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

1956. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 13 September 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. Sept. 13. 1811

The box did not arrive till yesterday afternoon, – a shameful delay, for in the regular course of things a package by waggon reaches me in ten days. However it is safe, & Taborda [1]  &c have taken their ranks upon the shelf in good company.

I am as much in the dark about the Register [2]  as yourself. Certainly The copy which I saw at Llangedwin was certainly a strong symptom of publication, – & yet the Times of yesterday advertises it as not yet ready. If this be not the careless repetition of an old advertisement there has been something going on in the way of suppression or alteration of which I know nothing. My own copy has not yet been sent, this however I can account for, because John Ballantyne, the bookseller, from whom it should be sent, is at this time in London.

The state of my concern respecting this book is that John Ballantyne takes my whole share of the impression, the original capital goes on from volume to volume, & I receive the net profits. Copies therefore of this are not at my disposal, like those of my own books. If the book be fairly afloat & you & Mr Wither [3]  have not received it it must proceed from neglect at Longmans, – oversight in a house of such concerns is very likely, as for anything like impertinence it is not in Longmans nature to design it. It is not less his inclination than his interest to be on the best terms with me, & I am sure, if there were no other motive to influence him, he would never xxx act towards you in a manner which could be construed by me into an offence. – The way in which you speak of John Mays failing to meet you at Richmond gives me a good deal of pain, because I know how very highly he respects you. I only hope his business may not have been of an unpleasant nature; – for when I was with him he was xxxxxxx much perplexed about an affair of considerable importance in which that rascal D Domingos [4]  was concerned.

My Aunt’s direction is Bishops Xxxx Hull, Taunton. A line from you will be better than from me, because she will feel it as a more direct kindness. I expect soon to hear from Turner upon this business. [5]  Turner lives in Red Lion Square the corner of x a corner house in the middle of the side farthest from Holborn. I should like you to call on him, when you are in that neighbourhood, that you might see his wife, who is a great favourite of mine, – a woman quite worthy of so excellent a man. [6] 

Have you see the Portugueze Magazine set up (as I suppose) in opposition to the Correio? [7]  I have ordered both.

Harry is bent upon starting in London, but not till he has means of subsisting two years without calculating upon a single fee. This he expects to have as soon as his law-suit is concluded. [8]  With his habits, & his notions of what is & according to his estimate of the good things of the world, he is right in playing for a high stake, & I have little doubt of his success. Whether he will be a happier man for succeeding is a very different question. Tom begins to talk of wanting a ship when the winter is over. As Herries is returning from Ireland I may possibly be able to do something thro the same channel as before.

I am busy upon Bell & Lancaster, the blow will be a hard one, Brougham will come in for some home thrusts, for a most false & slanderous article in the Edinburgh. [9]  – I am advancing with Pelayo [10]  in a way that promises well.

Our love to my Aunt



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 17 SE 17/ 1811; 10o’Clock/ SE 17/ 1811 FNn
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Salvador Taborda Portugal (d. 1690), Memoria dos successos que aconteceram em Franca, a na maior parte da Europa, no tempo que assistiu n’aquella corte com a occupacao de Enviado do Serenissimo principe regente, depois rei Pedro II, a el rei christianissimo Luiz XIV, desde 1677 ate 1689 (n.d.), no. 3483 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809 (1811). BACK

[3] A relative of Herbert Hill by marriage. Probably Herbert Hill’s father-in-law, Lovelace Bigg-Wither (c. 1742–1813), or his son, Harris Bigg-Wither (1781–1833). BACK

[4] Domingos de Sousa Coutinho, 1st Conde e Marques do Funchal (1760–1833), member of the Portuguese legation in London, 1803–1814. John May’s dealings with the diplomat were probably in connection to May family business interests in Brazil. BACK

[5] The property of Southey’s recently-deceased uncle, Thomas Southey. BACK

[6] Mary Watts (bap. 1768, d. 1843), who had married Turner on 18 January 1795. BACK

[7] The Correio Braziliense (also known as the ‘Literary Warehouse’) was a journal in Portuguese. Edited by Hipolito Jose da Costa (1774–1823), it was printed in London and ran from 1808–1822. It was critical of the Portuguese monarchy and advocated liberal ideas. Southey possessed a complete set, no. 3203 in the Sale catalogue of his Library. The opposing journal Southey refers to is probably O Investigador Portuguese em Inglaterra (1811–19), no. 3409 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[8] The nature of the law suit in which Henry Herbert Southey was engaged is unidentified. BACK

[9] Southey’s The Origin, Nature and Object, of the New System of Education (1812), an expansion of his advocacy of Bell in Quarterly Review, 6 (August 1811), 264–304. It castigated the article by Brougham, ‘The Education of the Poor’, Edinburgh Review, 17 (November 1810), 58–88. BACK

[10] The early title for Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013