2628. Robert Southey to John Murray, 1 July 1815

2628. Robert Southey to John Murray, 1 July 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick. 1 July. 1815

My dear Sir

I have put out my feelers in all directions to collect food for the Review. [1]  There can be no doubt of making a valuable paper, – even if the Battle of La Belle Alliance were to form the conclusion, – tho’ I look for a more compleat termination. An introduction from this impudent French book [2]  before me, – a view of the campaign in Gascony, [3]  – then the state of France during the Restoration, the jarring factions who united against the Bourbons, – a little xxx <also> concerning the individuals who have come forward, La Fayette, [4]  Fouche, [5]  &c – here are ample & rich materials. – Concerning France I have only seen Broughtons book, [6]  & a very silly one by the Honble Boyle Bernard or Bernard Boyle. [7]  – Send me Shepherds, [8]  Scotts [9]  & any others that you can recollect, – Eustaces [10]  The Battle shall have the whole last act to itself, – & I have some promising thoughts for the epilogue.

Bedford will apply to Herries, – with whom I am well acquainted, & from whom I have received many acts of civility. Mr Murdoch [11]  is a friend of my Uncle, Mr Hill, – I know him only by a persevering but always unfortunate exchange of xx visits some years ago in London. The works of Bermudez [12]  & the Ethiopia Oriental of Joam des Santos [13]  are the only Portugueze books concerning those countries which I do not possess. There is a Spanish one which I fear it is quite hopeless to enquire for, – the Historia de la orden de los Predicadores en Etiopia, by Luiz de Urreta. [14]  Probably there is no other copy in England than that which Geddes gave to the Bodleian. [15]  It is only curious for its audacious falsehood, on which account the Dominicans for the credit of their order destroyed all the copies they could collect.

For Persia I am rich in books, & in long collected information. This reminds me of a discovery which I made only yesterday. Coming in course of perusal to the 6 vol. of Chardins Voyages I found that my set has two 7th vol. & is consequently without the 6th. I will send the duplicate in my next parcel, & when the communication with France is open there will I hope be no difficulty in rectifying the mistake. [16] 

Albania is a good subject, – especially for one who is xxx xx xx <fond> the history of Scanderbeg. [17] 

Will Buonaparte xxx abscond, – or will he put himself under British protection? [18]  These are our speculations in this remote part of the country. He is desperately afraid of being put to death, – & I am not less afraid that he will escape that righteous consummation. But if he, & his friends Ney, [19]  Fouche, Soult [20]  &c escape the gallows, it will be a fatal precedent of men xxx xx xxx escaping from punishment in consideration of the magnitude of their crimes. I would not punish those who went with him to Elba,- but as for all the adherers, the blood of every man who has fallen in La Vendee, [21]  & “on that field – of Fair Alliance” (as I must call it in verse perhaps if I venture upon the subject [22] ) calls for vengenance upon their heads.

But I must go to work. My mind is full, & your next number [23]  will be the better for it.

believe me my dear Sir

yrs very truly

Robert Southey.

Roderick has done well. The 4to, as you properly advised, was only 500, & all went off speedily. The 2d edition was 1500, & we are now printing 2000 of the third [24] 


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: [partial] KESWICK
Postmark: E/ 4 JY 4/ 1815
Watermark: J DICKINSON & Co/ 1811
Endorsement: July 1815/ Southey R. Esq
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had been commissioned to write a second review article on Wellington, capitalising on public interest following Waterloo. He eventually reviewed the following for Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526: Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815); Jean Sarrazin (1770–1848), Histoire de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1807 à 1814 (1814); General View of the Political State of France, and of the Government of Louis XVIII (1815); An Answer to the Calumniators of Louis XVIII (1815); Official Accounts of the Battle of Waterloo (1815); Lieutenant-General W. A. Scott (dates unknown), Battle of Waterloo (1815). BACK

