3027. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 6 October 1817

3027. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 6 October 1817⁠* 

The manuscript [1]  no doubt will be found at Longmans, they having told me that they had laid it aside, not thinking it worth while to put it to press before my journey to the continent. I have written to remind them of this. If it be lost I shall be angry, & with good reason, – but the original is at hand & it is only the time required for transcription that would be wasted. – How is it that the last portion should have reached you unfranked – if it had been properly forwarded from Streatham, the original frank would have carried it any where.

I have read Llorentes xxx history [2]  – in the Spanish. Murray sent me the manuscript. There is much curious matter in it, tho I do not remember that any light was thrown upon the affair of Antonio Perez. [3]  A history of the troubles in Aragon which grew out of that business written by Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola was printed during the liberty of the press in Spain. [4]  Of this I have a copy. – If Llorente has not extracted all the important matter of his papers for his own work, he has not acted fairly as an historian; – if he has he is not acting fairly in setting such a price upon them. And it is very clear that he has not come by these papers honestly; but must (to use a gentle term) have taken advantage of his official situation to abstract them. [5]  The papers of the Inquisition ought upon its dissolution to have been deposited among the archives of the Government, – & certainly could not have been left to take their chance.

Farther accounts have arrived from H. Koster, compleating the story of the insurrection in Pernambuco. P. Joam Ribeiro, it seems, destroyed himself. [6]  – This unhappy man had promised me, unsolicited, a manuscript concerning the last trouble in that captaincy, containing the popular side of the story, in opposition to one which Koster brought over; [7]  – & at my desire, he was to have given me in detail his reasons for believing that the suppression of the Jesuits was a politic measure, as far as it concerned Brazil. [8]  He understood English & was much interested in the progress of my work. I sent him the first volume about two years ago, & the second was on the way to him, when he came to this miserable end. [9]  I am sorry to see from the list of persons implicated that the xxxx many of the great landed proprietors, took part with the revolutionists, – the Albuquerques in particular are involved. [10]  If my wishes were any way doubtful respecting the struggle in Spanish America, the state of Brazil would now decide them. I heartily wish to see the authority of the mother country reestablished, because it will secure the tranquillity of the Portugueze possessions.

Lord Sheffield has sent me the whole details of the recovery of Lerida, Mequincaza & Monzon by Baron d’Eroles [11]  toward the conclusion of the war. – I have been working at my first chapter, [12]  & shall stick to it tooth & nail as soon as I have done with the review; – for which I am employed upon Lord Hollands Lope de Vega. [13]  – My review I suspect will have cost me more reading than xxx was thought sufficient for his volume, I have very nearly read thro the Arcadia [14]  to day (which I had not patience to do twenty years ago. You will perceive that I have made out some things respecting his private history which had escaped all his biographers, – & that I have xxx subjected the account of his writings to the best of arithmetic – which they had all neglected to do, Lord H. as well as the rest. [15]  – Do you happen to know who is the author of the satirical poem in the Fenis Renaseida, – Jornada que Diogo Camacho Fez as Cortes do Parnaso? [16]  – I have occasion to quote it in this paper: [17]  perhaps it may be found in your xxx compendium of Barbosa. [18] 

Bedford has been here, xxxx I hope he will learn some tidings of my books now that he is returned to London. [19]  I have been very idle since my return & now that I am settled to my desk it is not a pleasant thing to perceive how much better motion agrees with me than rest. – We have had a smart influenza thro the family, – but it is past away. Love to my Aunt & the Orsini –  [20] 

God bless you


Keswick. 6 Oct. 1817.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: 10 o’Clock/ OC 9/ 1817 FNn
Seal: red wax, design illegible
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 160. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A section of the second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). The publication of this volume had been announced in May 1817, see, for example, Morning Chronicle, 28 May 1817, but had been delayed because this part of the manuscript had been mislaid. BACK

