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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

1769. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 8 April 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. April 8. 1810.

Five tea-chests will set off by the next carrier for Streatham. Picart [1]  is very carefully packed, the volumes have layers of act-of-parliament between them, & are compleatly bolstered on all sides. The stuffage must not be thrown out without examination, as a number of odd things are wrapt up in different holes & corners. The key of your writing-case is with {in} the mathematical instrument case. You will find the bundle of precious stones, & the little Japan-box of Roman coins. I have put {up} one or two Spanish duplicates, among them is the Cronica del Rey D Alfonso, [2]  which is a valuable book. This removal xxxx gives me room on my shelves, – & I was straitened for it before. General Roys book [3]  must make a distinct parcel, – the boxes not being wide enough to receive it. The damp has done it no permanent injury, but it must go into a binders hands. One other book is sent because I could not trust it to a country binder to repair, – otherwise I should have kept it, – it is the volume containing Nicetas, [4]  of which one of the covers is broken off. It had better be divided when it is rebound.

Longman had directions about John Bells copy, together xx with that for the Envoy. [5]  Whatever copies you may wish to send out should be placed by Longman to my account, – do not think of paying for a single one, it would be giving the price to the booksellers. It or half of the two thirds might find its way to me.

Arrowsmith [6]  has got possession of a map which has perfectly delighted him. The title travelled here for a translation. It is dedicated to the Prince [7]  by Luiz de Albuquerque de Mello, Pereiras e Caceres, Governor of Matta-Grosso [8]  – but including nothing of later discovery or observation than the year 1789. When next you are near Soho you will probably call & see it. I received a letter yesterday in consequence of my advertisement for books, [9] xxx it was from a person who had not the list of desiderata before him, & offered me the Mercurio Peruano, [10]  which by means of John Allen, [11]  I saw when last in town. I have however good hope that some of the works will turn up.

I have been grievously disappointed about a history of Junots proceedings [12]  which John May sent for, – his agent delivered it to Sealy [13]  instead of sending it by the proper ship, & God knows when it will arrive. I wanted it immediately. Our supplies seem to be quite cut off from the peninsula. There is neither tale or tidings of those which you requested Sealy to look out, nor of a commission which I sent to Seville.

Is the Brazil wood what we now call log-wood? [14]  I am provoked with myself for not making this obvious enquiry sooner.

Your blue curtains, by the help of good care & tobacco, have been preserved from the moths since they came to Cumberland, – the linings had suffered grievously, – but the damask I believe is uninjured. They have never been made any use of here; I send also the table-cloth. – It is well the Inquisition never thought of searching your house, – that mathematical instrument would certainly have past for an implement of magic. Will you have your guns sent? they arrived here in a wretched state. I had them cleaned of their rust, greas oiled & hung over the kitchen fire place. One of them has been once fired since, – & that is all the use to which they have been, or are ever likely to be applied here, unless you come yourself to shoot grouse on the hills, & cormorants on the Lake.

Tom makes a noble report of Edward the ninth. I long to see him & lay the foundation of a friendship upon the solid basis of barley sugar.

I have begun a poem upon Pelayo, [15]  & want to see four books all of fabulous notoriety. The Chronica del R D Rodrigo. [16]  Chro. de S. Isidoro. [17]  Chron. Sarracina by Pedro de Corral. [18]  & the Conde de Moras Hist of Toledo. [19]  Will you make enquiry for these when you see the Hollands. There is a copy of the second somewhere in this country, for I once mist it from a catalogue.

God bless you



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: 10 oClock/ AP 11/ 1810 FNn; [partial] 11 AP 11/ 1810
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Bernard Picart (1673–1733), Ceremonies et Coutoumes Religieuses de Tous les Peuples du Monde (1723–1743). BACK

[2] Probably Juan Nunez de Villasan (dates unknown), Chronica del Muy Esclarecido Principe u Rey Don Alfonso el Onzeno (1551), no. 3336 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s Library. BACK

[3] Possibly one of the books of maps produced by Major-General William Roy (1726–1790; DNB), military engineer and founder of the Ordnance Survey. BACK

[4] Jerome Drexelius (1581–1638), Nicetas, or the Triumph Over Incontinence (1633); no. 860 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s Library. BACK

[5] Robert Walpole (1736–1810), Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal, 1771–1800. Southey was later asked to write his life. BACK

[6] The Arrowsmiths were a well-known family of London cartographers, based in Soho Square. This may refer to Aaron Arrowsmith. BACK

[7] John VI (1767–1826), Prince Regent of Portugal 1799–1816, King of Portugal 1816–1826. He had become heir-apparent with the title Prince of Brazil in 1788. BACK

[8] Luis de Albuquerque de Melo, Pereiras e Caceres (1739–1797), Governor of Mato Grosso 1772–1788. BACK

[9] History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), I, p. vi. BACK

[10] Mercurio Peruano (1790–1795), the first newspaper published in Peru. BACK

[11] John Allen (1771–1843; DNB), political and historical writer, especially on Spanish topics, in the Edinburgh Review. BACK

[12] Southey eventually received the Observador Portuguez (1809) and reviewed it in Quarterly Review, 4 (August 1810), 1–24. Jean-Andoche Junot, Duc d’Abrantes (1771–1813) was the commander of the French invasion of Portugal in 1808. BACK

[13] Richard Sealy (d. 1821), Lisbon merchant and father of Henry Herbert Southey’s first wife. BACK

[14] The two are not identical – logwood is native to Mexico and northern Central America. BACK

[15] An early version of Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[16] Chronica del Rey Don Rodrigo con la Destruycion de Espana, y como los Moros la Ganaron (1587); Southey eventually obtained a copy, no. 3341 in the sale catalogue of his library. Southey needed this, along with the other books on his list, for his new poem. BACK

[17] Isidore of Seville (c. 560–636), archbishop who was later canonised. His Chronica Majora covers events from the creation to 615, with particular emphasis on Spain. BACK

[18] Pedro de Corral (fl. C14th/C15th), Cronica Sarracina, written in the 15th century, it dealt with the Moorish occupation of Spain. BACK

[19] Pedro de Rojas, Conde de Mora (c.1585–1658), Historia de la Imperial Ciudad de Toledo (1654–1663). Southey’s copy was no. 3630 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013