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

2026.1. Robert Southey to James Gooden, 1 February 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. Feby. 1. 1812


I am exceedingly obliged to you for the list of books & manuscripts, & the offer accompanying it, with which you have favoured me thro my friend Mr Robinson.  [1]  Of the printed Books there are three which will be of great service to me, – the Collecçao dos Breves,  [2]  – the Orbe Serafico,  [3]  & the Vida do P. Joam de Almeida.  [4]  – Of this latter work I have been five years in quest, & xxx that portion of my history which is published  [5]  would have been less imperfect than it is if I could have met with it sooner; for from the death of Anchieta to the commencement of the Dutch war,  [6]  the affairs of Brazil are only to be learnt from scanty & incidental notices, – except what may be discovered in this volume. Both the other works of P Simon de Vasconcellos are in my possession, – his life of Anchieta  [7]  does not xxx exhibit him in any very favourable light as a Biographer, – yet I have no doubt that his life of Almeida will supply many facts which I shall consider as important, enabling me to improve my first volume, – & some material information towards the completion of the work. He refers to it as containing accounts of the native superstitions not to be fo repeated in his other writings. & as it was under Almeidas provincialship that the missions of Paraguay commenced, I may expect to meet with good authority for that period, –the only one for which I am unprovided with satisfactory documents, having in vain hunted Seville & Cadiz & Lisbon for the works of Xarque,  [8]  Lozano  [9]  & Montoya.  [10]  the only substitutes for which within my reach for now have been Charlevoix,  [11]  & the mutilated translation of Techo in Churchills Collection.  [12] 

Of the manuscripts I will only reque at present request the loan of the Apologia.  [13]  By the time that I shall have made use of this & the printed works, I may probably visit London, & have an opportunity of inspecting the others there, & expressing my thanks in person, for what is to me a very essential service.

You have been in Brazil, Sir. Should you have discovered in my history any of those mistakes with which it is scarcely possible for a writer not to commit, who has no ocular knowledge of the countries whereof he is writing, – be assured that for any correction of those, or any other errors, which you might be pleased to favour me with, I should hold myself greatly indebted. Upon the history of Portugal & her dependancies I have bestowed the best years of my life, with little expectation x or probability of any other reward than the pleasure of the task, & the satisfaction of performing it with the most unweariable & conscientious industry. You cannot confer upon me a greater obligation than by enabling me to correct those errors which no diligence could have avoided.

I am Sir

respectfully & thankfully yours

Robert Southey

If you will have the goodness to send these books to Messrs Longman Paternoster Row, they will be transmitted to me. & I will take especial care that they shall be returned uninjured.


* Address: To/ James Gooden Esqr/ Swithins Lane
Postmark: [illegible]
Endorsement: Keswick, 1 February 1812/ Robert Southey/ Recd. 4 Feby/ Ansd.
Seal: Red wax; design illegible
MS: Bibliotheca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Gooden had responded to Southey’s ‘advertisement for Books’ in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), I, p. vi; see Southey to Herbert Hill, 1 February 1812, Letter 2027. BACK

[2] Colleccao dos Breves Pontificios, e Leys Regias, que Formo Expedidos, e Publicadas desde o anno de 1741, sobre as liberdades das Pessoas, Bens, e Commercio dos Indios do Brasil (n.d.), no. 3359 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

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

[4] Simon de Vasconcellos (1599–1670), Vido do Joam d’Almeida (1658). This was a life of the English-born Jesuit missionary, John Almeida (1571–1653). BACK

[5] History of Brazil, 3 vols (1810–1819), I, published in 1810. BACK

[6] The period between the death of José de Anchieta (1534–1597), Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Brazil 1577–1591, and the outbreak of the Portuguese-Dutch war in Brazil of 1630–1654. BACK

[7] Simon de Vasconcellos, Vida do Veneravel Padre Jose de Anchieta (1672), no. 3799 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. The other work by Vasconcellos that Southey possessed was Chronica de Companhia de Jesu do Eastado do Brasil (1663), no. 3798 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[8] Francisco Xarque (1609–1691), Insignes, Missioneros de la Compañia de Jesus Paraguay (1687). BACK

[9] Pedro Lozano (1697–1752), Historia de la Compañia de la Jesús de la Provincia del Paraguay (1755). BACK

[10] 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

[11] Probably a reference to Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix (1682–1761), Histoire du Paraguay (1756) (no. 645 in the sale catalogue). BACK

[12] The Jesuit Nicholas del Techo (1611–1685). An English translation of his Latin ‘History of the Provinces of Paraguay, Tucuman, Rio de la Plata, Parana, Gualra, Ulrvaica and Chile’ was included in the fourth volume of John Churchill (c. 1663–c. 1714; DNB), Collection of Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World (1704). BACK

[13] ‘A manuscript Apology for the Jesuits in Paraguay and Maranham, of great importance’, see Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, p. [v]. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013