2195. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 2 January 1813

2195. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 2 January 1813 ⁠* 

Jany 2. 1813.

Many & happy returns to you & yours!

In the first volume of Clarkes Travels there are the portraits of some Calmuck Gods, – very notable to me, as distinctly showing me the pedigree of Tezcalipoca & my other Mexican friends, – traceable in this line to India. [1]  This book of Clarkes is curious. I never derived so much valuable information from any work, which left me with so little respect for the author. Shallow, conceited & prejudiced to the highest degree; perseverance, activity, amiable spirits, & acquired talents have enabled him to render good service to literature.

My Nelson by a blunder which lies between Murray & the Printer [2]  makes two volumes instead of one, thereby defeated the former purpose in bespeaking the book, & I doubt not, materially impeding its success. [3]  I have just finished the battle of Copenhagen, [4]  – much to my satisfaction. – The Register [5]  is advancing well. What a tale will this Russian campaign [6]  supply for 1812! I was in hopes that Buonaparte would the death of Buonaparte would have supplied a fit conclusion to this portion of my works, & that I might therewith have wound it up, – but the Devil it seems gives him more line yet.

Remember me to Mrs R. The inclosed is an attempt from Mrs C. to get a letter to her husband. My note goes to keep it company as far as Palace Yard. The Maidstone Election has I dare say has none other harm than that of robbing depriving the Pater Noster of their franker general. [7] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS./ Janry 1813
MS: Huntington Library, RS 195. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edward Daniel Clarke (1769–1822; DNB), Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. Part the First. Russia, Tartary and Turkey, 3rd edn (London, 1813), between pp. 244 and 245, a set of four ‘Sacred Pictures in use among the Calmuck Tribes’. Southey later acquired an 11-volume edition of Clarke’s Travels (1816–1824), no. 601 in the sale catalogue of his library. A student of comparative religion, Southey here connects the Calmuck deities with those of Mexico and India, the latter two featured in Madoc (1805) and The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[2] James Moyes (d. 1839), of Greville St, Hatton Garden, London. BACK

[3] Southey was wrong, the two-volume Life of Nelson (1813) was a best-seller. BACK

[4] Life of Nelson, 2 vols (London, 1813), II, 95–153. BACK

[5] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813). BACK

[6] The failed French invasion of June-December 1812. It was described in Edinburgh Annual Register, 5.1 (1814), 322–400, but not by Southey, as he had ceased writing for the publication in 1813. BACK

[7] In the 1812 General Election at Maidstone one of the sitting MPs, the Whig George Longman (c. 1773–1822), had been defeated by Egerton Brydges. Longman was the younger brother of Thomas Longman, head of the London publishing firm, which was based in Paternoster Row. In losing his seat, George lost his franking privileges. The implication here is that the publishers (the ‘Pater Noster’) had been taking advantage of these privileges and could do so no longer. BACK