3368. Robert Southey to John Murray, 19 October 1819

3368. Robert Southey to John Murray, 19 October 1819⁠* 

Keswick. 19 Oct. 1819

My dear Sir

It is a long while since you & I have had any communication. & During that interval I have been over the greater & better part of Scotland, & have returned with a Journal which would be worth something in the way of trade. [1]  You shall have some of its substance when the final Report upon the Highland Roads & Bridges makes its appearance, – in the course of next sessions. [2] 

I am now set down to clear off all minor matters before I take the field with Lord Wellington. [3]  Marlborough is on the stocks. [4]  I have stumbled upon the title of a book which is likely to contain something applicable to that article, – Colonel Blackaders Diary & Letters, – published by the Revd. John Newton. 1806, – the character of the book is religious, – but Blackader served in Marlboroughs army. [5]  – Also at Mr Giffords suggestion I am about to enlarge the paper upon the New Churches, [6]  & make the most I can of a subject which may fairly be so extended as to bear upon some useful, & important points. In hunting for materials, I meet with reference to the following books, none of which have ever fallen in my way.

✓ Staveleys History of Churches in England. [7] 

✓ Eachards Causes of the Contempt of the Clergy, <in his works. 3 Vols. 1774.> [8] 

✓ Kennets Case of Impropriations. [9] 

Whartons Defense of Pluralities [10] 

✓ Stackhouse’s Miseries & Hardships of the Inferior Clergy in & about London. [11] 

Malhams Historical View of the Causes of Non residence. 1801. [12] 

& some publications (recent ones) by Mr Yates which Vansittart refers to in his speech, calling them “very useful.” [13] 

& ✓ Dr Chalmers’s [14]  late pamphlett about the influence of the Clergy in large towns. [15] 

Thank you for Hippisleys Narrative. [16]  This would be a very good text for a wholesome exposition of South American politics. But the adventurers who embark in that precious cause seem to be persons of such a description, that they are better there than at home.

Your last number [17]  is a very good one, – the first article an admirable one, [18]  – that upon the laws very judicious, [19]  – Parnells novel, excellent in its kind. [20]  The last article is the only bad one, – it is cumbrous, & looks as if the writer had read more than he was capable of digesting. [21]  – Somebody observed to me that it was unwise to bring such books as Shelleys under the notice of those persons who read the Q. R. many of whom would otherwise never hear that such flagitious things were in existence. It is a good paper, well written, & in an unexceptionable spirit. And yet I fear it will make excite some curiosity respecting the poems which it condemns, & they cannot be read by young & unsettled minds without danger. [22] 

I hear that Lord Byrons damnable poem would have appeared with a dedication to me, had it not been for your interference – I am very much obliged to you for this. [23]  For tho I fear or care for Lord Byron as little as I do for the Devil to whose service he has devoted himself, I do not like to have my tranquillity disturbed by <engaging in> polemics of any kind, least of all – when they are of a personal nature. You have therefore rendered me a very acceptable service in saving me from the discomfort of resentful & angry feelings, – & you have rendered him one also. His Lordship would have been very ill able to bear such a William Smithiad [24]  as I could have returned him.

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.

I know not what has delayed my Hist: of Brazil. [25]  It is a very curious volu[MS missing] – containing I verily believe more new information than has ever been laid before th[MS missing] public in any historical work, – I mean more information which was not accessible in any other shape. This volume will probably carry off the remaining copies of the first. [26] 


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqre/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E / 22 OC 22/ 1819
Seal: red wax; arm raising aloft cross of Lorraine
Watermark: HENRY SALMON/ 1818
Endorsement: 1819 Oct 19/ Southey, R; Murry
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42552. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s tour of Scotland with Rickman and Telford lasted from 17 August until 1 October 1819. For his record of events, see Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819, ed. Charles Harold Herford (1929). BACK

[2] The Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges had occasionally issued reports since 1803. Their 5th Report of 1819 was not their last; they continued to publish reports until 1863. Rickman was Secretary to the Commissioners; Southey did not write on this subject for the Quarterly Review. BACK

[3] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832), published by Murray. BACK

[4] Southey’s review 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) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (May 1820), 1–73. BACK

[5] The army officer John Blackadder [Blackader] (1664–1729; DNB), whose diaries record his spiritual life, but also shed light on the campaigns of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722; DNB). Select Passages from the Diary and Letters of the Late John Blackader, Esq. had been published in 1806, with a preface by the Anglican clergyman and former slaver John Newton (1725–1807; DNB). BACK

