1824. Robert Southey to Manuel Abella, 7 November 1810

1824. Robert Southey to Manuel Abella, 7 November 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. Nov. 7. 1810.

Dear Sir

Tho it is only once in my life that I have had the pleasure of seeing you, even that acquaintance I hope will justify me in addressing you at present, upon a subject whereon your opinions & wishes & hopes accord with my own. I am engaged to write the historical part of the Edinburgh Annual Register [1]  a task which I was induced to undertake by xx my deep & ardent interest for the Spaniards, & a desire of assisting, as far as was in my power, to counteract the base calumnies & cowardly system of the Edinburgh Review, & the Opposition. [2]  For the first year of this war in the peninsula the documents happened to be tolerably full, – for the second they fell short. I can obtain no other details of the second siege of Zaragoza, [3]  & that of Gerona [4]  than what the <English> newspapers supply afford. Now it has occurred to me that you might perhaps assist me. Can you obtain for me, of put me in the way of obtaining, a series of Spanish papers or journals, of any kind, the farther back the better, [5]  – & can you instruct me how to obtain a regular supply of them for the future? – It was stated in the Times that they had received a copious diary of the siege of Gerona. [6] 

It would be in the highest degree gratifying as well as useful to me, if you could procure me this document.

I would apologize for the liberty which I am taking, if on such a subject apology were needful to a man of letters & a true friend of what may truly be called the good cause. And I will not omit this opportunity of thanking you for the service which you have rendered that cause in some of the ablest & most valuable communications that ever did honour to the English journals.

Believe me

yrs with true respect

Robert Southey.


* Address: Em. Abella Esq./ Secretary to the Exxxx Spanish Extraordinary Embassy/ 3 Leicester Square/ London
Endorsed: Nov. 7. 1810/ Robt Southey/ introduction to Abella
MS: Dr Williams’s Library, Crabb Robinson MSS. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809 (1811). BACK

[2] The Whigs, who were doubtful about supporting the Spanish opposition to the French invasion; and the Edinburgh Review, a quarterly journal, founded in 1802, which generally agreed with the Whigs. BACK

[3] The Spanish city of Zaragoza had been besieged in 1808 and 1809. It fell to the French on 20 February 1809 after an outbreak of disease. For Southey’s accounts of the first and second sieges, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.1 (1810), 306–321; and Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 508–527. BACK

[4] The city of Gerona had fallen to the French on 11 December 1809 after a siege of nearly seven months. For Southey’s account see Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 728–744. BACK

[5] This appeal was the foundation of Southey’s 24 volumes of Spanish Gazetas, 1808–1813, no. 3472 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[6] Southey did eventually obtain a copy of Juan Andres Nieto Samaniego (fl. 1810), Memorial Historica de los Sucesos mas Notables de Armas y Estado de la Salud Publica Durante el Ultimo Sitio de la Plaza de Gerona (1810). It has not been possible to trace the report in The Times. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)