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854. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 19 November 1803 ⁠* 

Saturday night. Novr 19. 1803.

Dear Charles

In the hurry of Clarksons sudden summons I have leisure to do little more than give him his passport. Who he is you & all the friends of the abolition know. he was a Clergyman, but in his opinion is now Quakerish. [1] 

The wine has not yet made its appearance. I pray for it every day – or do something equivalent to praying – that is – abstain from swearing at what I drink instead, making hope teach patience to provocation. You shall be paid by a draft on Longman for my work now in hand which will be done in February.

Thelwall [2]  is in this neighbourhood & we shall probably see him soon. he is thriving upon Lectures on Elocution. actually thriving. we live in an odd world. they were going to hang & murder him for very intelligible Jacobinism & now when he rigmarolls them with a farrago of what he does not understand himself it is Oh Rare John Thelwall – and they give him three & sixpence apiece. but he is an honest fellow x I have a great respect for him, & never yet suffered an Aristocrat to wag his tongue against him in my presence giving him a set down.

I will make time to tell you a most excellent story of my friend Solomon. [3]  you know the Custom House Laws. If goods for exportation be rated under their value to defraud the revenue, the officers may seize them paying the price whereat they were rated. Dr Solomon enters a large cargo of Balm of Gilead for Lisbon, at 7s-6 per bottle. the selling price is half a guinea. The Custom House Officer told him he was under-rating it, & he should seize it in consequence unless he amended the error. do as you please Sir said the Doctor. I shall rate it at 7-6. The fellow bit – seized the whole, paid three half-crowns a bottle – & remained with a stock in hand of Balm of Gilead. Solomon tried the trick again, but it would not answer.

Ediths remembrance.

God bless you.

yrs very affectionately

R Southey.

Remember me to Betty. [4] 

Have you seen Joe lately? & my poor Cupid! [5]  poor fellow I believe he loved me as well as if I had been his own brother.


Notes

* Address: To/ Mr Danvers/ 4. Orchard Street/ Bristol/ by favour of/ Mr Clarkson.
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 335-336. BACK

[1] Though ordained as a deacon, Clarkson renounced his orders in 1795 and was sympathetic to Quakerism. BACK

[2] John Thelwall (1764-1834; DNB), radical orator, writer and elocutionist. BACK

[3] Samuel Solomon (1768/9-1819; DNB), manufacturer and promoter of the best-selling quack medicine ‘Cordial Balm of Gilead’. Southey met him on the boat to Dublin in 1802. BACK

[4] Danvers’ servant; her first name and dates are unknown. BACK

[5] Joe had been Tom Southey’s dog; and Cupid was a dog belonging to Charles Danvers. BACK

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August 2011