Letters Listed by Person Mentioned

These pages provide information about contemporaries to whom Southey was connected, in particular, correspondents, family and friends.

Information about minor acquaintances and about contemporaries whom Southey did not meet or correspond with can be found in the editorial notes to individual letters.

DNB indicates that further information can be found in the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Hist P indicates that further information can be found in The History of Parliament.

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Southey’s first wife. The third surviving child of Stephen Fricker and Martha Rowles. Southey and Edith met as children in Bristol. They married in secret on 14 November 1795 at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. As her sister Sarah later explained, Southey ‘left ... [Edith] at the Church door’ and the following day departed for Spain and Portugal. Edith spent the early days of her marriage living with the Cottle sisters and using her maiden name, only reverting to ‘Southey’ when the secret became public in early 1796. Recent biographers of Southey have questioned the state of his marriage, particularly given his lively — even flirtatious — friendships with Mary Barker and Caroline Bowles, who became his second wife in 1839. Compared to these other women, or to her sister Sarah, Edith is a relatively shadowy figure, plagued by physical and mental illness. The deaths of four of her eight children, in particular that of her daughter Isabel in 1826, hastened her decline. She suffered a complete collapse in 1834 and was taken to The Retreat, the pioneering, Quaker-run asylum in York, where she was diagnosed as of ‘unsound mind’ and treated with ‘purgatives, remedies, [and] leeches’. She was released in 1835 ‘as admitted’ — that is, uncured and incurable. Edith spent her final years at her home, Greta Hall, where she was cared for by Southey and her daughters Bertha and Kate. Southey described her death as a release from ‘a pitiable state of existence’.

Mentioned in 872 letters

Senior partner in a long-established and prestigious firm of London publishers. Southey began publishing with Longman and his partners in 1799 and their association continued until his final collection, Poetical Works (1837–1838). Southey often jokingly referred to the firm as ‘the Long Men’ or ‘Our Fathers’ (since their premises were in Paternoster Row). He also nicknamed Longman ‘Artaxerxes’ (465–424 BC) and ‘the King of Persia’ because the Persian emperor had been named Longimanus by the Romans.

Mentioned in 651 letters

Physician. Southey’s younger brother. With the help of his uncle Herbert Hill, Southey provided money for Henry Herbert’s education at Norwich and Edinburgh. His concerns about his younger brother’s lack of application proved — eventually — to be ill-founded, and in later life the two enjoyed a close friendship. Henry graduated MD on 24 June 1806, producing, with Southey’s help, a dissertation on the origins and course of syphilis which suggested an American origin for the disease. Southey also helped Henry’s finances by procuring him reviewing work in the Annual Review. Henry travelled to Portugal in 1807, returning before its conquest by France at end of the year. He married Mary Sealy (1784–1811), the daughter of a wealthy Lisbon merchant, in 1809. In 1815 he married for a second time, his bride being Louisa Gonne. In his later years Henry became a successful London doctor, with premises in Harley Street and an appointment as physician in ordinary to King George IV.

Mentioned in 570 letters

Sailor and farmer. Southey’s younger brother and the one to whom he was in the 1790s closest. Tom entered the navy as a midshipman at the age of 12, saw action in several major battles of the French revolutionary wars (including Cape St Vincent and Copenhagen), was captured on one occasion, wounded on several others, and was made a lieutenant as reward for his bravery in the fight between Mars and L’Hercule on 21 April 1798. He was sent to the West Indies station in early 1804, court martialled for insubordination there, but was given a post under a different captain. He was made captain himself in 1811, but never commanded a ship. After he retired from the navy, he tried his hand at farming and as a customs officer. His last posting was at Demerara, British Guiana, and he died on shipboard on the return voyage to England. He married Sarah Castle in 1810 and produced a large family. Tom’s lack of financial stability meant that some of the burden of supporting him fell on his brothers Robert and Henry Herbert Southey. Tom’s knowledge of the navy and seafaring, and his observations of foreign climes, provided important information for many of Southey’s writings, including his poetry and The Life of Nelson (1813). Tom’s only publication was A Chronological History of the West Indies (1827), written with his brother Robert’s encouragement.

Mentioned in 556 letters

Poet, critic, philosopher and Southey’s brother-in-law. His complex — at times passionate — four-decade relationship with Coleridge had a major impact both on Southey’s life and on his critical posterity. It began in Oxford in summer 1794 when Robert Allen introduced Southey to a visitor from Cambridge — Coleridge. It was a fateful meeting, leading to the failed scheme of Pantisocracy, literary collaboration, and — eventually — mutual disenchantment. As Southey later recorded: ‘that meeting fixed the future fortunes of us both ... Coleridge had at that time thought little of politics, in morals he was as loose ... as men at a university usually are, but he was a Unitarian. my morals were of the sternest Stoicism ... that same feeling which made me a poet kept me pure ... Our meeting was mutually serviceable, — I reformed his life, & he disposed me toward Xtianity’. It was Coleridge who induced Southey to come north and live at Greta Hall in 1803. In 1804 he left Keswick for Malta and Italy for the sake of his health, returning in 1806, after which he separated from his wife, leaving her and his daughter Sara at Greta Hall and taking his sons Hartley and Derwent to be educated at Ambleside, near the Wordsworths, with whom he lived. During 1807 and 1808 he was in London, lecturing and writing for the Courier, which duly puffed Southey’s work. In 1808 he planned, with assistance from Southey, a new journal The Friend, editing this from Grasmere from 1809 to 1810, with Southey’s help as a proofreader. In 1810 he quarrelled with Wordsworth and moved south. His last visit to the Lake District was in 1812. His relationship with Southey, though distant, was never broken and Southey continued to provide for his wife and children.

