2262. Robert Southey to John Murray, 23 May 1813

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. [1]  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. [2]  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. [3]  And you had better consign the book about the Azores [4]  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. [5] 

believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqr/ Albemarle Street/ London
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.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813) was the last volume which contained contributions from Southey. BACK

[2] The Life of Nelson (1813) was an expansion of Southey’s article in Quarterly Review, 3 (February 1810), 218–262. His History of the Peninsular War was published between 1823–1832. BACK

[3] For Southey’s review of The World Before the Flood (1813), Quarterly Review, 11 (April 1814), 79–87. BACK

[4] 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

[5] i.e. Southey’s copy of the most recent issue of the Quarterly Review. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)