2489. Robert Southey to John Murray, 19 October 1814

2489. Robert Southey to John Murray, 19 October 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. 19. Oct. 1814.

My dear Sir

I have just received a very gratifying letter from the author of the Tour in Zeeland, whose account of the Battle of Copenhagen was of such use to me in my Life of Nelson. [1]  He is about to translate the Life into Danish, & requests any emendations which I may have made. [2]  Will you have the goodness to furnish him with a copy of the second edition, [3]  & also with the Origin &c of the New System, – for he is going to Denmark to introduce the ‘Lancasterian System,’ – & this little book may be of service to him. [4]  The controversial parts are of course, wholly irrelevent to his object, but what is say of Lancasters punishments, & of Trial by Jury, may produce a good effect. [5]  They should be sent to John Reeves Esqr [6]  18 Duke Street, Westminster, for Mr A. Andersen Feldberg.

I write upon this occasion, tho’ I have not yet given up the hope of seeing you.

believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 28 OC 28/ 1814
Watermark: J DICKINSON & Co/ 1811
Endorsement: 19 Octr 1814/ Southey Esqr/ Keswick
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Andreas Andersen Feldborg, A Tour in Zealand, the Year 1802; with an Historical Sketch of the Battle of Copenhagen (1805), which had supplied details for Southey’s Life of Nelson (1813); see Southey to Thomas Southey, 24 December 1812, Letter 2192. BACK

[2] Feldborg’s translation does not seem to have been published. BACK

[3] The second edition of the Life of Nelson, published in 1814. BACK

[4] Southey’s The Origin, Nature and Object, of the New System of Education (1812). Given that Feldborg was an advocate of Joseph Lancaster, the ‘service’ the book might do him was, perhaps, to convert him to the educational system of Andrew Bell. BACK

[5] Lancaster had argued for a system of punishments based upon public humiliation of the offender, see The British System of Education (London, 1810), pp. 34–37. These included making badly-behaved pupils wear labels that described their offence, e.g. ‘Idle’, ‘Suck finger Baby’. Lancaster assured his readers that these punishments had been tried for 13 years with great success. Southey had attacked this ‘abominable’ regime and advocated Bell’s system of trial by jury (where offending pupils were tried and sentenced by their peers) in The Origin, Nature and Object, of the New System of Education (London, 1812), pp. 190–194. BACK

[6] The barrister and writer John Reeves (1752–1829; DNB). In 1792 he founded the Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers. He went on to produce several pamphlets on political subjects and in 1796 was acquitted of libel, for his authorship of Thoughts on the English Government (1795), which had argued that because the British government was essentially monarchical, there was no need for Parliament. In 1800 Reeves was appointed the king’s printer and became a treasurer of the Literary Fund. BACK

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