[6] Southey’s review of Benjamin Haydon, New Churches, Considered with Respect to the Opportunities they Offer for the Encouragement of Painting (1818) and other volumes appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (July 1820), 549–591. BACK

[7] Thomas Staveley (c. 1626–1684; DNB), The History of Churches in England (1712); no. 2737 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] John Eachard (c. 1636–1697; DNB), The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired Into (1670), reprinted in The Works of Dr John Eachard, 3 vols (London, 1774), I, pp. 1–120. BACK

[9] White Kennett (1660–1728; DNB), The Case of Impropriations, and of the Augmentation of Vicarages and Other Insufficient Cures, Stated by History and Law (1704); no. 1553 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] Henry Wharton (1664–1695; DNB), A Defence of Pluralities, or, Holding Two Benefices with Cure of Souls as Now Practised in the Church of England (1692). BACK

[11] Thomas Stackhouse (1681/2–1752; DNB), Miseries and Hardships of the Inferior Clergy In and About London (1737); no. 2730 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] John Malham (c. 1747–1821; DNB), Historical View of the Unavoidable Causes of the Non-Residence of the Parochial Clergy on their Respective Livings (1801). BACK

[13] Richard Yates (1769–1834; DNB), The Church in Danger: a Statement of the Cause, and of the Probable Means of Averting that Danger, Attempted in a Letter to the Earl of Liverpool (1815), and The Basis of National Welfare: Considered in Reference Chiefly to the Prosperity of Britain, and Safety of the Church of England (1817); recommended in a speech by Nicholas Vansittart (1766–1851; DNB), Chancellor of the Exchequer 1812–1823, published as Substance of the Speech Delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Monday, the 16th March, 1818, on Proposing a Grant of One Million for Providing Additional Places of Public Worship in England (London, [1818]), pp. 9, 11–13. BACK

[14] Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847; DNB), Considerations on the System of Parochial Schools in Scotland: and on the Advantage of Establishing them in Large Towns (1819). BACK

[15] A tick (✓) indicates a mark against the book titles in another hand, probably indicating the successful purchase of the item concerned. BACK

[16] Gustavus Hippisley (d. 1831), A Narrative of the Expedition to the Rivers Orinoco and Apure, in South America (1819); no. 1334 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[17] Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), published 10 September 1819. BACK

[18] ‘View of Grecian Philosophy’, Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 271–320; a review of Lectures on the History of Literature, Ancient and Modern, from the German of Frederick Schlegel (1818), translated by John Gibson Lockhart. The review was mainly by Thomas Mitchell (1783–1845; DNB). BACK

[19] ‘State of the Laws of Great Britain’, Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 398–430, mainly by John Miller (d. 1842). BACK

[20] ‘Parnell’s Maurice and Berghetta’, Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 471–486; a review of the novel by William Parnell (c. 1780–1821; DNB) by John Wilson Croker. BACK

[21] ‘Narrative and Romantic Poems of the Italian’, Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 486–556; a review of Prospectus and Specimen of an Intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft, of Stowmarket in Suffolk, Harness and Collar Makers (1817), and The Court of Beasts, Freely Translated from the Animali Parlanti of Giambattista Casti, A Poem, in Seven Cantos (1819). The reviewer was Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827; DNB). BACK

[22] Shelley’s Laon and Cythna, or the Revolution of the Golden City (1818; published late 1817) and The Revolt of Islam. A Poem, in Twelve Cantos (1818) had been noticed in the Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 460–471. The review was, as was customary, anonymous, and Shelley believed it to be by Southey, writing to the latter to that effect on 26 June 1820; see Edward Dowden (ed.), The Correspondence of Robert Southey with Caroline Bowles (Dublin and London, 1881), pp. 358–359. For Southey’s reply, see Southey to Percy Bysshe Shelley, [c. 29 July 1820], Letter 3517. The review’s author was actually John Taylor Coleridge. BACK

[23] The first two cantos of Byron’s Don Juan (1819–1824) were published anonymously by Murray on 15 July 1819. The ‘Dedication’, attacking Southey and others, was not included, but it soon became very well known, though it was not published until 1833. BACK

[24] Southey was threatening to publicly chastise Byron as he had William Smith in 1817 at the height of the controversy over Wat Tyler. See Southey’s A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M.P. (1817). BACK

[25] The third volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) was delayed by a missing proof sheet. BACK

[26] Southey was right. A second edition of the first volume of the History of Brazil was called for by Longman, its publisher. This appeared in 1822. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)