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

1874. Robert Southey to Thomas Woodruffe Smith [fragment], [c. 23 February 1811] ⁠* 

[MS missing]

eight years, is unable to bear this farther burthen. [1]  He wishes therefore to place them in some charity school. I fear the eldest is too old – It is for the account of their ages that I have been waiting, & it has reached me this evening.

Sarah – born July 9th —— 1796.
Mary ————— Jany. 16 –– 1800.
Cornelia ————— March 23 – 1802.
John ————— Jany. 21 —— 1807.

Now my dear Sir I have laid this dismal story before you without preamble. Beneficence is power Wealth we have often been told is power, – but Beneficence is power also. Among the many charitable institutions to which you have so liberally contributed, is there any to which you could consign these poor children? Should any farther enquiry concerning them be needful, any questions will be answered, or any trouble undertaken by Mr Thomas Reid, [2]  No 4. Leman Street, Goodman’s Fields. – It is needless to apologize for having thus applied to you. If you can serve them I am sure you will be glad of the opportunity of doing good.

I read with great concern the account of your sufferings from your daughters [3]  pen, & also in a later letter from our friend Duppa. In May I shall hope to see you, – more frequently too than on my former visits to London, as my head quarters are to be at Streatham. We have had a sickly winter; – the season has been more variable than any within my memory; & one or other of the children has constantly been ailing, – sometimes all four at once. This has much harassed me at times, but I continue in good health, God be thanked, & working the harder to win leisure for a journey in the spring. There is an article of mine in the last Quarterly Review upon the Evangelical Sects, [4]  – the general principles of which I think would accord with yours, – as I am sure the spirit would {will} in which it is written.

Believe my dear Sir yours with true regard & respect

Robert Southey


Notes

* Address: To/ T. W. Smith Esqr/ Stockwell Park./ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 23FE23/ 1811; [partial] 10o’Clock/ FE.23/ 1811
Seal: Black wax, with ‘S’ and motto ‘In Labor Quies’ below
MS: Morgan Library, MA 4500
Unpublished.
Dating note: dating from postmark. BACK

[1] The letter concerns Southey’s attempts to help the children of John Danvers (d. 1812), younger brother of Charles Danvers. John was a surgeon and apothecary in Woolwich, but had been made bankrupt in 1808. See also Southey to Charles Danvers, 10 January 1811, Letter 1851. BACK

[2] Possibly Thomas Whitehead Reid (1786–1845), younger half-brother of Samuel Reid. Originally a sugar-refiner, he was by this time a merchant in London. BACK

[3] Ann Woodruffe Smith (d. 1822). In 1811 she married John Barton (1789–1852; DNB), political economist and botanist, and half-brother of the poet, Bernard Barton. BACK

[4] Southey’s review of Hints to the Public and the Legislature, on the Nature and Effect of Evangelical Preaching. By a Barrister (1809), in Quarterly Review, 4 (November 1810), 480–514. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013