1048. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 13 March 1805

1048. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 13 March 1805 ⁠* 

Dear Charles

I have been thinking that it would be a good thing for two reasons to enlarge my history of the Cid & publish it separately in one little five shilling volume, – because it is not so essentially necessary to the history as perhaps it ought to be to have a place there, – & because separately it would be more profitable. [1]  But to do this I should want four books from Bristol & Heaven knows how you would find them, however I will mention what they are, that if they should be peradventure among those left loose with you, or which were sent to Horts [2]  loose. one is a little volume bound in red morocco & lettered Romances, – being not quite so large as your Naturalist Magazine & about the same thickness in proportion. [3]  The other a small & thinnish folio – its title Historia or Cronica, I forget which del Cid Ruy Diaz de Bivar. [4]  The third a folio of the same size but thicker, half bound & by the neatness of the back in England – the lettering in green, the title Historia Coronica Geral de Espana por El Rey D. Alonso el Sabio. [5]  the fourth is the little volume which Barry was binding when I left Bristol. [6]  If you can find these to bring xxx with you when you come I shall be able with little trouble to make a very interesting volume.


A demand has reached me this evening for £11–0–0– due on my Mothers account to Sheppard & Trinder – of Bath. [7]  – But they have forgotten to deduct from this five pounds – for which the inclosed receipt is a voucher. I must beg you to pay the balance for me when you go to Bath & produce this receipt: & if that be not likely to be soon, – give them a line to say I have desired you so to do, & that it cannot be settled by letter as there is an error in their account. To inclose their account would make too large a letter, – & you may be assured there is no mistake on my part. If they alledge that there is – I will then send you the bills to satisfy them – but this is not likely.

About the books mentioned at the beginning of this letter do not give yourself more xxx trouble than to see if the folios be loose either with you, or at Horts. the little red Romances may be dispensed with, without any material want. Should you find the others – bring them when you come – not send them – for risk’s sake. In whatever I do I feel myself crippled for want of some books or papers which are lying in London or in Bristol – & Heaven knows when they & I shall be gathered together. Labour as hard as I will I seem equally far off from the point to which I am aiming. – Our Letters [8]  are to be my supply for this year – when I can get them done – but for this I want the bundle of letters left with you – & also another in town. I work at them – not very rapidly, – to speak truth very slowly – but what is done satisfies me & will please you; & the bookseller shall advance me money enough upon them <when they go to press> to square my accounts by Xmas. As for Madoc it will pay me in the end by its consequences – but upon its profits I reckon nothing. There will be a second edition certainly – perhaps ala mode Cottle  [9]  – as a hearty shove to a heavy quarto – so I shall have all the plague of correcting – but give you no hint of this to those well disposed persons who charitably design to buy the first, & in fact the corrections will not be important. How many persons who would give me five guineas if they knew I wanted it – will not buy my book.

God bless you – I shall not send this off but on account of this bill of my Mothers – which provokingly enough is for cloaths for Hempstretch – as if it were not plague enough to have him for a brother, – without paying bills for him. – The child God be thanked! seems well – & I am much easier at least about her. – What is become of your brother John?. [10]  an unpleasant question – but thinking of xxx you I think of your vexations also. If Capt D. [11]  is with you remember me to him. I hope yet to make up a whist table with him he being a Major & Tom a Captain – You & I have no promotion to look on to, but we shall be satisfied with their good fortune – & with beating them.

Once more God bless you Charles –

yrs very affectionately


Wednesday. March 13. 1805.


* Address: To/ Mr Danvers/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ MAR15/ 1805
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s ‘History of Portugal’ was never finished, but his Chronicle of the Cid was published in 1808. BACK

[2] William Jillard Hort (1764–1849): Unitarian minister and writer, one of many acquaintances who stored books for Southey. BACK

[3] No. 3448 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was Lorenzo de Sepúlveda (fl. 1551), Romances Sacados de Historias Antiguas de la Chronica de Espana (1566). BACK

[4] No. 3344 of Southey’s library was Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (also spelt ‘Bivar’; c. 1043–1099), Chronica de la Famoso Cavallero Cid Ruy Diez Campeador (1593). BACK

[5] No. 3338 was Chronica de Espana (las Quarto Partes Enteras de la) que Mandó Componer el Rey D. Alfonso el Sabio (1541), a history book written on the initiative of Alfonso X (1221–1284; King of Castile 1252–1284), who was also known as ‘El Sabio’ or ‘the Wise’. BACK

[6] Bartholomew Barry (dates unknown), a Bristol bookseller and stationer. The volume concerned was Juan de Escobar (dates unknown), Romancero e Historia del Cid Ruy Diez de Bivar en Language Antigo (1632), no. 3449 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, where it is described as a ‘fine copy, in green morocco’. BACK

[7] A firm of woollen drapers who had premises at 7 Millsom Street, Bath. BACK

[8] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella: Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[9] Joseph Cottle had brought out a second, cheaper, duodecimo edition of his work Alfred; an Epic Poem, in Twenty-four Books with Longman and Rees in 1804. When first published in 1800, it was in the more luxurious, and most expensive, quarto format. BACK

[10] John Danvers (dates unknown). BACK

[11] Presumably Danvers’s other brother, who has not been identifed. BACK

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