1460. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 May [1808]

1460. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 May [1808] ⁠* 

My dear Harry

Pinedas dictionary [1]  is better than either of the more modern ones, – but I should advise you to get old Minsheu who at the end of his Janua Linguarum, [2]  or English etymol. Dict (which perhaps you may remember among Coleridges books) has a very respectable Spanish one. [3]  This may be found in London catalogues priced under a guinea, Newmans, the cheapest new one [4]  will cost half as much again, & the better stocked for a commercial Spaniard, will have made room for trade-words by omitting precisely those which you would be often most frequently be searching for. Besides this advantage which Minsheus possesses you would <have> a real treasure in the great body of the work, which is truly a store house of etymological learning, & in which may be found half the etymologies which have given Horne Tooke [5]  his fame in the world. There was a copy in Cuthells Catalogue, [6]  which perhaps is not yet sold.

My Uncles direction is Staunton upon Wye, Hereford. At present the comfort of feeling that he has a home is so great that he has not yet felt the want of society, & he writes chearfully.

Seven years courtships are not desirable, – but it is somewhat soon to talk of them in the seventh month. I wish heartily that you were married, – & could I send you a draft for a wife, you should have it as speedily as your heart could desire. But without the few hundreds which Sealy [7]  will not – perhaps cannot, at this time give, it would be wise to wait one year out of the seven. Your friend Hought Horton [8]  as you may well remember, deliberated between the horse & the wife, you have a horse, & can keep it. The other is a more costly part of a mans establishment; – it involves a servant, & puts an end to that convenient free quartering at four o clock for which Durham affords such facilities. Another year would acquit you of precipitancy, would convince Sealy that his daughters attachment is not a mere fever fit, xxxxx dispose him to consult her happiness, & perhaps enable him to give her something, – for Sealy is not the wealthy man he was – He has lost his business, the capital in whi & did not look take such good care of his stock as others in the same trade. Indeed he was so little awake to the danger that he suffered part of his own ships to be laden with Mr Gonnes wines. And you may be well assured that if he was a wealthy man he would not send George [9]  to Brazil, – at a time when every thing for his marriage with Sophy Roach had been settled.

About the local militia, it is likely volunteers enough may alter – but at any rate it will be better to pay 30 £ for exemption, than to expend it in volunteer regimentals.

I expect daily to see the Annual [10]  advertised, & then if K Arthur does not send your account it may be expedient to give him a hint. He told me he would send it two months ago. – Your future pay in the Medical [11]  is not so poor as you seem to conceive it – they give me no more for the Athenæum, [12]  where they have had some of my very best work.

My life goes on as usual & my employments rem are the same, except that I get on a few lines of Kehama [13]  every morning before breakfast; winning time for this from sleep, & rapidly resolving to allow it no other time – than what is thus fairly won from Morpheus. The introduction to the Cid [14]  will go to London in the course of the week – Brazil [15]  waits for a fall in the price of paper, – a great many things may fall first. I suppose you have seen or heard of x my Remains of H K White, [16]  a book of which, to my infinite satisfaction, the success has been almost unexampled

Dr Southey the slightest dose of laudanum immediately affects my liver. the fæces become white, more loose than at other times, & what is odd occasion the same sort of heat as if there were a superabundance a bile in them. I tell you this merely as a physical fact which seems remarkable enough to be worth telling.

God bless you


Wednesday. May 25.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Durham.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.62. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Peter Pineda (dates unknown), resident in Britain from before 1726 until after 1762, compiled a Spanish/English, English/Spanish dictionary, the Nuevo Dicionario, Espanol y Ingles e Ingles y Espanol (1740; 2nd edn, 1750). BACK

[2] Janua Linguarum Reserata (1631) was attributed to John Amos Comenius (1592–1670). BACK

[3] John Minsheu (1560–1627; DNB): the Spanish dictionary Vocabularium Hispanicolatinum et Anglicum, appears as an appendix to his Ductor in Linguas: the Guide into Tongues (1617). BACK

[4] Henry Neuman (dates unknown), A New Dictionary of the Spanish and English Languages (1802). BACK

[5] John Horne Tooke (1736–1812; DNB), the political radical and etymologist, tried for treason in 1794. BACK

[6] John Cuthell (1743–1828), bookseller of Holburn, London, who was noted for his stock of medical and scientific books. BACK

[7] Henry married Mary-Harriet Sealy, the daughter of a Lisbon merchant, Richard Sealy (c. 1752–1821), in 1809. Like other Britons in Portugal, Sealy had lost his business when the country was taken over by France in November 1807. BACK

[8] Untraced. BACK

[9] George Sealy (1781–1843), Henry Southey’s future brother-in-law. In 1809 he married Sophia Roach, eldest daughter of George Roach, also a Lisbon businessman. BACK

[10] The Annual Review. BACK

[11] The London Medical Record, to which Henry contributed. BACK

[12] The magazine edited by John Aikin, The Athenæum, A Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information. BACK

[13] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[14] Southey’s edition of the Chronicle of the Cid (1808). BACK

[15] Southey’s History of Brazil published in three volumes from 1810 to 1819. BACK

[16] The Remains of Henry Kirke White, of Nottingham (1807), which were edited by Southey. In a letter to Walter Scott, Southey noted that: the first edition of The Remains (750 copies) ‘sold in less than three months’; see Southey to Walter Scott, 22 April 1808, Letter 1446. BACK

People mentioned

Scott, Walter (1771–1832) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)
Gonne, William (d.1815) (mentioned 1 time)
Aikin, Arthur (1773–1854) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Staunton on Wye (mentioned 1 time)


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