3674. Robert Southey to John Murray [fragment], 21 April 1821

3674. Robert Southey to John Murray [fragment], 21 April 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 21 Apr. 1821

My dear Sir

Townsends Travels [1]  reached me, & I thank you for Lord Waldegraves Memoirs & the Chinese Volume, [2]  – both curious in their kind, – the former throwing some light upon an age of paltry politics, & the latter exciting a wish that we had more novels & dramas of that singular people translated.

There are two reasons why the paper on Brazil had better be postponed, [3]  – the one is that it might clash with a reviewal (which I suppose you will have) of the third vol. of my History, [4]  – & the other, – that events may be looked for in that country, which will make it more an object of immediate curiosity a few months hence, than it is just now. [5]  I think therefore that you shall have Cromwells Life [6]  for your next number, – that is, upon the supposition that it has been decided not to insert Bowles’s paper upon the same subject [7] . This is a fine subject, & one for which I am well prepared; – & it will go towards our Biographical scheme [8] 

I hope the proofs of Huntington [9]  have been preserved for me. Mr Gifford struck out the name of John Cam Hobhouse whom I had classed with Alderman Wood & Dr Eady. [10]  Hobhouse deserved this at my hands for an unprovoked (& and (more suo) [11]  a most thoroughly malignant attack in the Preface to his History of the Hundred Days, – an attack which might have even have exposed me to personal danger in France. [12]  – I do not recollect whether I told you that Hobhouse is not the author of that villainous letter to Canning. [13]  So I am assured by one who from accidental circumstances (having little sympathy with him) knows him well, & made the disavowal to me (as I certainly believe) on H’s own authority. [14]  He added that the letter was written by a very distinguished leader of the Reformers, who had never been suspected as the author, or at least never named as such. My conclusion is that John Cam “my Boy Hobby-ho” has borne the obloquy for his friend Sir F. B. & been contented to be suspected & indeed publicly accused of an act, which he was very capable of committing except that he would have not have written the letter with so much ability.

I could send the B C [15]  to press now, & keep the press going; but it is better to delay it, till the size of the volume can be more nearly ascertained. I am proceeding with it very satisfactorily, & also with the dialogues. [16]  [MS missing] I am doing the

[remainder of MS missing]


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqre
Stamped: KESWICK/ 29[8]
Postmark: [partial, obscured] 24/ 21
Seal: red wax; arm raising aloft cross of Lorraine
Endorsement: R. Southey Esq/ April 21– 1821
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42552. AL; 4.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Joseph Townsend (1739–1816; DNB), geologist, author of A Journey Through Spain in the Years 1786 and 1787; with Particular Attention to the Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce, Population, Taxes, and Revenue of that Country, first published in 1791. Murray had possibly sent an edition of 1814, no. 2864 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Two recent publications by Murray’s firm: James, 2nd Earl Waldegrave (1715–1763; DNB), Memoirs, from 1754 to 1758 (1821), and Sir George Thomas Staunton, 2nd Baronet (1781–1859; DNB), Narrative of the Chinese Embassy to the Khan of the Tourgouth Tartars, in the Years 1712, 13, 14 and 15 (1821); nos 3095 and 586, respectively, in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Southey had asked Murray on 19 February 1820, Letter 3442, if he could review Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (1782–1867), Travels in Brazil in the Years 1815 to 1817 (1820). In the event, Southey did not review it for the Quarterly Review. BACK

[4] The third and final volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819); it was not reviewed in the Quarterly Review, though the first two volumes had been noticed by Reginald Heber, Quarterly Review, 4 (November 1810), 454–474, and Quarterly Review, 18 (October 1817), 99–128. BACK

[5] An army revolt in Porto in August 1820 led to the election of a Cortes in December 1820 and demands that the monarchy return from Brazil, where it had fled in 1807–1808, following the French invasion. Events in Portugal produced a number of sympathetic military revolts in Brazil; one in the Province of Para was reported in The Times, 13 March 1821. These developments eventually led to the separation of Portugal and Brazil in September 1822 BACK

