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

224. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle [fragment], [18 June 1797?] ⁠* 

Christ Church, June 18, 1797.

* * * The main purport of my writing is, to tell you that we have found a house for the next half year. If I had a mind to affect the pastoral style, I might call it a cottage; but, in plain English, it is exactly what it expresses. We have got a sitting-room, and two bed-rooms, in a house which you may call a cottage if you like it, and that one of these bed-rooms is ready for you, and the sooner you take possession of it the better. You must let me know when you come that I may meet you.

So you have had Kosciusco [1]  with you, (in Bristol) and bitterly do I regret not having seen him. If he had remained one week longer in London, I should have seen him; and to have seen Kosciusco would have been something to talk of all the rest of one’s life.

We have a congregation of rivers here, the clearest you ever saw: plenty of private boats too. We went down to the harbour on Friday, in Mr. Rickman’s; a sensible young man, of rough, but mild manners, and very seditious. [2]  He and I rowed, and Edith was pilot.

God bless you.

Yours affectionately.

Robert Southey.


Notes

* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847).
Previously published: Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), pp. 214–215 [in part, with omissions at beginning of the letter indicated]. BACK

[1] The Polish patriot Thaddeus Kosciusko (1746–1817), who visited Bristol on 13 June 1797 on his way to America. He was greeted by local dignitaries and his departure from the port was a great public event. BACK

[2] Joseph Cottle, in Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), p. 214 n*, claims — somewhat disingenuously — that ‘seditious’ meant ‘simply anti-ministerial’. BACK

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March 2009