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

1814. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 8 October 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. Oct 8. 1810

My dear Charles

I have written to you less frequently than I should have done had not Tom been upon the spot, who, being an idle man, has time enough for correspondence, & would tell you from time to time enough of my goings on to prevent you from either feeling anxiety, or suspecting neglect. This evening he has received your letter, the prospect of seeing you gives me very great pleasure; – the end of October may not be too late for autumnal fine weather, & yet may be early enough for some or our winter magnificences. You will find the room ready from which Miss Betham so foolishly dispossessed you last year.

The last proofs of Kehama [1]  were returned between two & three weeks ago – it will be published in November. Have you seen the Register? [2]  I think you would have mentioned it if you had. – What you say of Ld Wellingtons army makes me suspect that you are not quite as fond of war in a good cause as I & Judas Maccabeas [3]  & the Spaniards; but I am sure you will be well pleased at the manner in which I have spoken out concerning all parties & upon all subjects. At last, after so many years of up hill work, this Register is likely to place me upon smooth ground. I have 400 £ a year for it, – & in order to interest me more closely in its success, the other proprietors [4]  have offered me a twelfth share in the concern at the original outlay of £209 bringing xxx in for this first volume 80 £ profit, – that is nearly forty per cent. – When I accepted this offer I had 150 £ still in their hands, – the remainder will be deducted from next years payment – but the interest becomes payable to me in September next. I have made some progress in the second volume, [5]  about a fourth part. Thus you see I have actually begun to put by something, & am worth 209£ my life is insured for 1000£. My books in Longmans hands will in a few years clear my account there, & place me on the creditor side of his Ledger – I have a debt to John May, contracted wholly for Harrys education, this I have begun to discharge, & expect to cancel in the course of three years –. Thus you see that if it please God to continue my health, both bodily & mental, as it has hitherto been; – there is a fair prospect before me. My capital of reputation is beginning to bring in interest at last.

I have not put down your name to Roberts’s list, – it was to get subscribers that I asked you; not to subscribe yourself. Ask Mrs Foot [6]  to subscribe, & say I requested you to ask her, because I am sure when she sees the book she will be glad to have assisted in making this poor boys legacy answer its purpose. Ask Rex also. As I shall probably send him a quarto volume once a year for these ten years if I live so long, – he must not object to buy a crown octavo at my solicitation. I suppose the Cat who fell from the sky was directed to him; – she, I presume, is privileged by virtue of her aerial descent, – but woe be to her kittens! [7] 

My reason for not having Gutchs catalogue was that Abbot is in town & I cannot therefore make use of Rickman, as if Parliament were sitting. You can bring it with you.

Coleridge continues here, well, in good humour, talking of what he will do; & of what he is adoing, – studying incessantly, & yet leaving undone all that he ought to do. Yet I despair less than I used to do of his effecting great things. His mind is so matured, his knowledge so extensive & so constantly increasing, that there is nothing which he may not accomplish.

I am reviewing the Barristers Hints. [8]  Of all the rascally writers whom I have ever perused this is surely the most thoroughly dishonest & the most thoroughly impudent. I think I shall make even his own party ashamed of him –

God bless you

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 1810/ 8th Oct
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[2] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808 (1810). BACK

[3] Judas Maccabaeus (d. 160 BC), leader of the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid empire, 167–160 BC, which had banned Jewish practices. BACK

[5] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809 (1811). BACK

[6] Mary Foot (c. 1742–1827), daughter of Southey’s old schoolmaster in Bristol, William Foot (1707–1782). BACK

[7] An obscure reference in Danvers’s letter. BACK

[8] Hints to the Public and the Legislature, on the Nature and Effect of Evangelical Preaching. By a Barrister (1809), reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review, 4 (November 1810), 480–514. The author was James Sedgwick (1775–1851; DNB), barrister and civil servant. BACK

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August 2013