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

2559. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 22 February 1815 ⁠* 

This volume of the Register is not mine, [1]  & I cannot conceive why Harry should have supposed it to be so. I do not know who has written it, nor indeed have I seen it.

I have the whole of the Cronicas published by Sancha, [2]  – the first five volumes I bought very cheap in London, & the last (xxxx the Cron. del R Alfonso XI [3] ) you brought over with you. Besides these the Cron. of Henrique 4 [4]  was printed but suppressed, – Ld. Holland has a copy, I believe without title or preface for the work being {was} stopt by authority. Allen [5]  told me it was of very little value. – This beast Ferdinand [6]  has no doubt deprived us of a thoroughly valuable book, – a history of the xx old Cortes in two quartos, by Marina, [7]  who wrote an introduction to the last edition of the Partidas which was not printed with the work, but published under a separate title when the press became free. I was expecting his greater work when Ferdinand overthrew everything.

From Lisbon I shall be glad of the numbers of the Jornal de Coimbra [8]  beginning with No 25, & of O Patriota [9]  (the Rio Magazine) beginning with January 1814, – being the third subscription. Also Lisboa Destruida – a poem upon the Earthquake by P. Theodoro d’Almeida, [10]  which I see announced among recent publications. I fear it would be xxxx hopeless to enquire for the histories of Paraguay by Montoya, [11]  Lozano [12]  & Xarque [13]  of all which & especially the first I feel myself greatly in want. I believe It is very probable that Montoya would afford some notices respecting S Pauls, to which city (as you will see erelong) he pursued a set of the Paulista kidnappers. [14]  I find no difficulty in reconciling the different accounts of these people given by the Portugueze & the Jesuits, – each party tells what the other found it prudent to suppress, & thus the whole truth comes out. Between both I have a very clear view of the subject.

You will find the discussions of the Portugueze Government concerning Pernambuco very curious & characteristic: I half suspect that Joam 4 himself was bitten by the Sebastianists, – or rather the Fifth-monarchy-men, as the Sebastianists after the Acclamation became for a time. [15]  The Mesa de Conciencia [16]  gravely allude to his becoming Lord of the World in their paper, & the Papel Forte concludes with the same expectation. This I have no doubt is Vieyras [17]  not only from this passage, but from other internal evidence. The whole of this business is exceedingly curious; between pride, poverty, & perplexity the Government knew not how to act, it went on vacillating, procrastinating, expecting miracles & xxx trusting to time & chance, which actually at last brought it out of the scrape. – There is a history of the Dutch affairs for that century by Basnage [18]  which I ought to have had, & one by Aitzema [19]  from 1621 – to 1668 of enormous bulk, full of documents. I regret that I have not seen them, tho they would have tempted me into more detail than can well be afforded.

I remember the Secretary, [20]  & thought he had been at this time a Lord of the Admiralty. Does he take this situation on account of his health?

The first term of my lease expires this time two years, – the property has just been sold, & I think it most likely that the purchaser will let out some of the ground for building, near enough to be a nuisance to these premises. In that case I shall move for which perhaps (if I live so long, & do well in the meantime) I may never be so well prepared as about that time, – looking to the purchase money for my history of the war [21]  as the resource. Some times I think of fixing at Bath, as the place where there are most comforts to be obtained at the least expence, & especially for the sake of the baths, to which I have a Turkish propensity. But on the whole I should prefer being near you, & within reach of Harry & my London friends.

Oh how I wished for the Marquis last week! Some body was married & sent me some wedding cake. – Love to my Aunt & all the Bears [22] 

God bless you


22 Feby. 1815.


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1812 (1814). The historical section was written by the Scottish lawyer and writer, James Russell (1790–1861; DNB), as Southey’s last contribution was to the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813). BACK

[2] Cronicas de los Reyes de Castilla: Don Pedro, Enrique II & III, Juan I (1779–1780), published by Antonio de Sancha (1720–1790); Chronica de D. Alfonso et onceno de este nombre de los Reyes que Reynaron en Castilla y Leon (1787), no. 3258 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Alfonso XI (1311–1350; King of Castile 1312–1350). BACK

[4] Henry IV (1425–1474; King of Castile 1454–1472). BACK

[5] John Allen (1771–1843; DNB), political and historical writer, especially about Spain, who lived at Holland House. BACK

[6] Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833). In 1814 he had abolished the liberal Constitution of 1812, arrested the leading liberals and restored the Inquisition. BACK

[7] Francisco Xavier Martinez Marina (1754–1833), eminent Spanish jurist and historian, and author of Ensayo Historico-Critico sobre la Legislacion y Principales cuerpos legales de los reinos de Leon y Castilla especialmente sobre el Codigo de las Siete Partidas de D. Alonso el Sabio (1808). He did not write a history of the Cortes. BACK

[8] Jornal de Coimbra (1812–1820), no. 3498 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] O Patriota, Journal Litterario, Politico, Mercantil, &c. do Rio de Janeiro (1813–1814), no. 3641 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] Teodoro de Almeida (1722–1804), Lisboa Destruida (1803). BACK

[11] 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

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

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

[14] History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, pp. 310–312, though Montoya did not take part in this journey. BACK

[15] John IV (1604–1656; King of Portugal 1640–1656). The ‘Sebastianists’ believed Sebastian (1554–1578; King of Portugal 1557–1578) would return and usher in the Millennium. BACK

[16] The Mesa da Consciencia e Ordens was the Royal Council which administered ecclesiastical affairs. BACK

[17] Antonio Vieira (1608–1697), Portuguese Jesuit and writer. His Papel Forte (1647) argued Pernambuco should be ceded to the Dutch. BACK

[18] Jacques Basnage de Beauval (1653–1723), French Protestant writer who settled in the Netherlands His Annales des Province-Unies depuis la Paix de Munster (1719) was later acquired by Southey and was no. 237 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[19] Lieuwe van Aitzema (1600–1669), Saken van Staet in Oorlogh in ende omtrent de Vereenigte Nedelanden, 14 vols (1656–1671). Southey later acquired an 11 volume edition of 1669–1699, no. 214 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[20] Unidentified. BACK

[21] History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[22] i.e. the Hills’ sons, Edward, Herbert and Erroll. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013