3394. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle [fragment], 26 November 1819

3394. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle [fragment], 26 November 1819⁠* 

Keswick, Nov. 26, 1819.

My dear Cottle,

Last night I received a letter from Charles Lamb, telling me to what a miserable condition poor John Morgan is reduced: not by any extravagance of his own, but by a thoughtless generosity, in lending to men who have never repaid him, and by ____, who has involved him in his own ruin; and lastly by the visitation of providence. Every thing is gone! [1] 

In such a case, what is to be done? ‘but to raise some poor annuity amongst his friends.’ [2]  It is not likely to be wanted long. He has an hereditary disposition to a liver complaint, a disease of all others, induced by distress of mind, and he feels the whole bitterness of his situation. The palsy generally comes back to finish what it has begun. Lamb will give ten pounds a year. I will do the same, and we both do according to our means, rather than our will. I have written to Michael Castle [3]  to exert himself; and if you know where his friend Porter [4]  is, I pray you communicate this information to him. We will try what can be done in other quarters. * * * *


Notes

* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847).
Previously published: Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), p. 237. BACK

[1] John Morgan was bankrupt. The blank name may well be that of his brother-in-law (name and dates unknown), a son of the silversmith Moses Brent (d. 1817), whom Southey suspected of dishonesty, see Southey to Edith Southey, 5[–7] September 1813, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Four, Letter 2299. BACK

[2] Probably a quotation from Cottle’s letter to Southey announcing John Morgan’s troubles. BACK

[3] Probably Michael Castle (1763–1821), a wealthy whisky distiller in Bristol and member of a prominent mercantile family in the city. A Whig and Unitarian, he had served as Mayor of Bristol in 1813. Southey’s letter to Castle appears not to have survived. BACK

[4] Probably Joseph Porter (c. 1776–1834), an Anglican clergyman in Bristol and later Rector of St Johns, Bristol. In 1813 Porter had been involved in plans to help both the Morgans and Coleridge; see Southey to Edith Southey, 16 September 1813, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Four, Letter 2301. BACK

People mentioned

Lamb, Charles (1775–1834) (mentioned 2 times)
Morgan, John James (d. 1820) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)

Exports

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