2787. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 13 May 1816]

2787. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 13 May 1816]⁠* 

Longman was to send you the Pilgrimage. [1]  The prints give a real value to the book: – they are excellent representations & very skilfully executed both by draughtsman & engraver. [2]  The book is likely to sell, & I am in a fair way, if I live long enough, to reap the fruits of reputation. – I work on, well & willingly, – it will be long before my spirits recover their tone – if ever they do, – but I had spirits as well as happiness to spare, – & enough of both will be left. [3] 

The rise of corn amuses me – after a hue & cry which frightened ministers. I think I shall not be far wrong, if in all questions for the future I take the opposite side to the landed interest, as being the most short-sighted & selfish part of the community. [4] 



* Address: John Rickman Esqre// St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 13 MY 13/ 1816
Endorsement: Decr. 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 283. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating is taken from postmark, the endorsement is misdated. BACK

[1] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

[2] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo featured eight illustrations of places on the battlefield of Waterloo (18 June 1815). The engraver was George Cooke (1781–1834) and seven of the original sketches were drawn by Edward Nash and one by Charles Bell (1774–1842; DNB). BACK

[3] Southey’s spirits were depressed because his son Herbert had died, on 17 April 1816. BACK

[4] The Corn Laws (1815) prevented foreign corn being sold below the price of British grain, unless British grain reached a level of 80 shillings per quarter. However, after a favourable harvest in 1815, corn prices were low, at 52 shillings, in the first quarter of 1816, but had reached 76 shillings in May 1816. BACK

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