186. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey [brother], [c. November 1796]

186. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey [brother], [c. November 1796] ⁠* 

Dear Tom

I give you joy of your safe arrival — if the Dutch-man had not been as heavy in his head as he is in his tail you would have been snug in a French port. it may perhaps be sometime before the Phoebe arrives for you — to which you will probably have little objection being now Commander in Chief & of course able to give yourself leave to go on shore.

Miss Russell [1]  is a pleasant old Lady. I wishd to have sent some <copies of> Joan of Arc to Lisbon by her means, but she could not serve me so — so I wait for Thomas to carry them — a 99th cousin of ours whom I found at Lisbon — he returned to England with me & is going again to Lisbon. I hope you may not left Falmouth till he arrives there, in which case I shall commission him to call on you.

what is the name of the Lieutenant of the Pomona who has orderd Joan of Arc?  [2]  tis a strange book for a Sailor to order & I therefore apprehend that he must have some knowledge of me — how — God knows.

I hope to send you a couple of volumes [3]  by Christmas. one of poems, & one of my letters from Spain & Portugal. they are both in the press & the latter far advanced.

Of the probability of peace I can give no opinion. I cannot suspect our minister [4]  of inconsistency enough to be sincere; yet he must want peace — he must want to terminate a war so xxxxx disgraceful in its cause & conduct. if it continues the commerce of England will receive a deadly blow. the Mediterranean is already shut upon us — so is every port in the Bay — & so will be the three Portuguese Ports — Lisbon Porto & Setuval. Hambro will likewise be shut. & thus the most important branches of trade will be annihilated.

My Uncle has plenty of acquaintance at Falmouth. Mrs Braithwait & Mrs Walkup at Flushing [5]  — Harris & Todd of the packets [6]  with all of whom I dined. I wish I knew enough of them to send you to them — however if you fall in with any of them mention your Uncles name.

You have seen Coruña then. is it not a striking situation? the Tower of Hercules the town almost islanded — & the rocky mountains of Galicia from down to Cape Ortegal form a bold & beautiful prospect. if you ever put in there call on Jardine the Consul — he perfectly fraternized with me. & will be glad to see you.

I saw your vessel off Lisbon when you attempted to convey us a letter. that would be a pleasant port to harbour in. Capt Mowbray of the Fly sloop was there some months when I was — & loth enough to leave it. he was then commander of the Magicienne Frigate. [7] 

is not your time of being a midshipman almost out? I will answer for getting you made Lieutenant. by & by you will be an excellent Admiral — when Admirals are what they ought to be. times will mend. I hope to be in London by Xmas, & then Tom whenever you can get leave of absence you will a comfortable home to come to.

Harry is I think much improved. I am very far from wishing to make a sailor of him. as soon as I have a house he shall live with me if he chuses to fit himself either for Law or Physic. he may take then to the Church if he pleases, as for breeding a man up to it, it is extremely ridiculous, for if he be of a thinking mind it is a thousand chances to one that he either turns infidel or heretic like your

unitarian brother

Robert Southey.

Saturday. Bristol.

Ediths Love


Notes

* Address: For/ Mr T, Southey/ Phœbe Frigate/ Falmouth/ Single
Stamped: BRISTOL
MS: British Library, Add MS 30,927. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished.
Dating note: The reference to the printing of Poems (1797) and Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797), as well as the Bristol stamp on this letter, suggest a date in November 1796. BACK

[1] Possibly a reference to Southey’s landlady during his stay in Falmouth in late November 1795. BACK

[2] The Pomona was a frigate in the British navy. The name of the officer who ordered a copy of Joan of Arc is not recorded. BACK

[3] Southey’s Poems (1797) and Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797). BACK

[4] The Prime Minister, William Pitt, the Younger (1759–1806; DNB). BACK

[5] Unidentified; presumably friends of Herbert Hill. BACK

[6] Unidentified; presumably friends of Herbert Hill. BACK

[7] Richard Hussey Mowbray (1776–1842), naval officer. BACK

People mentioned

Exports

JSON What's this?
As you're browsing RC, you might see small buttons scattered on various pages. These buttons let you download that page's content in a ready-to-use data file! Learn more on our RC Data page.