3434. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman & Co., 8 February 1820

3434. Robert Southey to Messrs Longman & Co., 8 February 1820 ⁠* 

Keswick. 8 Feby. 1820.

Dear Sir

Some anonymous person [1]  has, with a friendly intention, sent me the first number of a Life of the King by Robert Southy Esqre, published by J Jones & Co Warwick Square, − alias Oddy says the person who transmits it to me. [2]  At the bottom of the cover there is this note “x x x Observe to order “Southy’s Life of the King” to avoid imposition.’ And it is said to be “published for the Author.”

You are better able to judge than I am of the propriety of stirring in this affair. Frauds of this kind are frequent, but except in the case of Lord Byron, I do not remember any one that has been quite so impudent. [3]  I mean to insert a paragraph in the provincial papers here, to prevent my neighbours from being taken in, as they otherwise would be. [4]  If you think it worth while for me to take farther measures, you will have the goodness to send this letter to Turner, & I shall be guided by his opinion. The rascally publisher seems to believe that by misspelling my name, he can evade the law, & commit this fraud with impunity.

Yrs very truly

R Southey.


* Address: To/ Messrs Longman &c
Endorsement: R Southey/ 8 Feb 1820
Watermark: G W/ 1816
MS: Morgan Library, MA 63. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Unidentified. BACK

[2] Authentic Memoirs of Our Late Venerable and Beloved Monarch, George the Third … by Robert Southy, Esq. (1820). If J. Jones was fictitious the publishers may have been Samuel August Oddy (1779–1847) and Henry Oddy (1782–1847), booksellers and printers, specialising in maps. They had previously had premises at 20 Warwick Lane, but had gone bankrupt in 1815. BACK

[3] The legal case Lord Byron v. James Johnston (dates unknown) in 1816, in which Murray acted on Byron’s behalf to gain an injunction preventing the publication of a work that was to appear under Byron’s name, but which Byron had not written. BACK

[4] ‘Some memoirs of the late King are now publishing in sixpenny numbers, and stated on the cover to be written by Robert Southy, Esq., with this farther notice, “observe to order Southy’s Life of the King to avoid imposition.” We are authorized to assure our readers that this is an impudent imposition; in which Mr. Southey’s name is used for the purpose of deceiving country purchasers, and misspelled in the hope that the fraudulent publisher may be enabled to evade the law. Other newspapers, we trust will insert this notice as an act of justice to the individual on whose reputation the fraud is practiced; and as one means of checking a species of swindling which is now become frequent’, Westmorland Gazette, 12 February 1820. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)