1517. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 9–11 October 1808

1517. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 9–11 October 1808 ⁠* 

Sunday. Oct. 9. 1808

Your M.S. will go by tomorrows carrier, – Pimentel [1]  came with it, & also the extracts from Falkner. [2]  His account of the Jacare is curious, & I shall make mention of it in its place. I shall also say something of the Lago de Xarayes from one of your MSS. The descriptions of the Iguassu falls you can insert. Longman shall send back the papers here for revision, & I will take especial care to xxxx all <correct every> ambiguity of expression. Carelessly it has most certainly not been written, – as the sight of the first copy would convince you. The pamphlet, intitled OBreasil, of which mention is made in one of the notes, I have lately discovered at Netherhall in this neighbourhood, – & it turns out to be altogether worthless, – a feeble & wretched fiction, introductory to a clumsy satire upon the Welsh. [3] 

By the time you should have received the Cid, & the new edition of my Letters, purged of much base matter, & amplified with pertinent historical & antiquarian information. [4]  But they were in too much haste for the publication to allow time for sending the proofs here, & I anticipate many provoking errors of the press. That life of D Luisa de Carvajal, which is now added, is the most curious piece of Catholick biography that has yet fallen in my way. [5] 

Of the books to be still sought after at Lisbon the Life of R. Almeyda is by far the most important – bad as it must needs be coming from such a biographer: – but it was written pre before his Life of Anchieta & is referred to in that later work for information relating to the savages, & it must unavoidably contain some facts respecting that particular period of Brazilian history for which there is the greatest scarcity of xx documents. [6]  I find these works mentioned in the Mem. para e Hist. de S. Vincente, [7]  – Anno Historico de P. M. Francisco de Santa Maria, [8]  – Chron. da Provincia d S. Antonio do Brazil. by P. Jaboataō, [9]  a name uncouth enough to look as if it were Tupinamban. [10]  – Hist. da Prov. de S Cruz for Pedro de Magalhaens Guandavo. [11]  – Santuario Mariano do P. Fr. Agostinho de Santa Maria [12]  – this is a work of considerable extent it seems. None of these books did I ever see mentioned before, except that of P. de Magalhaens.

There are a few miscellaneous books which will be procured without difficulty – Obras do Antonio Pinheiro [13]  – Vida do xx R Bartolomieu dos Martires by Fr. Luis de Sousas [14]  – & the Sermons & whatever other works may exist of Fr. Antonio das Chagas [15]  except his unpublished poem of Filis – of which I have a beautiful manuscript, [16]  – & his life by Manoel Godinho which I also possess. [17]  This was a very remarkable man, – you will see a sketch of his history in the first packet of my Letters which xxx reaches you, & I am very curious to see x what the eloquence was which produced such remarkable <extraordinary> effects upon his auditors.

Of scarcer books there is the Chronica do Inf. Santo De Henrique por Jeronymo Lopez. [18]  1527. & the Comedias de Gil Vincente. [19] 

There are so many which I wish from Spain that it is tantalizing to think of them – what I want most particularly is the Orinoco Ilustrado of Gumilla [20]  the Chronica del Rey D Enrique 4. [21]  & all the particular Chronicles anterior to that of Alonso II, [22]  of which I have two copies. [23]  O for the Catalan Historians! especially the histories written by K Jayme el Conquistador, & K Pedro. [24] 

Most likely Waddings Gr great work would be forthcoming from some of the Convent libraries. Wadding (not Waddington) is the name, – the title I do not know – probably Historia Seraphica – of Franciscana. [25]  The book which I covet & desire above all others is the great Acta Sanctorum. [26]  – & this would be likely enough to turn up now. I would joyfully give five and twenty guineas for it.

There is a chart of Maranham in Barlœus [27]  but it has no soundings marked & I should not think it worth copying. No doubt the book is in the Museum & there Arrowsmith may examine it & judge for himself. As for my map – would it not be best to have the whole of S. America, – Brazil & Paraguay as full as the size will admit, – & only the xxx outline of the rest. Vespuccis earlier voyage was with Ojeda [28]  & had nothing to do with Brazil. [29]  That book of Bandinis [30]  about him is a bad one, & Lady Hollands MS. eulogy [31]  is worse. Did I tell you that these Florentines attempt to show that he discovered the [MS obscured] unless I am greatly mistaken, the letter on which this discovery rests, has been forged by them for the purpose – But you shall see my critical catalogue before it is printed.

