907. Robert Southey to John Theodore Koster, 4 March 1804 *
Keswick, March 4. 1804.
I have this evening received intelligence that Mr. Hill has consigned a box of books for me to your care, by the Henry, which sailed in the last convoy. Have the goodness when they arrive to let me know the amount of the duties, etc. and I will immediately remit the sum. I have lost two cargoes each of more value than this, since this miserable war broke out, and am therefore entitled to hope by the doctrine of chances that this may reach me in safety.
Mrs. S. joins with me in remembrances to Mrs. Koster and your daughters. Since I saw you we have had, and lost, a little girl, who at the age of twelve months was the little wonder and darling of the neighbourhood, – indeed her disease proceeded from a premature activity of the brain – for it was hydrocephalos. We removed hither after that loss, and here shall probably remain till I go once more to Portugal to compleat the history of that country on which I have long been patiently employed. If you have not seen this Land of Lakes I hope you may visit it while we are here. It wants a better climate, and the mountains appeared diminutive to me after the Serras of Algarve, but time and experience have made me sensible of their magnitude, and perhaps if they were greater they would be less beautiful. The house which we inhabit commands one of the finest panoramas in the whole island, we have two lakes in view, and Skiddaw behind us. Still I wish myself at Cintra, and should prefer a July Sirocco to a March North-Easter.
The people here are all in alarm, a loud firing having been heard off the coast last night, a needless panic as we have not only our situation to trust to but also eighteen volunteers with a very skilful apothecary for their Captain.
* MS: Instituto Historico e Geografico Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro; text taken from
Previously published: Joaquim de Sousa-Leão, ‘Cartas de Robert Southey a Theodore Koster e Henry Koster, anos de 1804 a 1819’, Revista do Instituto Historico e Geografico Brasileiro, 178 (1943), [33–3]4. BACK