1747. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on] 16 February [1810]

1747. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on] 16 February [1810] ⁠* 

I have the book [1]  you mention, Wadsworth the translator published a sort of history of himself in 1629 called the English Spanish Pilgrim, [2]  which a strange fellow at Lichfield [3]  gave me, & then wrote to ask me for it again. The fellow was by his own account a great rascal, for as soon as he turned Protestant he became a spy, – & so far your ms. note is confirmed. – But that the translation was paid for by the Parliamentary party cannot have been the case, for it comes out under the sanction of Howel the Epistolist, – a decided Cavalier. I believe I wrote to you about this book, because Howel says the original was supprest in Spain, – in which I think he must have been mistaken. It is most likely the xxxx Libro 1. of Sandoval Hist of Carlos V. Wadsworths Father went over to the Ch. of Rome in good earnest, & some letters which past between him & Bp. Bedell upon the subject were published by Bp. Burnet. [4]  I bought them at a stall when last in Bristol. He was a much honester man than his son, but his writings are good for nothing, whereas the latter has related one or two curious anecdotes.

Pople has not yet sent me the third sheet of the notes, nor the title sheet. Job wishd his enemy had written a book, [5]  – twould have tried his <own> patience if he had printed one.

I am very glad you found Simon Harcourt [6]  before he leaves the land of the living. Your old friend Lady Shuldham [7]  has been a perfect Lady Bluebeard for husbands, since she left Lisbon & set out on her German travels. We had a niece of the old Admirals here a few years ago, a Mrs Guerin, wife of a Somersetshire clergyman, – a very pleasing little woman who lives somewhere upon Quantock. [8] 

Feby 16.

If Tom is under your roof, as I suppose he is, he will be glad to hear that another bottle of letters has come <to hand>. I have this evening received his xx No 7.

June 4. 1806. thrown over from the Amelia [9]  in Lat. 38. 12 N.

Long. 53. 17. W.

It was found on Crooked Island, one of the Bahamas Lat. 22. 50

Long. 74. Nov 18. 1809

& how long it may have lain there, as Asmodeus [10]  was not in the bottle, there is no means of ascertaining. Mr Jms Sullivan, [11]  who signs himself Collector <& dates from Pitts Town> incloseds the letter to me with an apology for having opened it, – occasioned no doubt by the contents. – Tom having there found spoken with some asperity of the Bahama <Bermuda> men for publishing a former letter. The Memorandaxx which accompanied it in three languages, has however ere this made its appearance in the Bahama Advertiser. [12]  – So many of my letters to Tom which went by the W India packets have been lost, & so many of his which he consigned to Old Neptune have come to hand, that I begin to think xxx xxx xxx to have a better opinion of him than of the Creole postmasters.

There is nothing of mine in the 4th Quarterly except that article upon the American Annals. [13]  My reviewal of Ld Valentia is found fault with for not being sufficiently severe, – a sort of censure for which as you may suppose I care very little. [14]  There cannot be many persons who are better read respecting the countries which he visited than myself, & I found new information enough to be thankful for it. They have sent me Azara & ask for something about the Jesuits, – which of course I shall not give – but I shall very willingly take the opportunity of xxxx exhibiting the philosophy of the author & the morality of his translator. [15] 

I have corrected twelve sheets of the Register, [16]  & am getting within sight of my journeys end. by the beginning of April I calculate upon compleating it, & shall then be able to have a long spell at my second volume.

Pople received the concluding notes & the Contents on Monday last, the notes make only two sheets more, – five in all, – so that the Printer will have done his work [17]  in another fortnight. It is vexatious to see the blunders which are made after the sheet is corrected, but this is always the case. I have had four sheets of Kehama, [18]  & hope three of them have found their way to Staunton.

I had nearly forgotten to ask whether there <are> any persons to whom you would wish copies of this first volume to be sent in your name. Let me know, that they may be included in the list which I shall send to Longman.



