2733. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman & Co, 8 March 1816

2733. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman & Co, 8 March 1816⁠* 

Keswick, March 8. 1816.

My dear Sir,

I have two matters of business to propose for your consideration. I believe I mentioned to you, in town, the death of a young Cantabrigian, in whom I had taken much interest. [1]  His papers (poems) are in my hands, and, in my judgment, a selection from them will do honour to his memory. They will not have the religious interest of Kirke White’s“Remains,” [2]  neither do they display so much correctness; but certainly there is as much power and as much promise. In the way of memoir, I do not know that there will be much to say. He was the eldest of a very large family; the father a half-pay officer, in very straitened circumstances. [3]  Of course, the publication is with his approbation; but it remains to be seen what circumstances of his son’s short life he would choose to have stated. Be that as it may, there will be enough of general matter bearing upon the particular subject to make an introduction. He was highly respected in his college, and known enough at Cambridge to have excited some interest there; with this, and with my name, there can, I think, be little risk in venturing one volume, the size of K. White’s; the title, “The Remains of James Dusautoy, late of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; with an Introduction, by R. S.,” &c. My own judgment of these papers is sanctioned by Wordsworth. Should you be willing to undertake the publication, upon our usual terms, I should wish you to communicate your assent to Captain James Dusautoy, Totness, Devonshire, and account with him for the eventual profits. [4]  I may hint to you, that it is desirable the letter should be franked. [5] 

The second point of business relates to a volume of “Travels in Brazil,” by Henry Koster, a friend of mine who resided six years in that country, and went to it with the advantage of speaking Portuguese as his own tongue, being an English-Lisboner by birth. The line of his travels was from Pernambuco to Ceara, besides occasional excursions, and a voyage to Maranham. The manner of his narration is plain and unaffected; and the picture which it gives of the state of society in that country is highly curious. In quantity, I should suppose it would make such a volume as Mawe’s; [6]  and he has some four or five drawings of costumes, which would make good coloured prints. [7]  In the second sheet of the “Pilgrimage” there are three stanzas relating to Koster and his travels. [8]  I did not know that he had any intention of publishing them when those lines were written; but the quotation might have its use in announcing the book, and I should, of course, notice it as soon as it appeared, in the “Quarterly.” [9] 

Pople is printing the “Pilgrimage” much to my satisfaction. The poem extends considerably beyond my estimate, but will not be the worse for its length.

Believe me, yours very truly,

Robert Southey.


* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856)
Previously published: John Wood Warter, Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 15–16. BACK

[1] Dusautoy had first written to Southey at the beginning of 1813, enclosing some of his poems and asking advice about publishing them. Southey replied (the letter does not survive) and Dusautoy in turn wrote back. For the reply to this second letter see Robert Southey to James Dusautoy, 12 February 1813, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Four, Letter 2220. Southey had encouraged Dusautoy to study at Cambridge, using his contacts to ease his path. Dusautoy had succumbed to an epidemic ravaging the University city. BACK

[2] Southey’s Remains of Henry Kirke White (1807); it went into a seventh edition in 1816. BACK

[3] James Du Sautoy (1761–1859) had retired from his post as a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines in 1798. He was barrack-master of the cavalry at Totnes 1803–1822. BACK

[4] The ‘usual terms’ were that any profits were equally divided between Longmans and Southey. In this case, the profits would go to Dusautoy’s family. This discussion proved to be fruitless as Southey eventually abandoned the proposed edition. BACK

[5] A tactful way of ensuring that the letter’s recipient, James Du Sautoy, did not have to pay for postage. BACK

[6] The comparison is with John Mawe (1764–1829; DNB), Travels in the Interior of Brazil, particularly in the Gold and Diamond Districts of that Country, including a Voyage to the Rio de la Plata (1812), also published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown. BACK

[7] Koster’s Travels in Brazil (1816) contained 10 plates, though none was coloured. BACK

[8] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816), Part One, Book 1, ‘Flanders’, stanzas 38–40. BACK

[9] Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown published Koster’s Travels in Brazil in 1816. Southey reviewed it in Quarterly Review, 16 (January 1817), 344–387. BACK

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