3716. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 21 August 1821

3716. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 21 August 1821⁠* 

Keswick 21 Aug. 1821

My dear Harry

I have been spending twelve days at Netherhall, with the two Ediths [1]  & Cupn. You would scarcely know the place, the grounds have been so thoroughly altered by pulling down all the innumerable walls with which they were intersected, removing the road, & restoring the fish ponds to the rivers: & the inside is undergoing equal improvements. Your letter followed me there & reminds me of a former, which I neglected to answer at the time. Now to its contents.

Rapin [2]  is as useful as any other historian for reference; there is a great volume by Eachard [3]  (a humble but faithful compiler) which is not less so, & may be had much cheaper, – he comes down to the Revolution. And probably a collection by different authors which Brady published [4]  (if I do not confound [5]  a history of his own with a compilation by somebody else) would be as useful as either. Half price is about the fair worth of Pinkerton: [6]  even his execrable mismanagement cannot deprive such a collection of all its value. – The frame maker is Mr A Haines, or Hawes (I cannot make out which) 3. Boyle Street, Saville Row; - [7] 

The parcel from poor Nashs brother, [8]  & the Quaker book, which I shall be very glad to see (thank Dr A. [9]  for me) you had better send to Longmans & desire them to send it at the beginning of the month, with the last volume, Humboldt [10]  & such volumes of the Edinburgh Ann: Register as may have been published since the 8th. [11] 

The Ventriloquist [12]  shall be fed when he appears, – a rich Laker this, & with a comical introduction.

Have I written to you since the Massachusetts Historical Society [13]  have given me another tail to my name? – One of my New England friends has sent me some American books (for good books are beginning to grow there) which will be very useful in more ways than one. In looking over one of them [14]  this morning, a good many thoughts have occurred which will set Oliver Newman [15]  again in progress. I shall keep up an intercourse with Boston, & an interchange of books henceforward.

As you do not mention Mr Burn [16]  in your letter I hope he is better than when my Uncle wrote. His generation is now passing away fast, & a few years more will make us among the elders of the world.

I am returned to a great accumulation of epistolary & other business. 42 sheets of the War [17]  are printed; – & another week will bring me to the end of my labour in correcting the first vol. of Brazil [18]  to which I shall have added about 1/9th. In this I shall have my labour for my pains, – but the time has been satisfactorily bestowed.

The next Q.R. will have a sketch of Cromwells Life [19]  which I like well enough to think of extending it.

Love to all if your household are returned

God bless you



* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ 15 Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ AU 24/ 1821
MS:. Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 4. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[2] Paul de Rapin [also Rapin de Thoyras] (1661–1725; DNB), Histoire d’Angleterre (1724–1727). An English translation of 1732 was no. 2383 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Laurence Echard (c. 1670–1730; DNB), The History of England: from the First Entrance of Julius Caesar and the Romans to the End of the Reign of King James the First Containing the Space of 1678 years (1707–1720). BACK

[4] Probably a reference to Robert Brady (1627–1700; DNB). The nearest approach to a ‘collection’ that he produced was: A True and Exact History of the Succession of the Crown of England: Collected out of Records, and the Best Historians (1681). His own ‘history’ was A Complete History of England (1685). BACK

[5] ‘con’ written over three illegible characters. BACK

[6] John Pinkerton (1758–1826; DNB), A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World (1808–1814), no. 2335 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[7] The studio of William Haines (1778–1848; DNB), painter and engraver. He was making the frames for some drawings Nash had completed at Keswick in 1820. BACK

[8] The parcel contained drawings Edward Nash had made at Keswick and some of Southey’s books. BACK

[9] John Archibald Ashburner (1793–1878), Physician to the London Smallpox Hospital 1818–1824, later a prominent midwife and advocate of mesmerism. BACK

[10] Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent During the Years 1799–1804 (1814–1826), no. 1463 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. The fifth of six volumes had just been published by Longman. BACK

[11] The eighth number was the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1815 (1817). It was followed by: the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1816 (1820), and the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1817 (1821). These volumes were no. 985 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] Nicolas Marie Alexandre Vattemare (1796–1864), famous French ventriloquist under the stage name ‘M. Alexandre’, and promoter of international exchanges between museums and libraries. BACK

[13] The Massachusetts Historical Society (founded 1791) is the oldest historical society in the United States. It is based in Boston and collects and preserves documents on American history. BACK

[14] Probably John Callender (1706–1748), An Historical Discourse on the Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations in New-England in America (1739), no. 523 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[15] Southey’s unfinished epic set in New England. A fragment was published posthumously in Oliver Newman: a New-England Tale (Unfinished): with Other Poetical Remains by the Late Robert Southey (London, 1845), pp. 1–90. BACK

[16] William Burn (1750–1821), English merchant in Portugal, whom Southey had met in that country. Burn had lived in London since 1806. BACK

[17] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[18] The second edition of the first volume only of the History of Brazil (1822). BACK

[19] Southey’s ‘Life of Cromwell’, Quarterly Review, 25 (July 1821), 279–347. He did not extend this article into a book. BACK

People mentioned

(mentioned 0 times)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Ticknor, George (1791–1871) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)