3710. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 5 August 1821

3710. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 5 August 1821⁠* 

Sunday 5. Aug. 1821

Mr Philip Hewitt [1]  left a letter at my door on Friday, from Sir Thomas Acland. I called upon him yesterday & left a card. Tomorrow I go from home for a fortnight, & as soon as I return I shall ask him to dinner, letting him know that both his introductions are good. I am going with the two Ediths [2]  & Cuthbert to Netherhall, – Senhouses abode. the solar of his family from the time of Edward 2. [3]  & God knows how long, before but part of the existing house is known to have been standing in his reign. It is close by the town of Maryport, which grew up on the estate, in his fathers time. [4] Xxx My reason for going is that Edith May & Cuthbert may have the chance of sea bathing, – the latter for a roughness of the skin (otherwise he is in fine condition –) the former not for a disease of the skin alone but for a sort of general ailment, which I do not perceive without some apprehension, tho she has no specific complaint. Change of air however is of all things the most likely to be beneficial. – Netherhall is a house where we feel at home: & there are some good books there, collected a century ago by a Bishop of Carlisle, [5]  who left them to his nephew, Senhouse’s father. Among them is a set of the Magdenburg Centuriators, [6]  – the only one I ever saw, & a copy of old Capgrave. [7]  – This mention of rare books reminds me to tell you that I purchased yesterday Wilsons Arte of Rhetorique 1553 (from Graftons press) [8]  at a stall in Keswick market place, the man charging 5.6 for it because it was ‘very ancient.’ It is the greatest prize I ever met with in England, except the 400 Preguntas of my Lord the Admiral & the replies of his worthy friend Fray Luys d’Escobar: [9] 

I am <not> sure whether I have written to you since a notification arrived that they have made me a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. [10] One of my Boston acquaintance (I have some very valuable ones there) tells me I may look for a packet of books which he has sent me: among them xxxx is the second series of their Historical Collections, [11]  intended to compleat my set; but as I happen to have already compleated it, I will ship off the duplicates to you, with Warburton, Landors volume which he intended for you, – & any other duplicates which I may happen to have. [12]  – And the Val: Lucideno, when I have done with it. [13] 

I grudge money spent in bookbinding, as you do, – more than any other: but both in your case & in mine this is not saying much. There is a man at Ulverstone to whom I can trust valuable books, & he does something for me every year. [14]  I shall send him my Arte of Rhetorique.

My additions to the first vol. of the Brazil [15]  are almost compleated they add about one tenth to its bulk, & have cost me a great deal of time, but it has been very satisfactorily expended.

I had not heard of Mr Sealys [16]  death, – & am very sorry to hear of Burns [17]  condition

Frere is absent at an unlucky time for me. – I have printed 320 pages: & I take to Netherhall materials for a Chapter. [18]  My shoulder is now set fairly to the wheel, & I shall not be long in getting thro the volume.

Lord Lonsdale tells me that Wynn would have been brought into administration this session – if a situation high enough could have been found for him. [19] Lord Grenville wishes three of his friends to be provided for, Freemantle, Frankland Lewis, [20]  & CWWW. – I infer from what Ld L. said that W. will succeed to Lord Sidmouth, [21]  whenever the Chancellor [22]  will let Lord S. resign. –

Love to my Aunt & the children

God bless you



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surrey.
Stamped: KESWICK/298
Postmark: 10 o’Clock/ AU. 8/ 1821 F Nn; E/ 8 AU 8/ 1821
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 210. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Philip Hewett (1799–1879), clergyman, Rector of Binstead 1833–1879; fifth son of General Sir George Hewett, 1st Baronet (1750–1840; DNB). BACK

[3] Edward II (1284–1327; King of England 1307–1327; DNB). BACK

[4] Humphrey Senhouse (c. 1731–1814), MP for Cockermouth 1786–1790, MP for Cumberland 1790–1796. BACK

[5] Sir George Fleming, 2nd Baronet (1667–1747; DNB), Bishop of Carlisle 1734–1747. He was the grandfather, rather than the uncle, of Humphrey Senhouse (c. 1731–1814). BACK

