3309. Robert Southey to John Murray, 4 June 1819

3309. Robert Southey to John Murray, 4 June 1819⁠* 

Keswick. 4 June. 1819.

My dear Sir

Thank you for your note & draft. – I have a good many materials for the Times of Charles 1 & 2d [1]  – for the sake of which indeed I had retained Evelyn. [2]  Indeed I have for so many years <been> in the habit of marking whatever relates to the state of manners & opinions, & the transitions of society, that I have frequently thought I could produce a view of the Moral History of England (using the word moral in its wide sense) which would be as original in its conception, as it would be curious. [3]  – By all means send me the third volume of Marlborough, [4]  & with it the account of her own conduct which his Dutchess published, [5]  – & Somervilles Hist: of Queen Anne: [6]  – I believe I have all the other historical works which could be useful. – Cowpers life is already well known; – he stands where he deserves to stand in the public opinion, & I am always desirous of chusing those subjects where the materials are of value, whatever may be the workmanship. [7]  I shall have an interesting paper for you upon the Monastic Orders, [8]  connected with the Establishment at Braybrook House under Lady Eleanor King, in which the Queen took so much interest. [9] 

I am on the very point of compleating my great labour, – much to my joy in having accomplishd it, & much to my satisfaction when I look upon the quantity of information which never was laid before the public in any other shape – it is a huge volume – not less than 850 pages. [10]  You will probably see me about the end of the month, – the first object of my journey is to get at certain papers which I have <been> invited to inspect, concerning the Peninsular War, – & as soon as I return we go to press with it, vigorously. [11] 

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqre./ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 7 JU 7/ 1819
Endorsement: 1819 July 19/ Southey, R.
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42552. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Charles I (1600–1649; King of Great Britain 1625–1649; DNB) and Charles II (1630–1685; King of Great Britain 1660–1685; DNB). Southey was considering writing on this topic for the Quarterly Review. BACK

[2] Southey’s review of Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn (1818) had appeared in Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 1–54. BACK

[3] This project did not result in a book; the surviving notes that Southey put together were posthumously published as ‘Collections for the History of Manners and Literature in England’, Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), I, pp. 439–578. BACK

[4] The third volume of William Coxe, Memoirs of John Duke of Marlborough, with his Original Correspondence; Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources. Illustrated with Portraits, Maps, and Military Plans (1818–1819). Southey’s account of Coxe’s study appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (May 1820), 1–73. BACK

[5] Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (1660–1744; DNB), An Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough (1742). BACK

[6] Thomas Somerville (1741–1830; DNB), The History of Great Britain During the Reign of Queen Anne (1798). BACK

[7] Murray had proposed that Southey write on the poet William Cowper (1731–1800; DNB). Although Southey declined the idea here, he was to go on to edit a fifteen-volume edition of The Works of William Cowper, Esq. Comprising his Poems, Correspondence, and Translations. With a Life of the Author (1835–1837). BACK

[8] Southey’s review of Thomas Fosbrooke (1770–1842; DNB), British Monachism; or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England (1817), Quarterly Review, 22 (July 1819), 59–102. BACK

[9] Lady Isabella Lettice King (1772–1845; DNB) founded the Ladies’ Association at Bailbrook House, near Bath, in June 1816. It provided a home for orphaned gentlewomen with no income and was duly praised by Southey in his article in Quarterly Review, 22 (July 1819), 96–101. Queen Charlotte (1744–1818; DNB) had been a supporter and had visited Bailbrook on 3 December 1817. BACK

[10] Southey was finishing the final volume of his History of Brazil (1810–1819). It ran to 950 pages. BACK

[11] Southey had been invited to see papers in the possession of Sir Henry Bunbury and Edward Moor, relating to his History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

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