2235. Robert Southey to John Murray, 24 March 1813

2235. Robert Southey to John Murray, 24 March 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. March 24. 1813.

My dear Sir

There are but two proofs more of Nelson [1]  to reach me; will you therefore have the goodness to get the preceding sheets, – beginning with xxx xxx the eleventh of the first volume, – franked to my brother Capt Southey, St Helens, Auckland, – & he will detect in time any of those blunders, into which it is so possible that I may have fallen, in spite of the utmost care that a full & constant sense of this danger could inspire.

Mr Gifford will have told you what are my wishes about Coleridges play. [2]  When I wrote to you about it I had not seen the reviewal of the Rejected Addresses. [3]  I meant to have shown what were the characteristics of Coleridges poetry, & in so doing to have exposed the absurdity of those critics who have confounded classed together those writers so utterly unlike as he & Wordsworth & myself, for the convenience of abuse. But this I cannot do without the most obviously contradicting the opinion expressed by the reviewer of the Rejected Addresses. – xxx My feelings upon the subject would be clearly understood by what I said to Mr Gifford, – that if the tragedy were not noticed in the Quarterly, or noticed with an unfriendly spirit, there are some persons in the xx who would impute it to envy on my part, or xx even to worse motives. [4] 

You will probably either have the Poets [5]  or the Dissenters [6]  from me for your next number, – & perhaps a few pages about the Nicobar Islands [7]  for which I have collected all the information that my books can afford.

Thank you for the Memoirs concerning Persia: [8]  a good book & of singular peculiar interest to one who have for more than twelve years planned a poem upon the old Persian mythology. [9] 

believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 27 MA 27/ 1813
Watermark: C WILMOTT/ 1807
Endorsement: 1813 March 24th/ Southey Robt
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 51–52. BACK

[1] The Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[2] Remorse (1813). On 31 January 1813 (Letter 2214) Southey had asked Murray if he could review it, thus capitalising on the success of its run at Drury Lane, London, 23 January-12 February 1813. BACK

[3] Croker’s review of The Genuine Rejected Addresses Presented to the Committee of Management for Drury Lane Theatre (1812), Quarterly Review, 8 (September 1812), 172–181. The Addresses contained parodies of Southey, Coleridge, Scott and others. BACK

[4] Murray did not act on Southey’s suggestion. Remorse was eventually reviewed by John Taylor Coleridge in Quarterly Review, 11 (April 1814), 177–190. BACK

[5] Alexander Chalmers (1759–1834; DNB), The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper (1810), reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review, 11 (July 1814), 480–504; and Quarterly Review, 12 (October 1814), 60–90. BACK

[6] Southey’s review of David Bogue (1750–1825; DNB) and James Bennet (1774–1862; DNB), The History of Dissenters, from the Revolution in 1688–to the Year 1808 (1812); Walter Wilson (1781–1847; DNB), History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches (1808–1814); Neal’s History of the Puritans (1812), Quarterly Review, 10 (October 1813), 90–139. BACK

[7] Johann Gottfried Haensel (1749–1814), Letters on the Nicobar Islands (1812), reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review, 11 (April 1814), 57–72. BACK

[8] Sir John Macdonald Kinneir (1782–1830), army officer, traveller and diplomat. His Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire appeared in 1813. Southey’s copy was no. 1403 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[9] Southey had long planned a poem centred on Zoroastrianism; see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Water, 4 series (London, 1849–1851), IV, p. 12. This project was never executed. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)