3023. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [10 September 1817]

3023. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [10 September 1817] ⁠* 

Rickmans frank will cover a few hasty lines. Marianne [1]  got Rattons book for me from her husband. [2]  I perfectly remember the face of the man, tho I never till now knew to whom it belonged. There is less in the book than there ought to be, – still there is something which will be of use.

Mrs Koster has sent me the transcript of a large packet from her son containing the details of the Insurrection. The chiefs were about to set fire to the city, & murder their prisoners, – xxxx xxxxxxxxx he seems to have been greatly instrumental in preventing this latter crime. [3] 

I hear nothing of my books from Milan or Brussels this is because Herries is in Ireland, & Bedford on his way here from Wales, – all information concerning them must come thro these channels.

The French Anecdotes of Pombal in one volume which I picked up at Tournay, bear the false date of Warsaw. [4]  There is much curious matter in them about Maranham, – but there is the gross absurdity of supposing that the assassination [5]  was a trick of the ministers, in which the King was either his dupe or his accomplice. A number of the Correio Brazil, which I received yesterday contains the Alvara of 1768 against the Puritanos, which the Editor says has never before been printed. [6] 

I am at work upon the Mines, & upon the effects produced by the introduction of xx horses & the xxxx kine in S America, – a chapter upon the Equestrian tribes. [7]  This will be very curious. I was lucky enough to find at Paris Azaras book upon the quadrupeds of Paraguay, [8]  – which I had scent of before but knew not where to seek for it.

You will be glad to hear that a new channel has been presented for obtaining books from Madrid. Kinder (to whom I acknowledge obligations in the last preface) has a house of business in that city & thro him we can obtain whatever we want. [9] 

The Rickmans [10]  have been here twelve days, & they depart tomorrow.

Love to my Aunt & the Orsini [11] 


Wednesday. Keswick.


* Endorsement: Probably written soon after the last
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating from content. BACK

[1] Mary Anne Gonne (b. 1792), sister of Louisa, Henry Herbert Southey’s wife, had married, in 1816, Thomas March (1781–1859), a British merchant from a family prominent in the trade with Portugal. BACK

[2] Jacques Ratton (1736–1820), a Portuguese businessman in exile in Britain, who published his memoirs in London under the title Recordações de Jacome Ratton: Sobre Ocorrências do seu Tempo, de Maio de 1747 a Setembro de 1810 (1813). This volume was listed as no. 3442 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, with a note as to its origin: ‘This book was printed only for private distribution. Robert Southey, from Mr. March, London, 15 Aug. 1817.’ BACK

[3] An attempted revolution in the Brazilian province of Pernambuco March–May 1817. Koster was based in the area and was a witness to the events in the provincial capital, Recife. BACK

[4] Anecdotes du Ministère de Sébastien-Joseph Carvalho, Comte d’Overas, Marquis de Pombal (Warsaw, 1783), no. 46 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquess of Pombal (1699–1782), was effectively Prime Minister of Portugal 1750–1777. BACK

[5] Joseph I (1714–1777; King of Portugal 1750–1777). An alleged assassination attempt on him in 1758 was used by Pombal to justify the suppression of his opponents and the Jesuit order. BACK

[6] The London-based journal Correio Braziliense, 18 (May 1817), 473–481, printed the alvara, or declaration, issued on 5 October 1768 by Pombal against Portuguese nobles labelled as ‘Puritans’ because they wished to preserve the distinctions between descendants of Jewish converts and other Portuguese. BACK

[7] Chapters 36 and 38, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 246–298, 374–441. BACK

[8] Felix Manuel de Azara (1742–1821), Spanish solider, engineer and naturalist. Southey’s copy of Essais sur l’Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes de la Province du Paraguay (1801) was no. 89 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[9] Southey refers to the merchant Thomas Kinder (c. 1781–1846), who had witnessed at first-hand the events in Buenos Aires in 1808–1810 that led to the independence of the states of the Rio de la Plata. Kinder had lent Southey his journal and ‘a volume of Noticias del Paraguay, and the prose Argentina, both in manuscript’, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, p. [v]. BACK

[10] John and Susannah Rickman and their children: Anne (b. 1808); William Charles (1812–1886); and Frances (dates unknown). BACK

[11] The Hills’ children. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)