3098. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 March [1818]

3098. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 March [1818] ⁠* 

My dear R.

Westall has asked me to cover a letter for him, – which I do without scruple in favorem artis. [1]  I inclose too a specimen which was sent me yesterday, & which, in its way, has great merit. [2]  Of the artist I know nothing, & apprehend that the price at which he proposes to publish his designs, will not pay for the paper & working off the plates. About a dozen specimens of the series were sent me; some bad enough, this is one of the best.

Some Observations on the Poor Laws printed at Birmingham [3]  have reachd me to day, – a very odd xxxx <fellow> the author must be for he proposes a new tax upon income to be regulated by the law of gravitation, – explains it by xx diagrams – sets it forth in algebraic characters, & supports it by scripture!

“The earth hath fishes as the water hath
And this is of them.” [4] 

Thank you for the Bills. – Is there not a Second Police Report published? & a second Report upon Education? [5]  – So I infer, from references in some of these surrounding pamphletts to evidence not which is not in those that I possess.


21 March.


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 25 MR 25/ 1818
Endorsement: RS/ 21 March 1818
MS: Huntington Library, RS 336. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘For the benefit of art’. BACK

[2] William Hawkes Smith had sent Southey a ‘Prospectus’ and sample plates for Essays in Design Drawn and Etched by W. H. Smith, …Illustrative of the Poem of ‘Thalaba the Destroyer’ by R. Southey (1818). Smith’s plan was to publish by subscription; see Southey to William Hawkes Smith, 21 March 1818, Letter 3099. BACK

[3] Observations upon the Report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Poor Laws (Birmingham, 1818). BACK

[4] Possibly an adaptation of Macbeth, Act 1, scene 3, lines 82–83: ‘The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,/ And these are of them’. BACK

[5] The Parliamentary Select Committee on the State of the Police of the Metropolis reported twice in 1817; its third report appeared in 1818. The Select Committee on the Education of the Lower Orders in the Metropolis reported first in 1816 and again in 1817. Constituted as a Select Committee on the Education of the Lower Orders, it reported five times in 1818. BACK

People mentioned

Westall, William (1781–1850) (mentioned 1 time)