Mentioned in 551 letters

Civil servant and miscellaneous writer. The son of Charles Bedford (Deputy Usher of the Exchequer, as Horace Walpole’s substitute). Educated at Westminster School (adm. 1784), but did not attend university. Assistant clerk in the Exchequer Office, 1792–1803; clerk of the cash book, 1803–1806; clerk of the registers and issues, 1806–1822; chief clerk in the auditor’s office, 1822–1834. Admitted to Gray’s Inn, 26 January 1797. Bedford did not marry, despite regularly seeking Southey’s advice on his love affairs. Bedford and Southey met at Westminster School and their friendship endured for the remainder of their lives. Bedford had literary inclinations. He was involved in the ill-fated Flagellant (1792), contributed poems to the Monthly Magazine (1797) and the first volume of the Annual Anthology (1799), and privately published his translation of Musaeus, The Loves of Hero and Leander (1797). He worked with Southey on Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) and contributed an unsigned notice of Southey’s Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814) to the Quarterly Review. His other publications included A Letter to the Right Hon. William Pitt on his Political Experiments (1804, anonymous) and a Memoir of Barré Charles Roberts (1814).

Mentioned in 515 letters

Southey’s maternal uncle. Hill was the product of a second marriage, and after his father’s death was left short of money (even having to ‘pay his own school bills when it was in his power’) and on extremely bad terms with his older half-brother. Hill was educated at Christ Church, Oxford (BA 1772, MA 1774). From 1782–1807, he was chaplain to the British factory at Lisbon. Hill took a paternal interest in his nephews, and helped finance Southey’s education. Hill’s concern about Southey’s refusal to take the path mapped out for him (a path leading to ordination), his relationship with Edith Fricker, and his politics, led him to visit England in 1795. He returned to Portugal with Southey in tow. Oblivious to the fact that his nephew had married Edith the day before their departure, Hill used every opportunity to introduce Southey to more suitable women. Nevertheless, the time Southey spent with his uncle in 1795–1796 greatly strengthened their relationship, which remained close until Hill’s death in 1828. Hill encouraged his nephew’s interests in Spanish and Portuguese history and literature – the History of Brazil and the unfinished History of Portugal were projects prompted by Hill, who supplied books and manuscripts for them. When in 1806, the expected French invasion of Portugal forced Hill to contemplate returning to England, Southey was detailed to go to Hill’s parish of Staunton-on-Wye, Herefordshire and investigate the mismanagement of tithe income. Hill returned to this living in November 1807 and was the incumbent there until 1810, when the Duke of Bedford presented him to a parish in Streatham, near London. In 1808 Hill had married a woman twenty-five years his junior, Catherine Bigg-Wither, a friend of Jane Austen (1775–1817; DNB). The marriage produced six surviving children, all of whom were on good terms with Southey and his family. Hill’s son and namesake, Herbert Hill Junior, married Southey’s daughter Bertha in 1839. Southey dedicated his Colloquies (1829) to his uncle.

Mentioned in 499 letters
DNB, Hist P

Politician. The second son of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 4th Baronet, and his second wife Charlotte Grenville. He was educated at home by a tutor, the Revd Robert Nares, and later at Westminster (adm. 1784) and Christ Church, Oxford (matric. 1791, BA 1795, MA 1798, DCL 1810). Entered Lincoln’s Inn in 1795 and was called to the Bar in 1798. He married Mary Cunliffe, daughter of a baronet, in 1806. Wynn had excellent family and political connections as his maternal grandfather was the Prime Minister George Grenville (1712–1770; DNB). He served as an MP for Old Sarum (1797–1799) and for Montgomeryshire (1799–1850). From 1806–1807, he served in the Ministry of Talents (led by his uncle Lord Grenville) as Under Secretary to the Home Office, and secured a pension for Southey, which he described as ‘the only benefit I reap from 12 months of office’. From 1822–1828, he held a cabinet post as President of the Board of Control. Wynn met Southey at Westminster and the two remained friends for rest of their lives. He contributed to The Flagellant (1792) under pseudonyms which included ‘St Pardulph’. Wynn (who was not personally wealthy) gave Southey an annuity of £160 from 1797, and Southey dedicated Madoc (1805) to him.

Mentioned in 453 letters

Southey’s oldest surviving daughter, friend of Dora Wordsworth (1804–1847). Edith May married John Wood Warter (1806–1878) in 1834.

