2827. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [July 1816]

2827. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [July 1816] ⁠* 

My dear R.

I am sorry we shall not see you this year, – for this among other reasons, – that God knows whether we may both live till the next. But the cause for this disappointment is valid, – & I will look <on> in hope.

With regard to the map a great blunder has been committed which it is impossible to remedy. Instead of giving only Brazil & Paraguay, & marking the adjoining countries in outline, the map has been made equally full in all parts. [1]  The only palliative of this absurdity is to colour the boundary of the two countries to which the history relates, – one unnecessary expence thus creating another. As for correcting the map I perceive it is quite hopeless. And I console myself thus – a sister [2]  of Kosters who has most excellent use of her fingers, is copying for me the outline of all the Captaincies, separately, from the great map. These I shall fill up with my additions, – & thus prepare materials for a proper map, or series of maps for some future edition, – which perhaps will not be required during my life. [3] 

Send me, if they are to be had, any Reports upon the West Indies of later date than those of 1804 [4]  – (Tobiniana excepted which I have [5] ). I am about to review Pinckards stupid book, [6]  which is a will serve as text to an important subject. There are also Reports upon the Police of London, & upon the State of Ireland, of which I should be glad; [7]  – the latter as having some intention of digesting former matter & adding fresh, upon the Catholick question, in form of a pamphlett, or series of Newspaper letters. [8]  The affairs in the South of France render it very possible to make the Dissenters & the Methodists act against the Catholicks at this time. [9] 

Sir R Gardiner has written me a very handsome letter of acknowledgement from the Princess, – in terms of more civility than could be required by form. She desired him to express particularly her satisfaction at the manner in which – Prince Leopold is mentioned; – an amusing proof that she likes her husband. [10] 

Mina [11]  is embarked for America, – I doubt not that he will join the revolutionists, & give them good lessons in guerilla warfare. I have obtained from him a brief sketch of his own career, which is valuable.

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre
Endorsement: July 1816
MS: Huntington Library, RS 289. ALS; 3p.
Dating note: Year from endorsement BACK

[1] Aaron Arrowsmith had been commissioned to make a map of Brazil and Paraguay for the second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). It was this map with which Southey was dissatisfied. BACK

[2] Charlotte Koster (b. 1783). BACK

[3] Southey was correct – no further maps were added to the History of Brazil after that which appeared in the second volume of 1817. BACK

[4] There had been a number of recent reports by Committees of the House of Commons on the West Indies, including ones on the Commercial State of the West Indies (1807) and on the Practicality and Expediency of Supplying our West India Colonies with Free Labourers from the East (1810–1811). BACK

[5] It is not known which documents on slavery Tobin had provided to Southey. BACK

[6] George Pinckard (1768–1835; DNB), Notes on the West Indies (1806). A second edition was published in 1816. Southey possessed both editions, nos 2243–2244 in the sale catalogue of his library. He did not review this book. BACK

[7] The Report of the House of Commons Select Committee on the State of the Police of the Metropolis (ordered to be printed 1 July 1816). A Statement was also issued on the Nature and Extent of the Disturbances which have recently prevailed in Ireland, and Measures adopted in consequence thereof (ordered to be printed by the House of Commons, 14 June 1816). BACK

[8] Southey did not carry out his intention at this time, though he remained a convinced opponent of Catholic Emancipation. BACK

[9] Southey kept a close eye on the Nonconformist press. He was for instance a subscriber to the Evangelical Magazine 1811–1841, no. 1014 in the sale catalogue of his library. This would have alerted him to the intense anger felt in Nonconformist circles at what they perceived to be the persecution of Protestants by Catholics in the South of France, e.g. Evangelical Magazine 24 (June 1816), 3. BACK

[10] Sir Robert Gardiner (1781–1864; DNB) was thanking Southey on behalf of Princess Charlotte, only child of the Prince Regent. She had married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865) on 2 May 1816 and Southey had presented the couple with a copy of his epithalamion, The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816). Gardiner was Prince Leopold’s Principal Equerry 1816–1831. BACK

[11] Martin Javier Mina y Larrea (1789–1817) was a leading guerrilla fighting the French forces in Spain in 1808–1810. He fled the country in 1814 after a failed coup against the royalist regime and sailed from Liverpool to the USA in May 1816 to organise an expedition to help the Mexican struggle for independence. He was executed in Mexico on 11 November 1817. BACK

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