1659. Robert Southey to Humphrey Senhouse, 25 July 1809

1659. Robert Southey to Humphrey Senhouse, 25 July 1809 ⁠* 

Dear Senhouse

Some little while ago I received a letter from Walter Scott telling me that Mr Canning had expressed a wish to serve me, that he would have offered me a situation of 200 £ a year in his own department, but on consideration it was thought not worth my acceptance as requiring more time & attendance than were equivalent to the salary, & that in consequence he, Scott, was desired to communicate with me upon the subject, & learn in what manner I could be benefitted most conformably to my own pursuits & inclinations. Now the Stewardship for the Derwentwater Estates, held by a Mr Walton, [1]  is expected soon to be vacated by his death, – the whole would be thought too much for me I apprehend, but this objection might easily be remedied by seperating the Cumberland from the Northumberland property. [2]  This therefore I mentioned to Scott, – his reply is that the thing seems feasible, but that Lord Lonsdales recommendation will probably command it, that at any rate his countenance would be in the highest degree important & therefore he urged me to make what interest I could in that quarter, stating the grounds upon which I applied, – that is, the disposition on the part of the Mr Canning towards me.

I should like this office because it would give me the care of these woods, & the power of planting & beautifying this neighbourhood. I should like the salary because it would enable me to follow without interruption such <those> literary pursuits for which I am best qualified. I have written to Sir George Beaumont requesting his recommendation at Lowther, & I have requested my Uncle to do the same to Lord Bute, [3]  with whom he is sufficiently well acquainted. [4]  A word from you would perhaps be of more avail than from either; for tho Lord Lonsdale appears sensible of the credit which is gained in these times by patronising literature, he is far more likely to have election purposes in view. If however from any just cause or impediment you are unwilling to address him upon the subject, tell me so as freely as I have now applied to you. The chance is important enough to make it my duty to omit no likely means of success. My circumstances would be materially bettered by obtaining it, – but I shall suffer neither expectation nor failure in the slightest degree to diminish my tranquillity.

Miss Wood [5]  informed us a few days ago of Mrs Peachys death, an event which I had always foreseen. To us she is a great loss, nor shall I ever cast my eyes towards yound yonder beautiful Island without remembering & regretting her. Since last you heard from me we have lost the little girl who was named after her – by a disease more resembling cholera morbus than any thing else, but with anomalous <symptoms> which seemed to me to indicate some organic disease. My little boy had just before been saved from the croup. At present, thank God, all are well, except that I have my summer catarrh upon me, it is now about eight weeks old, & I suppose will soon take its departure. – I was at Durham last month to visit my brother on his marriage he is getting into practise there, & at the death of his wifes father [6]  will probably have enough to do without it.

Remember us at Netherhall & to Mrs Senhouse. I hope your young Humphrey is doing well

yours very truly

Robert Southey.

Keswick. July 25. 1809.


* Address: To/ Humphrey Senhouse Esqr. Junr/ Castle Hill/ Maryport/ Cockermouth
Seal: Red Wax
Watermark: [partially obscured by seal] 1803/ T BOTFIELD
Endorsement: July 25. 1809/ Robt Southey to HS./ Relative to your estimation of Steward/ to the Derwentwater Estates
MS: University of Rochester, Rare Books Library, A.S727 1:2. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Nicholas Walton (d. 1809). BACK

[2] Although Southey asked various friends to intercede on his behalf for this post, in the end it was considered unsuitable for him; see Southey to Walter Scott, 8 August 1809 (Letter 1666) and Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 August 1809 (Letter 1669). BACK

[3] John Stuart, 4th Earl of Bute (1744–1814; DNB). BACK

[4] For these letters, see Southey to Sir George Beaumont, 17 July 1809 (Letter 1656) and Southey to Herbert Hill, 24 July 1809 (Letter 1658). BACK

[5] Isabella Wood (dates unknown), cousin of Humphrey Senhouse. BACK

[6] Richard Sealy (c. 1752–1821), a wealthy Lisbon merchant. BACK

Places mentioned

Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)