1816. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 10 October 1810

1816. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 10 October 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. Oct 10. 1810.

My dear Rickman

It is so much more likely that this weather will continue, than that you should feel at leisure in a better season, that I will say come with all speed. Your place must be taken in the Carlisle & Glasgow mail as far as Penrith. Now there are two Carlisle mails, the one runs thro Manchester, & they are rascals enough at the coach office to take travellers in, Carlisle <tho> it involves a change of coaches on the road, <an additional charge> & two hours delay at midnight in a miserable common room at Manchester. You must come by the Newark & Doncaster road. This mail used to set out from the Bull & Mouth, & I suppose still does. It will land you at Penrith between 11 & 12 <the second day> & from thence you must take chaise for Keswick – 17 miles. The whole journey is performed in 43 hours.

Edith is come up stairs to say that you should lose no time, – & how glad we shall be to see you –

Nil mihi rescribas &c – [1] 

I have obtained a set of the Spanish papers Parl. Proc. of last sessions from Herries, Bedfords friend. – You & I differ a little about the Spanish people. National hatred has much to do in their resistance, but not more than national pride. – I never doubted that the Convention of Cintra [2]  ought to have <been> broken. It was my immediate & instinctive opinion, in which the more I considered the question, the more I was confirmed. Cooperation with the Spaniards is not practicable upon a great scale, but exceedingly advisable on a small one, – that is as we are doing in the North Coast by flying squadrons. A flying force might at this time cut off the besieging army before Tortosa, & might have relieved Hostalrich [3]  & Gerona. [4] 

With the Portugueze <army> this would be the best plan. To begin wholly with British officers, but as speedily as possible promote men from the ranks, – upon the system of the French Revolution. In Portugal no man of rank is to be trusted, but my life & soul upon it, the people are true, & there is not a finer race under heaven.

You will get this on Saturday, – I shall <half> expect you to dinner on Monday.

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr./ St Stephens Court/ Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS./ 10 Octr. 1810
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 13 OC 13/ 1810
MS: Huntington Library, RS 152. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘Don’t write back to me’. BACK

[2] The 1808 Convention of Cintra, under the terms of which the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their forces from Portugal. BACK

[3] The Catalonian castle of Hostalrich had been successfully beseiged by the French, 16 January–21 May 1810. BACK

[4] The Spanish city of Gerona had fallen to the French on 11 December 1809 after a siege of nearly seven months. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Bull and Mouth (mentioned 1 time)