2464. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 2 August [1814]

2464. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 2 August [1814] ⁠* 

2d. August

My dear R.

I give you joy of your instalment. [1]  May you partake of the longevity which has hitherto been attached to the Table, as well as of its other advantages. [2] 

My bust arrived here to day broken all to pieces, & the inclosed is to set Smith [3]  upon recovering its cost from the carriers. When I see the fragments I am indeed surprized at the modesty of the artists charge.

This evening I begin to transcribe my second vol. of Brazil, to send it to the press as soon forthwith. [4]  About Spain I am totally in the dark, & have very little doubt that Abella is in durance. The Reformers must now make terms with the old King, & play off Carlos against Fernando. [5]  The game would then be in their favour. Meantime the colonies are left to themselves, & cruelties & excesses of every kind are laying them waste.

Of my poem [6]  there remain 15 sheets to print, of which the printer has the larger half in his hands, & the rest I hope are on their way home from their travels. You will receive it in about five weeks. It is a poem sui generis. [7]  Its character deeply tragical, – but every where rather of an elevating than a distressing nature. – Remember me to Mrs R. – I wish you would tell me that you were about to bring her to Keswick.

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS/ 2 Aug 1814
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ 5 AU 5/ 1814; FREE/ 5 AU 5/ 1814
MS: Huntington Library, RS 230. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Rickman had been appointed Second Clerk Assistant at the Table of the House of Commons, taking his place on 23 July 1814. BACK

[2] John Ley (1733–1814), Deputy Clerk of the House of Commons, had died on 13 June 1814 after 47 years service. His death required a rearrangement of offices that included Rickman’s promotion. BACK

[3] James Smith (1775–1815) was the sculptor of the bust of Southey. The inclosed letter to Smith does not seem to have survived. BACK

[4] The second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil, published in 1817. BACK

[5] Charles IV (1748–1819; King of Spain 1788–1808), who had abdicated on 19 March 1808, and his eldest son, and successor, Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808 and 1813–1833), who had been restored in 1813. Ferdinand had suppressed the Constitution of 1812 on 4 May 1814 and had become absolute ruler of Spain. BACK

[6] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[7] ‘Of its own kind’. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)