3211. Robert Southey to William Wordsworth, 23 November [1818]

3211. Robert Southey to William Wordsworth, 23 November [1818]⁠* 

Keswick. 23 Nov.

My dear W.

I would not answer your note till I had given the matter all due consideration, for I was very unwilling to say at once that I could not become a purchaser. [1]  But after taking counsel with myself this is the answer which I must return at last. Twelve months hence, if I live & do well, I shall be able,- but there will be calls upon me in the spring, [2]  which renders it out of my power at this time.

Thank you for the Caves. [3]  They shall be paid for whenever I see any of your household,- or Mr Gee. [4] 


* MS: Wordsworth Trust, WL MS A Southey 8. AL; 1p.
Watermark: B.E. & S. BATH. 1814
Dating note: Dating from content. Wordsworth wrote to Southey asking him to get involved in the purchase of the Ivy How estate, Little Langdale, in late 1818. BACK

[1] Wordsworth had asked Southey to join in the purchase of the Ivy How estate, Little Langdale; see Wordsworth to Thomas Monkhouse, 4 December 1818, The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. The Middle Years. Part 2. 1812–1820, ed. E. De Selincourt, 2nd edn rev. Mary Moorman and Alan G. Hill (Oxford, 1970), p. 509. A share in this estate would qualify the co–owners as 40 shilling freeholders, thus enabling them to vote in county elections in Westmorland. The entire scheme was an attempt by Wordsworth to create more votes for the Lowther interest in the county, so boosting its chances of success in the next general election contest against Brougham, who had challenged the Earl of Lonsdale’s hold on the county in the 1818 general election. BACK

[2] Charles Cuthbert Southey was born on 24 February 1819. BACK

[3] A copy of William Westall’s Views of the Cavesnear Ingleton, Gordale Scar, and Malham Cove, in Yorkshire (1818). BACK

[4] Captain George Gee (d. 1827) of Wraxall, Somerset, who was renting Ivy Cottage at Rydal. He was the son of Thomas Gee, a Bristol merchant, and an old schoolmate of Southey’s in Bristol. He seems to have played an important backstage role in organising the Lowther family’s election contests in Westmorland in 1818, 1820 and 1826. Gee was one of the eight men who participated in the purchase of Ivy How. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)