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

2296. Robert Southey to Wade Browne, 1 September 1813 ⁠* 

Streatham. Surry. Sept. 1. 1813

My dear Sir

You may be assured that a letter in which your intended movements are so kindly made to depend upon mine would not have remained a whole month unanswered without some very sufficient cause. In reality I did not receive it till last night. It had lain at Longmans, & lucky it is that they had not sent it off for Keswick a week or fortnight ago, in which case it would have lain unopened there in the parcel, till my return.

I left home on Wednesday last, (this day week) took the mail from Penrith, & arrived safe & without fatigue in town on Saturday at five in the morning. Here that is to say, in & about London, I shall certainly remain till the middle of October, possibly till the end; – & when I set forth on my return it shall be by the Ludlow mail, – if such a mail there be, – otherwise by whatever coach will carry me there most expeditiously. – Thank you for Broads book. [1]  The two letters for Keswick I will take the first opportunity of getting franked.

It is not a little vexatious to lose sight of Mr Webb. [2]  That he stands in need of advice is sufficiently apparent, whether I should be capable of giving such as would be best, – or he of receiving it if it were given, may be very doubtful. But tho I might not know how xxxx to give his benevolent humour the best direction, it would not be difficult to prove that it is miserably misdirected at present. Of this I am so convinced that the spirit moves me strongly to address a letter to him, – a way by which I could more likely impress him at first, than by any personal intercourse. It is true that my days to the very hours & almost very minutes are deeply engaged, – but if you will tell me by what {xtian} name to address him (for there as many Webbs in the world as Weavers) I will steal time from the night, & try to find him reach him either at Keswick, or any where where you may think a direction is most likely to meet him.

Forgive me for dispatching so blank a letter: better to do this than that yours should remain a single post unanswered. – Sir John Murray’s [3]  business is worse than it appears. If Admiral Hallowell [4]  had not prevented him he would have killed all the horses.

Remember me most kindly to Mrs Browne & your daughters, [5]  & to Wade, [6]  if he be arrived, – & believe me my dear Sir

Yours most truly

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To / Wade Browne Esqr / Ludlow
Postmarks: 7 o’clock / SP 1/ 1813 N.T
Watermark: H WILLMOTT / 1812
MS: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Robert Southey Papers A.S727
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Possibly one of the publications of the Puritan writer, Thomas Broad (1577–1635). Wade might have offered to lend this to Southey to help with his review of David Bogue (1750–1825; DNB) and James Bennet (1774–1862; DNB), The History of Dissenters, from the Revolution in 1688–to the Year 1808 (1812); Walter Wilson (1781–1847; DNB), History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches (1808–1814); Neal’s History of the Puritans (1812), Quarterly Review, 10 (October 1813), 90–139. BACK

[2] Unidentified. BACK

[3] In June 1813 Lieutenant General John Murray, 8th Baronet (1768?-1827; DNB), despite having superior numbers, failed to capture the Spanish port of Tarragona. His troops had sailed up the coast from Alicante, and Murray re-embarked them so hastily on 12 June 1813 he left behind guns and stores. He was much criticised for these actions and finally court-martialled in January 1815, though he was acquitted of most of the charges and only received a reprimand. BACK

[4] Sir Benjamin Hallowell (1761–1834; DNB) was in charge of naval operations at Tarragona in June 1813. He was especially critical of Murray’s actions. BACK

[5] Wade Browne’s daughters from his first marriage: Lydia (c. 1789–1864); Elizabeth (dates unknown); and Sarah (1793/1794–1860s); and Mary Browne (dates unknown), his only child from his second marriage. BACK

[6] Wade Browne (1796–1851), only son of Wade Browne. He later became a country gentleman at Monkton Farleigh in Somerset. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013