3041. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 24 November 1817

3041. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 24 November 1817⁠* 

We shall best be able to ascertain what Laws are wanting by making a list of what are here–

Ordenaoçens d’El Rei DAffonso 5. [1]  Parte 1a da Legislaçam Antiga.
––––– –––––– Manoel. [2]  ––– Do.–
Leis Extravagantes. – Sebastian [3]  –– Do.
Ordenaçoens Publicadas em 1603. [4]  Parte 2d. da Legislaçam Moderna.
Collecçam dos Assentos [5]  ––––––– Do.
Repertorio das Ordenaçoens e Leis. [6]  Do.

It is the Collection which this Index in four volumes [7]  refers to that seems wanting, – I find it referred to in one of the MS. volumes respecting the Mines pretty frequently, & suppose it to be a compilation – or Code in use, under the title of Ordenaçoens e Leis do Reino de Portugal. [8]  For neither the Index nor the references in the MS. correspond with either of these which I possess.

When you write to Lisbon, write also for the Historia Sebastica of Fr. Manoel dos Santos, [9]  – & the Vida do Capateiro Santo, Simaõ Gomes, by Manoel da Veiga, [10]  – a work cobbled up by the Sebastianizing, or rather Braganzan Jesuits. – Seabras Deducçaõ Chronologica [11]  leads in this part precisely to the very opposite deduction to what he would fain draw.

Diogo de Sousa is the author who in the Feniz; [12]  – I xxxxxx found a mark of mine made seventeen years ago against a passage in one of D Francisco Manoels Dialogues, [13]  which ascertained this fact, – & luckily I met with it in time.

I have good reason to hope that Dobrizhoffer [14]  will be left for me ere long at the Doctors. It is travelling somewhere between Xxx Vienna, & Leipsic, or Leipsic & Paris at this time, having been purchased for me at Vienna by Kenyons brother, [15]  – Kenyon is at Paris & will consign it to Harry. This is a great piece of attention on his part, – especially as he makes me a present of the book. I had gutted the book well, [16]  but shall be very glad to have it hand at hand before the chapter upon the equestrian tribes is sent to the press. [17]  I am going on steadily with Brazil, & if I keep my health, shall do more in the next six months, than I have ever before accomplished in the same span of time. To day I have been working upon the MS. which Koster brought me, [18]  & which he transcribed from poor P. Joam Ribeiro’s transcript of the original: – it is a history of the insurrection at Pernambuco in 1710, Ribeiro little thought when he copied it, that he was to be the prominent personage in the next rebellion himself. [19]  The MS is very curious because R. Pitta [20]  takes the side of the insurgents, & conceals the fact that they endeavoured to establish a republic “after the manner of Holland or Venice.”

You will wonder perhaps that I have given no geographical account of the M Geraes [21]  – but it is reserved till the time when that Captaincy was separated from S Paulo. – [22]  I have no account of Goyaz, nor do I know when it was made a Captaincy. [23]  There is an account of M. Grosso in the Patriota [24]  – I am writing to J May to procure me the remaining numbers of the Journal (which is now defunct) from the Rio.

I wish I were a better Patrono for my intended namesake the Baron. [25]  The name however has done pretty well in the world with me, & I hope it will do better with him, who is not likely to have so uphill a path, nor so many rubs in it.

Wordsworth sets out for London to day. I do not know of his departure xxx xxxx I would xxx I do not know if you have become acquainted with your neighbour his brother. The Doctor no doubt will see him, & will hear from him perhaps that in truant hours (& with a very truant-like appetite for the employment) I am getting on with a life of John Wesley, which bids fair to be a work of substantial interest. [26]  It includes Whitfields [27]  life, much incidental biography, – an account of Moravianism, & a compleat history of Methodism. I do not yet know whether two such volumes as those of Nelson will contain it, – but rather think it will extend to a third. [28]  My poems have stood still since my return: – one of them there is which I want courage to pursue, [29]  – not desire. Were this done my wish would be never to write another verse, – Solve senescentem. [30]  My great desire is to get into the press with the history of Portugal, that so much labour may not be lost, & that I may compleat what it is scarcely possible any other person will <would> ever take the pains of performing. [31] 

My love to my Aunt & the young ones. Remember me also to Miss Bigg. [32] 

