Southey, John Cannon (1743–1806)

The eldest brother of Southey’s father, who lived at Taunton, Somerset. His work as a lawyer led to him accumulating a substantial fortune of £100,000. Although he was unmarried, he refused to help either Robert Southey Senior, thus ensuring the latter’s imprisonment for debt in 1792, or his nephews, to whom he left nothing in his Will. Southey visited his uncle in 1802, describing his miserly existence to John May. In 1806, he recorded that his uncle ‘had thanked God upon his death bed that he had cut me off’. Southey retaliated by writing a poem attacking the deceased.

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