3699. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 2 July 1821

3699. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 2 July 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 2d July. 1821

When you go into the City next, you may if you please settle my account at Lackingtons [1]  by taking the following books

4940 Warburtons Letters to Bishop Hurd. [2]  1. 7/ –
4661. Yorkes Royal Tribes of Wales [3]  1 – 1 –
4695. Gwedir Family [4]  8 –

Warburtons letters will compleat your set of his works. I sent for it with that view some years ago, but it was not to be had. The other two are curious books: the Gwedir History especially contains a most barbarous representation of Welsh manners two centuries ago.

I have the whole series of Harris’s Lives, [5]  – some of the most worthless books they are that ever were puffed into reputation. The author, if author he may be called, was a Dissenting Minister, & therefore praised by his brethren the reviewers of that day: & at that time when few persons though of consulting an original writer, he obtained a character for research, – because he strung together in the most unmethodical & inconvenient manner possible a heap of extracts with little or no discrimination, & in the worst spirit of his cast. – My paper upon Cromwells life [6]  is finished & the proofs returned to Murray. It is long for its place, but too short by half for its subject.

Some anonymous person has written me a letter for the purpose of telling me, seriously & civilly, that it is my duty to – make a new version of the Psalms, & lay it before the King, to be by him approved & appointed to be sung in Churches!! – My correspondence extraordinary would make a curious volume. [7] 

Dibdin, with whom I have no other acquaintance than that of having once dined with him at Longmans, has very civilly sent me his Bibliographical Tour, which is more beautifully embellished than any work I ever saw. [8]  He prints one edition & then destroys the plates, – a fashion which is worse than stupid. Ten guineas is the price of the three volumes. Murray sent me Capt Parrys voyage, [9]  – & I have got from a catalogue Bp Hackets Life of the Lord Keeper AB. Williams. [10]  They have begun to publish Strypes Lives at Oxford, & I have sent for those which are advertised. [11]  I picked out lately from the books of our late Vicar [12]  a History of the Convocation, [13]  – Whistons Memoirs of himself, [14]  – & the Christian Directory of Father Persons (commonly called Parsons), [15]  – which I shall put in as good a cover as this country can make for it, it being at present too ragged to be read.

The Cortes have voted to turn the Franciscans out of Mafra & not to put the Conxx Canons in. [16]  The Convent libraries, or what remains of them, will I dare say soon be in the market, & many a book will then be sold as waste paper for which I should be glad to pay largely if it were within reach!

The Printer gets on well with my History. [17]  If you like to look at it in its progress, Bedford has the clean sheets, which I shall not want till the close of the volume. I wish Frere were in England, he promised me papers which he always delayed to send, but I should have had them now, & by means of questioning, I could have obtained from him much satisfactory information concerning individuals whom he knew, & affairs in which he was engaged. If he comes home this summer he may yet be in time for me.

My annual cold is in great perfection at this time. I am now trying a course of exercise for it, have walked ten miles to day, & mean to walk twenty tomorrow. Mrs Keenan [18]  is with us, sister of General Mc Kinnon [19]  who was killed at Ciudad Rodrigo: a cart-full of females go tomorrow to Buttermere & I am the footman of the party.

Love to my Aunt & the children. – I have some expectation of seeing Elmsley here this summer.

God bless you



* Address: To/ The Revd. Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surrey.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] 0 o’clock/ JY. 5/ 21 FNn; E/ 5 JY 5/ 1821
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 209. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 260–262 [in part]. BACK

[1] George Lackington (1777–1844; DNB), prominent bookseller and publisher. BACK

[2] Letters from a Late Eminent Prelate to One of His Friends (1808), the correspondence sent by William Warburton (1698–1779; DNB), Bishop of Gloucester 1759–1779, to Richard Hurd (1720–1808; DNB), Bishop of Worcester 1781–1808. Southey owned a copy of Hurd’s multi-volume edition of William Warburton’s Works (1788–1794), no. 3102 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[3] Philip Yorke (1743–1804), The Royal Tribes of Wales (1799). A later edition of 1827 is no. 3133 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] John Wynn, 1st Baronet (1553–1627; DNB), History of the Gwydir Family (1770). A later edition of 1827 is no. 3133 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[5] William Harris (1720–1770; DNB), Account of the Lives of James I and Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and Charles II (1814), no. 1286 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

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

[7] This correspondent is unidentified. BACK

[8] Thomas Frognall Dibdin, Bibliographical, Antiquarian, and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany (1821), no. 830 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] William Parry (1790–1855, DNB), Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific; Performed in the Years 1819–20, in His Majesty’s Ships Hecla and Griper (1821), no. 2138 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] John Hacket (1592–1670, DNB) Scrinia Reserata: a Memorial Offer’d to the Great Deservings of John Williams, D.D. (1693), no. 1211 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. This was a biography of John Williams (1582–1650; DNB), Archbishop of York 1641–1650 and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal 1621–1625. BACK

[11] Southey acquired the complete Works of John Strype (1643–1737; DNB) in 23 vols (1816–1824), no. 2753 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] Isaac Denton (c. 1758–1820), Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick, 1786–1820. BACK

[13] Humphrey Hody (1659–1707; DNB), A Compleat History of Convocations, from 1356 to 1689. Proving, from the Acts and Registers thereof, that they are Agreeable to the Principles of the Established Church (1730), no. 1342 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[14] William Whiston (1667–1752; DNB), Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. William Whiston: Containing, Memoirs of Several of his Friends Also (1749), no. 3000 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[15] Robert Persons [also known as Parsons] (1546–1610; DNB), A Christian Directory, Guiding Men to Eternall Salvation (1650), no. 2219 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[16] The Mafra Palace (built 1717–1730) was also a Franciscan friary. Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquess of Pombal (1699–1782), Prime Minister of Portugal 1750–1777, had ejected the Franciscans and replaced them with Augustinian canons. After Pombal’s fall, the Franciscans returned, only to be displaced again by the newly elected Portuguese Cortes in 1821. BACK

[17] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). The printer was Thomas Davison (1766–1831). BACK

[18] Frances Keenan (d. 1838), wife of the Irish portrait painter John Keenan (d. 1819). Southey first met her in Exeter in 1799. BACK

[19] Major-General Henry MacKinnon (1773–1812) commanded the 45th, 74th and 88th Regiments, and was killed storming the city of Ciudad Rodrigo on the night of 19–20 January 1812. He was the subject of Southey’s ‘To the Memory of Major General MacKinnon’, Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 152–154. BACK

People mentioned

Murray, John Samuel (1778–1843) (mentioned 2 times)
George IV (1762–1830) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Catherine (1775–1848) (mentioned 1 time)
(mentioned 0 times)
Elmsley, Peter (1774–1825) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)