1605. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on] 27 March [1809]

1605. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on] 27 March [1809] ⁠* 

Your description of the Falls of the Yguazu has been partly wrought into the text, partly inserted in the notes. [1]  I thought I had acknowledged it, & also that I had said something concerning the Life of Pombal. [2]  My part shall travel to you with the next portion of MS. the whole may then go to Longman, & get bound before I make use of it. There is a good deal of time lost in referring to unbound manuscripts. As for Pinkerton I have no intention of adding any thing to his book, but merely of correcting his blunders. [3] 

John Rickman may be written to under cover to ‘Rt. Honble the Speaker’ . xxx Rickman is the most useful of all my friends, & one of the men in the world for whom I have the most thorough & unalloyed liking. My proofs come to me thro his hands, & are the better for his remarks. He has lately sent me Arrowsmiths map of S America [4]  to correct the orthography as far as I can before my own be made. [5]  As I have no business, at least none of any importance, south of the Plata, he & Arrowsmith & Capt Burney agree with me that it will be better to cut off the knuckle of the shoulder of mutton just below that river, by which means we shall be able x materially to enlarge the scale of the map. Proofs, when it is ready, may be sent both to you & to me, as often as they are needed, by help of the Speaker – who is Emperor of the Franks. [6]  Arrowsmith has copied Johs’s map, [7]  & has also at my recommendation hunted out Dobrizhoffers. [8]  Solreviela’s in the Mercurio Peruano, [9]  of which there was <is> probably no other copy in England, I put into his hands when John Allen [10]  lent me the book, – from thence he would get the Ucayali, [11]  better than it has yet been laid down. We shall be able by combining these, hitherto uncombined, materials make a better map than has appeared. xx I think it will be advisable to get the skeleton engraved as soon as may be, but reserve the map for the second volume, because I shall certainly be able to made it fuller then than can possibly be done now.

I have got at Falkner [12]  by means of Arrowsmith, from Sir Joseph Banks’s Library, [13]  – By way of obtaining this book for myself I shall recommend it for insertion in Pinkertons Voyages – which the Booksellers give me.


Monday March 27.

Thus far I had written last night when a call to supper interrupted me, & this morning soon after day break Edith was safely delivered of a daughter. All hitherto, thank God, is as well as could be wished. Your namesake, who is, we think, as like you as he could be were he your own child, – is exceedingly astonished at his new sister. Little Emma is hardly old enough for wonder. I have, now four living, & one in heaven. Few things would give me so much pleasure as to hear that they had a cousin in Herefordshire. [14] 

From Lackingtons [15]  I have got the Hist. delle Guerre di Portagallo – da Alessandro Brandano. [16]  The Braganzan war down to 1656. another of the same family published a continuation. [17]  Whether the Book be a good one I know not. – the copy is a fine one, in old Morocco binding, & was purchased by a Mr Stearne Tighe at Florence in 1787. [18]  the Tighes are an Irish family of some distinction there is a poem by a Lady of that name in which the story of Psyche is well told [19]  in Spensers manner, & another of the family has still more lately published a respectable poem which he calls The Plants. [20] 

I have sent to Bristol for Atkyns’ Voyages to Brazil. [21]  His voyage to Africa Brazil & the W Indies I purchased from a Catalogue years ago, & found that all it contained about Brazil was a reference to this separate volume. It will be a prize if it should prove as good a book as the other. [22] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Staunton upon Wye/ Hereford
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] See Southey’s History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), I, p. 112. BACK

[2] Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Count of Oeiras, 1st Marquess of Pombal (1699–1782), Minister of the Kingdom of Portugal from 1750 to 1777. Southey narrates his period of government in the third volume of the History of Brazil. BACK

[3] Southey had arranged with John Pinkerton (1758–1826; DNB) that his brother Henry Herbert Southey would provide translations and abridgements of travel accounts for his edition of A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World (1808–1814). BACK

[4] Arrowsmith was renowned for his 1790 large chart of the world. Among his other productions were A Map of America (1804), which depicted North and South America. BACK

[5] The second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) contained this map. BACK

[6] Rickman’s employer, Charles Abbot, was dubbed ‘Emperor of the Franks’ because of his power to frank mail, which Rickman, used on Southey’s behalf. BACK

[7] Perhaps the c. 1720 map of the whole of America by Joh. Baptist Homann (1664–1724).Totius Americae, Joh. Baptist Homann. BACK

[8] Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717–1791), Historia de Abiponibus, Equestri, Bellicosaque Paraquariæ (1784). BACK

[9] The Mercurio Peruano was a newspaper published in Peru between 1790 and 1795, renowned for its scientific content. Southey probably had access to the twelve-volume edition of Mercurio Peruano, de Historia, Literatura y Noticias Públicas que da á luz la Sociedad Academica de Amantes de Lima (1791–1795). Solreviela y Girba (dates unknown), who was associated with this publication was responsible for reproducing the map Southey refers to. BACK

[10] John Allen (1771–1843; DNB), a journalist and historian who was an intimate of Lord and Lady Holland and an expert on Spanish history. BACK

[11] The Ucayali River in Peru is the main headwater for the Amazon River. BACK

[12] Thomas Falkner (1707–1784), an English Jesuit whose papers were published as A Description of Patagonia and the Adjoining Parts of South America (1774). BACK

[13] Joseph Banks, Baronet (1743–1820; DNB), naturalist and patron of science, whose house in Soho Square, London contained Europe’s best library of natural history and voyage narratives. BACK

[14] Hill’s son, Edward, was born later in 1809. BACK

[15] The publishing firm run by George Lackington (1777–1844). BACK

[16] Alessandro Brandano (dates unknown) Historia delle Guerre di Portogallo: Succedute per l’Occasione della Separazione di quel Regno dalla Corona Cattolica Descritte, e Dedicate alla Sacra Reale Maestà Di Pietro II, Re di Portogallo (1689). The book as described by Southey was no. 417 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[17] Francesco Brandano (dates unknown), Dell’Istoria delle Guerre di Portogallo: che Continua quella di Alessandro Branda; Parte Seconda (-terza) ... Descritta, e Dedicata alla Sacra Real Maestà Di Giovanni V, Re di Portogallo (1716–1724). BACK

[18] Robert Stearne Tighe (1760–1835). BACK

[19] Mary Tighe (née Blachford; 1772–1810; DNB), poet whose major work Psyche; or The Legend of Love (1805) was admired by several of her literary contemporaries. BACK

[20] William Tighe (1766–1816), The Plants: A Poem, Cantos the First and Second, with Notes; and Occasional Poems (1808). BACK

[21] See Southey to Charles Danvers, 20 March 1809, Letter 1603. BACK

[22] John Atkins (bap. 1685–1757; DNB) published A Voyage to Guinea, Brazil and the West Indies in His Majesty’s Ships the Swallow and Weymouth (1735), but did not write a separate account of a voyage to Brazil. BACK

People mentioned