3170. Robert Southey to John Murray, 21 July 1818

3170. Robert Southey to John Murray, 21 July 1818⁠* 

My dear Sir

I have made good way in a letter to Brougham in consequence of a false & slanderous attack which he made upon me from the hustings, – with the amiable intention I believe of setting my neighbours upon stoning me, – this being the fashion with the rabble of his party. [1]  As I was not present to give him the lie in the face of the multitude, (as assuredly I would have done) I have given him such a castigation as such a thorough-paced scoundrel deserves, – a WilliamSmithiad. [2]  But I should hardly have taken this trouble for mere personal motives if I had not hoped to do some good by a full & compleat exposure of his system of slander. For this purpose in the body of the letter I want to give in order a clear, succinct & strong statement of all the calumnies in the H of Commons of which he has been convicted, – with the documents in the Appendix (between ourselves this is a suggestion of Crokers). – Send me therefore the Debates of the last Parliament – from the time Brougham came in for Winchelsea – I forget whether in 1814 – 15 or 16. [3]  The first part I shall very shortly send you thro Bedfords hands & you will let Pople print it. By the bye this printer has requested me to speak a good word for him to you, – & if in the plenitude of your power you could sometimes employ him, – you would confer a favour upon me by serving a very deserving man.

Jeffery & the ER. [4]  Come in for some tremendous blows in this letter. – I expect also to have a letter from Wordsworth to append to it, addressed to myself. He was included in the attack.

You can have no conception of the devilish spirit which Brougham has raised & left behind him in Westmorland. It has xxx xxx shocked many of his own party.

You want some German in the Review – & I can help you to some. Here is a neighbour of mine perfectly competent to give you an able & philosophical criticism upon Schillers works, if you will send the collected edition to Thomas de Quincey Esqr   Grasmere near Ambleside. [5]  I have been talking to him this day upon the subject. He is a man of singular acuteness & ability.

Evelyns Memoirs [6]  would assist in furnishing materials for an Essay of great pith & moment upon the reign of Charles 2. & the spirit of that age. – But my next paper must be the New Churches & the Catacombs, – easily & naturally connected. [7] 

There is a book upon Nonconformity lying for me at your house, – written by Conder the bookseller, [8]  – let it come in the next parcel – I shall have occasion to touch upon it in my life of Wesley. [9] 

What if I were to make a life of Marlbrough for the Review from Coxes book? [10] 

Believe me my dear Sir

yrs most truly

Robert Southey.

Keswick 21. July 1818

I shall not fail in the Copyright question [11] 


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 24 JY 24/ 1818
Watermark: R E & S BATH 1814
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Samuel Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends. Memoir and Correspondence of the Late John Murray, with an Account of the Origin and Progress of the House, 1768–1843, 2 vols (London, 1891), II, pp. 42–43. BACK

[1] On 30 June 1818, Brougham, campaigning for the parliamentary seat of Westmorland against the candidates favoured by Wordsworth’s patron, the Earl of Lonsdale, was reported to have attacked Southey and Wordsworth from the hustings. Southey did not finish his response, which he termed his ‘Tender Epistle’, but parts of it saw print, without mention of Brougham’s name, in a postscript to the second edition of Carmen Triumphale (London, 1821), pp. 45–53. BACK

[2] Southey’s A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M. P. (1817). BACK

[3] Brougham was MP for Winchelsea 1815–1830. BACK

[4] The Edinburgh Review (1802–1929), the main Whig quarterly journal. BACK

[5] De Quincey did not review the works of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) for the Quarterly Review. BACK

[6] Southey’s review of Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn appeared in the Quarterly Review (1818), 19 (April 1818), 1–54. He did not write an article on the reign of Charles II (1630–1685; King of England 1660–1685; DNB). BACK

[7] Southey’s review of Haydon, New Churches, Considered with Respect to the Opportunities they Offer for the Encouragement of Painting (1818) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (July 1820), 549–591. His review ‘Cemeteries and Catacombs of Paris’ appeared in Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 359–398. BACK

[8] Josiah Conder, On Protestant Nonconformity (1818). BACK

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

[10] Southey’s review of William Coxe, Memoirs of John Duke of Marlborough, with his Original Correspondence; Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources. Illustrated with Portraits, Maps, and Military Plans (1818-1819) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (May 1820), 1–73. BACK

[11] Southey’s article on the ‘Inquiry into the Copyright Act’, Quarterly Review, 21 (January 1819), 196–213, responding to the Report of the House of Commons Select Committee that investigated the Copyright Act (1814) in 1818. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Grasmere (Dove Cottage) (mentioned 1 time)
Ambleside (mentioned 1 time)