888. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 23 January 1804

888. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 23 January 1804 ⁠* 

Dear Harry

My last letter [1]  crost yours upon the road, & had noticed its most material contents. I look daily for letters from Lisbon which will say something concerning you & enable us to make your future supplies regular & certain. [2] 

Thelwalls pamphlet [3]  has this day reachd Keswick as a present to Coleridge. he has written very foolishly & in a very foolish spirit, but the impression which the pamphlet leaves upon ones mind is that tho he is a blockhead, Jeffray is a scoundrel. I see by it that my Amadis has been reviewed [4]  – tell me in your next in what manner – that is whether so as by its tone to assist or depress the sale. Wm Taylor wrote the reviewal of Thalaba [5]  which I have not yet seen. it gave me pleasure to learn by your letter as indeed I have thought perceptible in the Iris, [6]  that my abuse of his jaw-breakers, as Tom calls them, has not been without effect. he wants nothing but a purer style. no human being has more fancy, & scarcely any so much information. Coleridge & Rickman are the only two men in my knowledge who equal him in the whole of their minds, each possessing something which he does not, & each in some respect his inferior. They make my Trinity of living greatness.

I have applied to Arthur Aikin to give you some employment in the third Annual, with what success is yet to be seen. my work for the second is not yet over, another parcel being promised me by the next carrier. [7]  The book has been very successful, 1200 of 2000 sold, & the demand still unabated. yet if W Taylors articles had been withdrawn it had been but a heavy piece of business! I take too little pleasure & too little pride in such work to do it well. – what there is good in my articles are the mere eructations from a full stomach. their honesty is their best part.

There came a young man here some months ago who boasted of some connection with the Edinburgh R. after I had called Jeffray a few names in the hope that they might reach him. he is a draftsman – (artist I believe is the present word title) Carlisle his name [8]  – I thought him very dull & what was worse intolerably envious of all merit – but he draws with admirable patience & accuracy.

As soon as the next batch is over it is my design to give an undivided attention to Madoc, the correction of which will be finished by the summer. [9]  I have offered it to Longman on these terms – that if he will publish it handsomely & with prints (for which I shall procure designs) I shall be content to share his eventual profits. As the printing must be under my own eye it is not improbable that I may chuse Edinburgh for the place & pass my next winter there. Miss Barker (whom you saw in London) will make the drawings to my own taste, for they will be under my own eye, as we expect her here in the spring. The main object is to assist the reader by giving him distinct ideas images of the costume – of the tools with which I am working.

You have ere this heard of Burnetts odd fortune, odd rather than good, for knowing nothing of Polis foreign literature he will make but a bad librarian to a Polish Count. I wrote to him in rather a dehortatory strain, applying the old proverb of the Bird in hand. A militia surgeonry was no bad situation for him, as he lived well & would have had practice enough to make him fit for something when ever he should be disbanded. Of Edward no news – which is good news. his Aunt will, I guess, try to beg a commission for him; – that he should ever be good for any thing else is quite hopeless. To Tom you should write, & must now direct – Galatea, [10]  Barbadoes, or elsewhere. the packets go monthly & no inland postage is to be paid.

A little volume of Poems by Henry Kirke White of Nottingham has excited some interest in me for the author, who is very young & has published them in the hope of obtaining help to pursue his studies, & graduate for orders. if you have interest enough with the Scotchmen <the Reviewer>, & if they have hearts enough to do any thing good – do recommend the book to their favourable [MS torn] there is a wild little poem there to a Rosemary-bush which affected me. [11]  the poor boy is sickly, & will I suppose die of consumption. I [MS torn] not, but it would gratify me if I could anyways directly or indirectly [MS torn] him. in the Annual I have been his friend.

I have been three days at Sir Wilfred Lawsons, [13]  where company, late hours, & late drinking, tho not hard drinking, somewhat hurt me, & I rejoiced to relapse into my old regularity <with> which I speedily recovered. xxx I brought home a few of his books – but his collection tho uncommonly expensive is not valuable – it is more of prints than books; one of my ragged regiments have more guts in their brains than a whole army of his gentlemen in laced jackets.

God bless you.

R. S.

Jany. 23. 1804


* Address: For/ H. Herbert Southey Esqr/ to the care of Mr Guthrie – Bookseller/ Nicholson Street/ Edinburgh./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: JA/ 1804/ 27
Watermark: 1797
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 250–252. BACK

[1] See Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [12 January 1804], Letter 883. BACK

[2] Southey was hoping that his uncle Herbert Hill, chaplain to the English Factory in Lisbon, would help finance his brother’s medical career. BACK

[3] In 1804, John Thelwall published a Letter to Francis Jeffrey on Certain Calumnies and Misrepresentations in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ accusing Jeffrey of leading an attempt to break up his lecture in Edinburgh, and of misrepresenting his poetry in the Edinburgh Review, 3 (April 1803), 197–202. BACK

[4] Thelwall discusses the review of Southey’s Amadis of Gaul (1803), in the Edinburgh Review, 5 (October 1803), 109–136; see Letter to Francis Jeffrey on Certain Calumnies and Misrepresentations in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ (Edinburgh, 1804), p. 127 (note). BACK

