2901. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 19 January 1817

2901. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 19 January 1817 ⁠* 

My dear R.

Here come the remainder of the notes; – one more inclosure, tomorrow, will cover the Contents & the advertisement, & then God speed the volume. [1] 

Murray is a good purveyor, & sent me such a choice assortment of sedition that I have had a great deal to insert in t what may be called my Papal Forte [2]  for his forthcoming number. [3]  You will find your text there broadly stated, & stoutly maintained.

It seems the notion which the xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx men in power had got in their noddles (heads I shall not call them) – was that I might be prevailed upon to conduct a political journal for them. I guessed as much, – seeing no other possible reason why they should wish to talk with me. This proposal I suppose has been so properly entertained by Herries – that it has t not been communicated to me in any way that requires an answer. Fools not to perceive that I am doing them ten times the service already, that it would be possible for me to do, by degrading myself in the manner that they propose.

There are some hard blows in my Papal Forte, & a direct call upon Ministers to check the license of the press. The personalities I shall leave in the Review, for which alone they were written, as being in time & in place. The book I would fain make of permanent value, as well as of immediate utility. [4] 

I thought to have comprized Brazil in two volumes, – the second vol. however exceeds the first in bulk, & there is quite sufficient matter for a third upon the same scale. [5]  The second is on the whole more amusing than the first. It is a history, from the very nature of its subject, sui generis. – I am promised materials from Pernambuco, & Koster will not be remiss in procuring for me all that he can.

Remember me to Mrs R & your sister – [6] 

God bless you


19 Jany. 1817


* Endorsement: RS./ 19 Janry 1817
MS: Huntington Library, RS 304. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[2] In the second volume of his History of Brazil (1810–1819), Southey drew on a work of advice and warning to government written by Antonio Vieira (1608–1697), Papel Forte (1648) – literally ‘strong memorial’. BACK

[3] Southey’s article ‘Parliamentary Reform’, Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 225–278. BACK

[4] Southey was planning a book on the ‘State of the Nation’, of which his Quarterly Review article would be the first part. BACK

[5] Volume one of the History of Brazil (1810–1819) had 622 pages; volume two 692 pages; and volume three a staggering 950 pages (including notes and index). BACK

[6] Mary Rickman (dates unknown). BACK

People mentioned