1280. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 25 February 1807

1280. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 25 February 1807 ⁠* 

My dear Tom

Have you not urged your Captain to make urgent application for more men? you should do this, & he should represent the state of the ship. [1]  Convince him that more hands are essential for her safety & I warrant he will apply for them; & it would doing your duty as you do it would come with weight from you. One comfort the winter draws towards an end – & your raw hands must be getting more useful every day. I am glad Solly has joined, – my daughters correspondent.

Amadis must have been Longmans mistake. [2]  Twill do however to give away, whenever you find any person whom you like to give it to. Have they put it in instead of the Metrical Tales [3]  – which you have not mentioned among the contents of the parcel? let me know this that if so it may be included in the next. The remarks on Thalaba should be in one of the volumes of Mackay – where you have probably by this time found them. If not it is of little matter as they will appear in his works.

Your letters have left a weight upon my mind whenever I think of you; – & in the heavy gale of Saturday <night> last I think it was (the 21st) – when the wind waked me xxx xxxx I did nothing but think of you & dream of you by turns. The days however are lengthening, & you sure at least of soon getting a Master, if not more hands. My best hopes are that you may soon be made, – & yet not have interest enough to get a ship immediately – so as to have a few months here among the mountains, & a few fine weather cruises on the Lake. We are going to do wonders this summer. Some arrangements of Coleridge rendered it necessary that I should either fix upon quitting this place – or retaining the house – this last suited me best, & my mind is made up to continue here indefinitely – indeed I know not what could ever induce me to leave this country, unless it were to return to Lisbon, for the longer I stay the better I like it. Oh that you could see it in snow & sunshine! & in snow & moonlight! – it is even more beautiful than in the finest autumnal evening. – We are going to paper the parlour with cartridge paper, to have the abominable curtains there died a deep blue, & to fringe them. To buy a carpet & white curtains for my study – which is of course to be ceiled & plastered – & to have my books round by the sea. The outside of the house is to be finished. the walk up the garden is gravelling at this time, with such gravel &c as is to be got – which is the soil of the river. & I mean to plant some trees which will shut out the lower end of the town, if not in my time, in somebody elses. Every thing is to be made decent, & my study beautiful. Think of the joy it will be to arrange my books, & see them all together, & worship them every day!

I believe it will be necessary to give the History of the Rio de la Plata as well as of Brazil – in which case the book would perhaps be entitled Brazil & Paraguay. [4]  They are so interwoven in the first years of the history – & xx in the last as well, that I must either relate all myself – or be continually stopping to explain or refer the reader to what he knows nothing about. I go on excellently well, & expect with as much confidence as mortal man ought to expect any thing, that the first volume will be compleated by the end of the summer. [5]  My Uncles papers all relate to the second – there is however one folio MS. which xx describes the colony in 1586. I will hope that you may be here during the summer to look over all my sea terms. There shall certainly be such prints to the book as will explain it – a view of a Brazilian town – if it may so be called – costume of the natives &c. &c. these ought to be so introduced in head & tail-pieces as not to be very expensive, while they would be very useful. [6] 

My reviewing is compleated. [7]  there are four Letters of D Manuel [8]  to finish – which are begun – but I wait for the spur of a proof or two more to send them & the work at the same time. The printer [9]  is very slow – he has eight sheets of the second volume in his hands, & three of the third. I have twice written to hurry him. Palmerin [10]  is now my evening work, – ten weeks will wash that off my hands, & then I am a free man, with no other tie on me than my own good will & pleasure. The last of Henry Whites papers are to reach me this week – what I have to do xx in the prefatory account may take five or six evenings, & a longer time, if longer were required would be well bestowed upon things the memory of so rare & excellent a young man. From that profile, from a younger brother who very much resembles him, & from memory, a xx likeness of him has been made, which is said to be a striking one, & is now in the engravers hands. There will be some other prints – one from a drawing of his own, which was meant prefixed to one of the poems – representing Time covering a part of the Globe – I have not seen it. Another will be a view of a Church yard in which he was used to frequent, & in which one of his sweetest poems was written. This was my desire, & I have recommended that other views of places which he particularly alluded to by him may be procured. [11] 

You will wonder to hear that I am become a regular walker; – every morning as soon as my fair mornings work is done, off goes my jacket, on goes the bottle-green great coat & the boots, & away to trudge to Scriggins crag. it is too cold for the Dutch grammar, so I can make no other use of the time than to look round me, – & xx that in this country can never tire. I look at the Lake & the Mountains with more delight because the thought of leaving them is no longer in my mind. The weather has been singularly capricious, but on the whole most unusually, – it might be said unnaturally – mild. We had no snow till the last day of January, & the Lake has not been frozen – indeed there has been scarcely any frost. Our winters are not colder here than they are at Bristol – the difference is that our summers are not so warm.

The Lloyds talk of dining here soon, & are to fix their own day. – Harry goes for Lisbon in the convoy – he leaves the river on Tuesday next – I shall much miss him in the summer – as he has been here three summers following. The boat will not be well manned without him – so we must be content to have it well womanned. Rickman will probably touch here on his way to the Highlands [12]  – & perhaps I shall persuade my old friend the Senhora to come down once more, Kickmanjiggify [13]  more of my books, & lend a hand in adorning the house.

