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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

967. Robert Southey to John May, 19 July 1804 ⁠* 

Friday July 19. 1804

My dear friend

Only this evening have I received an answer from Dr Thomas tho I wrote immediately on my return home. his letter gives no satisfactory answer to any one question – except that he has spoken with the lawyer Mr Evans [1]  whom I recommended, & advises that there may be no delay in entrusting him with the affairs – advice which I have urged to my Uncle, & shall enforce by this next packet.

I have at last got an appointment for Edward, by means of Mr Dickinson. [2]  he is to go on board the Salvador del Mundo, [3]  & then Admiral Colpoys [4]  will find him a ship for the western station. the S. del Mundo is at Plymouth.

My brother Harry has been with us about three weeks, & all that I have seen or observed is much in his favour. – I wish xx my account of the rest of our household were as favourable, but little Edith has alarmed us since last night by a very violent & unaccountable affection in one of her eyes – & we perhaps are more easily alarmed than we ought. the child has grown well, tho perpetually tormented with wind, particularly in the night, so as to distress us greatly, & make us sometimes apprehensive of convulsions. Still she has continued to thrive – & has taken more hold of my heart than is quite consistent with that prudent philosophy which ought ever to be ready for the worst. I am some thing the worse for broken rest, & still more for fretting & fevering apprehensions, which tho they do not prevent my usual employments, harrass me in every interval of occupation.

You have the Guerras de Granada [5]  in Percy Street. have the goodness to send it to David Dundas Esqr Richmond [6]  – for Miss Seton. Perhaps you may know her as Mrs Burn [7]  gave her letters to Lisbon. she was our fellow traveller to Batalha Coimbre & Thomar, & is one of the women in the world whom I value most. [8] 

Remember me to Mrs May – your little boy is not old enough for a message – but I remember him. When I am in better mood – or more in the sunshine of circumstances I will write more fully & chearfully. but why are {you} so long silent!

God bless you my dear friend!

Robert Southey.

The fourth proof of Madoc arrived this evening. [9] 


* Address: To/ John May Esqre/
Endorsement: No. 99. 1804/ Robert Southey/ no place 19th July/ recd. 23d do/ ansd. 25th do
Location: Beinecke Library, Osborn MSS File ‘S’, Folder 14139
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Untraced. BACK

[2] William Dickinson (1771–1837), a pupil at Westminster School, who later went on to Christ Church, Oxford (BA 1793, MA 1795) and was Civil Lord of the Admiralty, 1804–1806. BACK

[3] HMS Salvador del Mundo was a 112-gun ship of the line, captured from the Spanish at the battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797. BACK

[4] John Colpoys (c. 1742–1821; DNB), British naval officer who achieved notoriety during the mutiny at Spithead in 1797. He was promoted to full Admiral in 1801 and appointed as Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth in 1803. In 1804 he gave up his command to take a seat in the Admiralty. BACK

[5] No. 3537 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was Diego de Mendoza (1503–1575), Guerra de Granada hecha por el Rey de Espana Don Felipe II (1674). BACK

[6] Sir David Dundas, 1st Baronet of Richmond (d. 1826). BACK

[7] The wife of William Burns (dates unknown), a member of the English Factory, Lisbon. BACK

[8] Southey described this trip in his letters home from Portugal; see Southey to John May, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Two, Letter 571. BACK

[9] The poem Madoc, which Southey had written in 1797–1799 and since then had been intermittently revising. It was completed in October 1804 and published in 1805. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013