3141. Robert Southey to [Charles Gregan Craufurd], 29 May 1818

3141. Robert Southey to [Charles Gregan Craufurd], 29 May 1818 ⁠* 

Keswick. 29th. May. 1818

My dear Sir

Some business, & many interruptions have prevented me from acknowledging earlier the favour of your last communications. [1]  I now return the printed papers, having extracted from them such particulars as will hereafter be useful. I can inclose also an amended copy of the Inscription, in which the action of the Coa is now introduced. [2] 

The remarks with which you have favoured me upon the events of the Peninsular War will be highly serviceable. In most points they fully confirm the judgement which I had previously formed, – in some they correct, & in others they will lead me to reconsider it. But it is a great satisfaction to find my own views generally in perfect accord with those of so competent an observer.

In availing myself of these remarks, as in every other instance where I am guided by private documents, I shall of cou be especially careful to give no intimation of the source from whence they proceed. Great confidence has been placed in me, of which I should prove myself unworthy, if I were not always to bear in mind the propriety of this caution.

The moral reason which deters you from writing those military Memoirs [3]  which no other person can supply, might perhaps be counterbalanced by the certainty that the errors which you are unwilling to notice, will be brought forward by others, – & perhaps with exaggerated severity, – while the circumstances which led to those errors, & might palliate or in some degree excuse account for them, will not be adduced to explain & to excuse them. But the state of your health is indeed an unanswerable objection, – & deeply indeed is it to be regretted the public loss to be regretted, – as well as the private calamity

I have the honour to be

My dear Sir

with the greatest respect

your obliged & obedient servant

Robert Southey.


* MS: Beinecke Library, GEN MSS 298, Series I, Box 1, folder 42. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Craufurd had sent Southey his own thoughts on the Peninsular War and some papers of his brother, Major-General Robert Craufurd (1764–1812; DNB), to aid Southey with his History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[2] The combat of the River Coa, near Almeida, Portugal, took place on 24 July 1810 when, under pressure from superior French forces, British and Portuguese troops commanded by Major-General Robert Craufurd fell back to the Coa, and then successfully defended a bridge crossing it. The Inscription to which Southey refers commemorates Craufurd. It is his ‘For the Walls of Ciudad Rodrigo’, one of a series of Inscriptions on the Peninsular War published in his Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 150–151. The poem deals with the action at the Coa at lines 15–20. BACK

[3] Craufurd did not write his memoirs. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)