2262. Robert Southey to John Murray, 23 May 1813 *
Keswick. May 23 1813
My dear Sir
My labours in the Edin. Ann. Register will end with the fourth volume.  Among the reasons which have induced me to give up my engagement with that work, one has been the thought that it rather becomes me to erect a finished building myself than to content myself with preparing materials for others.
I should like to write the history of the war in the peninsular, & deal with that portion of the Register which relates to it, as I have done in the Life of Nelson with the reviewal, out of which it grew.  There are some parts which I could not alter without making them worse; – but the general form & arrangement would necessarily be new, – so much is there to correct, to alter, & to add from later documents. I have good channels of information open, both in Spain & Portugal, & it will not be difficult to obtain access to the best in this country. We are probably in the fifth act of the drama; – but should our operation in Spain be continued even another year after the present I think two quartos would comprize the history upon its proper scale.
I cannot execute the plan, till after a lapse of years, without the consent of the publisher of the Register. But if it appears to them that the book if properly executed must command a good sale, & that as it does to me, they will think that the subject must ensure a respectable sale to the book, & that no man can undertake it with greater advantages. – I have written to Messr Longman upon the subject , & shall make the like communication to Mr <James> Ballantyne.
Let me review Montgomerys World before the Flood.  And you had better consign the book about the Azores  to my hands. Those Islands lie within my district. When you send a parcel do not forget to inclose sheet C C of your last number, to supply a deficiency in my copy. 
believe me my dear Sir
Yrs very truly
* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 26 MY 26/ 1813
Watermark: C WILMOTT/ 1807
Endorsement: 1813 May 23d/ Southey. R
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42551. ALS; 3p.
 History of the Azores, or Western Islands; containing an Account of the Government, Laws, and Religion; the Manners, Ceremonies, and Character of the Inhabitants; and demonstrating the Importance of the valuable Islands to the British Empire (1813), the article in Quarterly Review, 11 (April 1814), 191–203, was probably by John Barrow. BACK