2784. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 8 May 1816

2784. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 8 May 1816⁠* 

8 May. 1816

My dear Harry

I wish you to make an apology for me to Mr Bell. At the end of the volume I made on the last proof my acknowledgements both to him & Mr Nash, – & behold Bedford & Pople did not wait for its return, – by which means this, & another insertion of some importance have been prevented from appearing. [1]  Why it was delayed till then you will easily explainxx, – when the notes were sent to the printer I put together such as were ready, – not being in a state of mind to do any thing more [2]  – there would otherwise have been some extracts from my Journal, [3]  & some original discussion in commentary upon parts of the text. Pray excuse me to Mr Bell, – the omission shall be supplied whenever the book is reprinted, – if ever that be. But it is a large impression, – 2000. [4] 

I am better in health, but worse in spirits. – Yet I think less of leaving this place, & more of the difficulties & mental effort in removing. Both for body & mind I have tried exercise & tonics & diet; – both will be the better for it this, – but both stand in need of it. Few men have more of that philosophy which serves for every day use; – it would stand me in little stead xx <now> were there not something better to assist it, & supply its defects. He who attempts to destroy or weaken our belief in a future <state> commits the greatest of all offences against society.

As yet I have not left home, nor would it be wise at present. Senhouse wishes us to make him a visit & bring the children, perhaps before the summer is over Edith may be prevailed upon to do this.

The Calverts are in town, – near you, at Ibbotsons Hotel. [5]  If you call there it will be taken as an act of civility.

Whenever poor Mrs Bedford dies, – an event which in the common course of nature time would soon bring about without any intervention of disease, – I shall persuade Grosvenor to go abroad for a few weeks, & mean to accompany him. This is the only change which would be likely to recruit my own spirits. I should like after a very short stay at Paris to make for Switzerland, descend the Rhine, go thro Holland, come back up to Brussels & return home by way of Lisle & St Omer. Six weeks would suffice for this, – & 20/s a day cover the expenses per head. The summer will probably not pass over without the contingency occurrence of the contingency which this plan contemplates. [6] 

When do you begin your lectures? [7]  I have a great deal of matter for you which only wants transcription, – among many things fit only for <the> garnish of your discourse there may be some of real utility.

Love to Louisa & Mrs Gonne

God bless you


Tell me what you thought of Robert Lovell when you saw him. His cough being on him long enough to give cause for uneasiness. If you go down Chancery Lane [8]  look at him, & tell him to come to you in turn upon any future ailment.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 11 MY 11/ 1816
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 4. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816) was published with seven engravings of drawings of the battlefield by Nash and one by Charles Bell (1774–1842; DNB). The acknowledgement of Bell’s and Nash’s contributions had been omitted because Bedford, whom Southey had deputed to see the volume through the press, and Pople, the printer, had not waited for the final proof correction. BACK

[2] Southey’s son Herbert had died on 17 April 1816. BACK

[3] The journal that Southey kept on his tour of the Low Countries in 1815; published as Journal of a Tour in the Netherlands in the Autumn of 1815 (1902). BACK

[4] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (London, 1816) sold out rapidly and a second edition of 1000 copies was printed in the summer of 1816. The second edition (p. 232) included the acknowledgement missed out in the first edition: ‘I must not conclude this volume without expressing my obligations to one of my fellow travellers for seven of the views which illustrate it; and to Mr. Charles Bell for the eighth.’ BACK

[5] Ibbotson’s stood in Vere Street, Cavendish Square, London. BACK

[6] Southey made a journey very similar to the one described here in May–August 1817, accompanied by Senhouse and Nash. BACK

[7] Probably a reference to the series of lectures that Henry Herbert Southey gave at Middlesex Hospital on the ‘Practice of Physic and the Materia Medica’, beginning in the first week of October 1816. BACK

[8] Robert Lovell Jnr was working for William Pople at 67 Chancery Lane. BACK

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