Mentioned in 447 letters

Statistician. Only son of Thomas Rickman, vicar of Newburn, Northumberland. Educated at Guildford Grammar School (1781–1785) and Oxford (matric. Magdalen Hall, 1788, and migrated to Lincoln College, BA 1792). After graduation he joined his father, who had retired to live in Christchurch, Hampshire. Rickman worked as a private tutor and read widely in economics. He edited the Commercial, Agricultural and Manufacturer’s Magazine (until 1801). In 1796 he wrote a private paper in which he argued for the benefits to the nation of a census. George Rose, MP for Christchurch, showed this to the politician Charles Abbot and in March 1801 the latter steered the census bill into law. Rickman was responsible for the first four censuses (1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831) and paved the way for the fifth (1841). In 1801 he became Abbot’s personal secretary whilst the latter was Chief Secretary for Ireland. On Abbot’s election to the post of Speaker of the House of Commons, Rickman became the Speaker’s Secretary. In 1820 he became Clerk Assistant to the Commons with a salary of £2500 per year. He married Susannah Postlethwaite (d. 1836) in 1805. Rickman’s friendship with Southey began at Burton in 1797 and endured for the rest of their lives. Shortly after their first meeting, Southey described him as ‘rough, coarse, well informed on all subjects, believing nothing, jacobinical’. Later in life Rickman became high Tory, anti-Malthusian and anti-semitic. He regularly provided ideas and information (especially statistics) for Southey’s articles in the Quarterly Review and authored the majority of Southey’s April 1818 Quarterly essay on the Poor Laws. Southey and Rickman planned to collaborate on a sequel to the Colloquies (1829) but this was prevented by John Murray’s (1778–1843) financial problems.

Mentioned in 426 letters

Publisher, who inherited his business from his father, John (1737–1793; DNB). After Murray took sole control of the firm in 1803, he proved a shrewd businessman. He published everything from cookery books and cheap reprints to the works of Byron, Scott, Crabbe and Jane Austen. After he purchased the business and premises at 50 Albemarle Street of William Miller (1769–1844; DNB) in 1812, he was at the centre of London literary life. In 1809 Murray launched the Quarterly Review, to which Southey became a contributor, and the two began to correspond regularly. Murray also published some of Southey’s other works, most importantly the Life of Nelson (1813), which developed from an article in the Quarterly Review.

Mentioned in 381 letters

Poet. Wordsworth and Southey met in Bristol in 1795. Their relationship became closer after the Southeys moved to Keswick in 1803 and particularly after the death of John Wordsworth in 1805, when Southey provided comfort and managed some of Wordsworth’s business affairs in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Southey early recognised Wordsworth as one of the great poets but maintained a detached amusement about his unconscious pride and vanity.

Mentioned in 360 letters

Southey’s first son, a boy of great intellectual promise.

Mentioned in 357 letters

Long known to Southey as a Tory critic and editor of The Anti-Jacobin, Gifford became the first editor in 1809 of a new conservative journal begun on Southey’s advice – the Quarterly Review. Gifford then approached Southey through their mutual friend Grosvenor Charles Bedford to be a contributor. Gifford continued as editor until 1824, frequently the target of Southey’s ire over the cuts and interpolations he made to Southey’s contributions. In earlier life a shoemaker, Gifford was the author of two powerful verse satires, The Baviad (1791) and The Mӕviad (1795).

Mentioned in 321 letters

Poet and novelist. Scott and Southey first met in October 1805, when their mutual interest in chivalric romances brought them together. Scott reviewed Southey’s Amadis of Gaul in the Annual Review, and The Chronicle of the Cid and The Curse of Kehama in the Quarterly Review, while Southey reviewed Scott’s Sir Tristram in the Annual. Privately envious of the enormous sales Scott achieved with his own chivalric poems, Southey was nevertheless a ready correspondent, persuading Scott of Wordsworth’s claims to greatness. For his part Scott, as his fame and influence increased, did not forget Southey: he arranged for Southey to write for the Edinburgh Review in 1807, and when Southey declined, disapproving of its anti-war politics and personal attacks on authors, helped him to a position reviewing for the new journal set up to counter the Edinburgh – the Quarterly. Scott also sought preferment for Southey via his connections in government: Canning was approached to see whether a diplomatic place might be found; Melville was requested to grant the post of Historiographer Royal. Southey also sought Scott’s help as he pursued the sinecure of Steward of the Derwentwater estates (which had passed to the Crown). None of these attempts having succeeded, Scott recommended in 1813 that Southey should be offered the Laureateship, after refusing it himself. Scott had also been influential behind the scenes in securing Southey the invitation from the Ballantynes’ publishing house (in which he was, unbeknownst to Southey, a silent partner) to write the historical section of the Edinburgh Annual Register (1808–1811). Here Scott was disingenuous: Southey was offered a share in the venture and so deferred payments owing to him to take up the offer; Scott, however, did not reveal his own financial involvement in the firm even when, as it faced insolvency in 1813, he promised to help Southey retrieve the monies owed him.

Mentioned in 246 letters

Southey’s sister-in-law. The eldest surviving child of Stephen Fricker and Martha Rowles. Sarah and Southey were childhood friends and it was through her that Southey met Robert Lovell in late 1793. Sarah married Samuel Taylor Coleridge on 4 October 1795. Her relationship with Southey, who provided her with advice and support during her later marital difficulties, was affectionate, and at times jokey and rumbustious. Indeed, Sarah’s daughter and namesake recorded that Southey had been romantically interested in Sarah Fricker first, only later turning his attentions to her sister Edith.

