1354. Robert Southey to Longmans, 25 August 1807

1354. Robert Southey to Longmans, 25 August 1807 ⁠* 

August 25. 1807.

Dear Sirs,

The motives which induced me to propose selling an edition of the Cid may be very soon explained. [1]  I have been settling myself here in a permanent place of abode, and in consequence many unavoidable expenses have been incurred. Among others, that of removing from Bristol a much larger library than perhaps any other man living, whose means are so scanty, is possessed of. I thank you for the manner in which you have objected to purchasing it, and am more gratified by it than I should have been by your acceptance. The sale of this book cannot be so doubtful as that of a poem. A part of it shall be sent up in a few days, and the sooner it is put to press the better. If it suits you, I should much like to let Pople print it. [2]  He has not made all the haste he could with Palmerin, [3]  but he has taken great pains with it; for never had printer a more perplexed copy to follow, and he has been surprisingly correct.

I do not know what the state of my account with you is. Mr. Aikin has sent me no returns either for this year’s reviewing or the last. [4]  I suppose, however, that the edition of Espriella [5]  will about balance it; and if I may look to you for about 1501. between this and the end of the year, my exigencies will be supplied. Meantime I am desirous that my exertions should be proportionate to my wants. The old edition of Don Quixote, [6]  if carefully collated and corrected, will, I believe, be very superior to any other. As soon as the original arrives, with the remainder of my books, from London, I shall be able to speak decisively; but I have little or no doubt but it will prove as I expect. If this be the case, I am ready to undertake it, to supply such preliminaries as I formerly stated, and to add notes.

The ‘Catalogue Raisonné’ cannot be executed by a single person. [7]  I could do great part of it, – probably all except the legal and scientific departments. Upon this matter I will think, and write to you in a few days. [8] 

What is this History of South America which I am told is announced? [9]  I am getting on with my own Brazil and the River Plata, and it is not possible that any man in England can have one-tenth part of the materials which I possess for such a work. [10]  Were you to see the manuscripts which I possess, you would be fully convinced of this; and without seeing them you can hardly form an estimate of their value and importance.         .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .

Yours truly,

R. Southey.


* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850)
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 106–107 [in part]. BACK

[1] Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid, from the Spanish was published by Longmans in 1808. It comprised translations from the Crónica particular del Cid (1593), with additions from the Crónica de España of Alphonso the Wise (1541) and Romancero e Historia del Cid (1632). BACK

[2] Southey’s edition of the Cid was printed by William Pople. BACK

[3] Palmerin of England; by Francisco de Moraes. Corrected by Robert Southey from the Original Portugueze (1807). BACK

[4] Southey’s contributions to The Athenæum, a Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information, published by Longman and edited by John Aikin. BACK

[5] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[6] Thomas Shelton (fl. 1598–1629; DNB), The History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant, Don Quixote of the Mançha (1612–1620). BACK

[7] Southey did not edit a Catalogue Raisonné of current literature. BACK

[8] For this, see Southey to Longmans, 20 September 1807, Letter 1360. BACK

[9] Perhaps Notes on the Viceroyalty of La Plata, in South America; With a Sketch of the Manners and Character of the Inhabitants, Collected During a Residence in the City of Monte Video, By a Gentleman Recently Returned From It (1808). BACK

[10] The first part of Southey’s History of Brazil was published by Longman in 1810. BACK

People mentioned

Aikin, John (1747–1822) (mentioned 1 time)