1414. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 10 January 1808

1414. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 10 January 1808 ⁠* 

Sunday 10 Jany

My dear Uncle

Your letter has just reached me. Our post from London comes in three & forty hours, but from any cross part of the country it meets with numerous delays. – Rocha Pitta [1]  cannot reach you before Friday. I have the Hist. Insulana here, – all the papers which Mr Murdoch brought over, the two volumes relating to the Mines, [2]  & the Noticias do Brazil. [3] 

Lembranças Historicas e Politicas.

Index Chronologico das Leis &c da N S D Maria I &c – ate 1803.

Mappa Geral das Freguezias e Fogos de todo o Reino de Portugal &c. 1798

Papel que escriveo O Dezembargador Duarte Ribeiro de Macedo. 1675.

Cartas de Alexandre de Gusmaō &c. 1748.

On the Province of Beira.

Memoirs of Portugal. [4] 


Annaes do Rio De Janeiro – unfinished.

Diario da Piagem que em Vizita e Correicaō das Provoaçoes da Capitania de S Joze do Rio Negro fez o Ouvidor e Intendente Real Geral da mesma Franc. Xav. Ribeiro de Sampayo. 1774 e 1775. [5] 

Voyage up the Madeira in 1749, with a map. [6] 

Account of the first Navigator of the Madeira written by himself & with his own hand.

On Diamonds.

Registro das Memal que presentou no –18. Oct. 1786 aos Sñres do Senado de Villa do

Sabara O Capt Manuel Alves Carneiro.

Relacam do que se passon nas Fronteiras de Mato Grose e Santa Cruz de la Sierra desde

– 1759 ate 1764. [7] 

Diario da Campanha das Tropas Portug.s 1755.

Memoria de Observaçoēs Physico – Economicas acerea de Extracqāo do Ouro das Minas do Brazil – por Man. Ferreira de Camara. [8] 

Noticias do Lago Xarayes – [9] 

The Province of Minas Geraes – [10] 

Expedition of Span. & Port. against the Jesuits of Paraguay 1755–6.

Statistic. Ext. from the Rio Janeiro Almanack for 1793.


It is clear to me that what the people are hungering for at this time is not what I am preparing for them. They want such information as is of immediately applicable to commercial speculations, – I said in my last [11]  that there would be ample materials for a volume of this <kind> which could not make part of an historical work in any other shape than that of supplement or appendix: & certainly there is no reason why it should not appear first. Such an account of the Country as you could give, with your Maps &c I heartily wish you had ready – the booksellers would gladly give 500 £ for such a work, & very probably as much again might be got by it.

I have collected <seperately> nothing commercial, – commercial facts as they occurred have been arranged in their place. Except going thro Rocha Pitta my reading goes only a few days before hand with my work, experience having taught me that such fore-reading is time lost. – The Noticias do Brazil contain an account of the rivers on the coast, as far as was then colonized, minute enough to persuade me of its accuracy. This I can abstract xxxxx in two or three mornings if you xxxxx it wish it – There is a dr are two drawings of the Tapir or Anta among your papers.

Flores [12]  may wait my arrival in London. If the engraving really discover its title I will have it reengraved. there exists a portrait of his father in an illumination. but this is the first intimation I have met with of his own.

Barlœus [13]  & Brito Freyre [14]  reached me on Thursday, & Tom is about the chart, – of which xxxxxx there is a copy in Giov. Giuseppe the Carmelite. [15]  I am getting on steadily, & shall be ready to go to press almost immediately after my return: Have you that life of P. Almeida by Siman de Vasconcellos, something is, no doubt, to be gleaned from it respecting the xxxx time between Anchietas death & the Dutch war. [16]  – a period sufficiently barren of documents. I have sifted the other rubbish of this Jesuit to good account, & found something even in his miracles.

I have heard that somebody is preparing a book about Brazil, & tho neither head nor tail can be made of the report still it is very likely. Mr Sheriff Phillips  [17]  will assuredly set some of his merry-men to work, & tho they should turn men into romances & romances into history, the book will not sell the worse for it at first. – Certainly if you take the statistic part & leave me the historical there will be a saving of time, – xxx by one half, & an increase of utility & emolument.


