481. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey,
[started before and continued
on] 27 January 1800
My dear Tom
A lucky sheet of paper which has been folded
up in my pocket-book since July last gives me the power of
writing to you – when otherwise lack of paper & Sunday
must have delayed me. I am better than before I left
Hampshire, not so well as I since have been, & my
determination is made to remove to a better climate – but
when or where I have not settled.
I met an acquaintance of yours here lately.
Dr Blake  of Taunton who civilly
invited me there when I might happen to journey that way. he
is an old pupil of Estlin
s – at
whose table I met him. Another Tauntoneer whom I have seen
is I believe unknown to you – Dr
Kinglake  – Kinglakes brother. a man of
uncommon talents – indeed one of the ablest & most
respectable whom I have ever met with. I have seen a good
deal of him.
Your removal to the Bellona  is I suppose more a matter of condolence
than of congratulation. no knocks – no money, – & there
is little chance of a sea engagement. France is under able
rule, & her expeditions will be well plannd & her
exertions rightly directed. It is in Germany that the peace
will be made, by the cooperation of Prussia  – the
only government in Europe that acts wisely &
Of late I have done little. Thalaba advances
– towards the end of the eighth book – but it must reach to
twelve – two more than my first plan. 
I know not wherefore you amuse yourself by
abusing Burton – if
on my account of my Mothers
health – she never was better anywhere. it is only at Bath
& Bristol that she suffers. if because you do not like the country, we who live there do.
if the house be not fine enough – it is lucky that we are
contented with what we can afford. you damn Burton & rejoice
Mother is at Bristol. Harry has
seen her at Bristol, & can confirm what I tell you, that
at Bristol she is never well & never happy. at Burton she was well
& chearful. here she is the slave of her sisters
humours, & lookd upon by her sisters friends as a sort
of dependant relation, whom they speak to if she opens the
door to them – not if they meet her in the street. believe
me the day on which she returns to Burton, will be a
happier one than she has known since she left it.
The second volume of the Anthology  is half done – you
have never yet received the first I believe – I carried it
all round Torbay in my knapsack in the hope of meeting with
coming to pass a month at Bristol – chiefly on my account.
he often enquires for you. few men stand higher in my
judgement than John
Rickman. there will be much to interest him here
in the Pneumatic Institution,  & the conversation of Davy. he has some
boat-improving plans which
upon which he wishes for an opportunity of talking with you.
head with all his apparent idleness is never unemployed.
publishing his Alfred by subscription.  I could not offer to subscribe
myself because I knew he would of course give me a copy –
but by way of doing the same thing I subscribed in your
name. so by & by, you must not scruple paying carriage
for a bulky quarto.
I have in agitation some prose works. writing
for the paper  I have given up from inability to bear the
irksomeness of periodical idea-hunting. a connected work
will not harrass me in this way – & something I must do.
it is possible that before we return to Burton I may visit
London to make bargains with the booksellers – if indeed my
journey be delayed till the autumn.
much grown & much improved. good company &
instruction have not been wasted upon him. he will in the
course of another year be requiring an expence of education
which I am afraid we shall not find it easy to defray. I
shall not however fail to make my best exertions. if I can
get footing in the theatres the profits will be great.
travel where I will, the journal will pay [MS torn]
Parade. Bristol. – I am so miserably tense with
wind – that government ought to engage me in the fleet – as
I could at any time give them a gale. my tripes are now
love. God bless you.
Monday 27. Jany. 1800.
To/ Lieutenant Thomas Southey./ Bellona./ Plymouth./
Postmark: [partial] BRISTOL/ JAN/
Endorsement: [date written in another hand at
beginning of letter]
MS: British Library, Add MS
 Malachi Blake (1771–1843), doctor and
prominent Unitarian in Taunton. He founded Taunton and
Somerset Hospital in 1809. BACK
Kinglake (1765–1842; DNB), expert on
gout. His brother was William Kinglake (d. 1852), banker
and solicitor. BACK
 HMS Bellona was a 74-gun ship of the line, so more
likely to be used in engaging the French fleet and less
likely to pick up lucrative prizes than the smaller Sylph on which Tom Southey had been
 Germany was likely to be a
key area of conflict between France and Austria in 1800,
but Prussia had not joined the Second Coalition formed
against France in 1799 and was neutral. BACK
 Southey stuck to his revised
plan, and the Islamic romance Thalaba the
Destroyer (1801) was composed of 12
 The Pneumatic Institute, Dowry Square,
 Joseph Cottle,
Alfred, An Epic Poem, in Twenty Four
Books (1800) was not published by
had stopped writing regular poems for the Morning
Post in December 1799; see Robert Southey to
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 15 December 1799, Letter