2615. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 13 June 1815]

2615. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 13 June 1815] ⁠* 

My dear R.

There are few persons who have more reason to be thankful that the privilege of franking exists, than myself, – thanks to my friends, & to you in prin[MS torn] I shall soon be coming to you with some Brazilian copy. [1]  I am now about [MS torn] far on my voyage as an Indian ship is when she has doubled the Cape.

La Vendee I fear has been stirring too soon. But France is in a hopeful way: The Royalists & the Imperialists cutting throats in one part, – & a fair prospect that the Jacobines & the Imperialists may soon begin the same just & necessary work! [2] 

There is a book newly published called The Journal of Penrose a seaman, [3]  w[MS torn] I have heard of for 20 years, & which the Editor, [4]  & West the Painter [5]  by a portentous want of common sense believe to be true in its main parts! – I mention it because there is something about the Buccaneers which very likely is true, & perhaps the Capitaneus may not have heard it before: – a practise they had sometimes of burying treasure, when they did not chuse to risk it onboard, & burying a prisoner with it, that his spirit might keep guard! [6]  – In the second volume of this book there is the form of a paper said to have been found in such a deposit, – & it looks very much as if it were genuine. [7]  Eagles I know (to whom this Journal belonged [8] ) told me he thought it likely that the man who left it him had at one part of his life been among the Buccaneers.

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS./ June 1815
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: FREE/ 13 JU 13/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 253. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, p. 410 [dated 1 June 1815]
Dating note: dating from postmark; misdated 1 June 1815 in Warter. BACK

[1] The second volume of the History of Brazil, published in 1817. BACK

[2] La Vendee region of western France where there was a Royalist rebellion in 1793–1796. In 1815 it stayed loyal to the Royalist cause and an army was sent to suppress the area once again. BACK

[3] The Journal of Llewellin Penrose, a Seaman, a fiction (but possibly with some autobiographical basis) now attributed to the American painter William Williams (c. 1710-c. 1790). BACK

[4] The clergyman, writer and artist, John Eagles (1783–1855; DNB), editor of the 4 volume edition published in 1815. Eagles had been born in Bristol and had many connections with Southey’s extended circle. BACK

[5] Eagles dedicated the 1815 edition to West. West had met William Williams and was convinced of the authenticity of at least parts of the Penrose narrative. BACK

[6] The Journal of Llewellin Penrose, a Seaman, 4 vols (London, 1815), II, p. 128. BACK

[7] The Journal of Llewellin Penrose, a Seaman, 4 vols (London, 1815), II, p. 130. BACK

[8] Eagles had inherited the MS from his father, the merchant and classical scholar Thomas Eagles (1746–1812; DNB). BACK

People mentioned

West, Benjamin (1738–1820) (mentioned 1 time)
Burney, James (1750–1821) (mentioned 1 time)