[6] Ecclesiastica Historia, Integram Ecclesiae Christi ideam, Quantum ad Locum, Propagationem, Persecutionem, Tranquillitatem, Doctrinam, Hæreses, Ceremonias, Gubernationem, Schismata, Synodos, Personas, Miracula, Martyria, Religiones Extra Ecclesiam, & Statum Imperii Politicum Attinet, Secundum Singulas Centurias, Perspicuo Ordine Complectens: Singulari Diligentia & Fide ex Vetustissimis & Optimis Historicis, Patribus, & Aliis Scriptoribus Congesta: Per Aliquot Studiosos & Pios Viros in Urbe Magdeburgicâ was the work of group of scholars who became known as the Centuriators of Magdeburg because the work was divided into centuries. It was published 1559–1574. BACK

[7] John Capgrave (1393–1464; DNB) published various saints’ lives. His best-known work was Abbreviacion of Cronicles. BACK

[8] Thomas Wilson (1524–1581; DNB), The Arte of Rhetorique, for the Use of all suche as are Studious of Eloquence, Sette Forth in English (1553), no. 3127 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. The book was printed by Richard Grafton (c. 1511–1572; DNB), King’s Printer 1547–1553. BACK

[9] Luis de Escobar (c. 1475–1552/1553), Las Quatrocientas Respuestas a Otras Tantas Preguntas (1550–1552), no. 3373 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library; a series of questions posed by Fadrique Enriquez (c. 1465–1538), Admiral of Castile, and the answers of Escobar, a Franciscan friar. BACK

[10] The Massachusetts Historical Society (founded 1791) is the oldest historical society in the United States. It is based in Boston and collects and preserves documents on American history. BACK

[11] Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, from the Commencement in 1792 to 1823 (1806–1823), no. 1819 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] Letters from a Late Eminent Prelate to One of His Friends (1808), the letters of William Warburton (1698–1779; DNB), Bishop of Gloucester 1759–1779, to Richard Hurd (1720–1808; DNB), Bishop of Worcester 1781–1808; and Landor’s Idyllia Heroica Decem Phaleuciorum Unum Partim jam Primo Partim Iterum atq Tertio Edit Savagius Landor (1820), no. 1598 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[13] Manuel Calado (1584–1654), Valeroso Lucideno e o Triunfo da Liberdade (1648). BACK

[14] Possibly John Soulby (b. 1795), who succeeded his father, John Soulby (1771–1817) in the business. BACK

[15] The second edition of the first volume of the History of Brazil (1822). BACK

[16] Richard Sealy (c. 1752–1821), Lisbon merchant and father of Henry Herbert Southey’s first wife, had died at Lisbon on 11 July 1821. BACK

[17] William Burn (1750–1821) was a friend of the Southeys from their days in Portugal. A member of the Lisbon Factory, he was well known to Herbert Hill and John May, and first met Southey in Lisbon in 1796. He had moved to London in 1806. BACK

[18] Chapter 10, History of the Peninsular War, 3 vols (London, 1823–1832), I, pp. 425–525, on events in Portugal June–August 1808. BACK

[19] Negotiations had started in June 1821 to bring the followers of Lord Grenville, including Wynn, over to the government. Wynn was their most prominent spokesman in the House of Commons, and it was always intended he would receive a Cabinet post. However, Wynn wished to be Home Secretary or Secretary for Ireland and for there to be a wider reshuffle, including moves to include some Whigs. He did not finally take up the post he had initially been offered, President of the Board of Control, until January 1822. BACK

[20] William Henry Fremantle (1766–1850), MP for various seats 1806–1827 and whip of Lord Grenville’s supporters in the House of Commons. He became a Commissioner at the Board of Control 1822–1826, and then Treasurer of the Household 1826–1837. Thomas Frankland Lewis (1780–1855), MP for various seats 1812–1834 and 1847–1855. A supporter of Lord Grenville, he was made a member of the Irish Revenue Commission on 15 June 1821, the first public sign of a possible juncture between the Grenvillites and the government, and held a variety of posts down to 1830. BACK

[21] Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844; DNB), Prime Minister 1801–1804, Home Secretary 1812–1822. BACK

[22] Nicholas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley (1766–1851; DNB), Chancellor of the Exchequer 1812–1823. BACK

Places mentioned

Netherhall (mentioned 3 times)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)


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