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

2137. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 21 August 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick Aug 21. 1812

A parcel from Longman arrived last night & brought with it a letter which had it arrived in time would have prevented our disappointment in the Bahia xxxxxxx consignment. His Majestys Consul at Bahia [1]  does not write so good a letter of business upon such matters as my new correspondent Pedro Gomes Ferraõ Castelbranco. [2]  The books he says are sent me by order of the Conde dos Arcos [3]  (who is Governor of the Captaincy) as Director of the newly formed public library; the Grammar [4]  & Catalogue I am to keep, the Valeroso Lucideno [5]  to return thro Manoel Ribeiro Guimaraens, [6]  & by the same channel I may receive any other books from their (as yet) small collection, which I may wish to consult. – You see the bazofia  [7]  rests with the Consul, not the Portugueze. – He calls my book elegante e veridica, [8]  – would they have shown me this remarkable civility if they had read it? I should have thought its heresy would have weighed down all its merits.

Will you send me a xx short answer to this letter, for I cannot write Portugueze, & after eighteen years total disuse should not like to venture upon Latin. Say that I had written to the Consul before this letter (which bears date December 2) arrived, – promise to return the Lucideno (which you can send to Guimeraens when you have satisfied your own curiosity with it) – & if you think it will be a proper sort of acknowledgement xxxxx xxx {request that} the Directors will allow a copy of Madoc [9]  to stand upon their shelves – as a specimen of fine typography, & in proof of the sense I entertain of their liberality &c –

The Longmen have sent me Mawes Travels, [10]  which like other books of the same class seems to be handled too roughly in the last Quarterly. The worst of such books always contains something for which I feel myself thankful. What can Mawe mean when he says P. 22 that mares carcases are used for fuel? [11]  Somebody must have told him this to make a fool of him. I have only got half thro the volume, but have found a good deal to fill up my pictures, & some things to think about.

I am to have Humboldts travels [12]  from Murray for the Q. as soon as they arrive from Paris. They are nearly printed. Here we shall find an account of the settlements on the Rio Negro, for Humboldt I believe crost from the Orellana to the Orinoco by that channel of communication, & thus ascertained to the satisfaction of the present age, – what was perfectly well known to the Portugueze fourscore years ago.



* Address: To / The Reverend Herbert Hill / Streatham / Surry.
Stamped: Keswick/ 298
Postmark: 10 o’Clock/ AU 21/ 1812
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Frederick Lindeman (dates unknown), Consul at Bahia from 1810. BACK

[2] Pedro Gomes Ferrao Castelo Branco (dates unknown), Director of the Public Library in Bahia founded in 1811. BACK

[3] Marcos de Noronha e Brito, Conde dos Arcos (1771–1828), Governor General of Bahia 30 September 1810–26 January 1818. BACK

[4] José de Anchieta (1534–1597), Arte de Grammatica da Lingoa mais Usada na Costa do Brasil (1595). This was no. 1530 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, inscribed by him: ‘This singularly rare and curious book was sent to me from the Public Library of Bahia de Todos, or Santos, by desire of the Conde des Arcos, then Governor of that Captaincy.’ BACK

[5] Manuel Calado (1584–1654), Valeroso Lucideno e o Triunfo da Liberdade (1648), a first-hand account of Brazil during the period of Dutch rule. BACK

[6] Manoel Ribeiro Guimaraes (dates unknown), a Portuguese merchant based in Liverpool and partner in Costa Guimareas and Co. BACK

[7] ‘bragging’. BACK

[8] ‘faithful’. BACK

[9] Madoc (1805). BACK

[10] John Mawe (1764–1829; DNB), Travels in the Interior of Brazil, particularly in the Gold and Diamond Districts of that Country, including a Voyage to the Rio de la Plata (1812), reviewed in Quarterly Review, 7 (June 1812), 342–356. BACK

[11] Mawe, Travels in the Interior of Brazil, particularly in the Gold and Diamond Districts of that Country, including a Voyage to the Rio de la Plata (London, 1812), p. 22. BACK

[12] Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), Voyage de Humboldt (1811). Southey did not review this for the Quarterly. BACK

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August 2013