Henry’s Emma I believe is married to a Mr Hoare. [14]  The Doctor will not much regard this. The wound in his heart was not quite so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door. – My daughter talks very often about you. I took her the other evening to the window to see the hail which beat very hard against it. – Why does Uncle Tom , said she, stay out such bad weather? – why does’nt he come home? – he never comes home now. – I asked her one day if she would have you for a Pappa. no – she says – he’s a Uncle Tom – & she insists upon it that you are a worthy Uncle & a good sailor.

Love &c – God bless you – RS.

Lose no opportunity of writing, & if you have nothing else to say keep a sheet open to write down old stories when they come to mind.

Wednesday Feby 25. 1807.


* Address: To/ Lieutenant Southey/ H. M. S. Pallas/ Plymouth Dock./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ FEB 28/ 1807
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 437–440. BACK

[1] Thomas Southey was serving aboard the Pallas, a 32 gun fifth rate frigate, whose first captain was Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (1775–1860; DNB), under whom she was involved in the capture of many French and Spanish warships. In 1807, command passed to Captain George Miller (dates unknown). According to a letter to Mary Barker, the ship was ‘so miserably manned’ that Thomas was ‘almost worn out with duty’; see Southey to Mary Barker, 4 February 1807, Letter 1273. BACK

[2] Longmans had, at Southey’s behest, sent Thomas Southey a box of his books including Amadis of Gaul (1803). BACK

[3] Metrical Tales and other Poems (1805). BACK

[4] It was published as the History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[5] The first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil was not published until 1810. BACK

[6] It was not illustrated in this way. BACK

[7] Southey reviewed the following in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807): John Barrow (1764–1848; DNB), A Voyage to Cochin China, in the Years 1792, and 1793: Containing a General View of the Productions, and Political Importance of this Kingdom; and also of such European Settlements as were Visited on the Voyage, with Sketches of the Manners, Character, and Condition of their Inhabitants (1806), 2–16; James Burney, A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ... Illustrated with Charts (Vol. 2; 1806), 16–30; James Stanier Clarke (1765?-1834; DNB), Naufragia, or, Historical Memoirs of Shipwrecks (1805–1806), 71–72; Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society (1805), 155–160; Patrick Colquhoun (1745–1820), A New and Appropriate System of Education for the Labouring People (1806), 278–282; John Wooll (bap. 1767–1833; DNB), Biographical Memoirs of the late Revd. Joseph Warton, Master of St. Mary Winton College; Prebendary of Winchester Cathedral; and Rector of the Parishes of Wickham and Upham, Hants: to which are added, a Selection from his Works; and a Literary Correspondence Between Eminent Persons, Reserved by him for Publication (1806), 298–305; Lucy Hutchinson (née Apsley; 1620–1681; DNB) and Julius Hutchinson (dates unknown), Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (1806), 361–378; James Grant Raymond (1771–1817), The Life of Thomas Dermody (1806), 383–397; Henry Richard Fox, 3rd Lord Holland, Some Account of the Life and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio (1806), 397–411; Richard Duppa, The Life and Literary Works of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, with his Poetry and Letters (1806), 411–425; George Chalmers, (bap. 1742–1825; DNB), ed., The Poetical Works of Sir David Lyndsay (1806), 482–494; Thomas Moore (1779–1852; DNB), Epistles, Odes and Other Poems (1806), 498–499; [Society of Friends of Pennsylvania], Accounts of Two Attempts Towards the Civilization of Some Indian Natives (1806), 589–593; 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), 594–607; Thomas Jarrold (1770–1853; DNB), Dissertations on Man, Philosophical, Physiological and Political; in Answer to Mr. Malthus’s ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1806), 607–615. BACK

[8] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[9] Richard Taylor (1781–1858; DNB). BACK

[10] Palmerin of England; by Francisco de Moraes. Corrected by Robert Southey from the Original Portugueze (1807). BACK

[11] Southey had been planning with Neville White, older brother of the recently deceased poet Henry Kirke White, a posthumous edition of his works; see Southey to Neville White, 24 November 1806 (Letter 1238), 20 December 1806 (Letter 1245) and 3 February 1807 (Letter 1271). This was published, with plates, as Remains of Henry Kirke White, of Nottingham, 2 vols (London, 1807). BACK

[12] Rickman did not visit the Highlands; see Southey to John Rickman, 27 May 1807, Letter 1327. BACK

[13] Southey’s coinage, meaning to beautify—in this case by making decorated protective covers for the books. BACK

[14] Henry Southey had met Emma Noel (d. 1873), while at the home of Charles Lloyd in Ambleside. She was the daughter of Gerard Noel Edwardes, of Exton Park, Rutland (1759–1838; DNB), who had adopted the surname Noel in 1798, and inherited a baronetcy in 1813 to become the 2nd Baronet Barham. When her family objected to the couple’s plans to marry, their relationship ended. William Hoare (d. 1819) married Emma’s sister Louisa Elizabeth Noel (d. 1816); Emma married Stafford O’Brien (d. 1864). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Greta Hall/ Greeta Hall (mentioned 1 time)
Ambleside (mentioned 1 time)