3510. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman and Co. [fragment], 11 July 1820

3510. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman and Co. [fragment], 11 July 1820⁠* 

Keswick, July 11. 1820.

Dear Sir,

The “History of Lope de Aguirre” [1]  is not sent, because, in revising it, I want a “Spanish History of Venezuela,” by Oviedo, [2]  which is referred to by Depons and Humboldt, and which contains documents concerning Aguirre not to be found elsewhere. [3]  This writer must not be confounded with an older historian of the Indies, of the same name, whose work I possess. [4]  Perhaps you can procure the book for me. I inquired for it in vain in Mr. Gooden’s collection, and in Lord Holland’s. My next application would have been to Mr. Heber, if I had seen him during the latter part of my stay in town, but we missed each other respectively. I am going to send a parcel of his books directed to your care.

The life of George Fox, and the origin and progress of Quakerism, would form as curious a book as the life of Wesley. [5]  I wish you would collect materials for it, that I may digest them, and proceed with the work as leisure and inclination may serve. The Quakers I know have cut out many things from George Fox’s Journal in the later editions, because they were ashamed of them – it is essential, therefore, to procure the first edition; [6]  and of Sewell’s “History of the Quakers” [7]  also, which I suspect has undergone a like expurgation. When you can meet with these, secure them; meantime the current editions may serve; one of Sewell I have: send me that of Fox; William Penn’s Works; Barclay’s “Apology,” and Gough’s “History of the Quakers.” [8]  With these I can lay my foundations. I see the arrangement of the book distinctly enough, but not its extent – whether one volume or two. [9]  There are some books connected with the subject which must necessarily be very rare. I will set down their titles as I meet with them. It will be better not to announce the work till it is in forwardness. …

Yours, &c.



* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856)
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 198–199 [in part]. BACK

[1] Southey’s The Expedition of Orsua; and the Crimes of Aguirre (1821), originally intended to be part of the History of Brazil (1810–1819) and first published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.2 (1812), i–l. BACK

[2] José de Oviedo y Baños (1671–1738), Historia de la Conquista y Población de la Provincia de Venezuela (1723); Southey later (after the publication of The Expedition of Orsua (1821)), obtained a copy, no. 3605 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[3] François Raymond Joseph de Pons (1751–c. 1812), Voyage a la Partie Orientale de la Terre-Ferme, dans l’Amérique Méridionale, Fait Pendant les Années 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804, 3 vols (Paris, 1806), I, pp. 101–102. Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent During the Years 1799–1804, 6 vols (London, 1814–1826), IV, pp. 257–260, published a letter from Aguirre that had been ‘printed for the first time’ in José de Oviedo y Baños, Historia de la Conquista y Población de la Provincia de Venezuela (Madrid, 1723), pp. 206–209. BACK

[4] Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo (1478–1557), author of Historia General y Natural de las Indias (1535). BACK

[5] Southey was proposing to follow his controversial The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820) with a biography of George Fox (1624–1691; DNB), founder of the Society of Friends. BACK

[6] Thomas Ellwood (1639–1714; DNB) edited A Journal or Historical Account of the Life, Travel, Sufferings, and Christian Experiences of that Ancient, Eminent and Faithful Servant of Jesus Christ, George Fox (1694). BACK

[7] Willem Sewel (1653–1720; DNB), The History of the Rise, Increase, and Progress of the Christian People Called Quakers (1722). Southey eventually owned two copies of Sewel, nos 2639–2640 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[8] The Quaker leader and founder of Pennsylvania William Penn (1644–1718; DNB); Southey later owned an edition of his Works from 1726, no. 2148 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Robert Barclay of Ury (1648–1690; DNB), An Apology for the True Christian Divinity (1678), the classic statement of Quaker principles; no. 174 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. John Gough (1720–1791; DNB), A History of the People Called Quakers from their First Rise to the Present Time (1789–1790). BACK

[9] Southey abandoned his plans, and never completed his study of Fox and Quakerism. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)