2347. Robert Southey to John Murray, 14 December 1813

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

2347. Robert Southey to John Murray, 14 December 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. Dec 14. 1813

My dear Sir

The last campaign [1]  affords good matter for a summary narration, & for reflections upon what good may now be expected to result from so many years of convulsion, havoc & misery.

My Ode, or rather Carmen Annuum (for so I have called <it> that something answering the common notion of an Ode may not be expected) will appear in a separate pamphlet on New Years Day. [2]  I have hinted to Longman that our History [3]  might perhaps with advantage be announced at the end of this publication: – & if the points in discussion between you are not xxx definitively settled, – they may be waived on this occasion, by xxx xx xx for what is required here is to say that such a work is in hand, & give the introductory xxx prospectus, – leaving the manner of publication &c for future notice, – & making this first announcement from the author alone. – Of course I care for this no otherwise than as such an announcement may give publicity to the design, – & if there be any possible objection to it, however slight it may be it will overweigh any desire I can have upon the subject.

You were kind enough to say you would make up the set of the Somers Tracts which Scott sent me thro Ballantyne. [4]  The volumes which I have received are the 1st. 2d. 4th. 8th & 9th. – Will you also send me the Quarterlies from No 16 inclusive, as I have transferred these later numbers to my brother.

M. Staels is a delightful book. [5]  She has studied in a good school, & when she knows as much of England as she does of Germany, she will rank as high in the moral, but low in the intellectual scale. I could say much to her on this subject

I have Duppas last edition of his pamphlet on the Copyright question, [6]  & will procure the Reports of the Committee. [7]  I have also Turners pamphlett. [8]  Send me any thing else, & I will do my best to expose the impudent injustice of this barefaced robbery. [9] 

believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E 17 DE 17 1813
Watermark: C WILMOTT/ 1807
Endorsement: Southey R. Esqr/ 14 Decr 1813
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. the final defeat of French forces in Spain in 1813, which would be covered in Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[2] Southey’s first official poem, published as Carmen Triumphale in a quarto of 30 pages on 1 January 1814. BACK

[3] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[4] Scott was the editor of John Somers, Baron Somers (1651–1716; DNB), A Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts, published in 13 volumes from 1809–1815. Southey’s copy was no. 2613 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[5] Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein (1766–1817), De l’Allemagne (1813). Southey had met de Staël in London earlier in 1813 and she had presented him with a copy; no. 2731 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[6] Richard Duppa, An Address to the Parliament of Great Britain on the claims of Authors to their own Copyright (1813). It went into four editions in the year of its publication. BACK

[7] The reports published by the House of Commons committee set up in 1813 to examine the law on copyright. BACK

[8] Sharon Turner, Reasons for a modification of the Act of Anne respecting the delivery of books, and copyright (1813). BACK

[9] Southey objected to the existing law of copyright, established in 1710, which only guaranteed an author copyright for 14 years (28 years if they lived that long) and required 11 copies of all works to be given to public and university libraries. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013

People mentioned

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)