Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
334. Robert Bloomfield to Charles Bloomfield, 21 April 1819*
Shefford. April 21. 1819
My dear Charles
Miss Humberstone brings this to London. It was well advised in your sister to leave your watch at home. Such fellows as you found there are realy very clever and expert. They would draw your teeth and scoop out the white's of your eyes with the same dexterity. This is gaining wisdom by experience, a very dear way, but often an efficacious one.—
You know my opinion of old with regard to giving up a certainty for an uncertainty. I dare not, nor ought not advise you to any such step. I talk'd to Inskip and Endersby on the subject, and to Mr Peppercorn, thay all join in my opnion, which is as follows. First—If Mr Sandelands gave you his word that he would state your case, I would let him do it, and await his honour and punctuality; for if you write your own statement for him to present, he might say with some truth, 'This young man is in a great hurry indeed! He might surely have waited to see the issue of my promise.'
Secondly—Your examination day is just at hand; when if you come off with flying colours they will certainly vote you some advance, and should that be even but Ten pounds, that ten pounds would go a long way in finding you clothes &c, or would enable you to have a room for your evening school supposing they refuse you the schoolroom.—And then, with your garden for exercise, and this addition, you had better rest on your oars. There is not a person here who have heard of you, or your character, but wishes as I do.—If you relinquish £50 per ann you throw yourself upon uncertainties. The Central school would give you very little or nothing you would be out of employment, and your views deranged, you might get employment in 6 or 9 months, but who keeps you the while? Perhaps poor old Dad! Who cannot help himself. And when your chance of appointment came it might be in Scotland, in Ireland, in the north or west of England! And that just as I am growing an old man wishing to come to London in hopes of associating with my children again before I go to the grave. If I give you advice contrary to your feelings no one gives advice with more sincerity—wait patiently for your next examination, and write to me directly after.