1701. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 24 October 1809

1701. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 24 October 1809 ⁠* 

My dear Harry

I have sent you my French Anna Comnena [1]  by Miss Lamb. [2]  Fynes Morison [3]  is too big for a Lady’s trunk, that therefore must go by waggon when I have any thing else to send with it, – but it is worth while to xx examine your two Libraries first, [4]  in hope of saving carriage, – these old travellers being among the likelier books to be found there. My Sandys [5]  is as you may perhaps recollect in the College Green. There is a most excellent vol. of travels in Asia Minor published about forty years ago by Chandler, who travelled for the Dilettante Society, – a thoroughly good book, – almost a model for such works. [6] 

You will get Anna Comnena in about a fortnight. Be very particular in your references so that you may with as little trouble as possible verify them by the original whenever we lay hands on it, for I need not tell you how much is always lost in translations. You will see my land marks thro the book, but I have never yet had time to make the purposed use of them. For the Latin conquest I have the two great authorities for you Ville Hardouin [7]  & Nicetâs, [8]  the former is among the rarissima. [9]  I have also got S Louiss expedition [10]  & Guillermus de Nangis [11]  in the Hist. Francoram ab Anno 900 ad 1285, [12]  but this is a book which I should think must be in your Durham Libraries. This volume contains the Philippines of Guillerme de Brito [13]  – which must be another of your documents.

Biddulphs Travels [14]  are in the supplement to Churchills Collection, [15]  where indeed you will find other & better travellers in the Levant, – but read them all. Is not this Collection in your Libraries? – Purchas [16]  I know is there, & must certainly contain much which is to your purpose. Maundrel [17]  will have something & so will Bertrandon La Brocquiere lately Englished by Johnes. [18]  The latest description of Acre, [19]  <a place> with which you will have much to do in Cœur de Lions Crusade, [20]  – is in Brownes miserable travels. [21] 

Do not send me the Dictionary, per se it is not worth carriage, when I come next to Durham I shall visit Sunderland & Newcastle in search of books, & perhaps pack up a respectable box full.

Your news of Edward was to be expected. Botany Bay is the best thing that can be hoped for him, & all we can hope for ourselves is that whether he be lucky enough to get there, or whether he dies as you say in his shoes, it may be by some alias, – a thing not unlikely as his own name will soon be too bad to serve him longer.


I sent for the Gesta Dei [22]  from a Catalogue – but it was gone. I have now sent for Maimbourgs Hist. des Croisades [23]  with more likelihood of success, – for Maimbourg is not an author of good repute. Nevertheless Hi his history cannot but be useful, – just as a bad map is better than no map at all. It will at least give you the modern names of places, & show you the relative proportions & importance of the different Crusades. Fullers History [24]  is among the many books which I have lost – His Pisgah View of Palestine [25]  is here, & will supply you with some amusing notes.

Poor Jackson is at rest. His brother Joseph, [26]  my present Landlord, is an uncommonly respectable man, – the great favourite of Ld Sackville [27]  who at this time pays his expences as a Fellow Commoner at Cambridge that he may by taking a degree qualify himself to hold his livings. He goes home by way of Durham, & I shall desire him to knock at your door, that you may show him what civilities you can. His brother Ben, [28]  may perhaps be with him, – & he I dare say has better accommodation at his home than are to be found at the inn at Alston. [29]  Verbum sit sat sapienti. [30] 

I have made a bold push for Tom, & have got Sir G Beaumont to ask Ld Mulgrave [31]  to promote him. [32]  It went sorely against the grain to ask this favour, but I made up my mind to the fitness of doing it, tho my wishes for its success are a good deal stronger than my hopes

When is the Long Main? [33]  – for I purpose attending it, – if possible. I will bring Edith if Mary will either come & fetch us, – or return with us. Tell her she never can know half my agreable accomplishments till she see me in my own house.

God bless you


Oct 24. 1809.

– You will have received Anna Comnena before this time, – I sent for Basnage Hist de Juifs [34]  – without success


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.74. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Anna Comnena (1083–1153), daughter of Alexios I Komnenos (1048/1056–1118), Byzantine emperor 1081- 1118, wrote the Alexiad, a history of her father’s reign. Southey is probably referring to her narrative in the French-compiled dual Latin/Greek edition of Byzantine texts, Byzantinae Historiae Scriptores (1645–1711). BACK

[3] Fynes Moryson (1565/6–1630), traveller and writer who spent three years compiling a history of the countries he had visited. He abandoned this work to begin a shorter account of his travels, translated from Latin into English as An Itinerary: Containing His Ten Years Travel Through the Twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohemia, Switzerland, Netherland, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Turkey, France, England, Scotland and Ireland and published in three volumes in 1617. BACK

[4] The Bishop’s Library and the Chapter Library in Durham. BACK

[5] George Sandys (1578–1644; DNB), writer and traveller, whose journey through Europe and the Levant during 1610–1612 was published as A Relation of a Journey begun an. dom. 1610. Foure bookes. Containing a description of the Turkish empire, of Aegypt, of the Holy Land, of the Remote parts of Italy and Lands Adioyning (1615). BACK

