3285. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell, 23 April 181[9]

3285. Robert Southey to Andrew Bell, 23 April 181[9]⁠* 

Keswick. 23 April. 1816 [1] 

My dear Sir

Your grand weather-glass arrived yesterday, – & great was my dismay upon opening it, at finding that one of the tubes was broken. By good fortune it is only the smaller one in which the weight plays, & no inconvenience will result from it, a small piece of the main tube also was knocked off upon the journey, but in such a part & so small as not to be material. But more care ought certainly to have been taken in securing the inside, – a little cotton, or tow would have prevented these mishaps. It is fixed on the first landing place, opposite the Spanish map of S America, & indicates I hope a change of weather, of which we shall be very glad, – for a bitter East wind is now prevailing.

Edith continues in the same state, except that the infant gives her at this time so much concern with a severe cold & cough, that as to make her forget herself. To day there seems to be an amendment in him.

You will be glad to hear that Hartley has got a fellowship at Oriel. [2] 

This morning I had a visit from an American Professor of Chemistry – a Quaker. of Columbia College, New York. [3]  He has lately been in Switzerland, & regrets much that he missed your friend [4]  at Pere Girard, [5]  – but he saw his great patron, & tells me he is afraid that the good Father will be driven from Friburg. The people feel the full benefit of his xxxstitu labours, – but the aristocracy oppose xxx him, – & the Jesuits, who are reestablished there will leave no stone unturned for overthrowing <demolishing> a better system than their own. One of the Magistrates said, pointing to his school, – behold the tomb of the patricians! – But in spite of opposition the good principle ultimately will & must prevail.

Thank you for your second Essay. [6] 

Believe me my dear Sir

most truly & affectionately yours

Robert Southey

Am I to congratulate you on a removal from Hereford to Westminster? [7] 


Notes

* Address: To/ The Reverend Dr Bell
Endorsement: Mr. Southey May/ 1819
MS: University of Waterloo Library. Special Collections and Archives. Bertram R. Davis Collection. ALS; 3p. (c).
Unpublished.
Dating note: Misdated 23 April 1816 by Southey; the content indicates the letter belongs to April 1819. BACK

[1] ‘1816’, misdated by Southey. The letter is from 1819. BACK

[2] Hartley Coleridge had been elected a Probationary Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, for one year, on 16 April 1819. BACK

[3] John Griscom (1774–1852), Professor of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry at Columbia College, New York, 1813–1820, and founder of the New York High School for Boys (1825). Griscom was on an extended tour of European educational establishments to research the latest theories and practices in the field. He described his visit to Southey in A Year in Europe: Comprising a Journal of Observations in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the North of Italy, and Holland in 1818 and 1819, 2 vols (New York, 1823), II, pp. 506–511. BACK

[4] Possibly Wilhelm Heinrich Ackermann (1789–1848), nephew of the London-based publisher and inventor, Rudolph Ackermann (1764–1834; DNB). Wilhelm Ackermann was a German educationist and teacher whom Bell had met in London and Switzerland. BACK

[5] Jean-Baptiste Girard (1765–1850), Catholic priest and director of primary schools in Fribourg, Switzerland, 1804–1823. He was an influential practitioner of Bell’s system, which was adopted in Fribourg in 1816. His methods attracted criticism for their supposedly irreligious nature, and Girard was eventually deprived of his post. BACK

[6] The second (and last) issue of Bell’s periodical The Wrongs of Children; or, a Practical Vindication of Children from the Injustice done them in Early Nurture and Education (1819). BACK

[7] Bell had been a prebend of Hereford Cathedral from July 1818; in March 1819 he exchanged it for a similar post at Westminster Abbey. BACK

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