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

2644. Robert Southey to John Murray, 14 August 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick. 14 Aug. 1815

My dear Sir

I will return both the Waterloo letters [1]  in a day or two: for the battle I shall be well provided both with public & private materials, & the present state of France gives matter enough to wind up with. – The former part of the article may be the better if you send me the concluding numbers of the Military Panorama, xxxx I have {them} as far as No xv for December 1813. [2]  – & Beauchamps Narrative of the Invasion of France. [3]  It is remarkable that we have no English account of any of Lord Wellingtons proceedings later than the siege of Burgos, [4]  except a journal of the siege of St Sebastians [5]  in Col: Jones’s book. [6] 

The title of Elliotts Life of Wellington should have been given at full length before the article, – because the first word sentence alludes to it, & appears unjust & irrelevant from the omission. [7]  – I have no time for Albania at present, – it must stand over the for the next number, [8]  – for while the xxx one in hand is in the press I shall most probably run over to Brussells & Waterloo, – tempted by a favourable opportunity xxxx xxx xx xxx xx xxx This may perhaps be in time for me to xxx {make} some corrections & additions which may travel to you by post.

Paris is in a fearful state. France seems likely to be converted into one La Vendee. I believe our measures are to be vigorous, – but they ought also to be speedy. [9] 

Mrs Wilmot [10]  has been here & introduced me to Lord Lynedoch [11]  I was much pleased with both.

Believe me my dear Sir

yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 17 AU 17/ 1815
Watermark: J DICKINSON & Co/ 1811
Endorsement: Augt 14 1815/ Robert Southey
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had been commissioned to write a second review article on Wellington, capitalising on public interest following Waterloo. He reviewed the following for 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), Battle of Waterloo (1815). BACK

[2] The Military Panorama (1812–1817), nos. 1847–1848 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Alphonse de Beauchamp (1767–1832), An Authentic Narrative of the Invasion of France in 1814 (1815); Southey obtained a copy, no. 139 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[4] The siege of Burgos, 19 September-21 October 1812, saw an allied army fail to capture the castle from a French garrison. BACK

[5] Allied forces under Wellington captured the city of San Sebastian on 8 September 1813, after a two-month siege. BACK

[6] John Thomas Jones (1783–1843; DNB), Journal of Sieges Carried on by the Allies in Spain in 1810, 1811, and 1812 (1814). This was highly critical of the tactics and mechanics of sieges conducted by the British and their allies in the Peninsular campaign, in which Jones had served. BACK

[7] The omission appeared in Southey’s review of 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. BACK

[8] Southey had proposed an article on Albania for the Quarterly; see Southey to John Murray, 1 July 1815, Letter 2628. This was not written. BACK

[9] La Vendee was a famously royalist region of western France and Southey is suggesting that a furiously anti-Bonapartist reaction was gripping France – a statement that was certainly true of some regions. BACK

[10] Possibly Barbarina Wilmot (later Lady Dacre) (1768–1854; DNB), poet and playwright. BACK

[11] The army officer and leading figure in the Peninsular War, Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch (1748–1843; DNB). BACK

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August 2013