3755. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 December 1821

3755. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 December 1821⁠* 

I was vexed at discovering that Landors book [1]  had been overlooked when the parcel was made up. If however there be in this place paper large enough for such an enclosure, I will frank it with my next dispatches to Gifford, in the course of a week, & he will consign it to Bedfords care

Two or three days ago I received a rich present from Landor, – three score volumes – of all sorts & kinds, none that are without value, & some that are of considerable worth. The only one connected with Portugal is Osorius de Nobilitate 1542, printed at Lisbon. [2] Ax There is the Speculum Historiale Vincentii Beloacensis 1494 [3]  A folio Terence printed at Milan without a date, not I think later than 1500 [4]  – A Milan Salust 1501 - [5] Laurentii Vallensis Opus Elegantiarum Lingua Lat. 1487 [6]  all folios a great many volumes of Italian poetry & modern Latin, one volume of poems in the Genoese, [7]  & another in the Neapolitan, or Sicilian dialect, I know not which. [8]  And an account of the sacking of Rome in 1527 by Jacopo Buonaparte, who was present: first printed in 1756 at Lucca with the false date of Cologne, & supprest by the Austrian influence, – so that very few copies are extant. [9]  It is a long while since I have had so miscellaneous a cargo of rarities.

So the poor old Admiral never lived to receive his Admirals pay. [10]  I am reading Kotzebues voyage, [11]  & the thought often occurs that no man in this country will feel so much interest in it as he would have done. – About the same time I lost my friend at Ludlow, Wade Browne, an excellent man, for whom I had a great regard, & in whose house I always found a joyful welcome.

Knox [12]  must be the best judge of what is advisable for Edward. The Greek examination for College [13]  is exclusively in the Epigrams.

That monkey is a great favourite with Cuthbert, who looks at it every night on his way to bed, & says it is very uggy, & he tells me that when I am shaving I am almost as uggy as that monkey.

The reprint of Brazil will be finished immediately. [14]  I have only to receive the table of contents & preface, which I expect every day. Heber has helped me to some materials for improving the second volume: he has given me one volume of the Paraguay Annual Letters, & lent me another, [15]  & Montoyas Conquista Espiritual. [16]  I also purchased at Edinburgh when I was there with Rickman that volume concerning Madagascar & Brazil a copy of which once past thro your hands at Lisbon. [17]  The part relating Brazil is a history of the recovery of Pernambuco by Pierre Moreau, an adventurer in the Dutch service. [18]  But there is a separate, & perhaps an enlarged edition of this which I saw in Buonapartes library at Fontainebleau, [19]  – unless it were the same book separated from the Madagascar part.

You may have heard of a History of Brazil by James Henderson. [20]  He has thought proper to send me the book. It is an account & not a history of the country, – made up almost wholly from Cazal [21]  & the Papers in the Patriota, [22]  with what little information he picked up in the country during a short stay there. The prints are ill-drawn & worse executed upon stone. He is a man of this country, without any education, & I believe not in the best repute, – this book however is creditable to his industry, & not discreditable in any point of view. – Luccocks book [23]  has a great deal of interesting matter in it. I shall perhaps make it the subject of a paper in the Q R. At present I am finishing an xxxx a reviewal of Dobrizhoffer, [24]  – my next subject is to be Adamsons Life of Camoens. [25] 

The French are in good time supplying materials for my Hist: of the War. [26]  There is an account of Soults Campaigns in Portugal recently published, [27]  – as rascally a one as could be desired; & one of a very different description by Marshal Gouvion St Cyr, concerning his own campaign in Catalonia. [28] 

Marquis Wellesley is a fit xxxxx man to civilize the Irish, if the Ministry here could be relied upon to support him. [29]  I have been reading Spensers dialogue on the state of Ireland this morning; [30]  – & the country stands as much in need of Roman civilization now as it did in his days. Such a people must be under military law, or a permanent armed police, till they are fit for any thing

I have to perform the disagreable task of writing a new-years ode, which must be about that miserable country. [31]  If that subject had not occurred I meant to have written one which would have saved me the trouble of ever writing another till that was called for. This I did with the birthday. [32]  My odes for the last two years are better than any thing that I ever expected to write in that form. [33]  On the present occasion I go to the task with an ill will & with no anticipation of doing any thing well.

