1072. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 3 June 1805

1072. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 3 June 1805 ⁠* 

Dear Danvers

I shall be very glad to see Sam Reid & only wish our house were large enough to enable me to offer him a bed – but it will not be easy this early in the season to procure one at one of the inns. he will do well to take this opportunity of seeing the Lakes when he has leisure, & will have you to travel up with him, & me for a guide there.

Your route will be the same as if you came by Liverpool, the roads joining at Preston. When you are at Coniston I should advise you to go to the Ferry on Windermere, & come up to Ambleside – or Low-Wood in a boat, by which you will see that Lake to the best advantage. From Ambleside to Keswick is sixteen miles, & you see three Lakes on the way. – If therefore you cross the sands from Lancaster – see Kirkstone Abbey [1]  – come up by Coniston Lake & thence by way of Esthwaite Lake to the Ferry on Windermere, you will take the very best route possible, & one which few Lakers are fortunate enough to be informed of. Esthwaite is not remarkable, the other two are, but in all this kind of scenery whether you begin at the right or the wrong end is of as much consequence as it is in cutting a cucumber.

Shepherd & Trinder [2]  specify the 15/s to have been received by Mrs Smith in their bills. [3]  better leave the matter till you have been here, when you shall take back the bill with you. It evidently shows that their account of the receipt is not accurate, as the supposed overplus was differently received.

I shall be glad to have the Parnasso. [4]  had you not better send it forward with your luggage? directed by way of Manchester & Penrith.

You are very good to think of Hartley. he is well stacked with books – perhaps a bat-ball & shoe for trap would be as good a play thing as could be given him. any thing that could teach him a love of common sports would be well to break that habit of musing which wears him out.

On the opposite page I will write a note for the Annuals. [5]  You will be surprized to hear that I have received another letter by way of the bottle & Atlantic. [6]  thrown in June 6. 1802. Lat. 44. 40. Long. 45. 6. & picked up by a Bermudas fishing boat. 32. 16. – 64. 49. Dec. 2. 1804. – The letter has been fairly worn out before it reached me. it came inclosed from Bristol, instead of re-directed. however for such a curiosity I did not begrudge the treble postage. Is it not extraordinary that two should have thus reached me? as Tom said when he heard that the first had arrived never let sailor despair of making his friends hear of him. – Could I but have as good fortune in the lottery it would be worth having.

Coleridges print – which you will see here – is from a picture painted by Northcote for Sir G Beaumont. [7]  it is in mezzotinto, & is I suppose sold for five shillings. my portrait is in Grosvenor Bedfords hands, – whether or no it will ever be engraved by Duppa as he proposes heaven knows. [8] 

I recollect no desideratum beyond your list – A letter from Tom last week xxxx gives me reason to hope that his best prizes have escaped. they were at St Vincents, & I do not understand that that Island has been visited by the French. But their value would be materially injured by the general distress in the colonies.  [9] 

God bless you! I heartily long to see you once more –

yours, very affectionately

R Southey.

Mr Southey will be obliged to MessrsLongman & Rees to deliver to the Bearer the 2d & 3d Vol. of the Annual Review, directed for Lieutenant Southeyto the care of Nath H. M. S. Amelia, to the care of Nathan Jackson Esqr [10]  – Barbadoes.

Keswick. June 3. 1805.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Seal: [partial, illegible]
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey probably refers to what is usually known as Furness Abbey, on the north side of the crossing, via the sands of Morecambe Bay, from Lancashire to Cumbria. BACK

[2] Sheppard and Trinder (first names and dates unknown), a firm of woollen drapers who had premises at 7 Millsom Street, Bath. BACK

[3] Expenditure incurred in kitting out Thomas Southey for the navy; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 19 May 1805, Letter 1068. BACK

[4] This is more likely to be Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616), Viage del Parnaso (1614), listed in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, than the 56-volume Venetian edition, Parnasso Italiano, overo Raccolta de’ Poeti Classici Itali (1784–1791), which he also owned. BACK

[5] This is reproduced at the end of the letter. BACK

[6] Thomas Southey periodically sent letters in bottles addressed to his brother; see Southey to the Editor of the Athenaeum, [April 1807] (Letter 1314) for an account of these. BACK

[7] Southey refers to William Say’s (1768–1834) 1805 mezzotint after James Northcote’s (1746–1831; DNB) portrait of Coleridge 1804. BACK

[8] In a letter of 2 August 1803, Southey stated that he had sat for Duppa, who intended to engrave his likeness, while he was in London; see Southey to Thomas Southey, 2 August 1803, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Two, Letter 815. No engraving by Duppa has been traced. In 1804 Henry Edridge painted Southey’s portrait for Bedford (now held by the National Portrait Gallery, London). BACK

[9] St Vincent is an island in the southern part of the Windward Islands of the West Indies. It had been ceded to the British by the French in 1763. It was customary for naval officers to be allotted a share of the value of ships and cargo captured in armed conflict, and Southey was concerned that his brother would lose his prize money from Spanish ships taken by HMS Amelia in December 1804. BACK

[10] The addressee of letters to Thomas Southey in the West Indies is untraced. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Ambleside (mentioned 2 times)
Furness Abbey (mentioned 1 time)