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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

1730. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 3 January 1810 ⁠* 

My dear Danvers

Being in bodily fear lest you should pack off the Catalogue [1]  by Coach I lose no time in writing to say, that if you will fold it up in a letter (which if it be no bigger than the former one it may easily be covered like one) & direct it to Rickman, & then inclose that again to the Rt Honble the Speaker &c &c &c. Westminster, – R. will frank it on to me. – but remember that there be no name except Rickmans on the inner cover, & none but the Speakers on the outer one. The weight is no consequence, his privilege being unlimited. You can put a few lines within the inner inclosure, desiring R. to send it on. I mentioned your brother [2]  to him, that with little hope that he could do any thing, – inclination is not wanting, – but every thing is matter of patronage, – & the poisonous system of borough influence extends to the very lowest situations under government. It seems to xx me so utterly hopeless that this poor fellow should ever do any thing either for his family or himself, that I should be glad to hear he was gone into the marines, – where he would at least be fed & clothed, & might get something by xxx assisting the ships Surgeon. You cannot procure the decencies of life for him, by stripping yourself of them. – It can come to nothing better than this, & therefore it is to be wished that it should come to this speedily.

Robert Lovell is, as I expected, fairly turnd upon my hands by his fathers family, – & Mr Frank [3]  in communicating this in a letter to his mother, had not even the common feeling of decent good-nature xx to inclose on his own account a trifle towards fitting him out for his apprenticeship, or putting in his pocket. He is going to Pople who takes him without a premium, & I must clothe him, & supply him with money for his washing. The boy is likely enough to do well, his master giving him an excellent character, – he seems very steady & very quiet, & learns aptly whatever xx he is taught.

I shall not go to London till my Uncle has settled himself at Streatham. Pople torments me with his everlasting delays. I cannot get one sheet a week from him. – I wish this may not in some measure proceed from a sense that the obligation between us is now on xx {my} side owing to this affair of R. Lovell; – for he used to be very punctual.

Job is at home, much grown & much improved with an upper lip as black as a Jews, so as to have obtained for him the additional appellation of Smouch. [4] 

My last letter from Tom was dated the 12th Dec. I am very anxiously expecting another, for the Lyra [5]  is not much better than a washing tub; & these dreadful gales make me very desirous to hear that he is {got} safely xx out of her.

God bless you

Yrs in haste

R Southey.

Jany 3. 1810.

Many happy returns –

Beg Rickman when xx he franks on the Catalogue to see that the date of the year upon the frank be right, – the P Office have a petty fogging practise of making such flaws fatal, – it always cost me something every new year, & were such a weighty packet to be condemned it would be Diabolus et omnis. [6] 


Notes

* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqre/ Bristol
Endorsement: 1810/ 3d January 1810
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 525–526. BACK

[1] It is not clear which bookseller’s catalogue that John May was sending to Southey. It was possibly one from Gutch. BACK

[2] John Danvers (d. 1812), the younger brother of Charles Danvers, was a surgeon and apothecary in Woolwich, but had been made bankrupt in 1808. BACK

[3] Probably Arnee Frank (1766–1858), a prominent Bristol Quaker and ironmonger. His first wife, Edith (d. 1799), was an aunt of Robert Lovell, Junior. BACK

[4] An old word for stain or soil. BACK

[5] A 10-gun class brig-sloop, launched in 1808. BACK

[6] Literally ‘The Devil and all’. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013