Dublin. October 16. 1801
My dear friend
Doubtless the date of my letter will surprize you. I hurried hither with such speed, as to allow myself neither leisure of time nor rest of mind for announcing to you & the rest of my friends, my change of circumstances.
Rickman, whose name you know, having by the Population Act  made his talents known, accompanied Mr Abbot  here as confidential Secretary. among other consequent introductions, this situation introduce led him to an intimacy with Mr Corry, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr Corry wanting a similar assistant, enquired if Rickman knew any man of talents for the office, xx worthy of full confidence. my name was mentioned to him, & the letters which I had since my return from Portugal, written to Rickman, were by him shown to Mr Corry, as explanatory of my then views. Mr Corry then wrote to me – offering me 200£ a year, & a like sum for travelling expences. for one year – that if the diplomatic line pleased me better, or promised more I might get into it. – I was with Wynn & Elmsley in Wales when the offer arrived. there could be no hesitation in accepting it – there was indeed no power of choice. I hurried back to Keswick – hastily prepared there, left Edith with her sister & here I am. – as yet I have not seen Mr Corry who is from town. in the course of ten days he will probably remove to England, of course I follow him, with Edith to London, where we abide till June.
By this very unexpected change, tho no immediate advantage accrues to me, much is promised. immediately I become independent. my neat income, deducting the travelling expences from the 369 pounds Irish English money which I shall receive, will not exceed what my own labours would have produced in addition to the 160 which I should have received. but if I should like my situation & suit it, Mr Corry can be a very useful friend, & if otherwise, as Wynn observed, a diplomatic situation is more readily obtained for one who has already had some employment in official transactions. As yet knowing nothing of the person with whom I am connected, nor the I can say nothing – I feel only the bustle & discomfort of sudden alteration – the loneliness of a man who has left his wife behind him, & when I walk the streets, bitterly regret the Lakes & the Mountains.
However that I have acted not only with common prudence & due worldly wisdom, but as was incumbent upon me in my circumstances, in conformity to all reason, & principle, & duty, I feel fully & entirely satisfied. how my health will bear a town life, is the only doubt. that I loathe & abhor it with all my physical & moral being is of inferior consideration. One obvious source of pleasure it affords – access to many friends. I hope & expect to shake you by the hand in three weeks. but let me first hear what you think upon the way of life into which I have fallen.
Direct to me under cover to
&c &c &c
your letter will in all probability reach me here, if not it follows me without cost.
God bless you.
yrs with thankful & affectionate remembrance
* Watermark: A Blackwell/ 1797
Endorsement: No 64. 1801/ Robert Southey/ Dublin 16 Oct/ recd. 20th do/ ansd. 22nd do
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin
Previously published: Charles Ramos, The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), pp. 62-64. BACK