[2] Juan Antonio Llorente (1756–1823), Histoire Critique de l’Inquisition d’Espagne (1817–1818). Murray had sought advice on whether an English translation was advisable, but did not take up the option and no English version appeared until 1826. The French translation was no. 1738 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Antonio Pérez (1540–1611), a senior Spanish civil servant, fled into exile in 1591 after being accused of murder and heresy by the Spanish Inquisition. BACK

[4] Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola (1559–1613), Información de los Sucesos del Reino de Aragon en los años de 1590 y 1591 (1808), no. 3172 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. The book was a presentation copy from its editor, Manuel Abella. Perez had attempted to escape the charges against him by fleeing to Aragon and claiming the right to be charged under Aragonese judicial processes. This led to a prolonged constitutional crisis in Spain during 1590–1591. BACK

[5] Llorente was Secretary-General to the Inquisition at Madrid 1789–1794, but supported the French-backed regime of 1808–1813 and was given control of the Inquisition’s archive. BACK

[6] Joam Ribeiro Pessoa de Melo Montenegro (1766–1817), a priest who was a member of the provisional government set up by a group of revolutionaries in Pernambuco, 8 March–18 May 1817. He committed suicide in the town of Paulista after the defeat of the revolutionary forces and the fall of Recife, the provincial capital. BACK

[7] ‘Guerra Civil ou Sedissoens de Pernambuco Exemplo Memoravel aos vindouros 1710’, no. 3840 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. This was an account of the Mascate War (or ‘War of the Peddlers’) in Pernambuco, Brazil in 1710–1711, between landowners based around Olinda and merchants in Recife (backed by the colonial government). The landowners’ leaders were the first to call for Brazil to become an independent Republic. Koster’s manuscript was decidedly favourable to the colonial government – he had sent it to Southey in 1815. BACK

[8] The Society of Jesus was expelled from Brazil in 1759. BACK

[9] The first two volumes of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[10] Various branches of the Albuquerque dynasty, among the most powerful and largest landowners in northern Brazil, featured prominently in the 1817 revolt in Pernambuco. BACK

[11] Joaquín Ibáñez Cuevas y de Valonga, Baron de Eroles (1784–1825), one of the key leaders of the Army of Catalonia in the Peninsular War. The French garrisons of Lerida, Mequincaza and Monzon were tricked into surrendering in February 1814 by forged documents that claimed the war was over. BACK

[12] History of the Peninsular War, 3 vols (London, 1823–1832), I, pp. 3–62. BACK

[13] Southey’s review of Lord Holland, Some Account of the Lives and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio, and Guillen de Castro (1817) was published in Quarterly Review, 18 (October 1817), 1–46. BACK

[14] Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562–1635), Arcadia (1598), a pastoral novel. BACK

[15] In Quarterly Review, 18 (October 1817), 11–12, Southey demonstrated that Lope de Vega could not have written 1800 plays, 400 sacred dramas and over 21 million verses, as was often claimed. BACK

[16] Diogo de Sousa (16th–17th centuries), Jornada ás cortes do Parnaso de Diogo Camacho, a satirical journey to Parnassus probably written 1614–1621. It was first published in A Fenix Renascida (Lisbon, 1716–1728). Southey possessed a 1746 edition of this work, no. 3647 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[17] Quarterly Review, 18 (October 1817), 32–33, contained a lengthy translation of the Jornada as cortes do Parnaso from A Fenix Renascinda ou Obras Poeticas dos Melhores Eugenhos Portuguezes, 5 vols (Lisbon, 1746), V, pp. 13–14. Southey correctly identified the author as Diogo de Sousa. BACK

[18] Diogo Barbosa Machado (1682–1772), Bibliotheca Lusitana (1741–1759). This was the first major reference work of Portuguese publications. BACK

[19] The books that Southey had purchased in Milan and Brussels on his continental journey in 1817. BACK

[20] The Hills’ children. BACK

Places mentioned

Streatham (mentioned 1 time)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)


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