2071. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 2 April 1812

2071. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 2 April 1812 ⁠* 

Thursday. April 2. 1812.

My dear Harry

I have a letter from mi buen amigo [1]  D Manuel Abella who wants to send his son, [2]  a boy of fourteen, to England for education. The lad has been in this country, & speaks English well, but I believe his classical education has been greatly neglected. Abella, tho Under Secretary of State, is as you may suppose not very well paid at this time, – & cannot afford support an expence of more than 40 or 50 guineas per annum. Now will you with as little delay as possible, learn for me what the terms are at your xxxxxxx <great> Babylonish Nursery, [3]  whose name I do not remember. I should think this a likely place to suit him, & I wish it may because it will put the x lad within my reach, & I shall be glad to show him some kindnesses for his fathers sake.

Young Abella is destined for the political line, – the first object of course is to make him a sound classic, & any xxxxxxxx direct professional studies xx may well be left till he has is seventeen or eighteen. You can learn for me whether he is likely to be made a good scholar at this new Douay, – what the terms are, & when the vacations & what the additional charge if they be past at the College. If the boy should prove what I wish & what his father represents him, he should spend his holydays with me.

I suppose the Lt Cattle of the Gazette who has to thank the Catalans for not being on his way into Fran to Verdun is Sarahs brother. [4] 

D Manuel Abella is a Zaragozan, a man of letters, & xxx well versed in the history & antiquities of his country. Before the Revolution he was one of the persons appointed to prepare the great edition of the Partidas [5]  a work of equal labour & importance, & afterwards was consulted concerning the manner of convoking the Cortes. [6]  He is continually sending me documents written as well as printed for the history of the war in Spain, & I should be very much pleased if it were in my power to settle his son to his satisfaction –

God bless you



* Address: Dr Southey/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.84. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp.259–260. BACK

[1] ‘My good friend’. BACK

[2] Abella’s son. Unidentified beyond the information given here. BACK

[3] Ushaw, a Roman Catholic seminary, originally founded as the English College, Douai in 1568, it moved to Ushaw Moor, near Durham, in 1808. BACK

[4] The London Gazette, 28 March 1812, reported the capture of ‘Lt Cattle’ of HMS Blake on 26 January 1812 and his release after the defeat of his French captors by a Spanish force. Presumably this was a mis-print for Lieutenant Castle (first name and dates unknown), brother of Sarah Southey. Verdun was a French prison and fortress. BACK

[5] Las Siete Partidas, a code of laws compiled in the Castilian vernacular in c. 1265. A new edition was published by the Spanish Royal Academy of History in 1807. Southey owned two editions, nos 3610–3611 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[6] The Cortes that met for the first time in Cadiz on 24 September 1810. Unlike the various earlier Cortes under the Spanish monarchy it was a single body, rather than meeting by ‘estates’, and contained representatives of the Spanish colonies. BACK

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