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...
382. Hannah Bloomfield to Joseph Weston, 17 April 1824*
12, Providence-row, Finsbury-square,
April 17, 1824
I received your letter last Monday, and carried to the booksellers that addressed to Mr Baldwin, but was not fortunate enough to find him at home. I trust you have by this time had a reply from him, and I feel very anxious to know its complexion, I took a copy of yours (to Mr. Baldwin), and sent it to my mother, and, besides, explained as well as I could the nature of the advice you have given, I received from her the enclosed, containing also Mr. Inskip's concurrence, I don't know whether the accounts of Messrs. Baldwin and Co. may be any way useful to you, to examine at your leisure; but I felt sorry, after you were gone, that you did not take them with you. I therefore send them, and also three letters relative to the cottage at Honington;—that from Mr. Golding (the attorney employed by the purchaser) is the one to which Mr. Inskip has alluded, which is the best reason I have for sending them, for it seems a useless intrusion to worry our friends on so hopeless a subject. The question about the Biography which Mr. Inskip asks will be unintelligible, without my saying, that if you had been likely to be stationary and at leisure, I had an intention of asking you to become Biographer, in case you found (on examination) sufficient materials for the purpose. I have not consulted Mr. Harvey; perhaps Mr. Baldwin's reply will enable you to judge whether it will be desirable or useful. I omitted to tell you that I had written to Mr. Park for his advice and opinion, as to the propriety of parting with the half-copyrights;—and the value of them. I briefly described the circumstances in which we are placed; he returned the answer which I here send. I trouble you with all these papers not because I think them very important, but that I think you ought to know what has been done, or omitted. I am quite aware of the necessity for our (for my) personal exertion for our future support, and am resolved to try my utmost, when once clear of Shefford, and would do so, if the necessity were not so urgent; but, till we are clear, I cannot give you proof of my sincerity. I shall wait anxiously for your next. Pray remember me kindly to Miss Weston, and believe me,
Dear Sir, yours truly,
P.S. I think I have before informed you, that my father has repeatedly expressed a wish that either Mr. Park or yourself would write his Biography, if it should ever be required. I asked Mr. Park, who declined it, as being already engaged in a similar employment, and recommended an application to Mr. Southey, or Mr. Rogers. We declined asking either of those gentlemen, supposing them to be so engaged in more important concerns as not to be likely to undertake it.