S. George West
The Reverend Herbert Hill, M. A., who was Chaplain to the British Factory at Lisbon from 1782 to 1808, is chiefly remembered for his connection with Robert Southey, the poet, who was his nephew. Hill paid for Southey’s education at Westminster and Oxford, and it was with Hill that Southey stayed during his visit to Portugal in 1795-6 and again in 1800-1. He was a scholar of some parts and it was largely through his collection of Spanish and Portuguese books that Southey’s interest was aroused in the literature and history of the Peninsula. A passage in the poet’s Dedication of the Author’s Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society to the Memory of the Reverend Herbert Hill records his services to British residents and visitors alike:
"Who in those peaceful days of Portugal
"Resorted thither, curious to observe
"Her cities, and the ways and works of men,
"But sought him, and from his abundant stores
"Of knowledge profited?"
An examination of manuscript letters preserved at the Evora Public Library shows that Hill was also in contact with the Portuguese scholars of his day, notably the Bishop of Beja.
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