I could have wished that the history of the Mother country had appeared before that of Brazil, because it is full of beautiful circumstances, & is as rich in all that can interest common readers, as that of Brazil is deficient. You will I think be pleased to see in the succeeding chapters the quantity of information collected, concerning the native tribes, & the saturation state [MS torn] xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxxxxx [MS torn] The Licencas to Pimentel are dated 1709. [MS torn]

assigned him to Joan 5th time. [32] 

I entirely agree with you in preferring the Portugueze to the Castillian dialect. Your neighbour the Desembargador told me that a great proportion of the words were derived from the Basque, – far more he said than was generally supposed. Etymology is the key to history, & yet no branch of knowledge, not even theology has been more absurdly handled. The gradual absorption of Moorish words & sounds into the Castillian may be traced easily enough, – but I do not understand xxx how a difference should have arisen in such common & every day words as feca, garforapaz, & others such, which you will readily call to mind. It would be of some use to hunt out the origin of these words if it could be done. The definite article in Portugueze is Greek, – in Castilian, Arabick – the indefinite in both Latin. I wish I had the Origenes de las lingua Castellana – by Mayans y. Siscar [33]  – It would be difficult to say which dialect is the richest in works of real value, – this I am sure of – that either of them outdoes the Italian & French put together. In Chronicles, which are the best of all books when they are good, the Portugueze have the advantage. Beautiful as the Chronica del Cid [34]  is (& in parts, nothing can be finer) it is yet on the whole exceeded by the greater work of Fernan Lopes. [35]  When my whole history is published I think I could with great pleasure translate his three Chronicles, the two printed [36]  & the ms. one. [37] 

Tuesday Oct. 11.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Staunton upon Wye/ Hereford
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. AL; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Manoel Pimentel (1650–1719), whose navigational aid was translated and updated by Hill as The Brazil Pilot; or, a Description of the Coast of Brazil, Translated from the Portuguese of Manoel Pimentel … to which are added, Charts, of some of its most Considerable Ports (1809). This was no. 2331 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Thomas Falkner (1707–1784), an English Jesuit whose papers were published as A Description of Patagonia and the adjoining Parts of South America (1774). Southey cites him in volume 1 of the History of Brazil (1810), pp. 320 and 630. BACK

[3] See volume 1 of The History of Brazil (1810), p.22, where Southey cites the pamphlet concerning an imaginary island, Richard Head (c.1637–1686?), O Brazile, or the Inchanted Island, Being a Perfect Relation of the Late Discovery of an Island on the North of Ireland (1674). BACK

[4] Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid (1808) and the expanded edition of his Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797, 1798) published in 2 volumes as Letters Written During a Journey in Spain, and a Short Residence in Portugal (1808). BACK

[5] In Letters Written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal, I, pp. 259–302, Southey included a Life of Dona Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, taken from Vida y Virtudes de la Venerable Virgen Doña Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, su Jornada a Inglaterra y Sucessos’ en aquel Reyno. Por el Licenciado Luis Muñoz (1632). BACK

[6] Simão de Vasconcellos (1596–1671), Vida do Padre Joam d’Almeida da Companhia de Jesu, na Provincia do Brazil (1658); Vida do Vener. Padre Joseph de Anchieta, … Taumaturgo do Novo Mundo, na Provincia do Brasil (1672). BACK

[7] Fr. Gaspar da Madre de Deos (1715–1800), Memórias para a História da Capitania de São Vicente (1797). BACK

[8] P. M. Francisco de Santa Maria (dates untraced), Anno historico, Diario portuguez, noticia abreviada de pessoas grandes, e cousas notaveis de Portugal (1744). BACK

[9] Antonio de Santa Maria Jaboatao (1695–1763/1765), Novo Orbe Serafico Brazilico ou Chronica dos Frades Minores da Provincia do Brazil (1761). BACK

[10] That is, as if Jaboatao was a name derived from Indian heritage, from the Tupinambá people of Brazil. BACK

[11] Pedro de Magalhães Gandavo (1540-c. 1580), História da Província Santa Cruz (1576), the first historical survey of Brazil to be published by the Potuguese. BACK

[12] 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

[13] Antonio Pinheiro (fl. 1541–1583), Bishop of Miranda and Leiria. His writings were published in 1785 as Colleccao das obras portuguesas do sabio Bispo de Miranda c de Leiria. BACK

[14] Manuel de Sousa Coutinho (1555–1632), Vida de D. Fr. Bertolameu dos Martyres da Ordem dos Pregadores, arcebispo, & senhor de Braga (1619). BACK

[15] 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 of 1763, no. 3257 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[16] No. 3837 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was the quarto manuscript Soares/Chagas, La Filis Obra Heroica y Tragica. BACK

[17] No. 3474 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was Manuel Godinho (1630–1712), Vida do Ven. Padre Fr. Antonio das Chagas (1762). BACK

