1206. Robert Southey to Richard Duppa, 5 August 1806 *
Tuesday August 5 – 1806
My dear Duppa
The reason why I have not written to you before, since my return from London, is a very simple one – I beseech you let it also be satisfactory. You gave me a splendid copy of your Life of Michel Angelo.  This book I did not take home with me – because it was a heavy book to bring here, & to take back again early in the next Spring, – I had rapidly read it at Rickmans, & should get a copy from King Arthur for special purposes of half the weight – he having to pay its carriage back. Now this other copy from the King is not yet arrived.  Come it will, for I have not only spoken for it in town, but written for it since, & it shall pass thro nobodys hands but my own. I did not like to write to you till I could have sent you a letter critical, in which I had pointed out every thing which appeared to me capable of amendment; & this as soon as the book comes I will do, – or if you be preparing for another edition, will do it sooner, by sending to Grasmere for Wordsworths. Meantime conscience has been dunning pins into me every day – & I now submit to you the plain case, which will certainly account for a long & unfit silence – & I trust excuse it.
The Printer goes on slowly with Espriella, nor do I hurry him.  but we both are getting on. One of your letters is printed with certain interpolations, it is that about shopping &c.  That concerning Westminster Abbey goes to the press in the next exportation  – I have added to it some catholick falsehoods respecting the history of the church, & some little else. At your leisure, give me an account of the Exhibition in 1803.  a few general remarks will do as to the thing itself – what I most wish is to have said what good the Academy does; if any –; what merit is due the King &c. The merits of Mr Alderman Boydell & the history of his Shakespeare is also another subject which you will handle far better than I – or to speak truly – which I could not handle at all.  And <for> any thing else which occurs to your recollection, be sure that I shall easily find fit place.
My brother Tom arrived yesterday – from sea, & my spirits have not yet recovered their usual temperate tone. – for it disjects me to see him looking prematurely old – to think that in fourteen years he has only been nine months on shore – & that we three brothers who are now in one house have never been together till now during the whole of that time, – & very possibly when we separate again – as in a few weeks we must – never may meet again together again. Family ties, when they are good for anything, grow stronger as we grow older, & as fewer are left us. We then feel how different they are from other friendships, be those friendships never so sincere, – I will never breed up a child either to the navy or army – nor send one to the East Indies. It is very well for birds, whose love is only instinct, to part be turned adrift as soon as they leave the nest, – but it as an evil thing for a family to be scattered.
We have the measles in the house – & my daughter is expected to sicken in about a week. Till it is over I shall be more uneasy than is quite reasonable upon the doctrine of chances: – the disorder is <something fatal> & I remember losing a sister to it. In about [MS torn] months I expect an addition to my family – of which I am very glad.  In the spring I hope to effect my renewal to Portugal, bag & baggage – There [MS torn] remain some three or four years. The climate will be of service to me, & perhaps lengthen the lease I have of this body of mine, – a lease which seems to stand in need of a renewal. Nor tho I most truly do hope, trust & believe that whenever the lease be out I shall get into a better tenement, I would yet willingly keep the present one as long as I can.
You have probably heard that an Uncle of mine is dead, who if he had made no will, must have left me a rich man. Certainly rather than xx have been born rich, I would always continue poor; but if wealth had fallen in my way now I think it would have done me no harm. However it was no disappointment as I expected nothing.
This is my idle season; tho it must be a short one – for I cannot afford much idleness. I am finishing Espriella, & making a very curious book called The Chronicle of the Cid,  – very curious it will be – but I fear it will get me more credit than money, – & I stand more in need of pudding than of praise. – Thalaba has been published piece-meal in the American newspapers;  – so long a poem was I believe never xxxx before printed in so singular a way. Remember me at Stockwell.  I mean to review Clarksons Book upon the Quakers this year.  – Remember me also at Brixton. I am afraid that family will soon be broken up, & do not like to think so, because I shall never remember old Mr Bedford without remembering many pleasant hours days & weeks which I have past under his roof. God bless you. Do not follow my example, but put me to shame by a letter. Edith & her sister desired to be remembered. The Colonel and Mrs P. enquire for you. Harry & I xxxx on the top of Great Gable  last week – & he would have sent a sigh toward the Isle of xxxxx Man – to Miss Scriggen  – only unluckily the wind happened to be the wrong way.
* Address: To/ Richard Duppa Esqr/ 51. Great Marlborough Street/
Oxford Street/ London./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: University of Rochester, Rare Books Library, A.S727 1:1. AL; 4p.
 Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella; Translated from the Spanish (1807) was printed by Richard Taylor (1781–1858; DNB), printer and naturalist, who would go on to establish the publishing firm of Taylor and Francis with his son William Francis (1817–1904; DNB) in 1852. BACK
 John Boydell (1720–1804; DNB) was appointed Alderman of Cheap ward in London in 1782 and held the position until his death in 1804. He began a large venture to produce depictions of scenes from Shakespeare’s works, exhibited in a Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall, London, the publication of an illustrated edition of Shakespeare’s plays, and the release of a folio of prints depicting scenes from Shakespeare’s works. Some of the most illustrious painters of the day contributed, such as Benjamin West and Henry Fuseli (1741–1825; DNB). The Shakespeare gallery was not described in Letters from England. BACK
 Thomas Southey had promised to bring some land crabs with him from the West Indies; see Southey to John Rickman, 20 January 1804 (Letter 886) and Southey to John King, –5 March 1804 (Letter 904). BACK
 Stockwell Park, Surrey, residence of Thomas Woodruffe Smith (c. 1747–1811), a wealthy Quaker merchant, and his second wife, Anne Reynolds (dates unknown) of Carshalton. The Smiths were friends of Grosvenor Charles Bedford and Duppa. BACK
 Southey reviewed Thomas Clarkson, A Portraiture of Quakerism, as Taken From a View of the Moral Education, Discipline, Peculiar Customs, Religious Principles, Political and Civil Œconomy, and Character, of the Society of Friends (1806), in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807), 594–607. BACK
- 1 of 2
- next ›