Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/290

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Southey
Southey
284

the acquaintance of William Taylor [q. v.] of Norwich, who superintended his extra-professional studies. In November 1803 he entered the university of Edinburgh, where Sir William Knighton [q. v.] and Dr. Robert Gooch [q. v.] were his fellow students and friends. He had acquired remarkable facility in colloquial Latin, and used to talk it with his friends. He graduated M.D. on 24 June 1806, reading an interesting dissertation ‘De ortu et progressu syphilidis’ (Edinburgh, 1806, 8vo), in which he maintained the American origin of the disease. He then studied for a winter in London, and settled in the following year at Durham, but removed to London by the advice of Sir William Knighton in 1812. He became a licentiate of the College of Physicians on 22 Dec. 1812, and was elected a fellow on 25 June 1823. On 25 April 1825 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He delivered the Harveian oration in 1847, was elected physician to the Middlesex Hospital on 17 Aug. 1815 and held office till April 1827. He was appointed physician in ordinary to George IV in 1823, in 1830 physician extraordinary to Queen Adelaide, and in 1833 lord chancellor's visitor in lunacy. He became a commissioner in lunacy in September 1836, and was Gresham professor of medicine from 1834 to 1865. On 16 June 1847 he was created hon. D.C.L. at Oxford. He lived in Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square, died on 13 June 1865, and was buried in Highgate cemetery.

His wife Louisa died in January 1830, leaving seven young children (Southey, Life and Corresp. vi. 84–5; Gent. Mag. 1830, i. 281).

Southey published in 1814 ‘Observations on Pulmonary Consumption’ (London, 8vo). The work does not contain much of permanent value, but is written in good English. When recommending the observation of the state of the pupil, he curiously remarks: ‘In the employment of the iris the porter and the peeress are alike;’ but good sense and considerable medical reading are obvious in most parts of the book. He also wrote the life of Gooch in the ‘Lives of British Physicians,’ published in 1830 [see Macmichael, William], and made contributions to periodical publications.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. iii. 272; works; Quarterly Rev. lxxiii. 35 et sqq.; Lancet, 1865, i. 665; Gent. Mag. 1865, ii. 125; Robberd's Memoir of William Taylor of Norwich, containing his Correspondence with R. Southey, 1843.]

N. M.

SOUTHEY, ROBERT (1774–1843), poet, historian, and miscellaneous author, was born at Bristol on 12 Aug. 1774. His father, Robert Southey, a linendraper, was the son of a farmer at Lydiard St. Lawrence, in the Quantock Hills, and was descended from a great clothier who lived at Wellington, Somerset, about the beginning of the seventeenth century. His mother, Margaret Hill, belonged to a good Herefordshire family. Southey was in a considerable degree brought up at Bath by his aunt, Miss Elizabeth Tyler, his mother's half-sister, a lady endowed with personal attractions, ambitious ideas, and an imperious temper. Southey before he was eight had read all the plays in her library, and attempted dramatic composition himself. By a somewhat later date he had composed epics on Brutus the Trojan, Egbert, and Cassibelaunus, and was enthralled by Spenser. After attending minor schools at Corston and at Bristol, he was sent in April 1788 to Westminster, where he made little progress in ordinary school learning, but nourished his mind with out-of-the-way reading. One of his favourite books was Picart's ‘Religious Ceremonies,’ which gave him the idea of a series of heroic poems embodying the essence of the principal mythologies of the world, a project partly carried out in ‘Thalaba’ and ‘Kehama.’ After four years' stay he was privately expelled in 1792 for a misdemeanour for which he deserved honour, a protest against excessive flogging made in a school magazine entitled ‘The Flagellant.’ One copy has survived in the British Museum, fulfilling his wish that testimony should remain that his expulsion involved nothing discreditable. His aunt, now living at Bristol, took his part; and his mother's brother, the Rev. Herbert Hill, chaplain at the Lisbon factory, sent him to Oxford. Christ Church rejected him on the ground of the Westminster incident, but at Michaelmas 1792 he found a haven at Balliol (he matriculated on 3 Nov.) ‘Mr. Southey,’ said his tutor, ‘you won't learn anything by my lectures; so, if you have any studies of your own, you had better pursue them.’ According to Southey's own account, the only university studies he did pursue were swimming and boating. He nevertheless tempered his youthful-enthusiasm for Werther and Rousseau by a course of Epictetus, and in the long vacation sat down to write an epic on Joan of Arc as the most appropriate method he could find of celebrating the French Revolution. The execution of the Girondins in October 1793 chilled his ardour, and he fell for a time into despondency, aggravated by uncertainty as to his future course in life. His father had died about the time of his matriculation, leaving his affairs greatly embarrassed. His uncle and mother wished him to take orders,