3332. Robert Southey to John Murray, 19 July 1819

3332. Robert Southey to John Murray, 19 July 1819⁠* 

Keswick. 19 July. 1819.

My dear Sir

Tomorrow I send off the first part of a paper on the Monastic Orders, [1]  – a subject which requires volumes to do it justice. But what I can bring within this compass will serve its purpose well, – that of introducing the Braybrooks institution, & contrasting it with the nunneries which are multiplying in this country, & for which funds are never wanting. [2]  Pray send me the Laity’s Directory for the year, – it is the Catholic Almanack, published by Keatings & Brown, the Catholic publishers; [3]  – – & also their Catholic Magazine, [4]  in which undoubtedly there must be something to the purpose. – I hope the paper will do its work

Thank you for your last parcel. The manner in which Mazeppa [5]  is told is very spirited, – but does not compensate for the disagreableness of the story. Crabbe [6]  is a poet whose works will continue to increase in value as they grow older, – for they belong to the moral & domestic history of these times. Their merit is very great in other respects, – but this gives them a peculiar value. Moreover they have the stamp of originality, without which no poetry can live.

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqre./ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ 2 JY 22/ 1819
Endorsement: 1819 July 19/ Southey, R.
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42552. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] 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

[2] 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; see 101–102 for Southey’s warning about Catholic convents in Britain. BACK

[3] The Laity’s Directory (1759–1839), an annual publication, was a compendium of information for Roman Catholics in England. It was published from 1800 by the leading Catholic firm Keating and Brown, run by George Keating (1762–1842; DNB) and Richard Brown (d. 1837). BACK

[4] Possibly the Catholic Gentleman’s Magazine (February 1818–May 1819), though this was not published by Keating and Brown. Alternatively, Southey might be referring to Keating and Brown’s monthly publication, The Catholic Spectator and Selector; or Catholicon (1815–1826), though this had suspended publication December 1818–January 1823. BACK

[5] Byron’s Mazeppa, A Poem (1819); published by Murray. BACK

[6] George Crabbe (1754–1832; DNB), whose latest volume was Tales of the Hall (1819), no. 755 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. It was published by Murray. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)