3484. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, [19 May 1820]
3484. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, [19 May 1820]*
My dear Edith
I breakfasted at Rickmans this morning, & your letter arrived just as I was going away. So I obtained a frank tho it is not possible for me to write more than a few hasty lines. You will course let me hear frequently concerning the children, – meantime I shall make myself as easy as I can, & thank God that one of them has past safely thro the disease. 
The half years annuity to poor Wilsey is returned in my hands, – & five pounds towards the liquidation of Hartleys claims.  For the latter I have Tolsons authority,  – for the former Turners, – it is a clear point of law. – About my own law affairs Wynn & Turner & myself are to confer when we can meet with convenience to all three.  I am not sanguine on this score, – but in other things I am going on very prosperously. I have promised to write the Book of the Church  forthwith tempted by Murrays offer of 500£ for it. & I am engaging for a series of biography in six such volumes as Wesley for which I shall have 3000.  Besides this Longman offers 1500£ for Oliver Newman,  – but I require more. So you will roll.
The Bp of London told me I had rendered an important service to our ecclesiastical history by writing the Life of W & that between the two dangers of seducing people to Methodism by setting its good points in too alluring a light, & of wounding religion by treating its extravagancies & follies with too much levity, I had steered clear with great discretion.
The Bp of Durham  also complimented me upon it in high terms. How the Methodists take it I do not know. But the book is much liked where I could wish it to be liked, & has made the booksellers plainly feel the weight of my reputation.
Tomorrow I go to Streatham & do not return to town till Wednesday.
If King had not been called away he was to have given me a prescription for Edith. Here is one upon the joint advice of her Uncle & Gooch who are in the room.
two grains of corrosive sublimate  to half a pint of milk of almonds. with this wash the pimples with a spunge three times a day. – Syringe Bells ear with tepid milk & water.
God bless you
I have bought another book – to be sent when I come back to town
* MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating from content; this letter was written on 19 May 1820 and Southey left for Streatham the following day. BACK
 Under the terms of William Jackson’s will a number of annuities were charged on the Greta Hall estate. The annuity to Mrs Wilson had lapsed with her death. BACK
 Samuel Tolson, Jnr (dates unknown), a commission agent in Liverpool and the owner of Greta Hall since 1815. BACK
 The death of John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765–1819; DNB), agricultural reformer and Southey’s third cousin, on 5 October 1819 had produced a further round of legal tangles over the Fitzhead estate in Somerset, which Somerville had inherited and on which Southey felt he had some claim. However, a legal opinion that Southey had received on the matter was not very hopeful; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 28 March 1820, Letter 3459. BACK
 Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). The proposed series of lives did not materialise. BACK
 Southey’s unfinished epic, set in New England. The completed sections were published after Southey’s death in Oliver Newman: A New-England Tale (Unfinished): With Other Poetical Remains (London, 1845), pp. 1–90. BACK
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