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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1721. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 14 December 1809 ⁠* 

My dear Danvers

The Box arrived this evening, – the Dolls safe, & nothing the worse for keeping, except I fear the seeds, which are very damp. Mrs Lovell seems however to think them chiefly old acquaintance of no great rarity, so that her regret is the less.

There are some books in Gutchs Catalogue of which I shall be glad, if they are not sold. [1] 

464. Anglorum Prælia, [2] 
2062. Estes Journey. [3] 
2476. Catel. Hist. des Comtes de Toulouse, [4]  (the very book I suspect concerning which Emery & Lansdowne [5]  played me so dirty a trick at the Deans sale.)
2594. Hist. de Charles VI. [6] 
2598. Hist. de Jeanne ‘d Arc. [7] 
2602. Hist. de la derniere Revolution. [8] 

When you have purchased these let me know the sum total of my debt to you & I will send you a draft to the amount. The books may wait awhile, for the convenience of the memories down stairs, – they probably may recollect some commissions for Martha in the course of a few days, – but it is x advisable to lose no time in securing them.

Give my daughters thanks to Hort, & mine also. I will write to him very shortly.

I am very very very busy. My first volume will be out in about two months. [9]  I am not more than half thro the Register work. [10]  Kehama is going to press, [11]  – & yesterday I received a letter from Gifford requesting me to review the great Life of Nelson, xxx & offering me 20 guineas a sheet to do it, & hoping I would make if fill three sheets. [12]  So you see I am beginning at last to reap the fruits of reputation. This is a curious circumstance in itself, – for I should have thought myself well paid at the usual price of ten guineas a sheet, & this Gifford knows very well, – but it answers better to the Proprietor to give me as much again for the sake of saying that they pay so much, – it being the fashion & the folly of the English people to estimate things according to their price & not their intrinsic value, I am cert quite willing to accommodate them by being paid as highly as they please.

My Uncle takes Streatham, & resigns his Herefordshire preferment, persuaded to this by the advice of his friends, in opposition to his own judgement. Streatham is valued at 1000£ a year. It will suit me in many respects to have him near London. He expects to remove there in the summer.

Tom has got the American Madoc for me, & it is on its way. [13]  You will I think like my reviewal of the American Annals in the 4th Quarterly. [14]  There should be about half a guineas worth in it taken out of a two penny duck which I purchased seven years ago upon Christmas Street steps. [15]  You will probably recollect it, – John the Servant of the Lamb who used to query the Pope as he called it. [16] 

The Life of Nelson is by Stanier Clarke, [17]  whose presumption in laying unhallowed hands xxx {upon} such a subject I am desired x not to spare. You may remember my reviewal of the Arch Quacks Hist. of Maritime Discovery in the 2d Annual. [18]  For that article he revenged himself by reviewing Madoc in the Monthly, so I strongly suspect, [19]  & upon that sort of evidence which leaves me no doubt concerning it, he is now delivered over to be tormented.

God bless you. I have written with a sick head-ache, which has prevented me from going out to spend the evening, – & now I shall amuse myself with warm & water & a feather. What a pity that a Gentleman with so sweet a temper, – should have so sour a stomach belonging to it! but my bouts (as you call them) are not like yours. I suffer comparatively nothing, – & when I am not can bring forth an occasional pun, – when I am not bringing up any thing else.

Remember me to Rex

yrs as ever

R Southey

Dec. 14. 1809


Notes

* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol./ Single
Endorsements: 180 1809/ Decr 14 –
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Items 2062, 2476, 2594 and 2598 have ticks against them in the lefthand margin. BACK

[2] Christopher Ocland (d. c. 1590; DNB), Anglorum Praelia (1582); no. 2051 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Charles Este (1753–1829), A Journey in the Year 1793: Through Flanders, Brabant, and Germany (1795); no. 1010 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Guillaume Catel (1590–1626), Histoire des Comtes de Tolose (1623), no. 683 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s Library. BACK

[5] Emery (first name and dates unknown) and Lansdowne (first name and dates unknown), a Bristol bookselling and printing business. BACK

[6] P. A. La Lande (dates unknown), Histoire de l’Empereur Charles VI (1743); no. 1591 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[7] Probably Nicolas Lenglet Du Fresnoy (1674–1755), Histoire de Jeanne d’Arc (1775); Southey’s copy was no. 868 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[8] Francois Bernier (1620–1688), Histoire de la Derniere Revolution des Etats du Grand Mogol (1670–1671). BACK

[9] The first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil was published in 1810. BACK

[10] Southey was contributing the ‘History of Europe’ for 1808–1810 in James Ballantyne’s Edinburgh Annual Register, which was published from 1810–1812. BACK

[11] Southey’s poem, The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[12] Southey’s review of John Charnock (1756–1806; DNB), Biographical Memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, &c., &c., &c.; with Observations, Critical and Explanatory (1806); James Harrison (d. 1847), The Life of Lord Nelson (1806); T. O. Churchill (fl. 1800–1823), The Life of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, &c (1808); and James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB) and John McArthur (1755–1840; DNB), The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. from his Lordship’s Manuscripts (1809), see Quarterly Review, 3 (February 1810), 218–262. It was later expanded into a full-scale Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[13] Madoc: A Poem was published in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1806. BACK

[14] Southey reviewed Abiel Holmes (1763–1837), American Annals; or, a Chronological History of America, from its Discovery in 1492 to 1806 in the Quarterly Review, 2 (November 1809), 319–337. BACK

[15] A street north of College Green in Bristol. BACK

[16] Southey tells the story of John Perrot (d. 1665), ‘the follower of the Lamb’, who in 1658 when a Quaker went to Rome to convert the Pope and was imprisoned by the Inquisition, on pp. 318–319 of his review of Holmes in the Quarterly. He was drawing on Perrot’s cheap unbound publication (or ‘duck’), Battering Rams against Rome, or the battle of John, the Follower of the Lamb, fought with the Pope and his Priests, whilst he was a Prisoner in the Inquisition Prison of Rome: also a certain Remonstrance of Righteous Reason, written in Rome’s Prison of Madmen, unto all Rome’s Rulers (1661). BACK

[17] See note 12. BACK

[18] Southey reviewed Clarke’s The Progress of Maritime Discovery, from the Earliest Period to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, Forming an Extensive System of Hydrography (1803), in the Annual Review for 1803, 2 (1804), 12–20. BACK

[19] It was actually John Ferriar (1761–1815; DNB) who reviewed Madoc (1805) in the Monthly Review, 48 (October 1805), 113–122. BACK

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August 2013