Southey, Robert

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

SL V 28 is a holograph letter written by Robert Southey to John May and SL V 29 is a holograph manuscript of Southey's The Book of The Church Vindicated , 1797-1826.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Southey was born in Bristol on 12 August 1774. He was educated at schools in Corston and Bristol before being sent to Westminster School in 1788. He entered Balliol College, Oxford in 1792 after he was expelled from Westminster for denouncing flogging in a school magazine, The Flagellant . In 1794 Southey wrote the play that belied his then republican spirit, Wat Tyler . The play was published without Southey's consent in 1817. By then Southey had become a supporter of the Tory government.

In 1795 Southey journeyed to Spain and Portugal. That year saw the publication of his epic poem Joan of Arc . On his return to England in 1797, Southey entered Gray's Inn, London, but only for a brief period, before moving to Westbury in June 1798 and then to Burton, Hampshire in 1799. He was appointed secretary to Isaac Corry, the chancellor of the Irish exchequer c 1801. In 1803 Southey moved to Greta Hall, Keswick where he stayed with his family for the remainder of his life.

In 1809 Robert Southey joined the staff of the Quarterly Review and wrote regularly for the periodical until 1839. From 1809 to 1815 he edited and principally wrote the Edinburgh Annual Register . Southey wrote several books including, The Book of the Church Vindicated (1824), Sir Thomas More (1829) and Lives of the British Admirals (1833). Southey was appointed Poet Laureate in 1813. To commemorate the death of King George III in 1821, he wrote his poem A Vision of Judgement . In 1820 the University of Oxford created Southey DCL and in June 1826 he was elected MP for Downton, Wiltshire, but was disqualified for not possessing the necessary estate. Southey died in Keswick on 21 March 1843.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Other Finding Aids

University of London Library, The Sterling library: a catalogue of the printed books and literary manuscripts collected by Sir Louis Sterling and presented by him to the University of London , Cambridge, (1954).

