1817. Robert Southey to Robert Lundie, 14 October 1810

1817. Robert Southey to Robert Lundie, 14 October 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick Oct. 14 1810


You have formed so judicious an estimate of the difficulties concerning which you have done me the honour to ask my opinion, that I have no doubt but that they will all be obviated. [1] 

I perfectly agree with you that the Appendix should be common both to the History & Chronicle. [2]  There appears to me however a convenience in placing it between them as it at present stands, because the of the division of the work into two parts or volumes. The History & the State papers filled one for the last year in as just a proportion as if they had been calculated with that view. I apprehend that this year the history will occupy more room – the state papers less; – the excess of one being balanced by the deficit in the other departmen portion. But were the Chronicle transferred to the first part, it would, I apprehend swell the bulk of the xxxxx xxxxxx disproportionately & there is no unfitness in referring back from it to the Appendix.

The Appendix I would confine exclusively to State-papers, – that is to say, Treaties Proclamations Manifestoes & things of this kind. – Gazettes & Bulletins belong to the Chronicle, – but whether to insert them as they occur, or place them altogether in chronological order, is certainly a point of some difficulty. I incline to the latter plan, & to the opinion that the Chronicle should be considered chiefly as a register of domestic events, preserving every thing from our newspapers which marks the state of society, x the virtues & vices of the time, – in short whatever would assist our contemporaries abroad, or our posterity at home in obtaining as compleat a knowledge as possible of Great Britain in our times. Of the main events of the year I think it would be superfluous to give any account in this department, the substance being contained in the History, & the official statement in the Gazettes. But those naval transactions xxxxx which have neither cause nor consequence beyond what their own story explains, may all be referred to the Chronicle, in preference to the Gazette. Gazette account being always the dullest, & not always the clearest.

The Duke of York’s business forms so material a part of the parliamentary proceedings that I am compelled to enter into a full detail of it: it is a task equally irksome & laborious. [3] 

You, as it appears to me, need only refer to xxx what passed in Parliament: while the out-of-door meetings upon the subject in town & country belong to your department.

Concerning the arrangement of dates I have only to say that your observations are perfectly just, & that there cannot be a better plan than the one which you propose to adopt, both as to the occurrences of the year, & the articles of miscellaneous matter occurring in the journals. The work will also be very materially benefitted by your occasional comments & explanations.

You complain of a scantiness of materials, – x this is a difficulty which I know but too well how to appreciate. The daily London papers are not those which would afford you the best supply. – I believe one of those weekly papers which exclude all advertisements & thereby in any lack of news are compelled to fill their columns with provincial news events would prove more useful in this point than the Times, – which I instance as being perhaps the best newspaper that xxxx yet better conducted than any paper ever has been before it.

With many thanks for your personal good wishes, & with equal good wishes in return I am Sir

respectfully yours

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Robert Lundie/ Manse/ of/ Kelso/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 1810 Keswick/ Octor 14th/ Mr Southey/ To R.L.
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 9848. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The letter deals with Southey’s work for the Edinburgh Annual Register, for which he wrote the historical section. It is part of an exchange with Lundie and Ballantyne over the content and tone of Southey’s contributions and also the structure and contents of the Register itself. In particular, the potential overlap between Southey’s account in part 1 of the Register of British and continental events in 1808 and the ‘Chronicle’ that appeared separately in part 2. See also Southey to John Ballantyne 19 September 1810, Letter 1807. BACK

[2] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.1 (1810), pp. i–ciii, contained an ‘Appendix’ of 42 State Papers; there was no ‘Appendix’ to Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.2 (1810). In Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), the ‘Appendix’ contained only 7 State Papers, pp. i–xxix. The ‘Chronicle’ remained in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.2 (1811), still without an ‘Appendix’. BACK

[3] In 1809, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827; DNB) had been forced to resign as commander-in-chief of the British army in the wake of allegations that he had profited from office trafficking. After a lengthy investigation, the charges were found to be unproven. It had, however, become apparent that his former mistress Mary Anne Clarke (c. 1776–1852; DNB) had received money from individuals keen for her to use her influence with the Duke, and that the Duke himself had known of her actions. For Southey’s account, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 109–301. BACK

People mentioned

Ballantyne, James (1772–1833) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)