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

2223. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 22 February 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. Feby. 22. 1813

My dear Danvers

The draft is safely arrived.

About the time that your letter from Easton Grey arrived – G. Fricker broke a blood vessel, – a thing so bad in itself could never have occurred under more favourable circumstances. [1]  We were just about to set out for Lodore, – & think what a situation we should have been in had it happened there or on the way. The hæmorrhage was not very great, – Edmondson found it necessary to bleed him that day & again the next. At present he has pretty well recovered his lost strength & is not in worse state than before he was before it happened. He had been using no kind of exertion. A very slight cough preceded the hæmorrhage, xx {but} was not the cause of it, being apparently occasioned by the effusion of blood into the lungs. I never saw any man behave better than he did; – but what a frightful thing it is for any one to witness who is not accustomed to such sights.

Xx If you should hear of any situation which may suit him let us know – This xx is of course all that can be done. He looks either to London or Bristol & says that he would rather be out of employment looking for a situation in the latter place than in the former. Perhaps it may be possible to find temporary employ for him in London by & by, while he looks about for something more permanent. But (between ourselves x for I do not say this to his sisters [2] ) this is looking on I fear something xxxxxx too far. Some internal disease he has – whether of liver of where else Heaven knows, – & there seems to me fresh reason to apprehend that he is consumptive also. At any rate he will remain here three or four months – till he has enjoyed the country a little in a fairer season, – & this he may very well do, for the danger {does} not not appear to be close at hand, & I think he has no suspicion of it, xxx he seems to have all the feelings, but none of the fears of a valetudinarian.

I am glad to hear so well of David. If his income were twice what it is, or if the Socinians did not like all the dissenters, starve their own xxxxxxx I should wish to hear that he followed his fathers way of life. But a ministers stipend would add little to his means, & tho it is very possible that he might marry a woman with some fortune, this is not to be calculated upon. It is as easy to get a wife with money as without it – but as more women are fortuneless than otherwise, the probability always is that a man who consults only his heart will not enrich himself by marriage. In law or physic he may start with the great advantage of having enough to support him respectably till he gets into practice, the law has the most & the highest prizes, & what is of more importance will leave him most leisure.

You will receive Nelson [3]  in about a month, – there are five or six sheets still to be printed.

I am as much pleased with the manner in which Granville Sharp [4]  has come forward upon the Catholic question, as you were with Lansdowne in Wiltshire. [5]  The advocates for that question must maintain one of two positions, either that no opinions can properly disqualify a man in this country for legislative power; – or if he shrink from that palpable absurdity – that the opinion of the Catholics are not xxxx xxx xxx disqualifying ones. The latter position is refuted by Granville Sharp.

What xxx a mischievous & foolish thing is this letter of the Princess of xxx Wales! [6]  From the letter itself because of its extreme rashness, – its savour of a lawyers profession & a practised pen, – its extreme mischievousness, & the {its} impudent hypocrisy, (if that can be called hypocrisy which xxxx bareface lies with a bare face, knowing that you know it to be a liar – from all this circumstance I suspected Brougham to be the author, before I saw it asserted that he was so in the newspapers. [7]  It has an {bears} every mark of him, – for he is as remarkable for want of prudence, as for the want of other more effectual virtues.

I start for the south, if nothing unforeseen should prevent, as soon as the Register [8]  is done, which may be by the end of April. But I shall xxx {hardly} see Bristol, unless summoned to Taunton. I wish we could expect you this summer. The young ones often ask when you will come again – even Bertha has not forgotten you.

Tell Mrs King that we see a great deal of Lord Sunderlins family & like them so well that we shall much regret their loss, whenever they leave us. Lord & Lady S. are now in London, leaving Miss C. Malone alone with her suffering sister. [9]  But Lady S. has a sister of her own [10]  dying of dropsy whom she is gone to see for the last time. There is a mournful prospect before this family: Lord S. is in that state of age & debility that the first influenza will carry him off. The eldest sister xx xxx an incurable cripple xx in constant pain; – Lady S. & the other sister both advanced in life, looking for the death of these persons (never did I see a family more affectionately attached to each other) – & having none to supply their loss. – The xxx misfortune of all the branches of a family being childless was never more xxxxxxxxx evinced.

God bless you

yrs very affectionately

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 1813/ Feb 22
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890
Unpublished. BACK

[1] See Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 3 February 1813, Letter 2218. BACK

[3] The Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[4] The author and abolitionist Granville Sharp (1735–1813; DNB), who in 1813 became the first chairman of the Protestant Union, a body formed to oppose Catholic emancipation. His Address, Resolutions and Questions to the English Roman Catholics (1813) was based on a speech he gave to a meeting of the Union on 22 January 1813. BACK

[5] Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne (1780–1863; DNB), Chancellor of the Exchequer 1806–1807, Home Secretary 1827–1828, Lord President of the Council, 1830–1834, 1835–1841, 1846–1852, had been a prominent speaker at a meeting in favour of Catholic Emancipation. The proceedings were printed as Wiltshire Meeting on the Roman Catholic Claims; held at Devizes, Jan. 27th, 1813 (1813). BACK

[6] Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1768–1821; DNB) the estranged wife of the Prince Regent. On 14 January 1813 she had written to her husband protesting about the restrictions placed on her access to their daughter, Princess Charlotte Augusta (1796–1817; DNB). In early March a second letter on the same subject was sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons. As it was unsigned its authorship was initially questioned, though it was later attributed to Caroline. After debate, parliament agreed that it was the Regent’s right as a father and ruler to be in charge of his daughter’s education; see Gentleman’s Magazine, 83 (April 1813), 361, 363–364, 373–376. BACK

[7] Brougham, had been Caroline’s legal adviser since 1812 and had, indeed, written her letter. BACK

[8] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813). BACK

[9] Henrietta Malone (c. 1745–1824). BACK

[10] Unidentified. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013