Tom suffers miserably, & must submit to an operation. [18]  I wish him not to wait for my departure but to set off immediately this he will not do.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ with Wm Brown Esqr/ Saville Row/ London/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ JAN 13/ 1808
MS: Keswick Museum. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Sebastião da Rocha Pita (1660–1738), Historia da America Portugeza, desde o anno 1500 ate o de 1724 (1730). BACK

[2] The sale catalogue of Southey’s library records that it contained several volumes on the mines of South America, including Antonio Carrillo Lasso, De las Antiguas Minas de Espana (1624) and, in manuscript: ‘Minas Geraes (various Papers relating to the), viz. Memoria Sobre a Capitania das Minas Geraes, 1799 – Proposals for a Diamond Contract in the Minas Geraes, by Gen. Gomez Freire de Andrada in 1740 – Memoria sobre a Arrecadacao do Quinto, &c. – On Diamonds – Memoria sobre a Caza de Moeda da Bahia, &c. – Project for a Tobacco Contract in the Minas Geraez, &c.; in 1 vol’; and ‘Minas, Sentenca que os da Alcada do Rio de Janeiro profferiraó contra os Reos da Alta Traicao e Rebeliaóm en 1792 –Praticada nas Minas Geraes’. BACK

[3] Unclear. Southey several times refers in his History of Brazil to the Noticias do Brazil manuscript as a valuable source (e.g. I, p. 312). The sale catalogue of Southey’s library records that he came to own a manuscript that had been Hill’s: ‘Noticias do Lago Xarayes’ bound in with other miscellaneous manuscripts in one volume (no. 3849). BACK

[4] None of the manuscripts listed here and borrowed from Hill remained in Southey’s library at its sale. BACK

[5] This manuscript, by Fr. Xavier Ribeiro de Sampayo (1741-?1812), was listed in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] The sale catalogue of Southey’s library records the following manuscripts, bound into one volume: ‘Voyage up the Madeira in 1749, with a MS. Map – Relaciaon da Guerre e Successos de Mato Grosso desde 1759 ate 1764 – Noticias do Lago Xarayes – Memoria de Observaçoens Physico Economicas acerca da Extraccaon do Ouro das Minas do Brazil, por Man. Ferreirada Camara’. BACK

[7] See note 6 above. BACK

[8] See note 6 above. BACK

[9] See note 6 above. BACK

[10] See note 2 above. BACK

[11] For this, see Southey to Herbert Hill, 2 January 1808, Letter 1409. BACK

[12] Diego Flórez de Valdés (1530–1595), Spanish admiral who in 1581 was given command of the fleet protecting Spanish possessions in Brazil. He is discussed on pp. 351–355 of vol. I of Southey’s History of Brazil. BACK

[13] Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648), Rerum per octennium in Brasilia et alibi nuper gestarum sub praefectura (1647), a work containing many maps and charts. Southey’s library, on his death, contained an edition of 1660. BACK

[14] Francisco de Brito Freyre (1625–1692), Nova Lusitania, Historia da Guerra Brasilica (1675). BACK

[15] Giovanni Giuseppe di Santa Teresa (1658–1735), Historia delle Guerre del Regno del Brasile (1689). This work contains many of the same plates as Barlaeus’s. BACK

[16] Simão de Vasconcellos (1596–1671), Vida do Padre Joam d’Almeida da Companhia de Jesu, na Provincia do Brazil (1658). Vasconcellos was also the author of Vida do Vener. Padre Joseph de Anchieta, … Taumaturgo do Novo Mundo, na Provincia do Brasil (1672). This book was no. 3798 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Anchieta (1534–1597), was a missionary to Brazil. BACK

[17] Phillips published the compendium A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Voyages & Travels: Containing, I. Translations from Foreign Languages, of Voyages and Travels Never Before Published. II. Original Voyages and Travels Never Before Published. III. Analyses of New Voyages and Travels Published in England (1805–1809). BACK

[18] Thomas Southey was suffering from haemorrhoids. BACK

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