741. Robert Southey to William Taylor, 6 December 1802

741. Robert Southey to William Taylor, 6 December 1802 ⁠* 

My dear friend

I thank you for your offer [1]  & the wish which occasioned it – & if there were not some thousand & one objections I should heartily like to be your neighbour. if I should not settle at Maes Gwyn as is my hope & design, Hereford would probably become my home – because my Uncle has a house there which is likely to become vacant, & he wishes to have me & all our joint books housed there till he comes over to join us. At any rate I would not remove to an unreachable distance from Herefordshire, where my presence may very probably be necessary sometimes to look into his affairs. this is a sufficient reason. I might add that periodical employment would fetter me to one place, & tho I respect the enjoyments of a vegetable or a zoophyte – I think nothing so wretched as a bird in a cage – the will & the limbs for motion – & yet barrd in!

I do not imagine that my Uncle will approve of Harrys entering at Cambridge – because the expence is certain – the benefit very doubtful – none at all unless he should fix in London. The College [2]  exact from those who have never graduated at either University an annual fine of 100 £. this Dr Aikin paid – & that old woman Sir W. Farquhar [3]  still pays. My Uncle had lost his best income when the troops left Lisbon, & could not conveniently now enable him to enter keep terms – even if it were desirable.

Longman has applied to me about his Review [4]  – & I shall write for it. they have sent me nothing yet. a little I still do for the Critical – a very little – & am going to be very civil (God forgive me!) to Mrs Opie. [5]  You may remember I talked with you about German reviewing for the Critical. In consequence I spoke to Hamilton [6]  immediately after, & mentioning no name referred him to certain articles which I knew to be yours. last week only comes a letter to request your name & address – you will of course hear from him. he pays me three guineas a sheet – this is full as much as I deserve – for I do it like job work. you have a fair right to demand as much as the Monthly [7]  paid you.

I hear an Edinburgh Review well spoken of. they have been at Thalaba therein. [8]  pauper Thalaba is in the condition of Baxter’s Xtian, & wants a shove to make him sell.  [9] 

farewell. I send you half a letter rather than delay an answer to an affair of business.

yrs truly


December 6. 1802.


* Address: To/ Mr Wm Taylor Junr/ Surry Street/ Norwich./ Single
Stamped: [illegible]
Postmark: [partial] 1802
Endorsement: 17 Jan
MS: Huntington Library, HM 4836. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: J. W. Robberds (ed.), A Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late William Taylor of Norwich, 2 vols (London, 1843), I, pp. 436-437 [in part]. BACK

[1] Taylor had offered Southey the editorship of the new Norwich newspaper the Iris (Taylor to Southey, 3 December 1802, J.W. Robberds (ed.), A Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late William Taylor of Norwich, 2 vols (London, 1843), I, pp. 435-436). BACK

[2] The Royal College of Physicians controlled who could use the title of ‘physician’ in London. Only graduates of Oxford or Cambridge could be Fellows of the Society. Anybody who was not a graduate of these universities and who the College approved to practice in London was termed a Licentiate and had to pay a fee to the College. BACK

[3] Sir Walter Farquhar, 1st baronet (1738-1819; DNB), physician to many leading politicians. BACK

[4] The Annual Review. BACK

[5] Amelia Opie (1769-1853; DNB), novelist and poet. BACK

[6] Samuel Hamilton (fl. 1790s-1810s) who owned the Critical Review 1799-1804. BACK

[7] Taylor had been a regular, salaried reviewer for the Monthly Review between 1793 and 1799. BACK

[8] Edinburgh Review, 1 (October 1802), 63-83, carried Francis Jeffrey’s hostile review of Thalaba the Destroyer (1801). BACK

[9] An Effectual Shove to the Heavy-Arse Christian (1768), wrongly attributed to Richard Baxter (1615-1691; DNB); the pamphlet’s author was the Welsh minister William Bunyan (fl. 1760s). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Maes Gywn, Neath (mentioned 1 time)