Archivist's Note

Separated Material

The British Library, London, holds correspondence, literary manuscripts and papers, (Ref: Add MSS 2896, 30927, 47883-92, 49529, M/621; RP202, 254, 487, 1222, 2544, 4533), letters to his brother, Thomas Southey, 1793-1831 (Ref: Add MSS 30927), letters, mostly to Anna Eliza Bray, 1814-1839 (Ref: MS Facs 615), letters to Sir John Taylor Coleridge, 1815-1836 (Ref: Add MS 47553), letters to Charles Danvers, 1799-1813 (Ref: Add MS 30928), letters to John May, 1797-1838 (Ref: Microfilm M/596), letters to General William Peachy, 1808-1837 (Add MS 28603), letters to Humphrey Senhouse, 1805-1838 (Ref: RP719), and letters and poems to Daniel Stuart, 1799-1838 (Ref: Add MS 34046); the Huntington Library, California, USA, has correspondence and papers, including notebooks and literary manuscripts, letters to Edward Hawke Locker, and letters to John Rickman; the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, contains correspondence and literary manuscripts (Ref: MSS Eng misc e21-22, 114, poet e10-11, 86; MSS Autogr b7, c24), letters to H H Southey, 1798-1839 (Ref: MSS Don d3-5), correspondence, mainly with Grosvenor, and Bedford, 1792-1838 (Ref: MSS Eng lett c22-27, d47-57), letters to Charles Danvers and Caroline Ann Bowles (later Southey), 1801-1824 (Ref: MS Eng poet e86), correspondence with Isaac D'Israeli, 1820-1837 (Ref: MSS Disraeli), letters to Francis Douce, 1817-1828 (Ref: MSS Douce d23, 26), letters to Robert Gooch, 1811-1830 (Ref: MS Don d86), letters to Richard Heber, 1802-1820 (Ref: MS Eng lett d215), letters to Nicholas Lightfoot, 1796-1839 (Ref: MS Eng lett b4, c453, d110), letters from Joseph Blanco White, 1811-1827 (Ref: MS Eng lett d74 ff84-101), and literary manuscripts, 1791-1792 and [1800-1829]; Houghton Library, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA, has correspondence and papers, including commonplace books and literary manuscripts, 1792-1835 (Ref: MS Eng 265); the William R Perkins Library, Duke University, North Carolina, USA, holds miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1791-1840; the Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester, New York, USA, contains correspondence, literary manuscripts and papers, 1799-1884 (Ref: NUC MS 76-1362), and letters to Capt Sir Humphrey Fleming Senhouse, 1805-1838; the McLennan Library, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, contains correspondence and papers, 1797-1836; Bristol Reference Library has correspondence and papers, including diaries written in Portugal and France, 1801, 1838; the Brotherton Library, Leeds University, holds letters and notes, 1801-1833, letters in Southey's Life of Nelson (John Murray, London, 1813), and literary manuscripts; the University of Waterloo Library, Ontario, Canada, contains letters, notes and literary manuscripts of and relating to Southey; Chethams Library, Manchester, has literary manuscripts (Ref: MUN.A.4.1-4); the Saffron Waldon Museum contains literary manuscripts and papers; the Religious Society of Friends Library, London, holds a manuscript of Life of George Fox (Ref: MS Box W4/3); the Wordsworth Library, Ambleside, has correspondence and notebooks; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University, contains letters to his publisher relating to his biography of Cowper, 1833-1837, and letters to Baldwin and Cradock, 1833-1837; Beinecke Library, Yale University, Connecticut, USA, holds a manuscript of All for love, or a sinner well saved (Ref: d3), and correspondence with John Taylor (Ref: Osborn Collection); the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, has a manuscript of Thalaba the Destroyer (Ref: NLW MS 1487A), correspondence with C W Wynn, 1796-[1839] (Ref: NLW MSS 4811-4815), and correspondence, [1796-1838]; the Institution of Civil Engineers has a journal, 1819; Keswick Museum and Art Gallery holds correspondence, literary manuscripts and papers; The King's School, Canterbury, Kent, contains manuscript copies of two reviews by Southey; Victoria University Library, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has letters to Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Manchester Local Studies Archive Service holds letters to James Crossley, and letters to Charles Swain, 1831-1838 (Ref: Swain 21-35); Edinburgh University Library contains letters to David Laing, 1821-1837 (Ref: La iv 3); the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, holds letters to John Gibson Lockhart, 1825-1838 (Ref: MS 923), correspondence with Sir Walter Scott, 1806-1832 (Ref: MSS 853, 3875-3918), and correspondence (Ref: MSS 1817, 2257, 2528-29); the National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, has letters and literary manuscripts sent to Walter Savage Landor, 1808-1839 (Ref: Forster Collection 48D 32); Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle, contains letters to William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, 1819-1834 (Ref: D/Lons/L1/2/60); Dr Williams's Library, London, has letters to Henry Crabb Robinson and others, 1807-1838 (Ref: Crabb Robinson MSS M 318); Mirehouse, Keswick, holds correspondence with John Spedding; the Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, contains letters to Philip Henry Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope, 1831-1837 (Ref: U1590/C359); Liverpool University has correspondence with Joseph Blanco White, 1811-1826 (Ref: Rathbone Papers); Boston Public Library, Massachusetts, USA, contains correspondence and literary manuscripts; the Cowper Memorial Library, Olney, holds letters and literary manuscripts; Newnham College Library, Cambridge University, has letters, 1804-1839 (Ref: Harold Young Papers 382); the John Rylands University Library of Manchester contains letters, 1824-1835 (Ref: MAM PLP 98 8 6-22); Hampshire Record Office, Winchester, holds letters relating to Southey; the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library at the University of Texas at Austin has papers; Cornell University Libraries, the Pierpont Morgan Library and Columbia University Libraries, New York, USA, all hold papers.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Subjects