Seward, Edmund (c. 1770/71–1795)
The youngest son of John Seward of Sapey, Worcestershire. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matric. 1789, BA 1793). Seward was one of Southey’s closest friends at Oxford, and an important influence on him. An early enthusiast for Pantisocracy, Seward later withdrew from the scheme and felt himself partly to blame for what he described as ‘having contrived to bring [Southey] ... into ... a calamitous & ruinous ... adventure, from which I might at first perhaps have diverted him’. Southey was deeply shocked by Seward’s death from a ‘fever’, and later addressed his elegy ‘To the Dead Friend’ to him. In a letter to James Montgomery, 6 May 1811, Southey recalled him as ‘an admirable man in all things, whose only fault was that he was too humble ... In his company my religious instincts were strengthened ... Sick of the college-chapel & of the church, we tried the meeting house, — & there we were disgusted too. Seward left College, meaning to take orders; — I who had the same destination, became a Deist after he left me’.