3199. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 2 October 1818

3199. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 2 October 1818⁠* 

Blackstone [1]  arrived on Wednesday & took up his quarters with Gen. Peachy, to whom he had engaged himself at Oxford. This was lucky for the room which has been ready for him the whole summer is now occupied by Chauncey Townsend. He dined with me the day of his arrival, & I find he apprehends that one effect of the examination into the affairs of Winchester & New College [2]  may be to disable him from holding your living without vacating his fellowship. [3] 

I am truly glad that you my error about the salt has been detected in time. [4]  The Bp. of Pernambuco’s Essay is here, [5]  – among those things which I had read & forgotten, not having made references to them in time. You have written Quintella’s [6]  name in the margin. I shall find a proper place for introducing the subject. It is a great comfort to be within sight of land at last. The next chapter relates to the Treaty & the Seven Reductions, – the Expulsion soon follows, [7]  & there remains very little after that event

The want of a Solar [8]  is one of the worst evils which result from belonging to the Lackland family. [9]  This house however is likely to be mine as long as I chuse to keep it, – & it has room for more books than I shall ever be master of, tho I have already filled two rooms, a long passage & two landing places, to say nothing of some odd my own bedroom. But the house is large, & if it had not the disadvantage of being damp would suit me in every respect.

Dauncey the Counsel [10]  is here, with his daughters, – he married Louisa Dolignon. The eldest of the Mrs Delamares died last year in her 80th year. [11]  Mrs Mary, & Isaac are still living, the latter a marvellously hale man of 77. [12] Wilberforce was expected last night, & I am writing in the morning because I shall have no leisure in the evening, which is my usual time for making up my dispatches. I must go call on him, & make a voyage to the Island. These few lines therefore would not have been written if you had not desired to hear of Blackstones appearance.

A brother in law of your Hampton schoolmaster was here lately, with a draft for civility from John Coleridge. His name is Arnold, – a fellow of Oriel, – equally well-informed & well-disposed. [13] 

I look with some apprehension to the dearth which must be felt in the spring. [14]  But I comfort myself with this reflection that as Government whether from fear or folly will take no measures for preventing the convulsion with which the very foundations of society are threatened, – the sooner it is brought on the better. I hope Jupiter has not determined to destroy our rulers, but xxx it certainly seems as if he had besotted them. [15] 

Love to my Aunt. God bless you.


Oct. 2. 1818


* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: 10 o’Clock/ OC 7/ 1818 FNn; E/ 7 OC 7/ 1818
Seal: red wax, design illegible
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 172. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Frederick Charles Blackstone (1795–1862), a relation by marriage of Hill. Blackstone’s mother was Margaret Bigg-Wither (1768–1842), a sister of Hill’s wife, Catherine. Blackstone became Rector of Worting, Hampshire 1819–1831, Southey’s uncle Herbert Hill having held this living since 1815 (i.e. deputising as parish priest until such time as Blackstone was ready to take up his duties). Southey had met Blackstone in Switzerland in 1817 on his continental tour. BACK

[2] Brougham had started to investigate the nature of charitable endowments for education through the Select Committee into the Education of the Lower Orders in the Metropolis (1816). The Committee was reappointed in 1817 and 1818 and its scope widened. Brougham focused on the misapplication of funds intended for the education of the poor and looked into a number of leading, and richly-endowed, schools, including Winchester. At this time all Fellows of New College had to come from Winchester School and they could retain their Fellowships if appointed to benefices. BACK

[3] Blackstone was a Fellow of New College, Oxford and was not ordained until 1819. He did indeed give up his Fellowship when he became Rector of Worting. BACK

[4] The History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 554, 686, mentioned the abolition of the system whereby a single contractor provided all salt in Brazil. BACK

[5] José Joaquim da Cunha de Azeredo Coutinho (1742–1821; Bishop of Pernambuco 1794–1802), Ensaio Economico sobre o Comercio de Portugal e Suas Colonias (1794). BACK

[6] Joaquim Pedro Quintela (1748–1817), leading Portuguese merchant. The Quintela family held the salt contract for Brazil 1788–1801, until its abolition. BACK

[7] Chapters 39–42, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 442–656. Chapter 39 dealt with the Treaty of Madrid (1750) and the subsequent War of the Seven Reductions (1756–1757) to remove the Jesuit settlements which had been transferred to Portuguese territory. Subsequent chapters covered the suppression of the Jesuits 1759–1767. BACK

[8] A sun room. BACK

[9] In other words Southey had not inherited any money to enable him to build a house to his own specifications. BACK

[10] Philip Dauncey (1759–1819), barrister, mainly practising in the Court of Exchequer. He had been married to Marie Dolignon (1769–1805), the daughter of Elizabeth Dolignon, who was effectively Southey’s guardian when he was at Westminster School. Philip Dauncey had two daughters: Louisa Dauncey, who married Robert Bill; and Mary Sophia Dauncey, who married, in 1826, John Henry Latham (c. 1796–1873), a West India merchant. BACK

[11] Miss Delamere (c. 1738–1817) was one of the sisters of Elizabeth Dolignon and lived with her at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire. BACK

[12] Mary Delamere (1740–1820) and Isaac Delamere (b. c. 1741) were the remaining siblings of Elizabeth Dolignon. Southey remembered visiting Isaac Delamare as a child at Little Court, Buntingford, when he owned the property 1785–1791. BACK

[13] Thomas Arnold (1795–1842; DNB), educational reformer and headmaster of Rugby School 1828–1842. He was a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford 1815–1819. His sister, Frances Arnold (1790–1863), had married in 1816 a clergyman, John Buckland (1785–1859). Buckland was officiating Minister at St Mary’s, Hampton in Middlesex and owned a school in the village. He and Arnold set up a school together in Laleham, Middlesex 1819–1828. BACK

[14] There had been a poor harvest in 1818. BACK

[15] As in the popular saying: ‘He whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first makes mad’. Jupiter was the chief of the Roman gods. BACK