[6] Southey’s ‘Life of Cromwell’, Quarterly Review, 25 (July 1821), 279–347. BACK

[7] The proposed article by Bowles did not appear in the Quarterly Review. In fact, Bowles was in dispute with the journal over a hostile account of his The Invariable Principles of Poetry, in a Letter Addressed to Thomas Campbell, Esq. Occasioned by Some Critical Observations in His ‘Specimens of British Poetry,’ Particularly Relating to the Poetical Character of Pope (1819) that had appeared in the Quarterly Review, 23 (July 1820), 400–434; published on 5 October 1820. The reviewer (Isaac D’Israeli) had described Bowles as ‘a sort of sentimental critic’ (403) and ‘a poet and no commentator, [who] pours out his invention on old facts, and never discovers new ones’ (419). Bowles responded in A Reply to the Charges brought by the Reviewer of Spence’s Anecdotes in the Quarterly Review from October 1820 Against the Last Editor of Pope’s Works; and Author of ‘A Letter to Mr. Campbell,’ on ‘The Invariable Principles of Poetry’ (1820). BACK

[8] An unrealised project for Southey to write a series of biographical studies in book form. BACK

[9] Proofs of Southey’s review of The Works of the Reverend William Huntington, S. S. Minister of the Gospel, at Providence Chapel, Gray’s Inn Lane, Completed to the Close of the Year 1806 (1811), which had appeared in Quarterly Review, 24 (January 1821), 462–510. BACK

[10] Southey here links two politicians of whom he disapproved with an infamous quack doctor. John Cam Hobhouse (1786–1869; DNB) was a Whig MP with much radical support. He was MP for Westminster 1820–1833, MP for Nottingham 1834–1847 and MP for Harwich 1848–1851. Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Baronet (1768–1843; DNB) was MP for the City of London 1817–1843 and Lord Mayor of London 1815–1817. He was a well-known Whig and supporter of George IV’s estranged wife, Queen Caroline (1768–1821; DNB). Samuel Phillips Eady (dates unknown) was much ridiculed in 1821 for a pamphlet he had written, claiming to offer a cure for syphilis. Hobhouse’s name had been removed from the final sentence of Southey’s article, Quarterly Review, 24 (January 1821), 510, which in the censored published version read thus: ‘And, perhaps, some of our readers may think that in the days of Alderman Wood, Jeremy Bentham, and Dr. Eady, whose fame is written in chalk upon all the walls, we have bestowed too much attention upon an inferior quack [Huntington].’ BACK

[11] ‘in his own manner’. BACK

[12] John Cam Hobhouse, The Substance of Some Letters Written from Paris During the Last Reign of the Emperor Napoleon; and Addressed Principally to the Right Hon. Lord Byron, 2nd edn, 2 vols (London, 1817), I, pp. xxxiv–xxxvi. This had attacked Southey as one who had ‘deserted’ his ‘principles’ and ‘lost’ his ‘reputation’ (p. xxxiv) and singled out his violent rhetoric: ‘What seems to me chiefly admirable in his panegyric, is the temperate air with which the peaceful possessor of the butt and bays presents the axe of vengeance to the dynasty restored in France, and exhorts the reluctant Louis to the levelling of that upas, under the branches of which, when miscalled the tree of liberty, the youthful poet tuned his long forgotten lays’ (p. xxxv). Southey had visited France in May 1817 during his continental tour of that year. BACK

[13] In 1818 an anonymous pamphlet had attacked George Canning’s speech in the House of Commons on 11 March 1818 on the Indemnity Act (1818). The pamphlet, A Letter to the Right Hon. George Canning, was withdrawn the day after it was published, but circulated under blank covers by the radical bookseller and printer James Ridgway (1745–1838). Canning’s response was to write, via Ridgway, on 10 April 1818, effectively challenging the anonymous author to a duel. This letter became public on 12 April. Many thought the pamphlet to have been the work of Hobhouse, but no reply was received and a duel was avoided. BACK

[14] It is not clear from where Southey received this information. BACK

[15] Southey’s The Book of the Church (1824). BACK

[16] Southey’s Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829). BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)