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

2374. Robert Southey to John Murray, 29 January 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. 29 Jany. 1814.

My dear Sir

The long-looked for parcel arrived yesterday, & yesterday also came a letter from Duppa, in consequence of which I have just conveyed to Mr Gifford an intimation of my intention to review the Junius pamphlett &c. [1]  Let me have Woodfalls Junius, [2]  & as many publications upon the subject as you can collect. I shall be particularly glad of a paper written by Mr Butler & printed in the Gentlemans Magazine, in which he has with that legal acuteness which distinguishes him, explained what are the circumstances which must meet in the writer of Junius. [3]  In what number it is to be found I do not know, Turner probably can tell.

The question is a matter of literary curiosity, – beyond this I confess that I take no interest in it. But I shall like to say something xxx upon party & political morality. What a task has Mackintosh undertaken! [4]  If there be a portion of history without any relief in it, it is that which he has chosen.

May I ask who is the author of the Missionary? I am very much pleased with it, – so much so that I would willingly do him a good turn in your review. [5] 

Now that the Nelsoniana are arrived I shall immediately make the necessary corrections & insertions & send you the book in the course of next week. [6] 

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 1 FE 1/ 1814
Endorsement: Southey Rot Esqr / 29 Jany 18
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Junius was the pseudonym used by the author – or authors – of a series of letters published in the Public Advertiser between 21 January 1769 and 21 January 1772. The letters took a high Whig line. They opposed the policies of the government and the king and were generally supportive of those of the ex-Prime Minister George Grenville (1712–1770; DNB) and of the radical politician John Wilkes (1725–1797; DNB). There was, from the outset, much debate as to the identity of their author or authors. In 1813 Duppa’s Memoirs by a Celebrated Literary and Political Character had attempted to prove Richard Glover (1712–1785; DNB) was the author of Junius’s letters. Duppa defended himself against his critics in an anonymous pamphlet, An Inquiry Concerning the Author of the Letters of Junius, with Reference to the Memoirs by a Celebrated Literary and Political Character (1814). Southey was proposing to review the latter. BACK

[2] Henry Sampson Woodfall (1739–1805; DNB) owned the Public Advertiser in which the Junius letters appeared. Many editions of the letters were published in book form from 1772 onwards. Southey may be referring to Junius: including letters by the same writer, under other signatures, (now first collected) (1812) by John Mason Good (1764–1827; DNB). BACK

[3] Possibly a reference to a letter by the eminent Catholic lawyer, Charles Butler (1750–1832; DNB), ‘Junius’s Letters’, Anti-Jacobin Review, 3 (July 1799) 346–349; or to Samuel Butler (1774–1839; DNB), Headmaster of Shrewsbury School’s, letter in Gentleman’s Magazine, 83 (August 1813), 99. BACK

[4] It was widely advertised at this time that Sir James Mackintosh (1765–1832; DNB) ‘is preparing a History of Great Britain, from the Revolution in 1688 to the French Revolution in 1789, which is expected to extend to four quarto volumes’, e.g. The Scots Magazine and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany, 76 (January 1814), 52. This work finally became part of Mackintosh’s History of England from the Earliest Times to the Final Establishment of the Reformation (1830). BACK

[5] Murray had published William Lisle Bowles, The Missionary; A Poem (1813). Southey did not review it for the Quarterly. BACK

[6] Southey was making corrections to the second edition of the Life of Nelson, published by Murray later in 1814. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013