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

2614. Robert Southey to John May, 12 June 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick. 12 June 1815

My dear friend

I have transcribed for you the introduction to the Poem, [1]  which I shall have the pleasure of inscribing to you; – you shall have the poem as it proceeds, in the for same form, which has the convenience of being in a frankable shape. I copied the whole of Kehama [2]  in this manner for my brother Tom when he was at sea & the books went regularly to him in poor Mr Percevals franks.

I have been very close at work for this Quarterly, – which will, or ought to have two long articles of mine, – one upon the French Expedition to Egypt, [3]  – the other upon a Life of Ld Wellington. [4]  But the press has not stood still with the Brazil: history [5]  on this account; – with this great work I am in good forwardness & getting on well. Henry Koster has brought me a MSS. from Pernambuco of considerable value. [6]  At present I am compleating the account of the Jesuit establishments in Paraguay, [7]  – the next Chapter in order, that {for} the Printer. A very interesting portion will follow this, – Vieyras efforts in behalf of the Indians of Maranham. [8] 

Mr Walpoles Memoir; [9]  – – I have & made but little progress, – & should be ashamed to say so, if idleness had been the cause. But I shall soon take it seriously in hand: Had there been his official correspondence from Portugal, as there is from France where it is of no importance, the thing would have been easy. But his transcripts from the letters of his predecessors give me a great deal of information.

Have you parted with your house yet? – Remember, I count upon a visit from you when you are settled in the country London, & the season urges you into the country. We are all well thank God. Remember us to Mrs May & believe me my dear friend

Yrs very affectionately

Robert Southey


Notes

* Address: To/ John May Esqre./ [remainder in unknown hand] Tavistock Street/ Bedford
Stamped: Two Py Post/ Unpaid/ N.Oxford St
Postmark: 7o’Clock/ 14.JU/ 1815N.t
Endorsement: No. 180 1815/ Robert Southey/ Keswick 12th June/ recd. 14th do/ ansd 16th do
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin
Previously published: Charles Ramos, The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 144. BACK

[1] Southey is probably referring here to either The Tale of Paraguay (1825) or to the unfinished ‘Oliver Newman’. BACK

[2] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[3] Jacques François Miot (1779–1858), Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire des Expéditions en Egypte et en Syrie (1814), Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 1–55. BACK

[4] Southey reviewed George Elliott (dates unknown), The Life of the Most Noble Arthur Duke of Wellington, from the Period of his first Achievements in India, down to his Invasion of France, and the Peace of Paris in 1814 (1814), Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 215–275. He went on to review a series of books relating to Wellington in the Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526: Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815); Jean Sarrazin (1770–1848), Histoire de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1807 à 1814 (1814); General View of the Political State of France, and of the Government of Louis XVIII (1815); An Answer to the Calumniators of Louis XVIII (1815); Official Accounts of the Battle of Waterloo (1815); Lieutenant-General W. A. Scott (dates unknown), An Authentic Narrative of the Late Sanguinary Battle on the Plains of Waterloo (1815). BACK

[5] The second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil, eventually published in 1817. BACK

[6] Probably a narrative of the Mascate War, or ‘War of the Peddlers’ in Pernambuco in 1710–1711, ‘transcribed from the original mauscript’. Koster was thanked for providing Southey with this work in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, p. vi. It appears as ‘Guerra Civil ou Sedissoens de Pernambuco Exemplo Memoravel aos vindouros 1710’, no. 3840 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s Library. BACK

[7] History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, pp. 333–380. BACK

[8] Antonio Vieira (1608–1697), Portuguese Jesuit. He was variously a diplomat, missionary and writer and vigorously promoted the series of Jesuit ‘Reductions’, or settlements, in South America in 1653–1661. See Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, pp. 449–538. BACK

[9] Robert Walpole (1736–1810), Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal, 1771–1800. Southey has been asked to write a memoir of him, but did not do so. BACK

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August 2013