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...
90. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 21 July 1802*
Wednesday July 21 1802
The chief purpose of my writing now is to say that when I sent Mrs Palmer's letter to Mr Lofft I did not recolect that I could not forward a reply to Paris untill I have that letter again, which contains that Lady's address there. I have written to Mrs Palmer, and wish by some means you could contrive to get the letter from Troston, or only the address, that I may avoid the appearance of disrespect to so good a friend by forwarding my Letter immediately.
I hope Mr Lofft and family are well, and should be very glad to hear from him, but amidst his various engagements, and these busy times, I have perhaps no reason to complain.
I expect Mr Shield on Sunday next.
The tide of popular hatred runs extreemly high against Justice Mainwaring along the Brentford Road, and the friends of Sir F are extreemly plain in their language and virulent in their memorandoms respecting the obnoxious prison in our neighbourhood.  I know not how the poll stands; for there were contradictory reports last night, and I have not seen a paper to day.
I have seen Dr. Jenner, and his kindness allmost induced me to shew him the little progress I have made in pursuit of his subject; but I suddenly determined to the contrary, and doubted of the propriety of so doing—your observations on the possibility of my composing a pastoral Drama, and your hints as to proper materials &c., are extremely interesting. Mr Shield suggested that something of that sort might be done. You have awakened the wish, rather than the hope of ever succeeding in that line. What do I know about stage effect? nevertheless, I have no doubt but I could tie a story together that should speak my own sentiments and feelings, and of course you would like to see it. You are I know well aware of how much depends on choice of subject.—
I expect to go next week to my new employment.—
This moment a Letter from Dr Jenner invites me to tea this evening. what shall I do? leave 150 lines of an unfinished subject in his hands? I am bound to consult Mr Lofft and the Duke and to submit my pieces to their judgement; and never will do otherwise: and yet it is hard to say no in such cases as this. I wish he would suspend his curiosity 6 months, and I would take my chance. He is a very amiable man, and perhaps rates my abilities too high. He is an enthusiast in his pursuit, and well he may; when it is taken up by every country in Europe and by the poor Cherokees of America. The blessing is surely immensely great!! and has features of an uncommon kind; did you ever give it your serious consideration?? or am I upon a wrong scent; do I
I pray God send it the confirmation of experiance! and the gratitude of suffering Humanity must follow, whither the cause is aided or not by the humble efforts of your affectionate brother Bob.—
(write as soon as you can)
Remember us to my Mother and all friends.
We are tolerably well, though Charlotte is beginning to cut her teeth (at 15 months old) and is but midling. She could walk if she would.—
As you have been so good a General as to bring up a reinforcement, a Corps de reserve, to the Bloomfield family; without the London detachment knowing any thing of the matter; we hope to hear that all is going on well; and that the junction has actually taken place, to the joy of your wife.
 The election contest between radical Whig Sir Francis Burdett and William Mainwaring hinged on the former's exposure of abuses at the Cold Bath Fields' prison, where unconvicted political detainees held after the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act were being treated the same as convicted felons. Mainwaring opposed the exposure; Burdett won the election but his victory was declared null in 1804. BACK