3099. Robert Southey to William Hawkes Smith, 21 March 1818

3099. Robert Southey to William Hawkes Smith, 21 March 1818⁠* 

Keswick 21 March 1818

Sir

Your letter of Feby 27 with the accompanying prospectus and specimens did not reach me till this day. [1]  Gratifying as such a communication needs must be, you may be assured that if it had arrived earlier I should not have delayed to acknowledge it.

How much I am pleased with the designs is what I could better express to any other person than to you. I am only afraid that you have fixed a price upon them so inadequately low that it will scarcely cover the expenses of publication; [2]  & that the poem [3]  (considering how little it has sold) will do less for the Sketches – than the Sketches will do for the poem.

I hope it may be in my power to procure a few subscribers, for which purpose I shall circulate the papers without delay. [4]  Meantime do me the favour of putting my name down for four copies [5]  &

believe me to be Sir

with much respect

your obliged & obedient

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: Wm Hawkes Smith Esq/ Easy Row/ Birmingham
Stamped: [partial] KESWICK
MS: Bodleian Library, Arch. AA d. 34; tipped into the front of a copy of Essays in Design Drawn and Etched by W. H. Smith, … Illustrative of the Poem of ‘Thalaba the Destroyer’ by R. Southey (1818). ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Smith had sent Southey a ‘Prospectus’ and sample plates for Essays in Design Drawn and Etched by W. H. Smith, …Illustrative of the Poem of ‘Thalaba the Destroyer’ by R. Southey (1818). Smith’s plan was to publish by subscription. BACK

[2] The ‘Prospectus’ advertised a price of 10s 6d. BACK

[3] Thalaba the Destroyer (1801); the poem had sold slowly, only going into a second edition in 1809 and a third in 1814. This compared with Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814), which had reached a third edition a year after its first publication. BACK

[4] Southey fulfilled this promise, sending the ‘Prospectus’ to friends; see Southey to John Rickman, 21 March [1818] (Letter 3098); Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 March 1818 (Letter 3100); and Southey to Grosvenor Bedford, 23 March 1818 (Letter 3102). None of these subscribed, but other members of Southey’s circle did and were duly listed at the front of the published volume: e.g. Mrs Crothers, Herbert Hill, John Murray and Henry Herbert Southey. BACK

[5] One of these copies was presumably that advertised as no. 2612 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Another was sent to Tom Southey; see Southey to Tom Southey, Easter Eve [22 March] 1818, Letter 3101. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)

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