3075. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 February 1818

3075. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 February 1818⁠* 

Dobrizhoffer [1]  is safely landed at the Doctor’s; – it will arrive in good time, – for I am about half thro the Chapter upon the Equestrian Tribes, for which he is the main authority, & by the time the book arrives that Chapter will be in course of transcription for the press. [2]  – The next portion of copy which is to reach you, contains the negociations at Utrecht, [3]  – here I found Bolingbrokes correspondence [4]  of considerable use, – & you will see to what good purpose I have gone thro the Portugueze letters. D Luiz da Cunha [5]  seems to have had a poor sort of colleague; – the Envoy in England Joze da Cunha Brochado [6]  was a much abler man, with the talent of saying rememberable things. No Dutchman could have collected his materials with more perseverence than I have done mine for this part, & for the transactions in the Mines which follow. [7]  The next chapter [8]  relates to the Chiquito & Moxo missions, whereby the Jesuits were brought in contact with their old friends the Paulistas on the side of Cuyaba & Matto Grosso. [9]  I have done a great deal during the last month, whilst waiting for certain documents about the Poor Laws, for the next Review. [10]  Indeed if no unforeseen interruption should occur, this great opus will certainly be off my hands in the course of the summer.

The other day Mrs Koster sent me a large packet of papers from Henry K. containing details of all that had occurred after the recovery of Pernambuco. It is a shocking story. The Admiral Lobo suffered all sorts of xxx cruelties to be committed by his soldiers & Indians, [11]  – the present Governor [12]  is a good man, he restored order immediately, & the place is under strong military law. Executions have been numerous, – & some who were xxx not sentenced to death have been flogged till they died. I will not say that the Portugueze are a hard-hearted people, – but they are in a very hard-hearted state of society. The prisoners have been all treated with abominable inhumanity & insult. It is noticeable that many of them discovered no courage at the last, – this is putting courage to the test, – Of the thousands who were guillottined in France there were not above three or four persons who could not command their fears upon the scaffold; – & in England we know that it is as common a thing to die game, as to be hanged.

This is the first time that white men have been executed, or flogged, in Pernambuco. And the Priests are much offended that some of their number have been hanged as unceremoniously as if they were laymen, – this surely was injudicious. Andre de Albuquerque Maranham, – the head of that great family, was forced into the rebellion by his relations, & has perished in it, tho not by the hand of the executioner. [13]  This family is ruined, as well as many others. It is said that there was a strong party at Bahia ready to have joined in the revolution, & that the Conde dos Arcos has, for the time, saved Brazil. [14] 

Of course I shall avoid these dismal transactions, & end my history with the removal of the Court, [15]  – a Novus Ordo begins then which must be left for those who come after me. The next pers portion of Brazilian history will be from the arrival of the Court to their explusion, or to the extinction of the Monarchy – I hope it may be a longer interval than xxx at present <appears> likely. [16] Xxxx

I can learn nothing of my books from Brussels, – & the Milan box is now at Longmans waiting till some its contents are bound. The other is much the more important cargo, & I begin to be uneasy about it: so I have desired enquiries to be made at Brussels. [17] 

Harry writes me that you are going on well, & that my namesake [18]  is the largest child he ever saw. I wish I were somewhat nearer the Orsini, [19] – that I might see them as often as I think of them. It is not likely that I shall travel Southward during the present year.

I have got on a good way with the life of Wesley, [20]  & shall very soon have it in the press; – it leads me into a great deal of ecclesiastical reading. – A very curious book it will be, & one that will excite considerable notice. I think too that however it may offend the sectarians on one hand, & the Ultra-Churchmen on the other, it will carry weight with it, & sooner or later do some good. You will like the spirit in which it is written, – the industry, the arrangement xxx the views which it takes, & the impression which it aims at making.

Love to my Aunt. God bless you


Keswick. 8 Feby. 1818.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: 10 o’Clock/ FE 11/ 1818 FNn; E/ 11 FEB 11/ 1818
Seal: red wax, design illegible
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 164. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717–1791), Historia de Abiponibus, Equestri, Bellicosaque Paraquariae Natione (1784), no. 843 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Southey had made extensive transcriptions from a copy that Walter Scott had borrowed from the Advocates Library, Edinburgh in early 1809. BACK

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

[3] The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) brought to an end the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Chapter 33 of Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 108–161, contained an account of the negotiations at Utrecht (pp. 132–143). BACK

[4] Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1678–1751; DNB), Letters and Correspondence, Public and Private (1798), no. 314 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Bolingbroke was Secretary of State for the Northern Department 1710–1713 and the Southern Department 1713–1714 and the key figure on the British side in the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). BACK

[5] Southey’s account of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 132–143, draws on the correspondence of Luis da Cunha (1662–1749), one of the two Portuguese representatives at the negotiations that led to the Treaty; ‘Cartas de Officios de D. Luis da Cunha Embaixador Extr. a Plenopo. dos SS. Sñres Reis de Portugal D. Pedro II e D. Joaom V na Corte de Londres e na Congresso de Utrecht’, no. 3832 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. His ‘poor sort of colleague’ was the other Portuguese representative, Joao Gomes da Silva, 4th Conde de Tarouca (1671–1738). A long footnote at p. 138 condemned Tarouca for believing that Britain was not prepared to support Portugal against the claims of Spain. BACK

[6] Jose da Cunha Brochado (1651–1733), Portuguese Ambassador in London 1710–1715, where he was involved in negotiations leading to the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). Southey also possessed his letters from the negotiations, no. 3835 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[7] Chapter 36 of Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 246–298. BACK

[8] Chapter 34 of Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 162–210. BACK

[9] The establishment of missions to the Moxo and Chiquito Indians meant that lands controlled by the Jesuit missionaries abutted those of the inhabitants of the captaincies Sao Paulo and Mato Grosso and the town of Cuiabá. Inhabitants of Sao Paulo (Paulistas) had come into conflict with the Jesuits over their policy of enslaving the indigenous population. BACK

[10] ‘On the Poor Laws’, Quarterly Review¸18 (January 1818), 259–308. This was mainly written by Rickman, and Southey was awaiting material from him. BACK

[11] An attempted revolution against Portuguese rule in the Province of Pernambuco in March–May 1817 had been quelled by Portuguese forces, led by the naval commander, Rodrigo Jose Ferreira Lobo (1768–1846). BACK

[12] Major-General Luis do Rego Barreto (1777–1840), Governor of Pernambuco 1817–1821. He was a distinguished military commander in the Peninsular War 1808–1813. BACK

[13] Andrè de Albuquerque Maranhão (c. 1775/1780–1817), member of one of the greatest landowning families in northern Brazil. Albuquerque died of wounds received when the counter-revolutionaries attacked the revolutionaries’ seat of government at Recife. BACK

[14] Marcos de Noronha e Brito, Condé dos Arcos (1771–1828), Governor of Bahia 1810–1818. BACK

[15] The Portuguese court had moved to Brazil, escaping the French invasion of the mother country, in 1807. This was the final event in the penultimate chapter, Chapter 43, of Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 694–695. BACK

[16] John VI (1767–1826; King of Portugal 1816–1826) returned from Brazil to Portugal in 1821; in Brazil his son, Pedro IV (1798–1834; Emperor of Brazil 1822–1831) was declared Emperor of a new, independent country in 1822. Monarchy lasted in Brazil until 1889. BACK

[17] Two boxes of books that Southey had bought on his continental tour in 1817. BACK

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

[19] Southey’s nickname for the Hills’ children. BACK

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

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