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

2620. Robert Southey to Wade Browne, 22 June 1815 ⁠* 

My dear Sir

I have too long delayed thanking you for your English champagne, – which well deserves that appellation. You have I trust in the meantime heard from me in printers characters tho’ not in my own. I desired that a copy of my Minor Poems [1]  should be sent you. The greater part are not such things as I should publish now, tho’ they were well enough for the age at which they were written; & for that very reason many of them are xxxx {more} suited to the common standard of taste than they would be if they were better. The Ode respecting Buonaparte is republished at a proper time. [2] 

This days paper has brought us the first account of the first battle, [3]  – our news is four & twenty hours later, & just now I could envy you for being a hundred & fifty miles nearer the scene of action. You know with what confidence I always looked on to the result of a battle with Buonaparte, if we ever xxxx to meet him with equal, or with not-greatly inferior forces. The result of the first conflict at this time is of exceeding importance. & I cannot but think it likely that a little ill success will embolden some Frenchmen to save their country, or at least to remove the chief & immediate cause of its calamities, by putting him to death. On the other hand it really seems as if divine Justice were about to punish the French people for their accumulated guilt, & for the crimes {miseries} which they have xxxxxxxxx inflicted upon the rest of Europe; & that we are about to have the most aweful example of retribution that the world has ever yet beheld. The state of parties of a in Paris bears a sufficient resemblance to that of the factions in Jerusalem before its destruction by Titus. [4]  That city is in not less danger from the frenzy of the Jacobines than from the despair of Buonaparte. I well remember that Isnard, [5]  one of the Brissotines, speaking in 1793 of the evils which the wilder party were bringing on, warned them to beware lest travellers should one day seek for the ruins of Paris upon the banks of the Seine: that apprehension is more likely to be realized now, than it was then.

This neighbourhood has been much shocked by the death of Mrs Denton [6]  after an illness of only three days, & danger not apprehended till the last. I believe it was a case of cholera morbus. All else are much as when you left us, with little other difference than what the course of time makes, – upon the young fry this indeed is very perceptible. Hartley is at Oxford; – he has got a postmastership [7]  at Merton, – a situation as respectable as any in the University & worth 50 or perhaps 60£ a year. This was obtained for him by one of his Coleridge cousins, [8]  who are distinguished men at Oxford. The way is now plain before him, & if he does not succeed it must be his own fault: the danger is from his eccentricities, not from xx any vices. Derwent came home yesterday for the holy days. For heave[MS torn] do not let Wade [9]  go to Cambridge till you are fully assured that the infection has ceased; – indeed if he be not entered there I should wish to hear that he went to Oxford instead lest the fever should show itself next year. The extent of the evil seems to have been very improperly concealed. There was a youth of fine promise (son of a half-pay officer in Devonshire [10] Dusautoy by name) who wrote to me from school about his future way of life, [11]  & who thro my means was xx sent to Emanuel as a sizar, [12]  where he was doing admirably well, – he has been one of the victims, & greatly shocked I was, as you may well suppose, when I received the information of his death.

And now my dear Sir I have scarcely left room to thank you for your very friendly invitation of Edith, – which is perhaps fortunate, inasmuch as I know not how to thank you as I ought. Perhaps she is too young as yet to be so far from home, or to profit adequately by the advantages which she would enjoy at Ludlow. Sooner or later however I will with great pleasure convey her thither: & whether she be in my company or not I fully expect to see you in the course of the autumn.

At present I am closely employed in carrying my Hist: of Brazil thro the press. [13]  – This new Quarterly has two papers of mine, both with reference to present politics; – the Egyptian story, [14]  & the life of Wellington. [15]  My friends at Madrid have lately made me member of the R. Academy of History, [16]  which oddly enough gives me all the privileges of one of Ferdinands [17]  household. I do not know how this will accord with the English privilege which I must use of speaking my free opinion of the said Ferdinands conduct.

Xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxxxx It is long since we have heard of the Wolseleys. [18]  I shall see Dr Bell in September when I purpose so to time a visit to my brother, as to find our good friend with the Bishop at Auckland. [19] 

Believe me my dear Sir

most truly yours

Robert Southey.

Keswick. 22 June 1815  [20] 


Notes

* Address: [readdressed in another hand] To/ Wade Browne Esqre/ Ludlow {Cheltenham}
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 47891
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Minor Poems (1815). BACK

[2] ‘Ode, Written During the Negotiations with Bonaparte, 1814’, originally published in the Courier, 3 February 1814, it incorporated five stanzas deleted from Carmen Triumphale. It was included in Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), II, pp. 217–224. BACK

[3] The battle of Quarte Bras, 16 June 1815, between Wellington’s Anglo-Dutch army and part of the French Armée du Nord under the command of Marshal Michel Ney (1769–1815). It was a tactical draw. BACK

[4] i.e. before it was destroyed by the Roman general and future emperor Titus (AD 39–81) in AD 70, Jerusalem had been riven by faction fights between the Sicarii and the Zealots. BACK

[5] Maximin Isnard (1758–1825). He made his famous declaration on 25 May 1793, when, as President of the Convention, he replied to a deputation from the Paris Commune that was demanding the release of the radical journalist, Jacques Rene Hebert (1757–1794). BACK

[6] Sarah (d. 1815), wife of Isaac Denton (c. 1758–1820), Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick, 1786–1820. BACK

[7] The name given to a Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford. BACK

[8] William Hart Coleridge was a clergyman who later became Bishop of Barbados and the Leeward Islands 1824–1842; and was well-suited to give advice about the University of Oxford as he had graduated from Christ Church in 1811. BACK

[9] Browne’s only son, Wade Browne (1796–1851), later a country gentleman at Monkton Farleigh in Somerset. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1819 and M.A. in 1822. BACK

[10] James Du Sautoy (1761–1859) who had retired from his post as a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines in 1798. He was barrack-master of the cavalry at Totnes 1803–1822. BACK

[11] James Dusautoy had first written to Southey at the beginning of 1813, enclosing some of his poems and asking for advice about publishing them. Southey replied (the letter does not survive) and Dusautoy in turn wrote back. For Southey’s reply to this; see Southey to James Dusautoy, 12 February 1813, Letter 2220 Southey had also been instrumental in helping Dusautoy gain admission to Cambridge; see Southey to Neville White, 27 February 1813, Letter 2225. BACK

[12] A sizar was a student at Cambridge University who received benefits (including lower fees and free meals) in return for performing set tasks, originally of a menial nature. BACK

[13] Two further volumes of the History of Brazil appeared, in 1817 and 1819 respectively. BACK

[14] Southey’s review of Jacques François Miot (1779–1858), Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire des Expéditions en Egypte et en Syrie (1814), Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 1–55. BACK

[15] Southey reviewed George Elliott (dates unknown), The Life of the Most Noble Arthur Duke of Wellington, from the Period of his first Achievements in India, down to his Invasion of France, and the Peace of Paris in 1814 (1814), Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 215–275. He went on to review a further series of books relating to Wellington in the Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526. BACK

[16] The Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, established in 1738. Southey was already a member of the Royal Spanish Academy. BACK

[17] Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833). BACK

[18] Robert Wolseley (c. 1768–1815), and his wife. Wolseley had been at head of school at Westminster at the time Southey went there; see Southey to Thomas Southey, 3 August 1808, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Three, Letter 1483. BACK

[19] Shute Barrington (1734–1826; DNB), Bishop of Durham 1791–1826. BACK

[20] Xxxxx …. 1815: written at top of fol 1r. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013