2981. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 28 April 1817

2981. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 28 April 1817⁠* 

My dear Edith

I write a few lines to day – because I can find a few minutes for doing it, being now at Bedfords, on my way from H. Inglis’s to Rickmans. Money I cannot inclose, merely because it would be inconvenient to send you so large a bill as 100£. – You shall have half bills in smaller sums to that amount before I go. Nash cannot start till Tuesday the 6th. [1]  – so that a six days will be deducted from the time I must else have remained in town on our return.

My Tender Epistle [2]  brought me a very handsome compliment from Lord Sidmouth, [3]  & Murray tells me it is spoken of in the highest terms by all whom he sees. In other quarters it will doubtless be found bitter to swallow & hard of digestion, 500 were sold yesterday morning.

I did not get to bed last night xx till after two o clock – kept up till that hour by conversation with Wilberforce Sir Thomas Acland &c – without any person having the least suspicion of the lapse of time Sir T’s <carriage had been xxxxx xxxx three hours waiting for him. It seems an age since I xxx have been in town. I go to Rickmans tomorrow, thence on Tuesday with Mr Coppendale [4]  to meet John & Wm. Coleridge – Thursday at Sir G Beaumonts – Friday with Mr Butler – Saturday xx Royal Academy [7]  – Sunday Mrs Gonne.

I am advised & urged to buy the house, [6]  – the money may be obtained without any difficulty in the common course of business. When this is fully determined I will write to Wordsworth.

And now I must go to Wynn, who is close at hand

God bless you my dear Edith


Sunday 3 o clock.


* Address: [in another hand] London Twenty Eight April 1817/ Mrs Southey/ Greta Hall/ Keswick/ Cumberland/ Free/ Rickman
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey, Nash and Senhouse were about to embark on a prolonged continental tour. BACK

[2] William Smith had denounced Southey in the House of Commons on 14 March 1817 in the debate on the Seditious Meetings Bill, condemning ‘the settled, determined malignity of a renegado’ and comparing Southey’s arguments against radical views in the Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 227, with those expressed in Wat Tyler (1817), Act 2, lines 103–112. Southey’s response was A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M.P. (1817) published by Murray. BACK

[3] Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844; DNB), Prime Minister 1801–1804, Home Secretary 1812–1822. Southey had met him on 26 April 1817 at the house of Robert Harry Inglis. BACK

[4] Thomas Coppendale (d. 1833), John May’s uncle and business partner. BACK

[7] The Royal Academy’s Anniversary Dinner on 3 May 1817; Southey was invited as Poet Laureate. BACK

[6] The bankruptcy of Samuel Tolson Jnr (dates unknown), owner of Greta Hall and the surrounding estate had left the future of the Southeys’ tenancy in doubt. BACK

Places mentioned

Greta Hall/ Greeta Hall (mentioned 1 time)