1609. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 30 March [1809]

1609. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 30 March [1809] ⁠* 

My dear Harry

I have rather foolishly delayed writing to you for some days in full expectation of hearing from you, – for my Uncle told me you were about to take a wife home, – & I therefore concluded that every post would bring me a letter saying you meant to bring her this way. Now however I shall defer no longer informing you that you have another niece, who remains in an anonymous state, till a name be found for her.

Having promised Scott to visit him in May, my purpose is after remaining a week with him, or at the very farthest ten days, to take the road from Edinburgh to Durham, by which means I shall see Berwick & other places worth seeing. I hope my Uncle has not misunderstood you, that Sealy [1]  has done the wisest thing he could do, & that when I arrive at Doctor Southeys door that eminent Physician may be no longer a batchelor.

Yesterday I had letters from Tom dated off Cadiz – he had gone there in pursuit of the French, & was on the point of sailing Westward – to touch as he supposed at Madeira, & then perhaps make for Buenos Ayres.

Nine & twenty sheets of my History are printed, & I expect to have the volume out in July. [2]  Walter Scott has reviewed the Cid badly enough in the Quarterly, [3]  casting a doubt upon things certain, & applying to history the laws of romance. Turners reviewal in the Annual is better, [4]  but the printer has placed the middle of the article at the end. No books are so carelessly printed as Reviews. I am often at a loss to discover my own meaning there. Two articles have been bespoken of me for the second Quarterly, [5]  one upon Portugueze Literature, & one upon the state of society in the United States. [6]  My floor is covered with books of reference for this latter subject. The way of carrying on this review is to chuse subjects for the articles, & then enquire for books which may serve as texts for them!

As soon as you inform me that there is a Mrs H Southey to whom they may be directed, I shall give orders to have my whole regiment of two & twenty volumes put in one livery, to ornament a hanging shelf.

God bless you


Thursday March 30.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.60. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Richard Sealy (c. 1752–1821) a wealthy Lisbon merchant, the father of Mary-Harriet Sealy, who married Henry Herbert Southey in 1809. BACK

[2] The first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil was published in 1810. BACK

[3] Southey’s The Chronicle of the Cid (1808) was reviewed by Scott in the Quarterly Review, 1 (1809), 117–134. BACK

[4] Sharon Turner reviewed Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid (1808) in the Annual Review for 1808, 7 (1809), 91–99. BACK

[5] For Southey’s letter requesting to write on these subjects, see Southey to John Murray, 18 March 1809, Letter 1602. BACK

[6] Southey’s review of Abiel Holmes (1763–1837), American Annals; or, a Chronological History of America, from its Discovery in 1492 to 1806, Quarterly Review, 2 (1809), 319–337. His review of Extractos em Portuguez e em Inglez; com as Palavras Portuguezas Propriamente Accentuadas, para Facilitar o Estudo d’Aquella Lingoa (1808) was published in the Quarterly Review, 1 (1809), 268–292. BACK

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