Mentioned in 224 letters

Southey’s mother. Born Margaret Hill, she married Robert Southey Senior in 1772. The marriage produced nine children, of whom five died young. She was dominated by her older half-sister, Elizabeth Tyler, with whom Southey spent a great deal of his childhood. After the bankruptcy and death of her husband in 1792, Margaret moved to Bath, running a boarding house in Westgate Buildings. Her continued financial difficulties — possibly exacerbated by the extravagance of her half-sister — caused Southey great anxiety. Margaret died on 5 January 1802 after a long illness.

Mentioned in 215 letters

Bristol wine merchant, trading under the name Danvers and White. He was distantly related to the regicides Sir John Danvers (1584/5–1655; DNB) and General Thomas Harrison (c. 1616–60; DNB) and to the diarist Celia Fiennes (1662–1741; DNB). (Southey possessed a manuscript of Fiennes diary which he had been given by the Danvers family and included unacknowledged excerpts from it in his and Coleridge’s Omniana (1812).) Danvers’ father had ‘been a person of some property’, though the family’s fortunes had since declined. Danvers seems to have had two brothers and two sisters. He never married. A Dissenter, he died in London ‘during a short tarriance there’ and was buried in Asplands Burial Ground, Hackney. Danvers knew Southey from childhood. In 1797, their friendship flourished when Southey and his wife lodged in a house in Kingsdown, next door to Danvers and his mother. In 1799, Southey finished the fifteen book version of Madoc in Mrs Danvers’ ‘parlour on her little table’. When Southey went to Portugal in 1800–1, he left a copy of his poetic magnum opus with Danvers and also delegated the task of collecting materials for the third Annual Anthology to him and Davy. This volume did not appear. Danvers visited Southey at Keswick in summer 1805 and kept a journal of his tour, now in the British Library, Add MS 30929. Extracts from this were published in Kenneth Curry, ‘A note on Wordsworth’s “Fidelity”’, Philological Quarterly, 32 (1953), 212–214.

Mentioned in 210 letters

Writer. The son of John Burnett, a farmer, of Huntspill, Somerset. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matric. 1793). His varied career included time spent as a student at a dissenting academy in Manchester, pastor to a Unitarian congregation in Great Yarmouth, medical student at the University of Edinburgh, assistant to John Rickman, domestic tutor to the sons of Lord Stanhope, assistant surgeon to a militia regiment, and (in Poland) tutor to the family of Count Stanislaw Kostka Zamoyski (1775–1856), a Polish nobleman, politician and patron of arts, after which Southey referred to him as ‘the Count’. Burnett was also a professional writer, whose works included View of the Present State of Poland (1807; from essays originally published in the Monthly Magazine), Specimens of English Prose Writers (1807; a companion to George Ellis’s Specimens of the Early English Poets) and Extracts from the Prose Works of Milton (1809). Southey met Burnett at Balliol and the two became friends. Burnett was one of the originators of Pantisocracy and in true Pantisocratic spirit proposed to Martha Fricker, who turned him down. In 1795, he shared lodgings with Southey and Coleridge in Bristol. From 1797–1798, he was minister to a Unitarian congregation in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, where he also tutored Henry Herbert Southey. Burnett moved in metropolitan literary circles and was friendly with Charles Lamb and John Rickman. His relationship with Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge became deeply ambivalent — by 1803 he was accusing both of treating him badly. Burnett was an opium addict and his last years were probably spent in poverty. He died in the Marylebone Infirmary.

Mentioned in 185 letters

Reviewer and translator. Born in Norwich, the only child of William and Sarah Taylor. Taylor’s interest in German culture culminated in his Historic Survey of German Poetry (1828–1830). He was also a prolific contributor to the Annual Review, The Athenaeum, Monthly Magazine, and Monthly Review. Southey and Taylor met in 1798, whilst the former was on a visit to Great Yarmouth, where his brother Henry Herbert Southey was being tutored by George Burnett. Taylor introduced Southey to his great friend Frank Sayers (1763–1817; DNB) — whose 1792 collection Poems had influenced Southey’s early work — and also to radical and dissenting circles in Norwich. Taylor gave Southey the idea for the Annual Anthology and was an acute, if frequently blunt, critic of his work. From 1803–1804, he edited the Norwich newspaper The Iris, to which Southey contributed poetry. Southey described Taylor as ‘one of the three great men of my acquaintance ... the more I know him and the longer I know him, the more do I admire his knowledge and love his moral character.’

Mentioned in 178 letters

A painter who travelled in the Netherlands with Southey and his family in 1815 and who illustrated The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). Best known for his miniatures, Nash painted Southey, and a double portrait of Edith May Southey and Sara Coleridge, in 1820.

Mentioned in 173 letters

Lawyer and historian who lived at Red Lion square near the British Museum and used the manuscripts thus accessible to him to compile a History of the Anglo-Saxons, 4 vols (1799–1805), on which Southey drew in Madoc (1805). A long term friend and correspondent of Southey, in 1817 Turner gave him legal advice over the Wat Tyler piracy.

