2674. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 6 December 1815

2674. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, 6 December 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick. Wednesday 6 Dec. 1815.

We reached home to day after a safe journey, – the weather too wet to be cold, so that we suffered little other discomfort than that of fatigue. Edith May grew better as we advanced farther from London, & I trust that her usual habits will soon restore her to her usual health. [1] 

I had no opportunity when last we met to tell you what has past concerning the Q Review. [2]  In consequence of my letter to Gifford which you saw, [3]  I found that the interpolations came from no less than a personage than the Duke himself, who thought proper thro Croker to xxx make me his tool. I spoke as became me upon the occasion, – insisted upon stopping the press, carried my point, struck out the falsehoods which had been inserted, & replaced what had been struck out. Upon seeing the former part of the article (the proofs of which had not been sent me) I find a passage interpolated about the Convention of Cintra [4]  which is contrary to my own expressed opinion. [5]  This I shall resent & insist upon it that nothing hereafter be inserted in any paper of mine without my consent, – otherwise I will withdraw from the work. – I had an interview at the Admiralty [6]  after this business, & it was curious to observe how carefully the subject was avoided & yet what concessions were made & civilities shown in reference to it.

I shall be anxious to hear how your leg is going on. – My table is covered with letters.

I was much pleased with Mina, & shall get from him a sketch of his own history. [7]  With Frere also I am likely to have much correspondence. He has been a very ill used man, [8]  & is perfectly aware that I am likely to prove his best friend – Of course he is able to give me much information. – but I was much gratified by finding that on most points the opinion which I had previously formed was strengthened & confirmed by what he communicated.

My love to my Aunt & the Bears. –  [9] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: [partial] 10 o’Clock / DE 9; E/ 9 DE 9/ 1815
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 5–6. BACK

[1] Edith May Southey had been seriously ill during the Southeys’ recent tour of France and Belgium; see Southey to John May, 20 October 1815, Letter 2662. BACK

[2] Southey was unhappy with changes made by Croker to his review of Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815); Jean Sarrazin (1770–1848), Histoire de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1807 à 1814 (1814); General View of the Political State of France, and of the Government of Louis XVIII (1815); An Answer to the Calumniators of Louis XVIII (1815); Official Accounts of the Battle of Waterloo (1815); Lieutenant-General W. A. Scott (dates unknown), Battle of Waterloo (1815), Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526. For an indication of the changes; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 November 1815 (Letter 2670) and Southey to John Murray, [22 November 1815], Letter 2671. BACK

[3] The letter appears not to have survived. BACK

[4] Under the terms of the Convention of Cintra (30 August 1808) the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal. BACK

[5] Southey objected that a section praising Wellington’s reaction to the Convention as ‘a presage of [his] … extraordinary military foresight’ had been interpolated; Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 476. BACK

[6] i.e. Southey had visited Croker at his office at the Admiralty. BACK

[7] Either Francisco Javier de Mina (1789–1817), guerrilla leader in Navarre 1808–1810; or his uncle, General Espoz de Mina (1781–1836). Both had fled Spain after a failed rising in Pamplona on 25–26 September 1814. BACK

[8] Frere had been Minister Plenipotentiary to the Central Junta in 1808–1809 and advised Sir John Moore (1761–1809; DNB) to advance on Madrid, or, if necessary, to retreat through Galicia rather than Portugal– advice that led to the disastrous retreat to Corunna. Southey had defended Frere in the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 86–108. BACK

[9] The Hills’ sons, Edward, Herbert, Erroll and Alfred. BACK

People mentioned

Hill, Edward (1809–1900) (mentioned 1 time)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)
Wellesley, Arthur (1769–1852) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Errol (1812–1844) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Alfred (b. 1815) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)