God bless you


Keswick. 24 Nov. 1817.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: 10 o’Clock/ NO 27/ 1817 FNn; E/ 27 NO 27/ 1817
Location: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 162. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Ordenaçoens do Senhor Rey D. Alfonso V (1786), no. 3269 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Ordenaçoens do Senhor Rey D. Manuel (1797), no. 3270 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Leis Extravagantes Collegidas e Relatadas pelo Licenciado Duarte Nunez do Lião (1796), no. 3268 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Ordenaçoēs e Leis do Reino de Portugal, Publicadas em 1603 (1786), no. 3271 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[5] Collecçao Chronologica dos Assentos das Casas da Supplicação e do Civil (1786), no. 3267 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] Repertório das Ordenaçoēs e Leis do Reino de Portugal (1795), no. 3272 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[7] A reference to the last-named of these books, Repertório das Ordenaçoēs e Leis do Reino de Portugal (1795), no. 3272 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] Possibly this was the Ordenaçoēs e Leis do Reino de Portugal, 1603 (1786), no. 3271 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] Manuel dos Santos (1672–1760), Historia Sebastica, Contém a Vida do Augusto Principe o Senhor d. Sebastiaõ, Rey de Portugal, e os Successos Memoraveis do Reyno, e Conquistas no seu Tempo (1735). BACK

[10] Manuel Veiga (1566–1647), Tratado da Vida, Virtudes & Doutrina Admirável de Simão Gomez, Português, vulgarmente chamado o Çapateiro Santo (1625). This publication was an account of a prophet who predicted the return of Sebastian I (1554–1578; King of Portugal 1557–1578) and the restoration of Portuguese independence from Spain – an agenda that served the interests of the Braganza family who gained the Portuguese throne in 1640. BACK

[11] Jose de Seabra da Sylva (1732–1818), Deducção Chronologica, e Analytica (1767), no. 2599 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. This was a strongly anti-Jesuit work that was reluctant to recognize any contribution by the Society of Jesus to Portuguese life, including the restoration of Portuguese independence in 1640. BACK

[12] 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. Southey had asked Hill to identify the author in his letter to him of 6 October 1817 (Letter 3027). He wished to quote from the poem in his review of Lord Holland, Some Account of the Lives and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio, and Guillen de Castro (1817), Quarterly Review, 18 (October 1817), 1–46 (at 32–33). BACK

[13] Francisco Manuel de Mello (1608–1666), Apologos Dialogaes (written c. 1655–1665; published 1721). BACK

[14] Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717–1791), Historia de Abiponibus, Equestri, Bellicosaque Paraquariae Natione (1784), no. 843 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[15] Edward Kenyon (d. 1856), who lived in Vienna. Like his brother, John Kenyon, he was noted for giving away much of his wealth. BACK

[16] Southey had made extensive transcriptions from a copy that Scott had borrowed from the Advocates Library, Edinburgh in early 1809. BACK

[17] Chapter 38, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 374–441. BACK

[18] ‘Guerra Civil ou Sedissoens de Pernambuco Exemplo Memoravel aos vindouros’, 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. BACK

[19] 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

[20] Sebastião da Rocha Pitta (1660–1738), Historia da America Portugueza (1730), no. 3624 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[21] Minas Geraes, one of the provinces of Brazil, described in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 819–833. BACK

[22] The captaincy (or region) of Minas Geraes was separated from São Paulo in 1720. BACK

[23] Goiás (formerly, Goyaz) became a captaincy in 1744; described in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 833–838. BACK

[24] O Patriota, Jornal Litterario, Politico, Mercantil &c do Rio de Janeiro (1813–1814), no. 3641 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. In History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. v-vi, Southey thanked John May for procuring the third volume of O Patriota for him, ‘when it was not to be obtained at Lisbon’. A long geographical description of the captaincy of Mato Grosso featured in the issues for July, August, November and December 1813 and January and February 1814. BACK

[25] Herbert Hill’s final child, born on 10 November 1817, was christened Robert Southey Hill. He became a doctor and a botanist. BACK

[26] The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[27] George Whitefield (1714–1770; DNB), evangelical preacher. His life was dealt with in The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism, 2 vols (London, 1820), I, pp. 136–154, 362–388. BACK

[28] Southey’s Life of Nelson (1813) was published in two volumes; as was the Life of Wesley. BACK

[29] Possibly a reference to Southey’s poem, ‘Consolation’, prompted by the death of his son, Herbert, on 17 April 1816. Sections were published after his death as ‘Fragmentary Thoughts Occasioned by his Son’s Death’ in Oliver Newman: A New-England Tale (Unfinished): With Other Poetical Remains (London, 1845), pp. 93–95, and ‘Additional Fragment, Occasioned by the Death of his Son’, Poetical Works of Robert Southey. Complete in One Volume (London, 1850), p. 815. BACK

[30] From Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65–8 BC), Epistles, Book 1, Epistle 1, lines 8–9; ‘Put your aged, broken horse out to pasture’. BACK

[31] Southey never published his ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[32] Alethea Bigg (1777–1847), Herbert Hill’s sister-in-law; Southey had met her in Switzerland on his continental tour in 1817. BACK

People mentioned

Kenyon, John (1784–1856) (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 1 time)
Koster, Henry (1793–1820) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Catherine (1775–1848) (mentioned 1 time)
May, John (1775–1856) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)


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