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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2241. Robert Southey to John Murray, 7 April 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. April 7. 1813

My dear Sir

This evening I have received your draft for one hundred guineas, – for the copy-right of the Life of Nelson. [1]  I thank you for it, & I thank you also for your promise of a similar sum, in case a second edition of the work should be printed. – The one & twenty-pounder volume, [2]  with the other books which supplied materials for this narrative, will be sent off tomorrow by the waggon.

The articles upon the Faroe Islands [3]  & Iceland [4]  would advantageously be melted down & recast in your proposed work, [5]  – & there is some gold-lace of mine in the Annual Review [6]  which would burn well for the same purpose. The plan is so much to my inclination, & accords so well with my daily course of reading (for I have some scores of volumes marked as if they had been perused expressly for this purpose) – that I shall without delay prepare a note-book to lie upon my table from this time forth.

The most natural arrangement seems to be to begin with Egypt as the oldest country, & make Africa the first division of the work, then Asia Europe & America, placing perhaps the newly discovered parts of the Pacific at the end. – if this arrangement were adopted

This will no doubt soon shape itself in my mind, – xx indeed I have already taken a “Pisgah view” of the road, [7]  & when the form of publication is settled I shall not be backward in setting to work.

The brick & mortar for the Dissenters is collected, & I shall directly begin to build. [8] 

believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey


Notes

* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 10 AP 10/ 1813
Watermark: C WILMOTT/ 1807
Endorsement: 1813 April 7th/ Southey Robt
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[2] James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB) and John McArthur (1755–1840; DNB), The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. from his Lordship’s Manuscripts (1809). Southey’s estimates of its weight varied between 20 and 21 pounds. BACK

[3] Southey’s review of Jörgen Landt (c. 1753–1804), A Description of the Feroe Islands … Translated from the Danish (1810), Quarterly Review, 4 (November 1810), 333–342. BACK

[4] Southey’s review of Sir George Steuart Mackenzie (1780–1848; DNB), Travels in the Island of Iceland, in the Summer of the Year 1810 (1811) and Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865; DNB), Journal of a Tour in Iceland, in the Summer of 1809 (1811), Quarterly Review, 7 (March 1812), 48–92. BACK

[5] Murray had proposed Southey write ‘A View of the World’; see Southey to John Murray, 31 March 1813, Letter 2238. The project never came to fruition. BACK

[6] i.e. some of the articles Southey had produced for the Annual Review between 1803 and 1809. BACK

[7] i.e. a view from a high place, an overview; Deuteronomy 34: 1. BACK

[8] Southey’s review of David Bogue (1750–1825; DNB) and James Bennet (1774–1862; DNB), The History of Dissenters, from the Revolution in 1688–to the Year 1808 (1812); Walter Wilson (1781–1847; DNB), History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches (1808–1814); Neal’s History of the Puritans (1812), Quarterly Review, 10 (October 1813), 90–139. BACK

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August 2013