June 27 1815: Paris Must Suffer

“I have a letter this evening from Murray, which is a rich specimen of the Bookseller, – indeed all his epistles bear very distinct marks of this generic character, with a certain cast of Scotchiness about them which makes them the better.

They are curious compounds of flattery & trade. I told you he had offered me 100 £ to review a catchpenny Life of Wellington, – a preposterous price for such a composition. This money he sends me, & after a due quantity of palaver, he proposes to give me 50 £ more if I will enlarge it a little, – add an account of the late battle & let him publish it in one volume with my name as a companion to the Life of Nelson! [lYou will easily anticipate my reply – after showing him the obvious impropriety of the thing, I told him I should feel it very discreditable thus to write & publish for the demand of the day. … When Buonaparte finds it impossible to make head in the field I am afraid he will disappear, – & tho he may not reappear to do more mischief, it would be a provoking catastrophe if he were to steal out of life in obscurity. There seems much likelihood that Paris may be destroyed in the struggle; it deserves to suffer above all other cities in the world, & if such be the event I certainly shall not affect to conceal my satisfaction.” 

 — Robert Southey wires to Herbert Hill, June 27 1815.

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