653. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, [28 January 1802]

653. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, [28 January 1802] ⁠* 


My dear Danvers

I did not receive your letter till yesterday evening. to George I shall immediately write, advising him, unless any situation quite to his liking should occur, to ship himself for Bristol. poor fellow – I will do what I can for him, but God knows my power is not much & I see no end to embarrassment after embarrassment. the first & most promising scheme is to tow him after that good ship the Rickman. he can certainly do the business of a comms. accomptant in a public office, & Rickman will assuredly have the inclination to serve him. If that fails (for the papers speak of a change in Irish administration) [1]  we must either apprentice him, or look out some clerks place. It was a rare fortune that gave me this years salary from Corry. else I know not how I could have weathered it. with the year it will end – & I shall endeavour to get some birth abroad – Spain – Italy – Egypt – anywhere to be warm. I am sorry now that my Uncle is leaving Portugal. he returns too late to render his relations comfortable – & perhaps I may be settled at Lisbon when he has abandoned it.

We are well lodged. Edith still ill, with the worst of all possible colds in addition to her other complaints. [2]  Mrs Lovell much disordered by vexation. the old man [3]  has taken offence at my letter, which was certainly a very proper & respectful one. he has sent Robert back to his grandmothers, [4]  & seems disposed to cast him upon chance-charity. I have written to Joseph Lovell, [5]  who I suppose will put him to school, even if his other relations do nothing. I do not yet decide upon the old mans meaning as he is too angry to be understood. but if he be the scoundrel which I suspect him, he had better agree with Dr Bradford [6]  by the year, for by the Lord I will fret him into a perpetual fever. he shall spend more than the 40 £ that he allowed his sons widow & child, in saline draughts.

Coleridge must certainly work for Stuart, because Stuart bears his expences & they are by no means trifling ones. Poole is with him – in spite of his own conversation, & even his own belief, he likes London. its company suits him, & you know how he wants all the stimulants that society can afford him.

On Sunday I go to Norwich. I hope the change will benefit me – at any rate I shall be glad to see Harry – & William Taylor.

George Burnett shall have the half-crown whenever we meet. did you suppose that He would have time to buy the tickets? [7]  he was all hurry & bustle & dawdle while in London, & after all went off in a chaise – the coaches went at 6 & 1/2 past ten in the morning.

farewell God bless you – I wish May were come that I might breathe Kingsdown air again. our love to Mrs Danvers.

yrs affectionately

Robert Southey

Maurices [8]  bill is more moderate than expected. thank him for me when you pay it. If no unforeseen demand come upon me I shall be able to clear off my Bristol debts in April. doubtless my mothers bill for medicine there will be sent to me – but I cannot pay all – my Uncle will do what he can I well know. God bless him – he is an excellent good man, who has all his life been drained in this way by his relations.


* MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Dating note: Dated by reference to the preceding and succeeding letters to Danvers of 26 January 1802 (Letter 652) and [started before and continued on] 6 February [1802] (Letter 654). BACK

[1] Charles Abbot, Lord Colchester (1757-1829; DNB), Chief Secretary for Ireland 1801-1802, was about to leave office and on 10 February took up a new role as The Speaker, 1802-1817. BACK

[2] Edith Southey was pregnant with her first child. BACK

[3] The father of Robert Lovell, Southey’s deceased brother-in-law (see Lovell family). BACK

[4] Robert Lovell Junior’s maternal grandmother, Martha Fricker. BACK

[5] Probably the brother of Robert Lovell (Southey’s late brother-in-law) and therefore the uncle of the child Robert Lovell, whom Southey was attempting to persuade the Lovells to provide for (see Lovell family). BACK

[6] Dr Bradford, probably a medical practitioner in Bristol, his first name and dates are unknown. BACK

[7] Tickets in the state lottery; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 26 January 1802, Letter 652. BACK

[8] Joseph Maurice (dates unknown), was an apothecary with a shop at St Michaels Hill in Bristol. He had treated Southey and his wife when they were in Bristol. BACK

People mentioned

Stuart, Daniel (1766–1846) (mentioned 2 times)
Rickman, John (1771–1840) (mentioned 2 times)
Lovell family (mentioned 2 times)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 2 times)
May, John (1775–1856) (mentioned 1 time)
Poole, Thomas (1766–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Corry, Isaac (1753–1813) (mentioned 1 time)
Danvers, Mrs. (d. 1803) (mentioned 1 time)
Lovell, Robert (1771–1796) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Danvers’s, Kingsdown, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)