3291. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman and Co., 7 May 1819

3291. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman and Co., 7 May 1819⁠* 

Keswick, May 7. 1819.

Dear Sir,

A lucky misapprehension respecting new and old Methodists has procured me some very interesting information from your correspondent Mr. Keene, [1]  upon a subject of which I had no knowledge before, and which is of much importance to my work. [2]  I enclose a letter which you will have the goodness to get franked to him. [3]  In it I have explained to him what further documents I require from Ireland. [4] 

I hoped to have been in London at this time; but there has been a succession of illness in my family, and the “History of Brazil” has grown under my hands far beyond all calculation, owing to the richness of my unprinted documents, and to the materials which have reached me while this volume has been in the press. However, we are printing the last chapter, – a long and very important one, – containing a full view of the present state of Brazil. [5]  It would have been worth 100l. if I had transferred it to the “Quarterly Review.” But it is in its proper place, – the fit conclusion of a work upon which my reputation hereafter may safely rest.

“Nichols’s Anecdotes” are such a huge store of materials, applicable to many works which I have in hand and in mind, that I must keep them. [6]  Please to send me the “Illustrations” which he has published as a sequel, [7]  and that number of the “Pamphleteer,” containing Koster on the Slave Trade, which I must refer to in my “View of Brazil.” [8] 

I shall be getting once more on the wrong side of your books; for during the last half-year, the “Brazil” has swallowed up almost all of my labour, like a sinking fund. But “Wesley” and the sale of “Paraguay” will bring me round; [9]  and my long New England poem is now in that state of forwardness that I begin to calculate upon it. [10] 

Yours truly,

R. SOUTHEY.


Notes

* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856)
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 131–132. BACK

[1] The correspondent was possibly Martin Keene (dates unknown), a Dublin bookseller and prominent Irish Methodist. He was the son of Arthur Keene (d. 1818), one of the founders of Irish Methodism. Southey’s letter to Messrs Longman & Co., 19 February 1819 (Letter 3249), had requested some of the publications of the New Connexion, which had separated from Methodism in 1797, and of Irish Methodism. This enquiry inadvertently provided Southey with information about the nature of the division in Irish Methodism in 1818, in which a group called the Primitive Wesleyans decided to remain within the Church of Ireland – to a non-Methodist they were easily confused with the Primitive Methodists in England, who had separated from the main body of Methodists in 1807–1811, but who had no intention of reuniting with the Church of England. BACK

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

[3] The enclosed letter has not been traced so it is not possible to be sure what sort of information Southey requested. BACK

[4] The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism, 2 vols (London, 1820), II, pp. 256–292 dealt with ‘Methodism in Ireland’. BACK

[5] Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 696–879. BACK

[6] Southey had originally promised to return the copy of John Nichols (1745–1826; DNB), Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (1812–1815); see Southey to Longman, 19 February 1819, Letter 3249. Southey’s set was no. 2034 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[7] Nichols’s Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century (1817–1858); the earliest volumes in this set formed part of no. 2034 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] i.e. the final chapter of Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 696–879. Koster’s ‘On the Amelioration of Slavery’ had been published in The Pamphleteer; Respectfully Dedicated to Both Houses of Parliament, 8 (1816), 306–336. It was cited in Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 782, 785–786. BACK

[9] The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820) and A Tale of Paraguay (1825). BACK

[10] Southey’s unfinished epic, set in New England. The completed sections were published after Southey’s death in Oliver Newman: A New-England Tale (Unfinished): With Other Poetical Remains (London, 1845), pp. 1–90. BACK

People mentioned

Koster, Henry (1793–1820) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)

Exports

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