3261. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 March 1819

3261. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 March 1819 ⁠* 

Keswick. 8 March. 1819

One copy of the Grandes de Portugal, – & with ms additions, [1]  some in the body of the work, & some on a separate form, – containing the Dukes of Braganza & Beja. [2] 

Seabras book [3]  by the first opportunity, – but I fear none will offer before I pack up my own trunk, – which will be about the very end of April. – Wesley [4]  is so far from being finished, that the printer has not begun upon the second volume, – – & I must let it stand during my absence from home, – as a less inconvenience than that of postponing my journey two or three months.

Murray sent me down Dallas’s book with a reply to it under the title of a History of the Jesuits. [5]  It would be difficult to say which of the two is the most prejudiced & unfair. In other respects Dallas’s is the worst, being written with the least possible knowledge of the subject. Dallas I have formerly seen & have had some correspondence with him not long since about a book which his son published [6]  – this younger D. had been a Commissary in Spain, & instead of relating what he saw in a plain trustworthy manner, chose to embody his knowledge in the shape of a novel. Felix Alvares is the name of the book & it is worth looking at, for the manners are faithful, & a great many anecdotes of the war are mixed up with a story which tho very slight is utterly improbable, & suffices to spoil what would else have been a valuable work.

Constable [7]  the bookseller has purchased the MSS concerning which Gooden wrote to me, [8]  – & it is to remain in Goodens hands till I have made use of it, which is very civil in Constable. Gooden has been of great use to me, – indeed in the course of this opus operosissimum [9]  a great many God-sends in the way of information have turned up. – The chapter of which I now send the beginning will comprize all the remaining narration down to 1807. [10]  Then I enter upon a general view of the state of Brazil at that time, [11]  – were I to thxx <put> this into the Q. R. which would require no other alteration than that of a head piece & a finale; – I should get 100 £ for it, – which will be more than I shall get for the whole volume for two or three years, – & half as much (perhaps more) than <as> I shall ever get for it, – perhaps more. But tho this is a temptation to one whose ways & means are in no better a state than mine, it would injure a work on which I may be well content to rest for reputation, if I should never compleat any of my other meditated histories.

What Murray can Murdoch [12]  mean? The Editor of Bruce, who was the African Murray & Abyssinian scholar, is dead. [13]  – It is vexatious that I have never got sight of Murdochs books.

They go on tolerably well in my Ladys chamber. The Dutch have a comical name for godfathers & godmothers, – they call them Peters & Meters. By the joint desire of Wynn & Bedford who are the Peters on this occasion the name of Charles is to be prefixed to Cuthbert, – but he will be called Cuthbert. – Sir G. Beaumont offered himself, – I have had a very kind note of congratulation from Lord Kenyon, whom I never saw but once, but who sends me civil messages thro Dr Bell.

Have you been to see the German Horse? [14]  I am delighted with the invention, & if they <it> answers shall certainly send one down to Keswick, & indeed if I had but a companion I could find in my heart to travel xxx back upon it

Love to my Aunt. God bless you



* Address: To/ The Revd./ H. Hill
Seal: [trace] red wax
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 177. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Antonio Caetano de Sousa (1674–1759), Memorias Historicas, e Genealogicas dos Grandes de Portugal (1755), no. 3739 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. This copy contained ‘17 pages of MS. additions’. BACK

[2] The title of Duke of Braganza was created in 1442 and once the holder became King of Portugal in 1640 it was usually borne by the heir to the throne; the title Prince of Beira was granted to members of the Royal family after 1640, often to the monarch’s eldest daughter. BACK

[3] José de Seabra da Silva (1732–1813), Deducção Chronologica, e Analytica (1767). This was a fiercely anti-Jesuit work by a Portuguese Minister. Published in five volumes, the final two consisted of ‘Provas’ or documents. Southey only possessed the first two volumes, no. 2599 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[4] Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[5] Robert Charles Dallas (1754–1824, DNB), The New Conspiracy Against the Jesuits Detected (1815) and John Poynder (1779–1849, DNB), A History of the Jesuits to which is Prefixed A Reply to Mr Dallas’s Defence of that Order (1816). BACK

[6] Alexander Robert Charles Dallas, Felix Alvarez, Or, Manners in Spain; Containing Descriptive Accounts of Some of the Prominent Events of the Late Peninsular War (1818). BACK

[7] Archibald Constable (1774–1827; DNB), Scottish publisher, bookseller and stationer. BACK

[8] The ‘Preface’ to History of Brazil (1822) [unpaginated], thanked Archibald Constable for ‘a collection of original dispatches from the home Government to D. Luiz de Sousa, during his administration of Brazil’. Luis de Sousa, Conde do Prado (c. 1580–1643) was Governor-General of Brazil 1617–1621 in the reign of Philip III (1578–1621; King of Spain and Portugal 1598–1621). This manuscript had been brought to Southey’s attention by James Gooden and Constable had agreed to purchase it and let Southey make use of it for his History of Brazil. BACK

[9] ‘most laborious work’. BACK

[10] Chapter 43, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London 1810–1819), III, pp. 657–695. BACK

[11] Chapter 44, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London 1810–1819), III, pp. 696–879. BACK

[12] Possibly John Murdoch (1747–1824; DNB), teacher, translator and authority on French literature and language. BACK

[13] Alexander Murray (1775–1813, DNB), linguist and author of Account of the Life and Writings of James Bruce (1808), a biography of James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730–1794, DNB), the Scottish traveller who spent many years in North Africa and Ethiopia. BACK

[14] The ‘Pedestrian Carriage, or Walking Accelerator’, also known as the ‘German Horse’, after its inventor, Karl Drais (1785–1851). It was a precursor of the bicycle, but without pedals, so that the rider sat on the saddle and pushed the frame along with his feet. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)