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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 1: 1791-1797, Edited By Lynda Pratt

166. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey [brother], 25 July 1796 ⁠* 

Monday July 25th 1796

Dear Tom

Your letter reachd me this night. concerning the Joan of Arc I have desired my Mother to send off that & your other books whether this be done or no I know not — but I will write tomorrow & request my mother if she has not already sent them to send them now immediately to Blundstones. [1] 

for your Books & Pamphletts I shall be very much obliged to you — nothing could be so acceptable — & the pistols may accompany them as I left mine at Lisbon & it is always well to have defensive arms. but send the books directly to Cottles. I do hunger & thirst for sedition. yet a little while & I must change that study for law!

you will have my Letters in October & my Poems by Christmas. [2]  when these works are out we remove to London where I enter at Lincolns Inn as a student of the law — with every prospect of success.

poor Bedford is recovering from an abscess. which confined him to his bed & subjected him to the surgeons knife. he spoke of you in his last letter — I had mentioned the opinion you entertaind of him & he bid me tell you not to think too well of him — to this I add that that is impossible.

Of Miles [3]  I know little — but xxxx all that I have heard of him is very good. Charles Collins you would not have liked. he has polishd away all his feelings — he has no heart & without it — all else is valueless. if he were to meet me in a ragged coat he would be ashamed to own acquaintance if I were in a carriage — he would xxxxx run thro the dirt to fawn upon me.

I have some acquaintance in Cornwall — but they live too far from Falmouth to be of any service to you. Mr Hoblyn [4]  of Nanswydhen near St Columbs. about 30 miles from Falmouth. I was there about ten days with my Uncle. & by the by — a Mr Tremayne [5]  the curate of St Columbs whom I saw once or twice there, wrote to me only last Saturday a literary letter.

concerning the war the French are victorious every where — their successes are more rapid & more brilliant than ever, & all that now prevents our government from making peace is the difficulty of obtaining good terms. this is from very good authority. a war with Spain is talked of. I hope without foundation, for Spain is improving. if however it takes place I should hope the Ministry would have sense enough to plan an expedition against their South American settlements, & then Tom I should wish you no better luck than a voyage to Mexico or Peru! for to a well-concerted expedition they would inevitably fall.

As for Harry I rather wish him any line than the military either by sea or by land. so I have said. Edward is well off. he will go to St Pauls school in London on the foundation, from whence he will be elected to one of the Universities. [6]  & then I shall be able to assist him. for of own success I have no doubt. I have industry & interest. & Joan of Arc has secured my reputation.

Edith is well. we are indeed both as well [MS torn] comfortable as you could wish us. I am very busy with [MS torn] pen but you know I love such business, & indeed find my greatest amusement in it.

it is not my fault that you have not yet received your Joan. one was sent to Bath for you before Christmas.

we are now going to supper.

farewell

write whenever you have an opportunity

yrs affectionately

R Southey.


Notes

* Address: [not in Southey’s hand] For/ Mr T. Southey / Phœbe Frigate/ Falmouth or Elsewhere
Stamped: BRISTOL
MS: British Library, Add MS 30,927
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 110–112. BACK

[1] Unidentified. BACK

[2] Southey’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797) and Poems (1797). BACK

[3] A friend of the Bedford family, he lived at Vanbrugh Fields, Greenwich. His first name is not recorded. BACK

[4] Probably Rev. Robert Hoblyn (1751–1839), a contemporary of Southey’s uncle, Herbert Hill, at Christ Church, Oxford. He was the owner of Nanswhydden House, where Southey and Hill stayed on their way to Falmouth in November 1795. Hoblyn was a relative and namesake of the well-known Cornish bibliophile Robert Hoblyn (1710–1756; DNB). BACK

[5] The curate of St Columb’s, Cornwall, possibly William Tremayne (1761–1824). BACK

[6] Edward Southey attended neither St Paul’s School nor a university. BACK

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Published @ RC

March 2009