3125. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 24 April 1818

3125. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 24 April 1818⁠* 

I have sent off another portion of MS. to Rickman, which will have plenty of time for a journey into Hampshire; for Pople had a full fortnights work in his hands. [1]  He kept me a long while without a proofs, which is the reason why you have not seen my progress during that time. But I have not been idle, & have got far ahead of him. I am now busy with the Diamonds, [2]  & have to day digested the matter from those two papers upon this subject in the Pinheiro Collection, [3]  by help of which there will be no chasm in this part of the narration. My next business is the Capitation siege of N Colonia, [4]  – then the Capitation, [5]  – Mato Grosso & the voyage down the Madeira, [6]  – this I abstracted while Koster was here, who helped me to decypher the spelling, & to the meaning of some Brazilian words, which none but a Brazileiro could have explained. Then comes the affair of the seven Reductions [7]  for which I am excellently well prepared.

Lozanos History (which I have returned to Dr Nott) [8]  contains more historical matter about Chili than about Paraguay, & only comes down to 1615 (I think) – so that to have compleated it down to his own time upon the same scale would have required about twenty more such thick & full folios as the two volumes which he set forth. Something I gained from him for the chapter upon the equestrian tribes, [9]  & a little bibliographic knowledge concerning the Paraguay writers.

I believe the new funds interfere with my books, – the worthy Israelite thro whose hands they must pass is fully engaged with the three & a halfs, [10]  – & I suspect they are waiting his leisure in the Custom House, – for they were sent from Brussels about two months ago. Enquiry is making by what ship they went from Ostend, & I am living in daily hopes.

The Editor of the Correio Braziliense [11]  announces a History of Brazil by himself, & advertises for materials; the Portugueze he says, may be assured that he will not vitiate them thro ignorance of the language as some English & French writers have recently done, to whom some Portugueze have communicated valuable manuscripts which they would not entrust to their own countrymen. This fellow is a rogue. Neither he nor the Investigador, [12]  have ever mentioned my work, not even in their list of new publications. His motive is plainly that he means to appropriate as much of its matter as he can, without acknowledging the source.

You asked me about Espriella: [13]  – the advertisement is Longmans own doing & so far are the Travels from being in the press that not one chapter is written, – tho I have a great collection of materials. My hands must be cleared of much more important affairs before this can be taken up.

A new volume of Chronicas Ineditas [14]  is announced by the Academy. This will be a treasure, – tho I guess that it will chiefly, or wholly consist of the Chronica del R D Fernando, which was printed in the former volumes.

I have sent Wesley [15]  to the press & am now in daily expectation of the first proof, – an event which is always among the great pleasures of life.

You will see me I think in November, – about that time it will suit me to work at Sir H. Bunbury’s upon his papers, [16]  – & it will safe both time & money to take in London both going & returning.

Love to my Aunt. I hope all the Orsini [17]  are going on well – My daughter Edith the other day found upon one of these mountains a copper spear head, – lying upon the surface of some crags, where it may have lain (as indeed it must) for centuries. Perfectly green as if covered with enamel (not corroded) – & brittle in consequence, it is very well made & appears to have been cast, – just one of my spans in length.

God bless you


Keswick 24 April. 1818.


* Address: To/ The Revd Herbert Hill/ Worting/ near Basingstoke/ Hampshire
Stamped: [partial] Keswick
Postmark: E/ 27 AP 27/ 1818
Seal: red wax, design illegible
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 166. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Manuscript drafts of the third volume of the History of Brazil (1810–1819) sent to John Rickman in London and thence to Herbert Hill in Hampshire for comment, before being despatched for printing by Pople. BACK

[2] Chapter 36 of Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 246–298. Diamonds were discovered in Minas Gerais in 1725. BACK

[3] Possibly the 9 volumes of manuscript material described as ‘Papeis Varias Politicos’ (1674), no. 3852 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 286–298. The Portuguese colony of Nova Colonia (or Sacramento) in modern Uruguay was besieged by Spain in 1735–1737. BACK

[5] History of Brazil, 3 vols (1810–1819), III, pp. 270–274. The capitation was a special poll tax imposed in 1735 in Minas Gerais on all free people (they also had to pay a sum for every slave they owned). BACK

[6] Chapter 37, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 299–373. In this chapter, Southey related the voyage in 1742 of Manoel Felix de Lima (dates unknown), a Portuguese adventurer, together with several Brazilians, along the rivers Guapore and Madeira and to the mouth of the Amazon, pp. 310–344. BACK

[7] In fact this matter was left to Chapter 39, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 442–504, which dealt with the Treaty of Madrid (1750), the ceding of seven missions (or ‘Reductions’) by Spain and the Guarani War or ‘War of the Seven Reductions’ 1756–1757. BACK

[8] George Frederick Nott (1767–1841; DNB), scholar, theologian and Prebendary of Winchester Cathedral 1810–1841, had lent Southey Pedro Lozano (1697–1752), Historia de la Compañia de Jesús en la Provincia del Paraguay (1754–1755). Southey thanked Nott for the loan of this book in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. vi–vii, noting that Nott was unknown to him. BACK

[9] Chapter 38, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 374–441. References to Pedro Lozano, Historia de la Compañia de Jesús en la Provincia del Paraguay (1754–1755) appeared on pp. 174, 375, 388, 398, 402, 890. BACK

[10] The consignment of books Southey had bought in Brussels in 1817. Its transportation proved astonishingly complex and Southey had recruited the eminent banker Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836; DNB), to help secure its safe arrival. The government’s new issue of 3½ per cent stock was not selling well and was declining in value; among the major subscribers was Rothschild’s firm, which had reportedly invested £2 million; see the Morning Chronicle, 20 April 1818. BACK

[11] Hipólito José da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendonça (1774–1823), editor of the London-based liberal journal Correio Braziliense (1808–1822). Southey owned a complete set, no. 3203 in the sale catalogue of his library. Mendonça did not write his proposed history of Brazil. BACK

[12] O Investigador Portuguez em Inglaterra (1811–1819), a London-based conservative journal that opposed the Correio Braziliense. A complete set was no. 3409 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[13] Longman had been re-advertising the third edition of 1814 of Southey’s Letters from England: By Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella (1807). In the same notice they stated ‘Also speedily will be published, TRAVELS in ENGLAND. By Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. In three vols. Duodecimo’, Morning Chronicle, 25 March 1818. This was a fairly transparent device to boost interest in an edition that was selling poorly. BACK

[14] Collecçaõ de Livros Ineditos de Historia Portugueza, vols 4 and 5 (1816–1824), no. 3361 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Volume 4 did contain ‘Chronica d’El Rey D. Fernando’ by Fernao Lopes (c. 1385– after 1459). The volumes were published by the Royal Academy of Sciences (founded 1779). BACK

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

[16] Bunbury, who had been Under-Secretary of State for War and the colonies 1809–1816, had made his papers available to Southey to aid him in researching his History of the Peninsular War (1823–32). BACK

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

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