3162. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 10 July 1818

3162. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 10 July 1818⁠* 

Keswick. 10 July. 1818

A necessary regard for the ways & means took me for about three weeks from my better labours, to which I set with fresh appetite as soon as the matter of business was done. [1]  Among Mr Walpoles papers are copious extracts from the correspondence of his predecessors as far back as Mr Worsley in 1721, & also from that of our ministers at Madrid. [2]  Here I have found a few valuable facts concerning Brazil, & as you may suppose a great deal respecting Pombal [3]  & the mother Country. Part of my business in London will be to examine Mr Walpoles own correspondence of which (very strangely) he has kept no copies. Xxx xxx {It is} in the Secretary of States Office [4]  in Heaven knows how many volumes, – but such volumes are soon gone thro.

While I was thus employed, the newspaper came with the speech of our friend Brougham at Appleby, [5]  which no doubt you have seen. It so happens that I have taken no more part in the Westmorland election than you have done, – & had not written a single line about it nor spoken out of it out of my own family, – for the very sufficient reason that I never go beyond my own premises, except it be to take an hours walk with some or other of the children. This unprovoked insolence {& his falsehood} therefore have made me just angry enough, – & I shall trouble him with a William Smithiad [6]  it which is in good forwardness, & will be pretty nearly finished by the time this reaches you. This will take me from home for two or three days, that I may learn a few facts concerning the Enemys proceedings from Wordsworth. [7]  The exercise & the change of air will brace me a little – I live too much in the house for want of a motive for going out of it, & for want of an outofdoor companion.

The only strangers whom we have seen this season are a Greek Professor from Cambridge in New England, – & a Latin Professor from Edinburgh. [8]  The latter very much what you would guess him to be, – the former one of the most interesting men whom I have seen. he has been three years in France & Germany, & is now going to Rome, Athens & Jerusalem. His name is Everett. From him I learnt that Humphries [9]  is dead. – I had forgotten a third stranger – a very pleasant & well informed Frenchman by name Buchot, [10]  who introduced himself as the nephew of M. Ducis the poet. [11]  I know not whether we shall have any guests this year or not, – they will be welcome however if they come, for without some such motive I shall cause for locomotion I shall grow to my chair.

Longman is dressing up the Saints, & I suppose they will very soon be out of his hands, & on their way to Newcastle. [12]  The saving the duty upon this cargo has been a great thing, – it would have far exceeded the cost of the books. I am told that Holland is a fine country for a book-hunter, – & this is an additional reason for making me wish to visit the Dutchmen. [13] 

I must now make up my dispatches, – which are somewhat voluminous this evening, – two Quarterly proofs (the Life of Evelyn [14] ) – & one Brazilian. [15] 

Love to my Aunt. How is your rheumatism? If you are still tormented with it, – have we not some baths like those of the Caldas [16]  – ? I have great faith in stewing for this disorder, whether by xxx the hot bath or the steam bath. The experiment was made upon a servant at Netherhall, at my suggestion, with great success. They boiled him & he has been better ever since. But he was boiled frequently, & in sea-water. And if Mrs Coleridge should complain much more of her rheumatism, I will boil her. And if should I have the complaint they shall boil me.

Xxxxxx xxx xx God bless you



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham
Postmark: 10 o’Clock/ 13 JY/ 1818 NT
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 169. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s review of Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn (1818) in Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 1–54, had distracted him from the History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[2] Robert Walpole (1736–1810) was the British envoy to Portugal 1771–1800; Southey had been sent Walpole’s papers by John May, who hoped that Southey would write a memoir of Walpole. Henry Worsley (1672–1740) was MP for Newport, Isle of Wight 1705–1715 and Ambassador to Portugal 1713–1722. BACK

[3] Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquess of Pombal (1699–1782), Prime Minister of Portugal 1750–1777. BACK

[4] The office of the Secretary of State for the Southern Department dealt with relations with Portugal in this period. BACK

[5] The Courier reported on 4 July 1818, that Brougham, campaigning for the parliamentary seat of Westmorland against the candidates favoured by Wordsworth’s patron the Earl of Lonsdale, had, at the hustings at Appleby on 30 June 1818, attacked both Southey and Wordsworth. BACK

[6] Southey was dissuaded from publishing his attack on Brougham, which he modelled on his pamphlet A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M. P. (1817). The sections that were completed were published (without naming Brougham) as a ‘Postscript’ to the second edition of Carmen Triumphale (London, 1821), pp. 45–53. BACK

[7] Wordsworth was actively (though anonymously) involved in the anti-Brougham election campaign and authored the pamphlet Two Addresses to the Freeholders of Westmorland (1818). BACK

[8] Probably Alexander Christison (1753–1820), Professor of Humanity at the University of Edinburgh 1806–1820. BACK

[9] David Humphreys (1752–1818), United States Minister to Portugal 1791–1796, Minister to Spain 1796–1801. Humphreys died on 21 February 1818 in New Haven, Connecticut, after a wide-ranging career as soldier, politician, breeder of merino sheep and author. Southey had known him in Lisbon in 1796. BACK

[10] Unidentified beyond the information given by Southey. BACK

[11] Jean-François Ducis (1733–1816), French poet and translator of Shakespeare. BACK

[12] The massive, 53–volume collection of hagiographies entitled Acta Sanctorum (1643–1794), which Southey had purchased in Brussels in 1817. The books became no. 207 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[13] A visit that Southey did not make until 1825. BACK

[14] Southey’s review of Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn (1818) appeared in Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 1–54. BACK

[15] The third volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[16] The Caldas da Rainha hot springs in Portugal. Southey had bathed in their waters on 5 March 1801. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)