559; Luke Booker (1762–1835; DNB), Calista, or a Picture of Modern Life, a Poem (1803), 564; D. A. G. B. Cassano (dates unknown), Il Fiore della Poesia Italiana (1802), 562–563; Percy Clinton Sydney, 6th Viscount Strangford (1780–1855; DNB), Poems from the Portuguese of Luis de Camoens (1803), 569–577; William Lisle Bowles, The Picture, Verses Suggested by a Magnificent Landscape of Rubens (1803), 582; John Peter Roberdeau (bap. 1754–1815), Fugitive Verse and Prose (1803), 582–583; George Owen Cambridge (d. 1841), Works of Richard Owen Cambridge, Esq. with an Account of his Life and Character (1803), 583–585; Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baroness de Staël-Holstein (1766–1817), A Treatise of Ancient and Modern Literature (tr. 1803), 643–650; Asiatic Researches; or Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal for Enquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Science and Literature of Asia (vol. VII, 1803), 898–908. BACK

[7] William Taylor reviewed Thalaba the Destroyer (1801) in the Critical Review, 2nd series, 39 (December 1803), 369–379. BACK

[8] See note 6. BACK

[9] A follower of a sixteenth-century Italian sect holding unitarian beliefs, including the denial of Christ’s divinity. BACK

[10] Wilfrid Lawson, 10th Baronet of Isell, Cumberland (c. 1764–1806). BACK

[11] Genesis 2: 19–20. BACK

[12] Southey’s poem Madoc, which he had written in 1797–1799 and was revising for publication. It was published in 1805, but not by subscription. BACK

[13] Edward Bayntun Yescombe (1765–1803), captain of the packet, King George, which sailed between Falmouth and Lisbon. BACK

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