[18] Jerónimo López (16th century), Crónica do infante Santo Don Henrique (1529). BACK

[19] The Portuguese playwright Gil Vicente (c.1465 – c. 1536) wrote many comedies and farces including Auto da Índia (1509) and Farsa de Inês Pereira (1523). Their rarity in print was caused by their suppression by the Inquisition. BACK

[20] Jose Gumilla (1686–1750), El Orinoco ilustrado y defendido. Historia Natural, Civil, & Geografica de este gran rio y de sus caudalosas vertientes (1791), no. 3488 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[21] Henry IV (1425–1474), King of the Crown of Castile, nicknamed the Impotent (ruled 1454–1474). The chronicle of his reign was written by Diego Enriquez del Castillo (1443–1503). BACK

[22] Ruy de Pina, Chronica de D. Sancho I, D. Afonso II, D. Sancho II, D. Afonso III, D. Diniz, D. Afonso IV (1726–1728). King Afonso II of Portugal (1185–1223), ruled from 1212. BACK

[23] Southey owned a series of chronicles bound as a set: no. 3258 of the sale catalogue of his library was Chronica de D. Alfonso et onceno de este nombre de los Reyes que Reynaron en Castilla y Leon, por Fr. Cerdá y Rico, vol. 1, uncut, Madrid, 1787 – Chronica de San Luis, Rey de Francia, nieto del Rey D. Alonso et VIII, por Senor de Jonville traducida por J. Ledel, uncut, ib. 1794 – Coronicas de los Reyes de Castilla Don Pedro, Enrique II & III, Juau I, e de D. Alvaro de Luna, par D. Pedro Lapez de Ayala, &c. portrait, 5 vol. half bound together 7 vol. BACK

[24] No. 3591 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was Historia de la Vida de Don Jayme de Aragon, primero deste Nombre Ilamado el conquistador, portrait, fine copy, in calf Valencia (1584). No. 3194 was Chronica del Rey D. Pedro I, por J. Pereira Bayam (1735). BACK

[25] Luke Wadding (1588–1657; DNB), an Irish Catholic historian educated in Portugal. Wadding’s Latin verses and epigrams were published by Francisco de Susa in his Sanctorale Seraphicum (1623). His magnum opus was Annales Minorum, a history of the Franciscan order from 1208 to 1540, in eight folio volumes (1625–1654). BACK

[26] No. 152 of the sale catalogue of Southey’s library was Acta Sanctorum (Antwerp and Brussels, 1643–1794). BACK

[27] Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648), Rerum per octennium in Brasilia et alibi nuper gestarum sub praefectura (1647), a work containing many maps and charts, including this of the Maranham river. Southey’s library, on his death, contained an edition of 1660. BACK

[28] Alonso de Ojeda (c. 1466–1515), on whose Caribbean voyage of 1499 Vespucci sailed. BACK

[29] Amerigo Vespucci (1451–1512), explorer who made three or four voyages to the east coast of South America at the start of the sixteenth century; that which he made with Ojeda sighted the coast of Venezuela. BACK

[30] Angelo Maria Bandini (1726–1803), Vita e Lettere di Amerigo Vespucci (1745). BACK

[31] This eulogy, which Lady Holland had introduced to Southey, denying that Columbus discovered America and promoting the navigational and astronomical achievements of Vespucci (1451–1512), aroused great controversy. It was given by Florentine librarian Father Stanislaus Canovai (1740–1811) and published as Elogio d’Amerigo Vespucci che ha riportato il premio della nobile Accademia Etrusca di Cortona nel dì 15. Ottobre dell’anno 1788. Con una dissertazione giustificativa di questo celebre navigator (1788). BACK

[32] John V the Magnanimous (1689–1750), king of Portugal. BACK

[33] Gregorio Mayáns y Siscar (1699–1781), Orígenes de la lengua española (1737). BACK

[34] Southey’s edition of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (c. 1043–1099), Chronica de la Famoso Cavallero Cid Ruy Diez Campeador (1593) was about to be published. BACK

[35] Fernao Lopes (c. 1385–after 1459), chronicler of Portugal. BACK

[36] Crónica del-rei D. Pedro (1735); Chronica del Rey D. Ioam I de Boa Memoria, e dos Reys de Portugal o Decimo, Primeira Parte, em Que se contem A Defensam do Reyno até ser eleito Rey & Segunda Parte, em que se continuam as guerras com Castella, desde o Principio de seu reinado ate as pazes (1644). BACK

[37] The manuscript ‘Cronica del Rei Dom Fernando o Noveno Rei de Portugal’, which was listed as no. 3829 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library after his death. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)