3065. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 10 January 1818
3065. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 10 January 1818*
My dear R.
I send you Courtenays  letter, – he is a worthy & well meaning man, who has all the disposition for doing good, if he had but the xxxxxx ability.
I have done a good deal, & altho what I have done should not prove to be amalgamable with your communications, there will be no labour lost: – for all that is not relevant to the thread of your argument may be set aside to form a separate paper.  It is evident that you have a clear & connected whole in your mind, bearing as it ought to do with full weight & force upon one point: – two head pieces xxxx xxxx might interfere with each other, – so I will act as mouth piece only. I had been spinning perhaps an overfine thread, – partly for want of straight forward matter; & partly to take off common attention from the main argument, by the garnish with which it was drest up, – like gilding a pill, or sugaring the cup from which a child takes bitter physic. Not that it is mere garnish, – on the contrary it may make a wholesome & substantial dish by itself in a following number. –
So I shall make Murray wait, – & go to work upon your papers in good hope that they may be found materially instrumental in forwarding a great work.
God bless you
Keswick. 10 Jany. 1818.
* Endorsement: RS./ 10 Janry 1818
MS: Huntington Library, RS 325. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Orlo Williams, Lamb’s Friend the Census Taker. Life and Letters of John Rickman (Boston and New York, 1912), pp. 200–201. BACK
 Thomas Peregrine Courtenay was the author of A Treatise upon the Poor Laws (1818), one of the works discussed in Southey’s article, ‘On the Means of Improving the People’, Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 79–118. BACK