1925. Robert Southey to Robert Lundie, 19 May 1811

1925. Robert Southey to Robert Lundie, 19 May 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. May 19. 1811.

Dear Sir,

My influence with the Quarterly Review is not what you seem to suppose it. I have no personal knowledge either of the publisher or editor, [1]  never having seen either of them. But were it otherwise, an article designed for that work would not derive any advantage from passing thro my hands. If it be sent up to the publisher, it will be delivered over to the editor, & he will insert it, or not, according to his own judgement. That the article in question should appear in the next number is probably impossible, – for the arrangements for it must have been compleated by this time. The best method which I can advise is, that the MS should be sent to Murray thro Mr John Ballantyne, who no doubt must have frequent opportunities of sending it, & when I see him, as I shall do soon after my arrival in London, I will repeat your statement, which will certainly have the effect of making him wish to insert a reviewal written for such motives. [2]  – I am obliged by your offer of the volume & shall gladly accept it; Mr John Ballantyne will have the goodness to forward it to me with the Register, if it be delivered into his care.

I have scarcely had leisiure to cut open the leaves of the Chronicle, [3]  but that cursory inspection makes me incline to think that it will be better for the future to omit every thing of which the substance is to be found in the Annals: it is quite impossible for any person xx but the annalist to do this, & therefore neither you nor I are to blame for any repetitions which may at present be found in these volumes. My task [4]  has been a very heavy one, – it has cost me at least three months more than the preceding year, & it is not yet concluded. It is however executed in a manner more satisfactory to myself than that of the preceding year, because I have had ampler materials, especially for the Spanish part & the public must be very unreasonable if they do not perceive that its great increase of length is attributable to the greater number of events to be recorded, not to any prolixity in the writer.

Pray remember me to Dr & Mrs. Douglas. [5]  It was a very great & unexpected pleasure to me to meet him after an interval of so many years.

I look with much pleasure for Walter Scotts poem, [6]  & hope he will be as good a prophet as a poet, for I know he will prophesy of good things. He like myself has had faith in the worst times. – The recovery of Figueiras, [7]  which this days paper announces, is the most important event that has happened since the surrender of Dupont; [8]  – except the deliverance of Barcelona it is the most important success which the Spaniards could have obtained.

believe me my dear Sir

yrs very respectfully

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ The Revd. Robert Lundie/ Manse/ Kelso
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: Robt Southey/ Keswick/ 19 May/ 1811/ 1811
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 9848. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had not met either man, but he had corresponded with them. BACK

[2] Lundie did contribute to the Quarterly Review, but not until later. An article on Savings Banks appeared in Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 89–116. BACK

[3] Lundie produced the ‘Chronicle’ section of the second volume of the Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[4] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809 (1811). BACK

[5] Dr James Douglas (1775–1846) of Kelso, an old friend of Southey’s from Balliol College, Oxford. He had married Frances, daughter of James Robson of Samieston, in Edinburgh, on 10 December 1810. They visited Southey at Keswick in December 1810, shortly after their marriage. BACK

[6] Scott’s Vision of Don Roderick (1811), which covered similar territory to that in Southey’s Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[7] The fortress of Figueiras had been recaptured by the Spanish on 10 April 1811. BACK

[8] Pierre-Antoine, Comte Dupont de l’Etang (1765–1840), French general, who was defeated by Spanish forces at the Battle of Bailen, 16–19 July 1808, so ensuring that France would not easily achieve control of Spain. BACK

People mentioned

Ballantyne, John (1774–1821) (mentioned 2 times)
Murray, John Samuel (1778–1843) (mentioned 2 times)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)
Scott, Walter (1771–1832) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)