WH to Robert Southey, 23 April, 1830

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

William Hone to Robert Southey, 23 April, 1830.1-TEI-

13 Gracechurch-street, London
23 April 1830.

Late last night I got a copy of the new edition of the Pilgrim's Progress, at Mr. Major's, and, this morning, my first employment is to obtrude upon you my most sincere and respectful thanks, for your unexpected and generous mention of my name, and recent writings, in the conclusion of your Life of Bunyan.2

For obvious reasons such a notice from you is especially grateful to me, and is the more gratifying now, when the humble doings you are pleased to publicly favour can benefit me no otherwise than by sometimes occasioning reflection on the honesty of purpose which stimulated my labours, and which consoles me after I have lost every thing on earth, except my integrity and 10 children; these, I trust, I shall be enabled to keep to my life's end. To further literary exertion, I am beyond the reach of 'encouragement.' At this moment, the last remains of my ruined fortunes, a few of the books that assisted me in working out my Every Day Book and Table Book (which, by the by, are mine no longer), are passing under the hammer of an auctioneer, to realize a small instalment towards insufficient means of commencing business, wholly foreign to all my former pursuits and addictions. I have thrown down my pen forever, and at 50 years of age, am struggling to enter on a strange drudgery, for the future support of my wife and family.

In the autumn of last year, while sojourning in a quiet hamlet, I packed up a book or two respecting the Pilgrim's Progress, with the intention of sending them to you. I had misgivings, however, as to whether you would receive from me, as a token of good-will, what I unfeignedly desired to communicate in that spirit, and the parcel was put aside, sealed up, as it still remains. In that state, I shall forward it for conveyance to you, through Mr. Major, simply to evidence my feeling towards you several months ago. You may be convinced by it that your liberality has a kin in my own mind. After all, perhaps, the best testimony I can give to the fact, that I am duly sensible of your unlooked-for kindness, is the promptitude with which I acknowledge the obligation.

I am, Sir,
Your very respectful and most obedient servant,
W Hone
As printed in The Times, 7 May, 1830. A more detailed account of the place of this letter in the context of the Hone/Southey relationship is available in the accompanying Conversation narrative. [return]
In the final paragraph of the preface to his Life of Bunyan, Southey writes: "In one of the volumes collected from various quarters, which were sent me for this purpose, I observe the name of W. Hone, and notice it that I may take the opportunity of recommending his Every-Day Book, and Table-Book, to those who are interested in the preservation of our national and local customs. By these very curious publications their compiler has rendered good service in an important department of literature; and he may render yet more if he obtain the encouragement which he well deserves" (Life of Bunyan [1830], p. 72.) [return]
William Hone. Date: 2014-04-24