2588. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 18 April 1815 *
Keswick 18 April 1815.
If I had not heard of the Viscounts birth via St Helens, – I should long ago have dispatched a letter of enquiry, – as it is not altogether a matter of course that these things should go on well. Alfred I suppose is a family name, – otherwise it is one of those so eminently ennobled, that with a refinement upon Mr Shandys system  I should not xxx xx approve xxxxxx xxx of it. – I am glad to hear that you will have less duty in future; – there is now no reason on the score of confinement why you should not travel to the Lakes. Is there no possibility of persuading you to this? The finest things which this Island has to boast both in art & nature are in the North.
You will have received another portion of Brazilian MS.  thro the Doctor. I have been busy of late upon the Jesuits; the want of the earlier authorities Montoya,  Lozano  & Xarque  is a sore evil, especially of the former, who was one of the chief founders of the system. It is not that I want information, – but I want the satisfactory consciousness that of having acquired all that is to be found – & from the original sources. My chapters de moribus Paraguaycorium,  both as to the savages & the super savages who as the carnivorous Spaniards may properly be called, will be very interesting. Besides the excellent materials in Dobrizhoffer  & Azara,  there are good gleanings from Peramas,  & I have some good MS. English & Spanish which you have never seen.
At present I am mostly occupied upon my quarterly ways & means, which must be pretty largely provided for in the next number. There is a catchpenny life of Ld Wellington which Murray is to pay me a ridiculous price for reviewing – 100£.  It is his own offer; – & a doubly advantageous to me, inasmuch as whatever may be worth preservation in the latter half of it will serve to inweave into the future history of the War. I shall have also an article upon Miots Memoirs of the French Expedition to Egypt,  well-timed, because it contains an Eye witness’s account of the massacre at Jaffa, & that Eye witness a Frenchman. 
This Resurrection of the Devil incarnate spirit of Evil will probably induce me soon to publish my Inscriptions;  – it being highly expedient that the character of his Marshals & his soldiers should be exhibited in their <its> proper light. I have now finished 14, being about half the intended series. Here are two of the last which I have written, – Busaco, & Fuentes d’Onoro are the subjects.
Remember me to my Aunt. I long to see the three Bears  The Ursa Major I think is in his sixth year, & will soon be hic-haec-hoc-xing. I have played the schoolmaster to some purpose with Herbert. He finished St Mathews Gospel this morning. – & I have recoverd Greek enough in the process to be reading Pindar.  It is delightful to see how easily children acquire languages, when there no unnecessary difficulties & dispute are interposed. Herbert is scarcely four hours a day at his lessons. He is on a par with any boy of his age in Latin: as forward in Greek as a boy of 14 or 15: We read Luthers  German Testament together & he is also acquiring French & Spanish.
* Address: [deletion and readdress in another hand] To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/
Streatham/ Surry <H. B. Withers Esqr/ Manydown/ Basingstoke>
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298; [partial] LONDON
Postmarks: CAP/ 21/ 1815; [partial] 10 o’Clock/ AP 21/ 15 FNn
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. ALS; 4p.
 Laurence Sterne (1713–1768; DNB), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–1767); the eponymous hero’s father, Walter Shandy, has a series of elaborate theories about names and their influence. BACK
 Felix Manuel de Azara (1742–1821 ), Essais sur l’Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes de la Province du Paraguay (1801) and Voyages dans l’Amerique Meridionale depuis 1781, jusqu’en 1801 (1805) nos. 89–90 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK
 Southey reviewed George Elliott (dates unknown), The Life of the Most Noble Arthur Duke of Wellington, from the Period of his first Achievements in India, down to his Invasion of France, and the Peace of Paris in 1814 (1814), Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 215–275. He went on to review a further series of books relating to Wellington in the Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526. BACK
 The rape and murder by French troops of the population of Jaffa after the city fell on 3 March 1799. For Miot’s first-hand account, Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire des Expéditions en Egypte et en Syrie (Paris, 1814), pp. 140–148. BACK
 Southey’s series of Inscriptions on the Peninsular War. Only 18 of the projected 30 poems were completed and they were not collected together until they were published in Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 122–156. BACK
 ‘For the Deserto de Busaco’, Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 136–137. The poem commemorates the Battle of Busaco, 27 September 1810, when a combined Anglo-Portuguese force defeated a wave of attacks from the French army invading Portugal. BACK
 ‘At Fuentes D’Onorio’, Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, p. 141. The poem commemorates the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, 3–6 May 1811, when British and Portuguese forces defeated the French army’s attempt to relieve the city of Almeida. BACK