Mentioned in 172 letters

Southey’s youngest brother, he spent much of his childhood in the household of Elizabeth Tyler. Southey was much preoccupied with arranging Edward’s education, though plans to send him to St Paul’s School did not work out. It is not certain where he was educated. Southey despaired, noting ‘I never saw a lad with a better capacity or with habits more compleatly bad’. Edward was to lead an increasingly rackety, disreputable life, trying his hand at being a sailor, soldier and, eventually, a provincial actor.

Mentioned in 167 letters

Merchant, financier and business agent. A member of a wealthy family, both his father (Joseph) and grandfather were successful merchants in Lisbon. He was educated at Newcome’s Academy, Hackney, where he was taught by George Coleridge, with whom he became lifelong friends. May went to Lisbon in 1793, in order to learn the family trade, returning to England in 1796. May married Susannah Frances Livius in 1799. The marriage produced four children. May and Southey met in Portugal in 1796. Their friendship was to last until the latter’s death. May acted as a financial adviser and agent to Southey, lending him money — including sums to finance Henry Herbert Southey’s education — and purchasing goods on his behalf. Southey reciprocated when May experienced a severe financial crisis in 1821 by lending him his life savings of £620. May visited the Southeys on several occasions and acted as godfather to Southey’s two eldest children — Margaret Edith and Edith May, the latter named in his honour. The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816) was dedicated to him ‘in testimony of the highest esteem and affection’.

Mentioned in 165 letters
DNB, Hist P

Scottish, Whig lawyer and critic, from 1803 editor of the Edinburgh Review and, as such, Southey’s bête noire for damning reviews of his, Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s poetry (Jeffrey is credited with identifying them as a school or sect of poets; see Edinburgh Review, 1 (October 1802), 63–83). Southey affected indifference but was acutely sensitive to Jeffrey’s reviews. Jeffrey’s reluctance to support war with Napoleonic France also incurred Southey’s wrath, as appears in the notes to Carmen Triumphale (1814), in which Southey enjoys demonstrating how the Edinburgh’s predictions of defeat were erroneous as well as morale-sapping. The two men met in Edinburgh in October 1805, and Southey ever after consoled himself for the printed criticisms by remembering Jeffrey’s diminutive stature.

Mentioned in 164 letters

The last, unexpected, child of Robert and Edith Southey, and their only surviving son, he was always known as ‘Cuthbert’ to his family. He was born on 24 February 1819 and was indulged by his parents and older sisters. He was mainly educated at home. In 1836–1837 he accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the West Country, and, in 1838, was one of the party on Southey’s final foreign journey, to France. Southey raised the money to send him to Queen’s College, Oxford (1837–1841), but Cuthbert did not display the precocious intellectual talent of his elder brother, Herbert. Cuthbert entered the Church and pursued a solid, if unspectacular, career, including terms as Vicar of Ardleigh 1851–1855, Kingsbury Episcopi 1855–1879, St James’s, Dudley 1879–1885 and Askham 1885–1888. He was married three times: to Christina Maclachlan (1819–1851) in 1842; to Henrietta Nunn (b. 1824) in 1853; and to Justina Davies (b. 1841) in 1871. Cuthbert was deeply opposed to Southey’s marriage to Caroline Bowles and edited one of the rival posthumous versions of Southey’s letters, Life and Correspondence (1849–1850). Cuthbert was embarrassed by many of his father’s views, including his religious unorthodoxy, enthusiasm for wine and virulent condemnation of some public figures. All of these aspects of Southey’s life were suppressed or explained away in Cuthbert’s edition.

Mentioned in 162 letters

Printer and schoolfriend of Walter Scott. He printed Southey’s Madoc (1805) and many of his subsequent poems. Ballantyne’s printing business, in which Scott had a secret share, became one of the most highly regarded and profitable of the first decade of the nineteenth century. In 1809 Southey agreed to provide historical material for the Edinburgh Annual Register, issued by the related publishing firm in which Ballantyne, Scott and Ballantyne’s younger brother John were partners. Southey wrote the historical section of the Register between 1810–1813, though as the Register was issued two years in arrears, this covered the period 1808–1811. Southey was persuaded to invest his first year’s salary of £209 in the Register and become a shareholder in the concern. However, the Register was not a financial success and helped draw the Ballantynes’ partnership into increasing difficulties. Southey was not paid for his work on the volume published in 1813 and ceased writing for the Register at the end of that year. He also lost his investment. As a result, Southey became increasingly hostile to Ballantyne, describing him as shifty and incompetent (a ‘sad shuffler’). Although the Register’s failure owed much to its attempt to compete in an already crowded marketplace, Southey himself played a role. His contributions often massively exceeded the length allocated to them, thus delaying the appearance and increasing the cost to the publisher of the periodical. In 1811 Ballantyne’s concern about the impact of this on the Register’s potential sales led him to demand that Southey publish an apology at the front of that year’s issue.

Mentioned in 154 letters
DNB, Hist P

Pre-eminent British soldier of the nineteenth century, created Duke of Wellington in 1814. In later life he was a Tory politician, and Prime Minister 1828–1830, 1834. Southey’s relationship with Wellington was deeply ambiguous. He passionately supported Wellington’s aim of defeating the French invasion of Spain in 1808–1813, but was often critical of Wellington’s tactics, especially his caution and unwillingness to rely on Spanish help. In 1815 Southey was alarmed to find that an article he had written for the Quarterly Review on Wellington’s role at Waterloo had been personally censored by the general to remove unflattering references to his conduct of the battle. Southey’s History of the Peninsula War (1824–1832) retained a guarded attitude towards the Duke. In 1829, Southey was horrified by the decision of Wellington’s government to support Catholic Emancipation.

Mentioned in 148 letters

Poet. Eldest child of Charles, a wealthy Quaker banker, and his wife Mary. He matriculated at Caius College, Cambridge in 1798 but did not take his degree. He married Sophia Pemberton in 1799 and they moved to Ambleside in 1800. His works included: contributions to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Poems (1797), Blank Verse (1798) (co-authored with Charles Lamb), the controversial roman-à-clef Edmund Oliver (1798), Nugae Canorae (1819), Desultory Thoughts in London (1821), Poetical Essays on the Character of Pope (1821), and The Duke d’Ormond (1822). Lloyd met Southey at Burton in August 1797, when he and Charles Lamb unexpectedly turned up on Southey’s doorstep. Lloyd remained with Southey and his family for several months. Southey recognised in him a fellow man of strong emotions, a kindred — yet also unlike — spirit, and worried that Lloyd’s ‘feelings ... are not so blunt as we could wish them — or as they should be for his own happiness’. Indeed Lloyd’s continued presence was increasingly unwelcome and in 1798 his tale-telling led to a major quarrel between Southey and Coleridge which was not healed until 1799. After Southey moved to Keswick in 1803, he and his family saw Lloyd, who lived at Low Brathay near Ambleside, regularly. Lloyd’s later life was clouded by mental illness. He was briefly confined in the Quaker-run asylum The Retreat, York, and died in a sanatorium near Versailles. In his edition of Cowper (1836–1837), Southey made his final public observations on Lloyd’s tragic history: ‘[his] intellectual powers were of a very high order ... when in company with persons who were not informed of his condition, no one could descry in him the slightest appearance of a deranged mind.’

Mentioned in 142 letters
DNB, Hist P

Irish Protestant politician and writer. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and called to the Irish Bar in 1802. In 1807 he was elected MP for Downpatrick and became Secretary to the Admiralty 1809–1830. He was a close friend of Wellington and, particularly, of Peel. Croker was a prolific writer of light verse and often acted as an intermediary between the government and the literary world – he played a key role in making changes to Southey’s early Odes as Poet Laureate. He also contributed regularly to the Quarterly Review, where his hostile review of Keats’s Endymion was alleged to have hastened the poet’s death. In the 1830s and 1840s he was seen as one of Peel’s key supporters and was satirised in both Disraeli’s Coningsby and Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Southey admired some of Croker’s verse, but his attitude was tinged with reserve, as he was well aware of Croker’s connections and influence in literary and political life.

Mentioned in 141 letters

Bristolian author, bookseller and publisher. Although Coleridge’s biographer James Dykes Campbell joked ‘I never heard of ... [Cottle’s] having ... any [parents], and think it very doubtful. I should think he was found under a booksellers counter wrapped in Felix Farley’s newspaper’, Joseph was in fact the second child of Robert and Sarah Cottle. He was educated at the school run by Richard Henderson (1736/7–1792) at Hanham, near Bristol. In 1791 he opened a shop as a printseller, stationer, binder and bookseller in Bristol. Cottle abandoned bookselling in 1798 but continued publishing. Between 1791 and 1800, he sold, printed or published 114 works, in congeries with Joseph Johnson, Benjamin Flower, H. D. Symons and others. In 1800 he began to sell his copyrights to the London firm of Longman. A poet and prose writer, his works included: Poems (1795), Malvern Hills (1798; with a prefatory poem by Southey), Alfred (1800), The Fall of Cambria (1808), Early Recollections, Chiefly Relating to the Late Samuel Taylor Coleridge, During his Long Residence in Bristol (1837) and Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (1847). Cottle and Southey were introduced by Robert Lovell in 1794. Although not wealthy, Cottle provided generous financial help to Southey throughout the 1790s, even lending him money for his wedding ring. He published Joan of Arc and the majority of Southey’s earliest works, including Poems (1797) and Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797). His professional collaboration with Southey also included contributing poems to the Annual Anthology and co-editing the works of their fellow Bristolian Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770; DNB). What Cottle did not know, was that Southey viewed his poetry with a merriment that verged on contempt. The two men met less frequently after Southey’s move to Keswick in 1803, but maintained their correspondence. Southey’s final tour of the West Country in 1836–1837 included a visit to Cottle in Bristol. After Southey’s death, Cottle was a central figure in the successful campaign to erect a monument to his memory in Bristol cathedral. He recorded his association with Southey for posterity in his controversial Reminiscences (1847), itself a reworking of the equally contentious Early Recollections (1837).

Mentioned in 139 letters

Prince Regent 1811–1820; King of the United Kingdom 1820–1830. Southey met him at a Court levee on 11 November 1813 following his installation as Poet Laureate and gave him what little praise he felt he could in one of his Congratulatory Odes (1814). George IV made only fleeting appearances in the rest of Southey’s Laureate verses and Southey did not commemorate either his Coronation or his death.

