3128. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 April 1818

3128. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 April 1818⁠* 

My dear Tom

The ham arrived last week, & ought to be the better for having been six or seven weeks on the road. This irregularity of the carriers is a great grievance, & I heartily wish it were possible for Government to undertake the carriage of goods as well as of letters.

I hope also that summer is arrived, – as for Spring, that season has been abolished a long while, & we know as little of it in this part of England as they do at Petersburg. Today {Monday} we have warm rain, & gleams of sunshine, & the Birds are telling us how they like the change. And now xxxxxx that the country is likely to afford some enjoyment you had better come, & bring with you your Opus, that we may take some serious steps concerning it; – such as consulting Murray & issuing a Prospectus. [1]  Here will be something for you in this Italian book about the birth place of Columbus. [2]  But what I look to as containing matter which is not to be found elsewhere is John de Laets hist: of the West India Company, [3]  – if it be not gone to the Goodwin Sands, – for all that I can learn as yet of that cargo is that it was sent from Brussels to Ostend about ten weeks ago! – it is the largest & most important purchase that I ever made, or probably ever shall make. This book of John de Laets must unquestionably contain xxxxxxxx accounts of the first transactions of the Dutch in the West Indies he is a well known author, – one of those who are universally known, – & yet tho I was led to believe that he must have written such a book as this, I never could meet with any proof of it, till I laid hold of this copy upon Vanbeasts shelf [4] , so little are books in that unlucky language known beyond their own country. It is by his Latin work that the author is notorious.

The article upon Malthus might well surprize you. I could not take any notice of xx Journal its insertion without resenting it as a personal affair, & throwing up the review, – this would have been throwing up the main part of my income & was therefore out {of} the question. [5]  So I let the matter rest, especially as I wished to avail myself of the Review for bringing some views of great possible & practicable benefit before the public in the most advantageous manner. Moreover it would have been hard upon Murray to make him suffer for what was wholly Giffords fault, – & in him the effect of an obliging temper toward some body else, & an active forgetfulness (not intentional indecorum) of me.

I am going on bravely with Brazil, – far far ahead of the press. [6]  It will be a very curious volume. And every day I expect the first proof of Wesley. [7] 

Love to Sarah

God bless you


Tuesday 28 April 1818


* Address: To/ Capt Southey/ Warcop/ near/ Brough
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Thomas Southey, A Chronological History of the West Indies was published by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, & Green in 1827. BACK

[2] Gianfrancesco Napione (1748–1830), Delia Patria di Cristoforo Colombo (1808), no. 730 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Napione argued that Columbus was of Piedmontese upbringing. BACK

[3] Joannes de Laet (1581–1649), Historie ofte Iaerlijck Verhael van de Verrichtingen der Geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie (1644), no. 1671 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Jean-Baptiste Ver Beyst (1770–1849), famous Brussels bookseller; Southey had visited his shop on his continental tour in 1817 and bought over one hundred volumes. BACK

[5] Quarterly Review, 17 (July 1817), 369–403 (published 29 November 1817), contained a review of the 5th edition of Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834; DNB), Essay on the Principle of Population (1817) by John Bird Sumner (1780–1862; DNB) that was far less critical than Southey was wont to be of Malthus’s theories. BACK

[6] Southey was correcting proofs of the third volume of his History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[7] Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

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