1417. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [15 January 1808]

1417. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [15 January 1808] ⁠* 

Jany. 15.

My dear Rickman

I have just laid hold of a book printed in Portugueze & so printed as to be almost unintelligible, – evidently from a P. manuscript which neither printer nor editor could read. It relates to the Inquisition & is ascribed in the title page of to Vieyra – the famous Jesuit; – but it is evidently <certainly> not his; & tho said to be printed at Venice is as evidently in English types. [1]  The preface proves that a Jew published it. I shall like to talk to D Israeli [2]  about it, – if that fish knows anything out of the French anas, [3]  it ought to be about his own sect. & I xxx am curious to know for whom such a book could possibly be printed, – for where could it be read out of Portugal; & in Portugal whoever had it in his possession would have been ipso facto convicted of Judaism. The date is 1750 – not so long ago but that the editor may well be remembered. I have a good deal to say about the Jews in my history, & have been long looking in catalogues for the work of Basnage [4]  without success.

Can the Capitaneus introduce me to Mr Dalrymples [5]  library? he purchased those books which I sent a commission for to Elmsley. Tell that said Capitaneus that I hope to shake hands with him in the course of a month & in the course of a year to begin putting quartos upon his shelves in fair exchange.

Old poets in all the modern languages always describe beauties with light eyes & golden hair: they painted of course from the nobles & higher classes – & this is proof that the races of the conquerors & the conquered were not yet intermingled in those classes. We dark men must have Roman blood in us. – The inclosed contains the copy of a chart of Bahia for my Uncle – who is returned to town –

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsements: 15 Janry; RS./ 15 Janry.
MS: Huntington Library, RS 125. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 53–54.
Dating note: dating from JR’s endorsement BACK

[1] The book concerned was listed in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library as Antonio de Vieyra (1608–1697), Relaçaon Exactissima de Procedimento das Inquiziconis de Portugal (Venice, 1750). BACK

[2] Isaac D’Israeli was a bibliophile and a friend of Sharon Turner. BACK

[3] An edition of the miscellany, The French Anas, was published in 1806; D’Israeli had by then already drawn on it for his Curiosities of Literature, Consisting of Anecdotes, Characters, Sketches, and Observations, Literary, Critical, and Historical (1791–1823). BACK

[4] Jacques Basnage De Beauval (1653–1723), Histoire des Juifs (1706, Eng. trans. 1708). BACK

[5] Alexander Dalrymple (1737–1808; DNB), explorer, hydrographer, author of a work on the history, manners and customs of the East Indies, Oriental Repertory (1808). BACK

People mentioned

Burney, James (1750–1821) (mentioned 2 times)
Elmsley, Peter (1774–1825) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)
Turner, Sharon (1768–1847) (mentioned 1 time)