1801. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on] 13 August 1810 *
The Italian Castanheda  which I sent you contains the 4th – 5 – 6 & 7th books – I had been obliged to purchase a duplicate for the sake of the preceding volume with the three first books, & this was the reason why yours was returned. My own copy is a remarkably fine one, curiously half bound in xx embossed vellum with the date 1580 on the covers, & the name of some former possessor (a German), xxxx stamped in gold letters. Still I want the three last books of Castanheda. Of the first I have as you know the modern edition in two vol.  The English translation  xxxxx cannot be worth purchasing even at half its preposterous price, – or half the half, – for the original may be had any day at Lisbon for a quartinho. We still want three books.
Edith desires me to thank my Aunt for her offer, which is very gladly accepted. – The christening will take place as soon as xx <Edith> can be present at it. she is going on as well as we could wish, & the young Katharine also.
The Register  is published at last. I do not know the names of any person concerned in it. The article wherein I am so liberally praised, & so civilly censured, is very showy, – but it is also abundantly shallow.  As for Campbell who is extolled so highly I will undertake to convince any person who knows what good English is that he never wrote ten lines of it, – & that his verses have as little sense as English. Montgomery who is truly a man of genius is scarcely mentioned, – & Landor not at all, – tho Gebir  has better stuff in it (in spite of all its obscurity) than any other poem which has appeared since the Paradise Lost.  What is said of Scotts manner of narration, & of his costume, is just as appropriate to me, – & Scotts main merit is entirely overlooked, – that of conceiving what in the drama are called fine situations, – by which his poems are as much distinguished as Matthew Lewis’s  plays. – There has been a review of Scotts Lady  lately in the Christian Observer, in which they have taken occasion to pronounce a panygyric upon Thalaba,  & their praise is luckily of that kind which is very likely to make the book in fashion among the Evangelicals.  It often makes me smile to see from what unexpected quarters I receive praise or blame. The Bishop of Gloucester  franks a letter to me last week & wrote x very handsome note within the cover to express his “respect for Mr S’s superior talents & honourable principles.”
I have a letter this evening from Ballantyne in which he tells me that the Proprietors of the Register, attributing much of its success to me, offer me 1/12 share in it. The outlay on each twelfth has been £209 – the profit for this vol. £80 – nearly 40 per cent, to be paid immediately by bills at a year. The outlay remains to go on with the succeeding volumes, as stock, & when any proprietor chuses to retire his share is purchased by the remaining partners at the original £209. – Nature never meant me to have anything to do with financial accounts, either of my own or the publics. I see plainly enough that the interest is not quite so great as is here represented, – but it is also true that the sale of a second edition would make it much greater. xx I have £150 in Ballantyne hands, – it will put me to my shifts to do without it for the next six months, but so I can shift, – xxxxx <it> seems an opportunity of advantage which ought not to be let slip. This may perhaps make me postpone my intended visit to London till spring March or April next, – it will leave me aground & there I must remain till spring-tide.
The Blackburnes  departed this morning after a short stay in bad weather.
I wish much for the Santuario Marianno,  & the Sermons of Antonio das Chagas.  – the former contains some historical truth involved per accident in its tissue of lies, – the latter may possibly be as rich as Vieyras  in incidental information. These books I should think might be got without difficulty at Lisbon. – You will see a summary of the Observador Portuguez  in the next Quarterly. It contains a curious anecdote of the Sebastianistas. Junot thought them of so much consequence that be changed the name of the ship S. Sebastiaõ. 
 Fernao Lopes de Castanheda (c. 1500–1559), Historia do Descobrimento, e Conquista da India pelos Portuguezas (1554). An Italian translation, published in 1577, was no. 455 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK
 The review praised Southey for being ‘unequalled’ in ‘sublimity of conception, eloquence, and depth of feeling’ and cited Thalaba as ‘by far the best’ of his ‘performances’, Christian Observer, 9 (June 1810), 389. BACK
 Agostinho de Santa Maria (1642–1728), Santuario Mariano e Historia das Imagens milagrosas de nossa Senhora e das milagrosamente apparecidas (1707–1723), no. 3222 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK
 Antonio da Fonseca Soares (1631–1682), a soldier who became a Franciscan friar under the name Antonio das Chagas. Southey later acquired a seven volume edition of his Obras (1763), no. 3257 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK