Thursday. March 16th
20. Prospect Place. Newington Butts.
I found your letter last night on my return from Vanbrughs Field,
where I had dined with Miles.  I like him much. there is a kindliness in his manners which
I must not libel by calling politeness; his countenance displays an evident wish
to please, & any physiognomist would give it unlimited credit for
sincerity. Jolly  was
there — I know not whether you have seen him — a young man of good natured
imbecillity, with very white hair very whitely powdered, so that I know not
whether Nature or the Barber had most to do in giving him the character of
weakness. we staid till eight — the Bedfords  were with me, & a hackney
coach which we fortunately found at Deptford saved us a long &
And now Tom I wish you
were at Portsmouth. I am in lodgings — comfortably settled, tho not likely long
to remain in these apartments, as they are too small for a man with a tolerable
collection of books. however now I have a home — & the sooner you can
come, & the longer you can stay — the better. I am entered at Grays Inn
& xx studying hard at Law. I do not find
the study unpleasant. in little more than two years I shall be able to do
business as a special pleader — I have friends able & willing to push me
forwards — & doubt not of success.
this if things remain as they are. if they take a better turn — I
am only what I have been — an adventurer with a better chance.
I am not sufficiently acquainted with the subject of finance to
hazard — or indeed to form any opinion. certain however it is that the funding
system cannot endure for ever, whether this blow be the death-blow cannot be
asserted upon the same grounds. at any rate it must have one good effect, that
of putting an end to the war, for how can money possibly be raised for its
continuance? Lord Jervis’s victory  happened very unfortunately, to cast a lustre upon an
unfortunate unjust & now unpopular war. any successes that keep up the
spirit of the mob are sincerely to be deprecated. it is only loss after loss
that can awaken this infatuated people to a sense of their situation — perhaps
it is now too late.
You seem indeed to have made a very Quixote-like expedition. but
of all expeditions the French invasion in Wales  was the most
curious. it is now pretty well understood. fourteen hundred galley-slaves were
taken from Brest, put on board ship — & landed in Wales. this answered a
double purpose. it transported fourteen hundred rogues from France — &
it alarmed England — so much so indeed as to occasion the immediate run on the
Bank, which made it stop payment.
the Bank of England notes in circulation amount to 13 millions.
their property to 17. so far well. but of that 17 millions 11 are due from
government — & are in fact more worth
nothing more than their annual interest. but where is cash to answer these
notes? because they had not cash to answer the notes already in circulation,
they issued these pound notes. this is remedying the evil for the present, but
certainly increasing it in the end. the quantity of species in the kingdom
amounts but to 20 millions. & this has in all probability been of late
years much lessened. for the English guinea is worth 23 shillings at Hamburgh,
& in consequence vast sums have been melted down & exported.
Have you received my Books yet? if not write to my Mother for them. my letters
& Poems are ready for you — with Cottles Poems &
Coleridge’s.  I
desired my Mother to send them
to you by the first opportunity.
I have seen Major Hill,  & breakfasted with him. he was very civil — &
should be glad to see me at Chatham.
We have been here now nearly a month. I read much Law — &
find time to write. for company I have neither leisu[re or MS torn] inclination,
& therefore confine myself to a very fe[MS torn] friends. I did an
unusual thing in dining with Miles [MS torn] yesterday — but some civility on my
part was due to him. he talks of quitting Greenwich, & going to reside
in the country at least an hundred miles from the metropolis. I shall be sorry
if he goes — tho I shall think him right in going. a man must be made of very
strange materials who would remain one hour longer in this accursed city than he
can possibly avoid. I hate it & always hated it, with all my heart
& with all my soul & with all my strength. I long &
labour to be independant that I may quit it for ever.
God bless you.
yr affectionate brother
Ediths love. she wishes your
ship at Portsmouth & you here.
* Address: Mr Thomas Southey/ Phoebe
Frigate/ Plymouth/ Single
Stamped: BRIDGE ST/
MS: British Library, Add MS
 A friend of
the Bedfords, he lived at Vanbrugh Fields, Greenwich. His first name is not
Jervis, Earl St Vincent (1735–1823; DNB), had
defeated the Spanish fleet at the battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February
 Some 1400 French troops, under the command of the American
Colonel William Tate (dates unknown), landed near Fishguard on the night of
22–23 February 1797. They surrendered a few days later. BACK
Joseph Cottle, Poems, 2nd edn (1796); and either or both of Samuel Taylor
Poems on Various Subjects (1796) and Poems, by S. T. Coleridge, Second Edition. To Which are Now
Added Poems by Charles Lamb, and Charles Lloyd (1797). BACK
 The older half-brother of Herbert Hill. Southey gives a detailed account of
him, and of their meeting in 1797, in a letter to John May, 24 November