LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Messrs. Longman and Rees, 26 January 1804

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Jan. 26. 1804.
“Dear Sirs,

“If Mr. ——’s little tale (which reached me last night) be long enough for publication, I should think it possesses sufficient interest to be saleable. The author is, in my judgment, a man of very considerable, and indeed extraordinary, talents. This —— he has probably written hastily, and, I fear, upon the spur of want.

“Having myself sought after information respecting the countries on the Mississippi, I can say that the descriptions and natural history are, as far as my knowledge goes, accurate, and therefore it is fair to presume that such circumstances as were new to me are equally true to nature.

“I know nothing of —— but from his Travels; from that he appears to be a self-taught man, who has all his life long been struggling with difficulties; and the book left upon me a melancholy impression, that however much adversity had quickened his talents, it had injured his moral feelings. Pride and vanity are only defensive vices in a poor and neglected
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 253
man of talents; and being defensive, they cease to be vices. Something of the same palliation, may be pleaded for an evident libertinism of heart and thought which is everywhere too manifest in his book; in this he resembles
Smollett and Defoe, which last truly great man he resembles also in better things.

“Should you execute your design of the Collection of Voyages and Travels, which I hope and trust you will, this man might be made exceedingly useful to you. Being himself a sailor, and having seen and observed many countries, you will rarely find one so well qualified to digest many travels into one full account. I had begun a letter to you upon the subject of the Collection some months ago, but laid it aside when the alarm of invasion seemed to suspend all literary, and indeed all other, speculation. Should you resume the scheme, I will willingly send you an outline of what seems to me to be the most advisable plan.

“. . . . . It has occurred to me that I could make a good companion to Ellis’s very excellent book, under the title of Specimens of the Modern English Poetry, beginning exactly where he leaves off, and following exactly his plan; coming down to the present time, and making death the time where to stop. Two volumes would comprise it, perhaps. Let me know if you like the scheme; it would require more trouble and more search than you will be at first aware of, but, with Ellis’s work, it would form such a series of arranged selections as no other country can boast. I could do it well, and should do it willingly. If it
should be taken by the public as a supplement, it would be a good speculation. Should you see
Coleridge, show him this. I would, of course, affix my name.”