[6] Richard Chandler (bap. 1737, d. 1810; DNB) was a classical scholar and traveller who was commissioned by the Dilettante Society to undertake a tour of exploration in Asia Minor and Greece. His journals from the expedition appeared in two parts: Travels in Asia Minor (1775) and Travels in Greece (1776). BACK

[7] No. 1135 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was Geoffroy de Villehardouyn, Maréchal de Champagne (1148–1213), L’Histoire de la Conqueste de Constantinople par les Barons Français Associez aux Venitients, l’an 1204 (1584). BACK

[8] Nicetas, or the Triumph Over Incontinence (1633) by Jerome Drexelius (1581–1638), a Jesuit writer of devotional literature. The work was no. 860 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] Meaning ‘very rare’. BACK

[10] Probably Louis IX (1214–1270), commonly termed Saint Louis, King of France from 1226 to 1270, who went on two crusades to the Middle East in 1248 and 1270. BACK

[11] The French chronicler, Guillaume de Nangis (d. 300). BACK

[12] Historiæ Francorum ab Anno Christi DCCCC ad Ann. M.CC.LXXXV, Scriptores Veteres XI. … Glaber, Helgandus, Sugerius Abbas, M. Rigordu, Guillermus Brito, Guillermus de Nangis, et Anonymi alij, Extrema Stirpis Carolinæ et Carpetiorum Regum res Gestas usque ad D. Philippum Ludovici Filium Regem Explicantes (1596). BACK

[13] Guillermus Brito (dates unknown). BACK

[14] William Biddulph (fl. 1600), a Protestant chaplain appointed by the Levant Company to the Aleppo factory whose letters reporting his travels were published as The Travels of Certaine Englishmen into Africa, Asia, Troy, Bythinia, Thracia, and to the Black Sea: And into Shyria, Cilicia, Pisidia, Mesopotamia, Damascus, Canaan, Galile, Samaria, Judea, Palestina, Jerusalem, Jericho, and to the Red Sea: and to Sundry Other Places (1609). BACK

[15] A Collection of Voyages and Travels published by John (c.1663–c.1714; DNB) and Awnsham Churchill (1658–1728; DNB) in four volumes in 1704. The third edition of 1744–1746 was no. 695 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[16] Samuel Purchas (c. 1577–1626; DNB), His Pilgrimage, or Relations of the World (1625). BACK

[17] Henry Maundrell (bap. 1665–1701; DNB), Church of England clergyman and traveller in the Middle East, whose travels were published after his death in A Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter A.D. 1697 (1703). His account was intended to bring George Sandys’ narrative (see note 4) up to date (DNB). BACK

[18] Bertrandon de la Brocquière (c. 1400–1459), The Travels of Bertrandon de la Brocquière to Palestine: and his Return from Jerusalem Overland to France, During the Years 1432 & 1433, translated by Thomas Johnes (1748–1816; DNB) (1807). BACK

[19] A city several times besieged during the Crusades: in 1189–1191 during the Third Crusade and in 1291, when it was the final city in the Levant to fall to the Muslims. BACK

[20] Richard I, also known as Richard Coeur de Lion, Richard the Lionheart (1157–1199; DNB), King of England (1189–1199), Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou. He and a European army of crusaders captured the city of Acre in 1191. BACK

[21] George William Browne (1768–1813), Travels in Africa, Egypt, and Syria: From the year 1792 to 1798 (1799). BACK

[22] Southey eventually owned Gesta Dei per Francos, siue Orientalium Expeditionum et Regni Francorum Hierosolimitani Historia a Variis, Sed Illius Aeui Scriptoribus, Litteris Commendata, etc, edited by Jacques Bongars (1554–1612), no. 1193 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[23] Louis Maimbourg (1610–1686), Histoire des Croisades pour la Deliverance de la Terre Sainte, par le P. Louis Maimbourg, de la Compagnie de Jesus (1682). BACK

[24] Thomas Fuller (1607/8–1661; DNB), The Church History of Britain (1655). BACK

[25] Fuller, Pisgah-Sight of Palestine (1650). BACK

[26] Reverend Joseph Jackson (dates unknown). BACK

[27] Charles Sackville-Germain, 5th Duke of Dorset, 2nd Viscount Sackville (1767–1843). BACK

[28] Benjamin Jackson (dates unknown). BACK

[29] A small town in Cumbria on the River South Tyne. BACK

[30] Meaning ‘a word to the wise is sufficient’. BACK

[31] Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave (1755–1831; DNB): diplomatist and politician who was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1807. BACK

[32] For Southey’s request to Sir George Beaumont, see Southey to Sir George Beaumont, 12 October 1809, Letter 1692. BACK

[33] A large cock fight held regularly at Durham. BACK

[34] Jacques Basnage De Beauval (1653–1723), Histoire des Juifs (1706, Eng. trans. 1708). BACK

Places mentioned

College Green, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)