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339. Robert Southey to William Roscoe, 26 July 1798 ⁠* 

Bristol. July 26. 1798.

Sir

The subject on which I am about to write will I hope excuse me in thus addressing a stranger. Mr William Gilbert is now in Liverpool, from whence he intends to work his passage to Africa. he is a man of much information & much genius, but afflicted with that worst calamity, mental derangement; & should he leave England without money, & on the wild idea of being divinely called to Africa, the fatigues of such a voyage & the situation he would be in at its close would probably be fatal to him. What Sir I have taken the liberty to request of you is, that you would inform the Captain of any African vessel about to sail that Mr Gilbert is deranged, that they might refuse to take him. this will give his friends time to consider & act. if also if {by} any accident you should meet with Gilbert, I beg no notice may be taken of any interference on the part of me & his Bristol acquaintance.

I am Sir

yrs respectfully

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Endorsement: R Southey/ July 26. 1798
MS: Liverpool Record Office, Roscoe Papers 4672
Previously published: S. Jeffrey, ‘Southey and Gilbert’, Times Literary Supplement, 2146 (20 March 1943), 139. BACK

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August 2011