Love to my Aunt & the Children

God bless you


Keswick. Dec 8. 1821.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill./ Streatham/ Surry.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: 10 o’Clock/ DE. 11/ 1821 F Nn; E/ 11 DE 11/ 1821
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 212. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 287–289. BACK

[1] 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

[2] Jerónimo Osório (1506–1580), De Vera Sapienta et de Nobilitate Civili ey Nobilitate Christiana (1542–1576), no. 2124 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Vincent of Beauvais (c. 1190-c. 1264), Speculum Historiale (1494), no. 2899 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Terentius, cum Commentariis Donati et Calphurnii, etc (n. d.), no. 2672 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library; an edition of the work of the Roman playwright, Publius Terentius Afer (c. 195/185–159 BC). BACK

[5] Sallustii Opera, cum Commentariis L. Vallae (1501), no. 2400 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, an edition of the work of the Roman historian, Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86–34 BC). BACK

[6] Lorenzo Valla (c. 1407–1457), Elegentiae Linguae Latinae (1487), no. 2895 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[7] Gian-Giacomo Cavalli (1590–1657), Cittara Zeneize (1745), no. 3065 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] Possibly Giulio Cesare Cortese (1570–1640), Micco Passaro Namorato (1666), no. 549 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] Jacopo Buonaparte (dates unknown), Ragguaglio Storico Di Tutto l’Occorso Giorno per Giorno nel Sacco di Roma dell’Anno MXXXVII (1756), no. 429 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] James Burney had died on 17 November 1821, just after being promoted to Rear Admiral, on the retired Navy List, in July 1821. BACK

[11] Otto von Kotzebue (1787–1846), Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Bering’s Straits (1821), no. 1576 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] John William Knox (1784–1862), clergyman, scholar and usher at Westminster School 1806–1821. BACK

[13] At Westminster School there are 40 King’s (or Queen’s) Scholars, based in their own boarding house, called ‘College’. Entrance to this elite is by means of an examination known as ‘The Challenge’. Successful Scholars have the right to special privileges; at this time these included Scholarships reserved for them at Christ Church, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge. BACK

[14] The second edition of the first volume of the History of Brazil (1822). There were no second editions of volumes two and three. BACK

[15] Fernao Guerreiro (c. 1550–1617), Relaçam Annal das Cousas que Fizeram os Padres da Companhia de Jesus na India e Japao, Brazil, Angola, Cabo Verde, Guine (1607–1611), nos 3483–3484 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Heber had lent Southey some of the missing volumes from this series. BACK

[16] Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (1585–1652), Conquista Espiritual hecha por los Religiosos de la Compañia de la Jesus en la Provincias del Paraguay, Parana, Uruguay, y Tape (1639). BACK

[17] Francois Cauche (1616–1699), Relations Veritable et Curieuse de l’Isle de Madagascar et du Bresil, et Histoire des Derniers Troubles du Bresil (1651), no. 2363 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[18] Pierre Moreau (dates unknown), Histoire des Derniers Troubles du Bresil Entre les Hollandois et les Portugais (1651). BACK

[19] The library of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821; Emperor of the French 1804–1814, 1815), which Southey had seen when he visited Fontainebleau on 21 May 1817. BACK

[20] James Henderson (c. 1783–1848), History of Brazil (1821), no. 1182 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Henderson had sailed to South America in 1819 and was Consul-General in Columbia 1823–1836. BACK

[21] Manoel Aires de Casal (1754–1821), Corografia Brazilica, ou Relação Historico-Geografica do Reino do Brazil (1817), no. 3252 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[22] O Patriota, Jornal Litterario, Politico, Mercantil &c do Rio de Janeiro (1813–1814), no. 3641 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[23] John Luccock (1770–1826), Notes on Rio de Janeiro, and the Southern Parts of Brazil; Taken During a Residence of Ten Years in that Country, from 1808 to 1818 (1820), no. 1645 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. He did not make it the subject of a paper in the Quarterly Review. BACK

[24] Southey reviewed Sara Coleridge’s An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian People of Paraguay (1822) in Quarterly Review, 26 (January 1822), 277–323. The book was a translation of Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717–1791), Historia de Abiponibus Equestri, Bellicosaque Paraquariae Natione (1784). BACK

[25] John Adamson, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Luis de Camoens (1820), no. 10 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Southey reviewed it in Quarterly Review, 27 (April 1822), 1–39. BACK

[26] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[27] Pierre-Madeleine Le Noble (1772–1824), Mémoires sur les Opérationes des Français en Galice, en Portugal, et dans La Vallée du Tage, en 1809, sous le Commandement du Maréchal Soult (1821). BACK

[28] Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr (1764–1830), Journal des Opérations de l’Armée de Catalogne, en 1808 et 1809 (1821). BACK

[29] Wellesley was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 8 December 1821. BACK

[30] Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599; DNB), A View of the Present State of Ireland (1596). BACK

[31] Southey’s ‘Ireland’, published in Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, 2 vols (London, 1829), I, pp. [295]–302. Southey felt compelled to write on Ireland to celebrate George IV’s state visit there 12 August–3 September 1821, the first by a British monarch since the fourteenth century. BACK

[32] ‘Ode for St George’s Day’, unpublished until Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 258–262. BACK

[33] ‘The Warning Voice. Ode I’ and ‘The Warning Voice. Ode II’, the New Year’s Odes for 1820 and 1821, not published until they appeared in The Englishman’s Library: Comprising a Series of Historical, Biographical and National Information (London, 1824), pp. 381–389. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)


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