Mentioned in 139 letters

Classical scholar. Son of Alexander Elmsley. He was named after his uncle, the famous London bookseller from whom he inherited a considerable fortune. Educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (matric. 1791, BA 1794, MA 1797, BD and DD 1823), he was described as ‘the fattest undergraduate of his day’ (DNB). Ordained and presented to the living of Little Horkesley, Essex, on his uncle’s death in 1802 he relinquished his duties and income to a curate, though he continued to hold the living until 1816. He made a brief move to Edinburgh, where he met the founders of the Edinburgh Review, to which he became a contributor. He returned to London and in 1807 moved to Kent, where he lived with his mother until 1816. During this time he produced editions of Aristophanes, Sophocles and Euripides and a number of learned papers on classical subjects, published in the Quarterly Review and other periodicals. He travelled at length in Europe c. 1816–1818 and settled in Oxford in 1818. In 1823 (having been unsuccessfully proposed for the Regius Chair of Divinity at Oxford and having turned down the See of Calcutta) he was elected Camden Professor of Ancient History and Principal of St Alban Hall, Oxford, offices he held until his death in 1825. Southey and Elmsley met at Westminster School and remained lifelong friends, though relatively little of what seems to have been an extensive correspondence survives. Elmsley was also a great friend of Charles Watkin Williams Wynn and the latter erected a memorial tablet to him in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.

Mentioned in 137 letters
DNB, Hist P

The son of a Westmorland squire, Brougham grew up in Edinburgh and became one of the principal contributors to the Edinburgh Review. Brougham’s radical Whig opinions, expressed in the Edinburgh, provoked Scott and others into founding the Quarterly Review, for which Southey wrote scores of articles. Brougham’s politics also brought him into conflict with Southey at the Westmorland elections of 1818 and 1820, when, as a Whig candidate standing against the candidates of the Earl of Lonsdale, whom Southey and Wordsworth supported, Brougham attacked the influence in the nation of aristocrats and their placemen.

Mentioned in 136 letters
DNB, Hist P

Contributor to the Anti-Jacobin, 1797–1798, and parodist there of Southey’s radical ballads. A Pittite in politics, Canning was Foreign Secretary 1807 until 1809, when he lost office after fighting a duel with another minister. In this capacity, he signed a treaty providing for the removal of the Portuguese court to Brazil, and sent British troops to the peninsula, though more tardily and in smaller numbers than Southey wished. The Convention of Cintra and the retreat to Corunna were setbacks in the peninsular war for which he was held partly responsible. Canning was a major influence on the politics of the Quarterly Review, sometimes in ways that Southey disliked, and he suspected Canning of preventing the Quarterly opposing Catholic Emancipation. However, the two men were on relatively friendly terms and Canning visited Southey at Keswick in 1814 before he left to be Ambassador to Portugal, 1814–1816. From 1822 to April 1827 Canning was again Foreign Secretary, and from April to August 1827, Prime Minister.

Mentioned in 132 letters

Printer, bookseller and stationer, based at various addresses in central London. Before his move to the metropolis, he had been apprenticed to the Bristol printer Nathaniel Biggs. He printed several of Southey’s works, including The History of Brazil (1810–1819). Southey’s nephew, Robert Lovell, was apprenticed to him.

Mentioned in 131 letters

Fifth child of Robert and Edith Southey. In March 1839 she married her cousin, Herbert Hill, Junior (1810–1892), second son of Herbert and Catherine Hill. They had nine children.

Mentioned in 130 letters

Daughter of Lovelace Bigg-Wither (1741–1813), a Hampshire landowner. She and her sisters were friends of Jane Austen (1775–1817; DNB). In 1808 she married Herbert Hill and the couple had six children.

Mentioned in 129 letters

Writer (mainly on botany, art, literature and politics) and draughtsman. Son of William and Susannah Duppa. Educated (late in life) at Trinity College, Oxford (matric. 1807); entered Middle Temple 1810; graduated LLB Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1814. His publications included: A Brief Account of the Subversion of the Papal Government in 1798 (1799); Heads from the Fresco Pictures of Raffaele in the Vatican (1802), reviewed by Southey in the Annual Review (1805); A Selection of Twelve Heads from the Last Judgment of Michael Angelo (1801); Memoirs of a Literary and Political Character (1803); and The Life and Literary Works of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, with His Poetry and Letters (1806). The latter contained translations by Southey and William Wordsworth. Southey and Duppa were introduced by Edmund Seward in Oxford in 1793. Duppa was related to Seward and, according to family lore, distantly related to Southey. Part of Southey’s circle, he was at one time engaged to Mary Page, the cousin of Grosvenor Charles and Horace Walpole Bedford. In the 1790s, Southey sought Duppa’s advice about projected illustrated editions of his poems. Later, Duppa provided the material on Westminster Abbey and on art in Southey’s Letters from England (1807).

