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

1889.1. Robert Southey to [John Spedding], 27 March 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. Wednesday March 27. 1811

Dear Sir,

Some mischief having been committed upon my outhouses during Monday night, I went yesterday to Mr Calvert, not for the purpose of complaining so much, as to press upon him the necessity of taking some measures for putting some check to the outrages which almost xx every night take place {are committed} in the town of Keswick. One main cause of the evil lies in the publicans, who keep their houses open much later than they should be suffered to do.—three or four houses in particular have acquired a very bad character. Mr Calvert desired me to write to you & request that you would come to Keswick (if you conveniently can) on Saturday. to have a meeting with him & Mr Denton. [1]  & consider of some means for restoring order in a place which is become almost totally lawless. — A singular instance of the evil which these disorders may occasion occurred when the Barn at Monk-Hall was burning. [2]  Many persons in the town heard the fire-bell & the cry of fire, & because they had been so often wantonly disturbed in the same manner & by the same cry, continued to lie in their beds, instead of hastening to give that assistance which they would so willingly have given.

believe me dear Sir

Yrs very truly & respectfully

Robert Southey


Notes

* MS: Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, WLMSS 2/ 6/ 21
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Isaac Denton (c. 1758–1820), Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick, 1786–1820. BACK

[2] A ‘barn and several outhouses … together with a quantity of timber’ and ‘700 bushels of corn’ had been destroyed by a fire at Monks’ Hall, near Keswick, earlier in March 1811; see The Gentleman’s Magazine, 109 (March, 1811), 283. BACK

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August 2013