775. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 22 April 1803 *
Friday. April 22. 1803.
My dear Tom
Huzza! huzza! huzza! the bottle is a good post & the Atlantic delivers letters according to direction!
Yours of May 23. 1802. Lat. 33. 46 N.
Long. 64. 27. W –
was found by Messrs Calmer & Seymour of St Salvadors.  Dec. 18. 1802. on the N W end of that Island
Lat. 23. 30 N.
Long. 73. 30 W.
You had sealed it so clumsily that some of the writing is torn – & the salt water had got at it, so that the Letter is in a ruinous state – but by the Lord it shall be preserved as the greatest curiosity in my collection.
I did heartily regret that you were not here. we would have drawn a cork in honour of Messrs Calmer & Seymour & Aley Pratt, who by keeping the letter two months really seem to have been sensible that the experiment was of value. When I consider the quadrillion chances against such a circumstance it seems like a dream. the middle of the Atlantic – thrown in there! cast on a corner of St Salvadores & now here at No 12 St Jamess Place Kingsdown Bristol – hunting me thro the ocean to the Bahamas & then to this very individual spot. Oh that the Bottle had kept a log-book! What if the Bottle Conjurer had been in it now.
I think this letter decisive of a current, chance winds would never have carried it 600 miles in less than seven months. & if I recollect aright, by theory there ought to be a current in that direction. Supposing the bottle to have been found the very day it landed it must have sailed at the rate of three knots in a day & night – it was picked up 209 days after the Post set off. More letters should be thrown overboard about the same latitude, & then when we have charts of all the currents some dozen centuries hence that particular one shall be called Southeys current.
As I shall send our names with the account it will get copied into all the newspapers & may perhaps set others upon making the same experiment
I have half a mind to send a letter to St Pierre  –
The news is all pacific  – & I fully expect you will be paid off ere long. all goes on as usual here. Margaret screams as loud as the Parrot  – that she inherited. Cupid  came to tea <this evening> & seems disposed to stay supper. Puss caught a mouse last night & we had a hang fair to day – so you see the course of justice continues. Juniper  is juniperizing a duck which you should be here to examine – a Compleat Art of Navigation printed 1567 & translated from the Spanish.  full of diagrams, & which doubtless represent the exact state of the science in the great age of discovery. I had a good bargain of Cody  yesterday – the six volumes of Asiatic Researches published at £3-5-0 – new for forty shillings. 
Is there any thing more to be inserted in the Kingsdown gazette? – oh – I have altered & adapted the fifth commandment  for Margery, & made it the a summary of morals for her present age – Thou shalt not piddle thy father. this & my three Cat-Commandments I think entitle me to a high rank among moralists hereafter.
* Address: To/ Lieutenant Southey/ H. M. S. Galatea/ Portsmouth./ Single
Postmark: BRISTOL. APR 23 1803
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849-1850), II, pp. 207-209 [in part]. BACK
 Cody’s identity is uncertain. Possibly he is the book-auctioneer William Cody (dates unknown) whose business had been based in Dublin c. 1791-1797 – if so, Southey may have made his acquaintance during his time in Dublin in 1802; or perhaps Cody is, or is connected to, the bookseller and auctioneer of the same name who traded in Bristol c. 1820-1821. BACK
 Asiatic Researches, or Transactions of the Society for inquiring into the History and Antiquities of Asia (1801-1811), no. 77 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library consists of later volumes, so Southey may not have been able to complete this purchase. BACK