2142. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 6 September 1812

2142. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 6 September 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. Sept 6. 1812

My dear Danvers,

We had been long wishing to hear of you, when your letter arrived, inclosing what I hope may prove the foundation of a moderate fortune, – for that if I live & continue in the enjoyment of health, faculties & my present opportunities, I shall sooner or later provide a fitting competence for my family is what I have never doubted. In two or three months I shall xxx xx xxx be able have the purchase money for the life of Nelson (105£) to add to this. The first proof has reached me, & it will not be long in the press. [1] 

I read the death of poor James Rickards [2]  in the newspaper, but as the name xxx is not uncommon, hoped it might belong to some other person.

Katharine has not yet done talking of you. When the hat arrived she cried out in the most piteous tone Miss Dammers gone, – Dardins gone – & even now we very often hear her repeat Dammers gone. Bedford arrived about a fortnight after my return & brought with him a magic lantorn. I wish you had been here to have witnessed the delight of the children at seeing it exhibited, – particularly Kates. There is a blue Devil among the figures, which compleatly won her heart.

I shall be glad of these books from Mr Gutch’s catalogue, if they are not sold.

7190. Marca’s Hist: de Bearn. 2.12–6 [3] 

7395. De Brueys. Hist: du Fanatisme. 10/6 [4] 

2058. Coldens Hist: of the Five Indian Nations. 8/. [5] 

There is no hurry for sending them, take them into your care for a little while, till Edith xx may want something else from Bristol to accompany them. The first is very dear, – so dear that I have hesitated about purchasing it ever since the catalogue reached me. But Bearn is connected with Spain during the early history <ages> of the Spanish Kingdoms, & therefore the book is necessary to my collection. Very probably it may afford me some hints for Pelayo [6]  certainly some matter for the notes.

This morning I was quite mortified to think xx you were not at Keswick, – for Col. Peachy communicated to me the intelligence that the floating Island [7]  is rising, & has nearly reached the surface. I shall write off to Sir Humphry by this post.

You will be glad to hear that our quondam next door neighbour [8]  has taken unto herself a husband, who is about to take her off: that the lease is transferred to Miss Barker, & that she is in good hopes of getting some part of her goods in tomorrow – Never was any thing more fortunate than this. – Dr Bell is at Grasmere. I wish he had arrived before you left this country.

My journey to the South must be delayed till spring. The Register for 1811 [9]  xx must be published, if possible by any exertions, in April. I am not sorry for this. – The history of Lope de Aguirre [10]  is as you may probably have supposed mine: shocking as it is I think most readers will be interested by it. It was originally written as a chapter for the History of Brazil. [11]  What a thing is that Bloody Journal which follows it! [12]  Tom says that the two together gave him the Night Mair:

I have got on very successfully with Pelayo since my return. You will have the Omniana in xxxxxx two or three weeks. [13]  – The mention of Pelayo reminds me of another poetical labour which I have lately undertaken, – that of putting the Greek accidence in rhyme for Herbert. A queer series of poems I assure you they are likely to be. He is exceedingly delighted with this new fashion, & I dare swear that what gets into his memory in this form will never get out of it.

As for Dr Jardine [14]  it is better to be at open variance with him, than upon such terms as you were. David I think must know you too well to be in any degree influenced by him, – even if the attachment to his cousin should lead to any serious consequences. If he is with you remember me to him. Edith desires me not to forget her kindest remembrances. – I hope Hancock [15]  will make a faithful copy of the picture: it must have a box made to fit it, & may then come with the books.

God bless you my dear Charles

Yr affectionate friend

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Postmark: KESWICK 298
Endorsement: 1812/ Sept 6
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Life of Nelson, published by Murray in 1813. Southey had already returned one sheet of proofs to Murray; see Southey to John Murray, 24 August 1812, Letter 2138. BACK

[2] James Rickards, of Verulam-Buildings, Gray’s Inn, London, had died on 3 August 1812, Gentleman’s Magazine, 82 (August 1812), 193. He was probably a friend from Southey’s days in Bristol. BACK

[3] Pierre de Marca (1594–1662), Histoire de Bearn (1640); Southey obtained a copy, no. 1699 in the sale catalogue of his library. The book was cited in the footnotes to Roderick (1814), Book XV and Book XVIII. BACK

[4] David Augustin de Brueys (1640–1723), Histoire du Fanatisme; Southey obtained a copy of the 1737 edition, no. 379 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[5] Cadwallader Colden (1688–1776), History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada (1755); Southey obtained a copy, no. 626 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[6] The early title for Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[7] The Floating Island is a mass of underwater vegetation which rises to the surface of Derwentwater when marsh gases become trapped in it. BACK

[8] The unnamed mistress of William White (d. 1811), the former occupant of Greta Lodge. BACK

[9] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813). BACK

[10] The conquistador Lope de Aguirre (c. 1510–1561), notorious for his final expedition down the Amazon in search of El Dorado. Southey’s account of these events appeared in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.2 (1812), [i]–l. It was republished as The Expedition of Orsua; and the Crimes of Aguirre (1821). BACK

[11] In History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810), I, p. 592, Southey stated he had not printed the Chapter on Aguirre because of its length. BACK

[12] The ‘Journal of a Levant Pirate’, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.2 (1812), li–lxiii. BACK

[13] Omniana: or Horae Otiosiores, a two volume compilation, including material by Coleridge, published in 1812. BACK

[14] Possibly Dr Lewis Jardine (1765–1824), brother of the deceased Unitarian minister David Jardine. BACK

[15] Robert Hancock (1731–1817; DNB) had made a pencil and chalk drawing of Southey in 1797. He had also drawn Danvers and Danvers’s mother. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Grasmere (Dove Cottage) (mentioned 1 time)