2036. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 12 February [1812]

2036. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 12 February [1812] ⁠* 

My dear R.

The MS. [1]  viâ Murray is arrived, & a treasure it proves. The writer was the first Englishman who went to Monte Video & B. Ayres after the intercourse was renewed, – lived in habits of familiarity with Liniers, [2]  & seems to have acted as Charge d’affaires for both for naval & commercial men, by virtue of the rank which his good sense gave him. The inclosed is to acknowledge the receipt of this journal: It is not only of essential use for the Register, but also supplies me with some useful information for my second vol: of Brazil. [3] 

Murray has printed a tragedy (anonymously) by Gebir, called Count Julian; [4]  – it is hard in parts, but is in great part of unsurpassable beauty


Feby. 12.

Tell me if the Museum situation [5]  falls vacant that I may get at the ABishop [6]  on behalf of Wm Taylor, (the greatest of all hereticks past, present or to come), [7]  thro Dean Wordsworth [8]  who believes in 40 articles & Dr Bell.


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS/ 10 Feb 1812
MS: Huntington Library, RS 180. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had borrowed the unpublished journal of the merchant Thomas Kinder (c. 1781–1846), who had witnessed at first-hand the events in Buenos Ayres in 1808–1810 that led to the independence of the states of the Rio de la Plata. (In 1813 Southey had a copy made of the journal, no. 3162 in the sale catalogue of his library. The copy was published as, Malyn Newitt (ed.), War, Revolution and Society in the Rio de la Plata 1808–1810. Thomas Kinder’s Narrative of a Journey to Madeira, Montevideo and Buenos Ayres (2010).) It provided information for Southey’s account of events in Buenos Ayres in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 395–421. Kinder had also lent Southey ‘a volume of Noticias del Paraguay, and the prose Argentina, both in manuscript’, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, p. [v]. BACK

[2] Jacques de Liniers, known as Santiago de Liniers y Bremond, 1st Count of Buenos Aires (1753–1810), Viceroy of the Rio de la Plata, 1807–1809. He led the resistance to the British expeditions to Argentina in 1806 and 1807. BACK

[3] For Southey’s acknowledgements for the information Kinder had provided, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, p. [v]. BACK

[4] Walter Savage Landor, Count Julian: A Tragedy (1812). It dealt with similar subject-matter to Southey’s Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[5] Francis Douce had resigned as Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum in April 1811. The post was in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Speaker and the Lord Chancellor. BACK

[6] Charles Manners-Sutton (1755–1828; DNB), Archbishop of Canterbury, 1805–1828. BACK

[7] Southey was concerned that Taylor’s religious views would impede his chances of success. In particular, he worried about Taylor’s A Letter Concerning the Two First Chapters of Luke (1810) which expounded his belief that ‘Zacharius, who wrote those chapters, meant to hold himself out as the father of Jesus Christ’. It was ‘received with an outcry of horror’ and damaged Taylor’s relationships with some friends and admirers, J. W. Robberds (ed.), A Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late William Taylor of Norwich, 2 vols (London, 1843), II, p. 311. See also Robert Southey to William Taylor, 21 January 1812, Letter 2020. BACK

[8] William Wordsworth’s youngest brother, the high churchman Christopher, who had been appointed to the deanery and rectory of Bocking, Essex in 1808. In 1812 he added Monks-Eleigh, Suffolk to his portfolio of appointments. Christopher Wordsworth’s advancement owed something to his connections with Archbishop Manners-Sutton, whose eldest son Charles (1780–1845; DNB), he had tutored at Cambridge. BACK

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