Mentioned in 122 letters

Southey’s sister-in-law. The second surviving child of Stephen Fricker and Martha Rowles. In the early 1790s she worked as an actress in Bath and Bristol theatres. She married Robert Lovell in January 1794, in spite of the disapproval of his family. Their son, also called Robert, was born in 1795. After Lovell’s death in 1796, Southey tried to persuade his family to provide for his widow and child. He was only partially successful. The Lovells gave Robert Lovell Junior the occasional gift (for example, £20 in 1802) and made some contribution to the boy’s early education, but they did not provide consistent, long-term support. As a result, Mary and her son were dependent upon Southey. They lived with or near to the Southeys for the rest of the 1790s and early 1800s and in 1803 accompanied them to their new home, Greta Hall. Mary remained with the Southeys after her son’s apprenticeship to a London printer. She finally moved out when the house was given up after Southey’s death in 1843. She spent her final years living with Kate, Southey’s unmarried daughter, and died on 10 August 1862. She was buried in the Southey grave in Crosthwaite churchyard, on the outskirts of Keswick.

Mentioned in 120 letters

Author, painter and close friend of Robert Southey. Born in Congreve, Staffordshire, daughter of Thomas Barker, an ironmaster, and Mary Homfray. Author of A Welsh Story (1798), she moved in literary circles. She met Southey in Portugal in 1800 and subsequently visited the Southeys frequently in Bristol, London and Keswick. She was godmother to Southey’s first child, Margaret (d. 1803). Southey had a high opinion of Mary Barker’s talents and proposed that she should illustrate Madoc (1805). She appears as the ‘Bhow Begum’ in The Doctor (1834–1847). Mary Barker lived at Greta Lodge in Keswick, next to Greta Hall, between 1812 and 1817, becoming a close friend of the Coleridges and Wordsworths, as well as the Southeys, and teaching music to the girls of the families. Financial difficulties forced her to move to Boulogne in 1819 and she never returned to England. Southey met her for the last time on his trip to France in 1825. In 1830 she married a Mr Slade, who was much younger than her and thought to be a ‘mere adventurer’ by her Keswick friends.

Mentioned in 119 letters

Eldest son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Sarah Fricker; and Southey’s nephew, nicknamed ‘Job’ for his seriousness as a child. Southey played a considerable part in Hartley’s upbringing after his father separated from his mother, leaving his children in Southey’s care at Greta Hall.

Mentioned in 119 letters
DNB, Hist P

Foreign Secretary 1791–1801, Prime Minister 1806–1807. Grenville was the uncle of Southey’s friend and patron Charles Watkin Williams Wynn.

Mentioned in 118 letters

Civil servant and miscellaneous writer. The younger brother of Grosvenor Charles Bedford and named after his father’s patron. He was educated at Westminster School (adm. 1784), where his nickname was ‘the Doctor’ or ‘Dr. Johnson’. He did not attend university and later held a post at the British Museum. Like his older brother, he did not marry. Southey’s friendship with Horace began at school and their correspondence (though occasionally intermittent) lasted until at least 1797. Southey’s relationship with Horace was slightly different from that with Grosvenor Charles Bedford. He treated Horace as a younger brother: encouraging him and worrying about his tendency to laziness. He also fostered the younger man’s literary ambitions. Horace’s poems appeared in the Monthly Magazine (1797) and the Annual Anthology (1799).

Mentioned in 117 letters

The younger brother of James, and a partner in the publishing firm with him and Scott.

Mentioned in 114 letters

Scottish clergyman, the founder and tireless advocate of the ‘Madras’ system of schooling. When a chaplain in India, Bell introduced to the Madras Orphan Asylum the ‘monitorial’ system, wherein brighter children were charged with supervising groups of slower children, and all were motivated by a graduated scale of rewards and punishments. Returning to Britain, Bell promoted the system in a series of publications and attempted to have it instituted by a board of education controlled by the Church of England. From 1807 he engaged in a public dispute with the supporters of Joseph Lancaster, who promoted a version of his system outside Church control. Southey, at Bell’s request, supported his system in an 1811 Quarterly Review article and book, The Origin, Nature and Object of the New System of Education (1812). By 1832, Bell’s National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Christian Church was responsible for over 12000 schools in Britain and the empire. Bell continued to badger Southey for public support; after his death Southey, as his literary executor, worked on his biography. Completed by Caroline Bowles and Charles Cuthbert Southey, this was published in 1844 as The Life of the Rev. Andrew Bell.

Mentioned in 109 letters

Surgeon and anatomist. Born at Stillington, Durham, the third son of Thomas Carlisle and his first wife Barbara (d. 1768). Studied medicine in York, Durham and London, and was appointed surgeon to the Westminster Hospital in 1793. He married Martha Symmons in 1800 and in the same year was one of the founding members of the Royal College of Surgeons, serving as its president in 1829 and 1839. He moved in metropolitan literary and scientific circles, attending Mary Wollstonecraft on her death-bed in 1797. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1804, held the post of Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy from 1808 and later that of surgeon-extraordinary to the Prince Regent. Carlisle was knighted when George IV acceded to the throne. Carlisle and Southey met in c. 1795, probably through their mutual friend Grosvenor Charles Bedford. In c. 1798 Carlisle, Southey and John May collaborated on a scheme for a convalescent asylum to assist the poor after their discharge from hospital. Carlisle attended Southey’s mother in her last illness in 1801–1802, but after Southey settled in Keswick the two men saw much less of each other. Although Carlisle and Southey corresponded, their letters to one another seem not to have survived.

Mentioned in 108 letters

The younger brother of Grosvenor and Horace Bedford.

Mentioned in 106 letters