LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 1 January 1806

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Jan. 1. 1806. (Many happy returns.)
“My dear Tom,

“Don’t be cast down, Tom: were I to make laws, no man should be made master and commander till he was thirty years of age. Made you will be at last, and will get on at last as high as your heart can wish: never doubt that, as I never doubt it.

“Don’t send me another turtle till I am Lord Mayor, and then I shall be much obliged to you for one; but, for Heaven’s sake, not till then. I consigned over all my right and title in the green fat to Wynn, by a formal power sent to Coutts the
banker, who was to look out for him; but of his arrival not a word yet;—ten to one but he is digested. When you are coming home, if you could bring a cargo of dried tamarinds I should like them, because they are very seldom to be got in England: I never saw them but once. Dried, mark you, in the husk,—not preserved. The acid is exceedingly delightful. Now remember, the words are when you are coming home, and bring: do not attempt to send them, or there will be trouble, vexation, unnecessary expense, and, most likely, the loss of the thing itself.

“My daughter never sees a picture of ship or boat but she talks of her uncle in the ship, and as regularly receives the kiss which he sent in the letter. You will be very fond of her if she goes on as well when you come home as she does at present. Harry is hard at work for the last season at Edinburgh, preparing to pass muster and be be-doctored in July. Most likely he will go to Lisbon with me in the autumn; at least I know not how he can be better employed for a few months, than in travelling and spoiling his complexion.

“The extraordinary success of Bonaparte, or, rather, the wretched misconduct of Austria, has left the Continent completely under the control of France. Our plan should be to increase our cruisers and scour the seas effectually,—to take all we can, and keep all we take,—professing that such is our intention, and that we are ready to make peace whenever France pleases, upon the simple terms of leaving off with our winnings. Meantime we ought to take the Cape, the French islands in the East (those in the
West would cost too many lives, and may be left for the Blacks), Minorca, Sicily, and Egypt. If France chooses to have the mainland, the islands should be ours. I suppose we shall go upon some such plan. As for invasion, the old story will begin again in the spring: but it is a thing impossible, and you sailors best know this.
Lord St. Vincent used to say, when it was talked of, ‘I don’t say they can’t come,—I only say that they can’t come by sea.’ What will affect me is the fate of Portugal; for it is now more than ever to be expected that Bonaparte will turn us out, merely to show he can do it. This will be to me a grievous annoyance. It is not unlikely that he will propose peace after these splendid victories, and it is not impossible that Pitt may accept it, to keep his place. Heaven forbid! To give up Malta now would be giving up the national honour; it would be confessing that we had lost the game—whereas we can play the single-handed game for ever. Our bad partners ruin us. The ultimate consequences of the success of France may not be so disastrous to Europe as is generally supposed. Suppose that the Continent be modelled as Bonaparte pleases,—which it will be,—and that it remains so in peace for twenty or thirty years: he will have disabled Austria it is true, but all the other powers will be strengthened, and a new state created in Italy which did not exist before. Then she will be under French direction: true, but still not French; the difference of language effectually prevents that. Bonaparte will not be a long-lived man; he cannot be, in the ordinary course of nature; there has been, and will be too much wear
and tear of him. His successor, if the succession go regularly on, as I suppose it will, will certainly not inherit his talents, and the first-born Emperor will have all the benefit of imperial education, which is quite sure to make him upon a level with all other sovereign princes. By that time the French generals will have died off, and we must not forget that it is the Revolution which made these men generals, and that men no longer rise according to their merit.

“Jan. 5.

“I have just received the following news:—‘Sir,—Am extremely sorry to be obliged to inform you, that a turtle, that I flattered myself would have survived home, from the excessive long passage and performance of quarantine at Cork, Falmouth, and Sea Reach, died in the former port, with every one on board the ship.—Respectfully, yr much obliged and obedient servant, Stephen T. Selk.’—So much for the turtle! I think if Government will make such beasts perform quarantine, they ought to pay for the loss. Surfeits and indigestions they may bring into the city, but of the yellow fever there can be no danger. The Court of Aldermen should take it into consideration.

“And now, to finish this letter of gossip. I am in the midst of reviewing, which will be over by the time this reaches you, even if, contrary to custom, it should reach you in regular course. Espriella also will, by that time, be gone to press. This, and the History of the Cid, I shall have to send you in the summer. No further news of the sale;—in fact, if
the edition of 500 goes off in two years, it will be a good sale for so costly a book. I hope it will not be very long before
Thalaba goes to press a second time. God bless you!

R. S.”