238. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey [brother], 22 July [1797]

238. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey [brother], 22 July [1797] ⁠* 

Saturday. 22 July.

My dear Tom

It appears to me that if you do not apply for your discharge Barlow [1]  will give it to you ere long, & certainly it is better not to wait for that. he may turn you adrift & so injur your character with those who pay any regard to the acts of a man in power — or send you again on board a leaky vessel & get rid of you in a quieter manner. — my advice is to quit him & take your chance. there can be no doubt of your getting another birth; & you shall be with me till you can. use your own judgement, — if you want money to come away draw for five guineas, or more if that be not enough, on my mother & I will remit her the money to answer it, as this is an awkward place to draw upon. I will write immediately to her & tell her the advice I have given you. your letter has just arrived tho dated the 19th but it is a long & round about way.

God bless you. I will put all my friends in requisition to get you rated elsewhere — & thank God — have a home for you till that can be done. you cannot remain with such a fellow as your Captain.

I have been consulting with a friend: he advises & has persuaded me that you had better remain on board till we can get you rated in another ship. to do which he will write by this days post to Sir Harry Burrel. [2]  if this application fails I will write to John May a friend of mine in London who is indefatigable in doing good. there can be no doubt of success — of the propriety of remaining till this succeeds you are the best judge. a few weeks lost may be of importance.

If after all you think it best to quit the Phoebe directly come to me. & certainly it would be best if you apprehend your rascally commander may turn you off.

“they order these things better in France.” [3] 

Ediths love. once more God bless you,

Yr affectionate brother

Robert Southey.

it is needless I hope to add that in every thing you said I think you were perfectly right.


* Address: For/ Mr Southey./ Phoebe Frigate/ Falmouth
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Sir Robert Barlow (1757–1843; DNB), captain of Thomas Southey’s ship. BACK

[2] Probably an error for Sir Harry Burrard-Neale (1765–1840; DNB), MP for Lymington 1790–1802 (and intermittently until 1835), and naval officer. BACK

[3] Laurence Sterne (1713–1768; DNB), A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, 2 vols (London, 1768), I, p. [1]. BACK

People mentioned

Southey, Margaret (1752–1802) (mentioned 1 time)
May, John (1775–1856) (mentioned 1 time)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)