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

2266. Robert Southey to John Murray, 5 June 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. June 5th. 1813

My dear Sir

Your letter reached me when I was from home, freshening myself with needful exercise & change of air.

First of the history. [1]  My scope is not merely Lord Wellingtons campaigns, but the whole war, or rather the whole history civil, political & military, of Spain & Portugal from the commencement of Buonapartes machinations in 1807. I have many Spanish documents, & shall renew my efforts to obtain more, with the best prospects of success. Respecting Aragon & Zaragoza, the Countess Bureta [2]  & her husband D Pedro Maria Ric [3]  will procure me the best materials. Cabanes who published two parts of an excellent account of the operations in Catalonia, has sent me the third part in manuscript, [4]  – having I fear suspended its further publication. A priest at Coruña whom I knew 18 years ago, [5]  has been the great instrument in keeping up the spirit of Galicia by his writings, – to him I shall apply without delay; – & at Lisbon I have sources of information open, English & Portugueze.

From the beginning of 1810 I have the Regency Gazettes compleat, & a considerable collection of provincial papers, – filling indeed eight volumes. [6]  But I have no papers of 1808 & only an imperfect set for 1809. Neither have I the Semanario Patriotico, [7]  the first volume of which I believe will contain very valuable historical matierals, – the second (which I have seen) is rich in them.

The Regency Gazettes contain ample matter about the Guerillas, [8]  & I believe more may be collected found here in England at the war office, – xx xxx {where} Col. Bunbury will probably be willing to assist me; – we were school-fellows & chamber-fellows. – I have knowledge enough of Mr Frere to justify me in making a direct application to him, – & Mr Canning I should hope would apply for us to Marquis Wellesley, – to whom indeed I have means of access thro his son in law Mr Littleton.

I have the debates of the Cortes, [9]  except the 2d. volume, which I expect by every packet. – Lord Holland knows me, & I have no doubt will lend me any materials of which he may be possessed.

The subject will bear two quartos, & in that compass (say 600 pages to the volume) may well be comprized upon the proper scale. What estimate to place upon it you can better tell than I, – for you best know that what extent of sale may reasonably be calculated upon. For the Register [10]  I have received 400£ per volume, – the quantity would be little different. – With regard to time a year a volume will suffice.

Would it increase the sale of the book, as well as the value, if views & portraits were given as head & tail pieces to the chapters? I can supply a few original drawings, – & others may easily be found.

As soon as I have finished the Register & the Dissenters [11]  I shall turn my face southward, & probably reach London the first, or at latest the second week in July. – You see therefore that one article will be all I can supply, – but I will willingly undertake Penn. [12]  The Spanish Ballads [13]  only stand over, – I have begun both upon them, & the richer subject of Chalmers’ Collection, [14]  – for the Spanish Ballads are not interesting in themselves: the best thing I can do will be to insert a few characteristic translations of the best of the different species. – I believe I can borrow Penns works in this neighbourhood – they will be indispensible in reviewing his life, – & I think also that I can write an Inscription for a monument at Philadelphia [15]  which may not be unworthy of the subject.

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 8 JU 8/ 1813
Watermark: C WILMOTT/ 1807
Endorsement: 1813 June 5th/ Southey. R
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551
Unpublished. BACK

[1] History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[2] María de la Consolación Azlor y Villavicencio (1775–1814), a Spanish aristocrat who took an active role in the two sieges of Zaragoza in 1808–1809. BACK

[3] The Spanish aristocrat and politician Pedro Maria Ric y Monserrat, Baron de Valdeolivos (1776–1831). He had married the Countess of Bureta in 1808. BACK

[4] Francisco Xavier de Cabanes (1781–1834), Historia de las Operaciones des Exercito de Catalune en la Guerra de la Usurpacion (1809), all three volumes (two printed and one MS) were no. 3816 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[5] Manuel Pardo de Andrade (1760–1832), priest, journalist and poet. He had roused the Galicians against the French through his paper, Diario de la Coruna. Southey had met him in 1795–1796, see Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (Bristol, 1797), pp. 22–23. BACK

[6] Southey’s collection eventually ran to 24 volumes of Spanish Gazetas, 1808–1813, no. 3472 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[7] El Semanario Patriótico, a periodical in Seville edited by Blanco White, 1808–1810. It criticised the French invasion, promoted the fight for Spanish independence and denounced religious dogmatism. BACK

[8] Irregular Spanish forces who resisted the French invasion, 1808–1813. BACK

[9] Diario de las Discusiones y Actas de las Cortes, 18 vols (1810–1813), no. 3288 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[11] 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

[12] Thomas Clarkson, Memoirs of the Private and Public Life of William Penn (1813). Southey did not review it for the Quarterly, although he could have consulted it for his reviews of histories of dissent, Quarterly Review, 10 (October 1813), 90–139. BACK

[13] Southey did not write on this subject for the Quarterly. BACK

[14] Alexander Chalmers (1759–1834; DNB), The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper (1810), reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review, 11 (July 1814), 480–504; and Quarterly Review, 12 (October 1814), 60–90. BACK

[15] The inscription was not written. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013