3338. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 31 July 1819]

3338. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 31 July 1819] ⁠* 

My dear Harry

I trouble you with a parcel, – for which Bedford will pay the cost when you settle your accounts with him, he being my Chancellor of the Exchequer. It contains some books lent me by Gooden, [1]  & I send them thus, that they may be delivered at his door free from all charge. And having this opportunity, I include in the parcel the MSS of Brazil that Longman may bind it, in five volumes. – three of the Hist. & two of the Collections for it. [2]  The papers are properly arranged & numbered. There are some parts to which I may have occasion to refer in preparing the work for a second edition, – which of course I shall prepare xxx tho very probably it may not be called for during my life. [3]  But if the <MSS> were of no use, it would still be worth preservation. – I like to look at the work of my own hands, & somebody will be found to prize it hereafter as a bequest, if not as an heirloom.

My Uncle’s copies, [4]  by his desire, will be sent with yours, – one you will transmit to him, & the other four he will direct & dispose of from Q Anne Street.

I follow your directions, – but expect more good from the excitement of a journey, [5]  & the general shaking up of the whole corpus, than from any thing else. – I want now to ask your advice about Sara Coleridge – what follows is her mothers account, in consultation with herself.

– A sense of aching in the back, – chiefly down the back bone, with a sense of weakness throughout the whole body (not the limbs.) – The pain is not felt in bed, nor in a recumbent posture, nor in walking. But after having sate for a long time then it is perceived for a short time either in walking or in rest.

When she was about 12 the right side of the ribs on the back was discovered to be somewhat larger than the left, & she used a reclining board two hours in the day for two years, & afterwards one hour x a day. The back bones appears somewhat curved, – this however xx <would> not be regarded of it were not for the pain, which has grown gradually worse for the last 7 or 8 months. The general health tolerable, – with a little occasional languor – she can walk 7 or 8 <miles a day> (say 10 or 12, say I) without apparent fatigue.

All that need be added is that the pain, – which now compels her almost every day to go to bed earlier than she would otherwise do cannot is not connected with any change in her system, – that having taken place about two years ago. [6] 


Wynn tells me that the Don Juan which Murray received & suppressed was prefaced with a very hostile dedication to me. [7] His Lordship would find me an ugly customer, if I were to enter the lists with him, – at present I have no intention of so doing; – but as I have the xxx power of xxxxx xxxxx any person who am perfectly able to make my own cause good against any body with a cloven foot, [8]  or without one, it is possible that I may give him cause to remember the story in Romance of Richard Coeur de Lion & the son of the Duke of Austria. [9] 

I expect to be in Edinburgh about the 12 of August. [10]  – We are going on well. Cuthbert is the strongest, healthiest, liveliest & quietest of his race.

Love to Louisa & Mrs G.

God bless you



* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ 15. Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E
Endorsement: 7/ 6; 99 7/ xxx/ 135/ 99/ 50
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1995.5.95. ALS; 3p.
Dating note: Dating is by reference to the parcel of books that Southey sent to Henry Herbert Southey; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 31 July 1819, Letter 3339. BACK

[1] Southey thanked Gooden for lending him ‘the Life of F. Joam d’Almeida, among other books, and a manuscript Apology for the Jesuits in Paraguay and Maranham, of great importance’ in his History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, p. [v]. BACK

[2] The two volumes of Southey’s ‘Collections for the History of Brazil’, no. 3154 in the sale catalogue of his library; and the three-volume manuscript of the History of Brazil (1810–1819), no. 3155 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] There was a second edition of the first volume only of the History of Brazil (1822). BACK

[4] Copies of the third and final volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[5] Southey toured Scotland for six weeks with Rickman and Telford 17 August–1 October 1819. BACK

[6] i.e. Sara Coleridge’s menstrual cycle had begun in 1817 (when she was fourteen). BACK

[7] The first two cantos of Byron’s Don Juan (1819–1824) were published anonymously on 15 July 1819. Murray was the publisher, though his firm’s name did not appear on the poem’s title page. The ‘Dedication’ to Southey was not included, as the poem was anonymous, but it soon became very well known, though it was not published until 1833. BACK

[8] A double allusion to the Devil and to Byron’s club foot. BACK

[9] In the medieval romance Richard Coeur de Lion, Richard I (1157–1199; King of England 1189–1199; DNB) is challenged by the son of the Duke of Austria to an exchange of punches. Richard kills his adversary with a single blow. BACK

[10] Southey toured Scotland for six weeks with Rickman and Telford 17 August–1 October 1819. BACK

Places mentioned