[2] Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815). BACK

[3] The invasion of South West France by British troops in 1813–1814. BACK

[4] Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (1757–1834). Hero of the American War of Independence and early supporter of the French Revolution. He left France in 1792 and was imprisoned by Prussia and then Austria 1792–1797. After his release he lived quietly in France, until he agreed to be elected to the Chamber of Representatives which Napoleon summoned in 1815. On 21 June 1815 he was a key figure in the Chamber in demanding Napoleon’s abdication. BACK

[5] Joseph Fouché (1759–1820), an old Jacobin who was Chief of Police under Napoleon 1804–1810 and 1815. He was also President of the 5-man Commission of Government that was briefly the executive authority in France 22 June-7 July 1815. Fouché was retained as Chief of Police after the Bourbon Restoration in 1815, but was exiled in 1816. BACK

[6] The military surgeon Samuel Daniel Broughton (1787–1837; DNB), Letters from Portugal, Spain and France, Written During the Campaigns of 1812, 1813, and 1814 (1815). Broughton had witnessed the campaign in the Peninsula and been present at Waterloo. BACK

[7] Richard Boyle Bernard (1787–1850), A Tour Through Some Parts of France, Switzerland, Savoy, Germany and Belgium, During the Summer and Autumn of 1814 (1815). BACK

[8] William Shepherd (1768–1847; DNB), Paris in 1802 and 1814 (1814). BACK

[9] Lieutenant-General W. A. Scott (dates unknown), Battle of Waterloo (1815). BACK

[10] John Chetwode Eustace (1761–1815; DNB), travel writer and Roman Catholic priest. His Letter from Paris to George Petre, Esquire (London, 1814) portrayed the effects of war and ‘revolutionary madness’ (p. 1) on Parisian society. BACK

[11] Possibly John Murdoch (1747–1824; DNB), a teacher and writer, especially on France. BACK

[12] Joao Bermudes (d. 1570), Breve Relacao da Embaixada que o Patriacha D. Joao Bermudez, trouxe do Imperador de Etiopia chamado vulgarmente Preste Joao (1565). BACK

[13] João dos Santos (d. 1622), Ethiopia Oriental (1609) deals with the Portuguese role in Mozambique at the end of the sixteenth century. BACK

[14] Luis de Urreta (c. 1570–1636), Historia de la sagrada Orden de los Predicadores en los Remotos Reynos de la Etiopia (1610). BACK

[15] Possibly Alexander Geddes (1737–1802; DNB), Roman Catholic priest and biblical scholar. BACK

[16] Sir John Chardin (1643–1713; DNB), Protestant French jeweller and traveller who settled in England and published Voyages en Perse et autres lieux de l’Orient (1711). Southey had been sent by Murray the ten-volume edition published in Paris in 1811 (no. 573 in the sale catalogue of his library); see Southey to John Murray [c. 30 December 1811], Letter 2009. BACK

[17] The Albanian national hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405–1468), who helped preserve his nation from the threat posed by the expansion of the Ottoman empire. BACK

[18] Napoleon Bonaparte was to formally demand political asylum from the British on 15 July 1815. He was imprisoned and then sent to exile on St Helena, where he died in 1821. BACK

[19] Michel Ney (1769–1815), Marshal of France. He had played a key role in the French campaigns in the Iberian peninsular in 1808–10, but in April 1814 had been instrumental in forcing Napoleon to abdicate. In 1815 he once again sided with Napoleon and played a central role at Waterloo. He was executed on 7 December 1815. BACK

[20] Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia (1769–1851), Marshal of France. He was Napoleon’s Chief of Staff at Waterloo and was subsequently exiled, only to be recalled in 1819, to pursue a long and chequered political career. BACK

[21] A traditionally Royalist region of western France which remained loyal to the Bourbons in 1815. Napoleon sent a military expedition to suppress an uprising there. BACK

[22] Southey’s The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo appeared in 1816. BACK

[23] i.e. the next issue of the Quarterly Review. BACK

[24] Roderick, the Last of the Goths; first published in quarto in 1814, second and third editions in duodecimo both appeared in 1815. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)