- More from Southey's letter later. I have read about half the book so
Though I think that in some way-- and it may not have been a conscious
decision--Byron was influenced by Southey's prose Letters from England,
the works have little in common. However they both have a supposed
Spanish protagonist and both use other mouths to present their own
political and economic beliefs.
Don Manuel is a curious (inquisitive not odd) man who likes to poke
around in churches, kitchens, and markets. So far there is not a hint
of romance and I doubt there will be. Dn Manuel often has harsh
criticism for the English particularly in the matter of religion, the
clergy, and treatment of the poor. The Spanish gentleman protests
strongly against the current practice of supporting labourers who do not
make enough to make ends meet instead of forcing the landlords and
business owners to pay the people a decent wage. I can understand that
complaint for it was made by many and was an issue that needed
rectifying. I wonder why Southey had don manuel write so many letters
about Roman Catholicism especially about the regret that the English do
not venerate the Virgin Mary.
While I love byron's poetry with its humour and satire, I must admit
that I have found the letters better for practical information. I have
found many pieces of information in the letters of which I was unaware.
Don manuel speaks about the money, the food, and even the stage coaches.