1490. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman, 12 August 1808

1490. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman, 12 August 1808 ⁠* 

Dear Sir

My letters (which relate to Portugal exclusively, not Spain) are not in much forwardness: for my main employment is upon the Brazilian history, [1]  & this as a matter of less moment has been going on at intervals. Having however the whole materials before me as written to my brother at the time, or entered in my own memorandum books, they may certainly be ready for the press in a few weeks, & if printed in a small size, two volumes may be going on at once. [2]  As to size that question is of course to be decided by you, – profit is my object, – & from the number of such books which come out in quarto with prints, I thought that form the most profitable. You must know best, & certainly, in other respects, the cheaper any work of mine could be published, & the more portable its form, the better.

Would it be worth while to reprint my former Letters in two little volumes? my track lay thro the present seat of war in Leon, – Send me a copy if you think so by the Carlisle coach from the Bull & Mouth [3]  – I will work at it for three days, – two presses will make quick work with it, & the new Letters, which I shall call by a different name, will I am confident, occasion a demand for the former, when this temporary excitement is over.

Have the goodness to send me with this, (– or with the first parcel that may come if you do not think those Letters worth reprinting) the Latin Po Gebir, [4]  & the last little volume of the same author, – not ‘Poetry by the Author of Gebir, 1802’ (for that I have) – but a later publication – Rivington is the publisher. [5] Landor the author, who is beyond all comparison the most striking & extraordinary man that I have ever seen, is gone to join the Spaniards as a volunteer.

yrs truly

R Southey.

Aug. 12. 1808.

A little parcel containing a miniature was left at your house from Miss Betham. I should think it might safely be inclosed in a parcel – if not Rickman will bring it down with him in September.


* Address: Messrs Longman &c –
Endorsements: Southey/ Octr 12th 1808; Southey/ Augt 12th/ 1808
MS: Cornell University, Healey 3114. ALS; 2p. (c).
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s History of Brazil was published in three volumes from 1810 to 1819. BACK

[2] In the event Longmans did not publish an entirely new work on Portugal, but, later in 1808, an updated edition of Letters Written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797). BACK

[3] A London coaching inn from which mail coaches left for the north. BACK

[4] Walter Savage Landor, Gebirus poema (1803). BACK

[5] Simonidea (1806). John Rivington (1779–1841), carried on the publishing firm established by his great grandfather. BACK

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