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Staunton upon Wye/ Hereford
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] James Wadsworth (b. 1604; DNB), writer and government official. Wadsworth had been educated in Spain and at the Jesuit English College at St Omer, France. He moved to England, converted to Protestantism and worked as a spy, informing on many of his former fellow Catholics. In 1652 he published, under the pseudonym ‘Major John Wright’, The Civil Wars of Spain, in the Beginning of the Reign of Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Germanie, and King of that Nation, a translation of Prudencio de Sandoval (c. 1560–1620), Historia de la Vida y Hechos del Emperador Carlos V (1604–1606). The preface to Wadsworth’s translation was signed by James Howell (1594?–1666; DNB), historian, political writer and advocate of moderate, pacifist royalism. BACK

[2] The English Spanish Pilgrime, or, A New Discoverie of Spanish Popery and Jesuitical Strategems (1629) described Wadsworth’s escapades as a spy working on the continent. BACK

[3] Unidentified. BACK

[4] James Wadsworth (c. 1572–1623; DNB), Anglican clergyman and chaplain to Sir Charles Cornwallis (c. 1555–1629; DNB) ambassador to Spain in 1605. Wadsworth was received into the Catholic faith in Salamanca in August 1605. He remained in Spain, where he was given a pension by the king and work by the Inquisition. From 1610–1620 he maintained a good-tempered theological debate with his old university friend William Bedell (bap. 1572, d. 1642; DNB), Bishop of Kilmore. Their correspondence was published after Wadsworth’s death by Bedell himself in The Copies of Certaine Letters which have Passed betweene Spaine and England in Matter of Religion (1624), and some of the letters were included in Gilbert Burnet (1643–1715; DNB), Life and Letters of Bishop William Bedell (1685), no. 497 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[5] Job 31: 35. BACK

[6] John Simon Harcourt (1772–1810), MP for Westbury, Wiltshire 1800–1802. He was Lady Shuldham’s son. In 1802 Southey had borrowed a Portuguese manuscript from him, a ‘very curious paper, written about 1740, by a Portuguese Secretary of State, and containing his plans for the improvement of Portugal’. This had previously been summarised by Southey as ‘On the State of Portugal’ in Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (Bristol, 1797), pp. 407–463; see Southey to John Rickman, 2 June 1802, Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Two, Letter 681. BACK

[7] Margaret (d. 1811), daughter of John Sarney of Somerset House, London. Her first husband was John Harcourt of Ankerwycke (d. 1784); her second, the naval officer and politican Molyneux Shuldham, Baron Shuldham (1717/18?–1798; DNB). Shuldham had died in Lisbon and his body was brought home in the Colossus, which was also carrying Sir William Hamilton’s (1731–1803; DNB) collection of Greek vases. The ship was wrecked off the Scillies, many of the vases were lost, but Shuldham’s corpse was recovered. In 1803 Margaret Shuldham had married Richard Meade, 2nd Earl of Clanwilliam (1766–1805). After his death in 1805 she was therefore widowed for the third time. BACK

[8] Maria Lucy Elizabeth Shuldham (d. 1817), wife of Joseph Guerin (d. 1863), Rector of Bagborough and Norton Fitzwarren. BACK

[9] HMS Amelia, a 28 gun, fifth rate ship of the line. BACK

[10] A demon. In Alain-Rene Lesage (1668–1747), Le Diable Boiteux (1707) he was rescued from an enchanted glass bottle by a young Spanish student. BACK

[11] Otherwise unidentified. BACK

[12] Probably the Royal Gazette and Bahama Advertiser (1804–1837). BACK

[13] Abiel Holmes (1763–1837), American Annals; or, a Chronological History of America, from its Discovery in 1492 to 1806 (1808), for Southey’s appraisal see Quarterly Review, 2 (November 1809), 319–337. BACK

[14] George Annesley, Viscount Valentia (1770–1844), Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, and the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Egypt in the Years 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806 (1809), in Quarterly Review, 2 (August 1809), 88–126. Southey’s article underwent major revisions by Gifford before publication. BACK

[15] Felix Manuel de Azara (1742–1821), Spanish solider, engineer and naturalist. Southey was particularly interested in his writings on Paraguay and owned copies of his Essais sur l’Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes de la Province du Paraguay (1801) and Voyages dans l’Amerique Meridionale depuis 1781, jusqu’ en 1801 (1809), nos 89 and 90 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. He did not review Azara for the Quarterly, but did make use of him in numerous writings, including the History of Brazil and the Tale of Paraguay. Azara’s work was translated into French by Mederic Louis Elie Moreau de Saint-Mery (1750–1819), a French lawyer and writer, especially about Haiti. BACK

[16] The Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808 (1810). BACK

[17] Pople was printing the first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil, published in 1810. BACK

[18] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Staunton on Wye (mentioned 1 time)