[5] William Taylor reviewed Thalaba the Destroyer (1801) in the Critical Review, 2nd series, 39 (December 1803), 369–379. BACK

[6] The Iris; or, Norwich and Norfolk Weekly Advertiser, the Norwich newspaper edited, from 1803–1804, by Taylor. BACK

[7] The Annual Review for 1803, 2 (1804), in which Southey wrote the following reviews: James Burney, A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ... Illustrated with Charts (1803), 3–12; James Stanier Clarke (1766–1834; DNB), The Progress of Maritime Discovery, from the Earliest Period to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, Forming an Extensive System of Hydrography (1803), 12–20; James Curtis (dates unknown), A Journal of Travels in Barbary in 1801 ... With Observations on the Gum Trade of Senegal (1803), 20–23; Louis Maria Joseph, Count O’Hier de Grandpré (1761–1846), A Voyage in the Indian Ocean, and to Bengal ... To Which is Added a Voyage in the Red Sea, Including a Description of Mocha, and of the Trade of the Arabs of Yemen (1803), 48–54; John Davis (1774–1854), Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America, During 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802 (1803), 54–59; Lockhart Muirhead (dates unknown), Journals of Travels in Parts of the Late Austrian Low Countries, France, the Pays de Vaud and Tuscany in 1787 and 1789 (1803), 59–63; Charles William Doyle (1770–1842), A Non-Military Journal; Or, Observations Made in Egypt, by an Officer upon the Staff of the British Army: Describing the Country, its Inhabitants, their Manners and Customs (1803), 63–66; William Wittman (fl. 1799–1804), Travels in Turkey, Asia Minor, Syria, and Across the Desert into Egypt During the Years 1799, 1800, and 1801, in Company with the Turkish Army and the British Military Mission (1803), 66–71; [Ann Blund (dates unknown)], Journal of a Short Excursion among the Swiss Landscapes (1803), 79–80; Isaac King (dates unknown), Letters from France (1803), 88–90; Part the First of An Address to the Public from the Society for the Suppression of Vice, Instituted, in London, 1802, Setting Forth, with a List of the Members, the Utility and Necessity of such an Institution, and its Claim to Public Support (1803), 187; Transactions of the Missionary Society (Vol. 1, 1803), 189–201; William Myles (1756–1828), A Chronological History of the People called Methodists ... With an Appendix, Containing Two Lists of the Itinerant Preachers ... With the Last Will and Testament of the Rev. J. Wesley (1803), 201–213; William Godwin, Life of Geoffrey Chaucer ... Including Memoirs of ... John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; with Sketches of the Manners, Opinions, Arts and Literature of England in the Fourteenth Century (1803), 462–473; George Mason (1735–1806; DNB), The Life of Richard Earl Howe (1803), 499–501; Joseph Ritson (1752–1803; DNB), Ancient Engleish Metrical Romanceës (1802), 515–533; George Ellis, Specimens of the Early English Poets (3rd edn 1803), 538–542; Richard Mant (1776–1848; DNB), The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Warton (1802), 543–546; William Hayley (1745–1820; DNB), The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper, Esq. (1803), 457–462; Peter Bayley (bap. 1778–1823; DNB), Poems (1803), 546–552; Henry Kirke White, Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with other Poems (1803), 552–554; Josiah Walker (d. 1831), The Defence of Order, a Poem (1803), 557; The Inquiry. Part 1, 557–558; William Barnes Rhodes (1772–1826; DNB), Epigrams (1803), 558; James Woodhouse (bap. 1735–1820), Norbury Park, a Poem with Several Others Written on Various Occasions (1803), 558; Henry William Tytler (1752/3–1808), The Voyage Home from the Cape of Good Hope (1803), 559; Luke Booker (1762–1835; DNB), Calista, or a Picture of Modern Life, a Poem (1803), 564; D. A. G. B. Cassano (dates unknown), Il Fiore della Poesia Italiana (1802), 562–563; William Lisle Bowles, The Picture, Verses Suggested by a Magnificent Landscape of Rubens (1803), 582; John Peter Roberdeau (bap. 1754–1815), Fugitive Verse and Prose (1803), 582–583; George Owen Cambridge (d. 1841), Works of Richard Owen Cambridge, Esq. with an Account of his Life and Character (1803), 583–585; Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baroness de Staël-Holstein (1766–1817), A Treatise of Ancient and Modern Literature (tr. 1803), 643–650; Asiatic Researches; or Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal for Enquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Science and Literature of Asia (vol. VII, 1803), 898–908. BACK

[8] Possibly Nicholas Carlisle (1770–1847), half-brother of Anthony Carlisle. BACK

[9] Southey was revising Madoc for publication, though it did not appear until 1805. BACK

[10] Thomas Southey’s ship, HMS Galatea, a fifth-rate 32-gun frigate commissioned in 1794. BACK

[11] In Southey’s review of White’s Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with Other Poems (1803), in the Annual Review (see note 7) he praises ‘To the Herb, Rosemary’ on page 553. BACK

[13] Wilfrid Lawson, 10th Baronet of Isell, Cumberland (c. 1764–1806). BACK

People mentioned