3071. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 January 1818

3071. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 January 1818⁠* 

28 Jany. 1818

My dear Tom

What surprizes me is that L. should sell the B. Pilot [1]  at that price, – not that they should be worth no more. But when the sale of a book is decidedly over, they think it better to sell the remaining copies for waste-paper than to give them warehouse room, – & in reality it is necessary to do this. Nevertheless I think your consent should have been asked before they went so very low.

As for coming to you it is quite impossible. It is no exaggeration to say that I have more to do than any other three writers ever undertook in one time, – & loss of time with me is loss of every thing, for I have no crops growing while I keep holyday. In the course of a week I will send you 25£, – which indeed I should have done if your xxxxxx letter had not arrived. Would that I could mend your affairs in any more permanent way than by xxxx such supplies from time to time – You may be assured that I have tried more than I ever should have done for myself. While this resource is sufficient all is well, & while it lasts, – but depending as it must do not on my life alone, – but on my health, – & on my chances in the lottery of literature I am fully sensible how precarious it is.

You can do nothing with your West Indies [2]  till you <have> worked at it for some weeks in London. I am sure that a series of extracts illustrative of the history of manners &c in this country would be exceedingly likely to have a good sale, – & I think it likely when my third volume [3]  is compleated that you might make a volume of translations from my manuscriptx travels &c. For the former you can lay a foundation from the stores in the dark-library, & if you will come here I can set you to work from morning to night. – These are more than straws to clutch at, – both if I mistake not, good planks.

I have so much to read as well as write, that it is hardly credible how little time I have for letter-writing, – & heavy arrears upon my hands. M. Arthur has been on its way to you this week, [4]  in a dress much uglier than boards, but which has xx the advantage of being stronger.

God bless you. My spirits are not very good, & never again will be. They are just equal to the ordinary demand upon them, but with nothing to spare. The least part of them used to be seen; now they are like a Dublin tradesmans stock, – all in the shop window.

Love to Sarah



* Address: To/ Capt. Southey/ Warcop Hall/ Brough
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Longmans had remaindered The Brazil Pilot; Or, a Description of the Coast of Brazil (1809), a work written by Manuel Pimentel (1650–1719) and translated and augmented by Herbert Hill and Thomas Southey. It had originally been sold for one guinea. BACK

[2] Thomas Southey’s plans for his A Chronological History of the West Indies (1827). BACK

[3] Southey was correcting proofs of the third volume of his History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[4] A presentation copy of The Byrth, Lyf, and Actes of Kyng Arthur ... With an introduction and notes by Robert Southey. (Printed from Caxton’s edition, 1485), published in two volumes by Longman in 1817. BACK

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