2635. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 9 July 1815

2635. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 9 July 1815 ⁠* 

My dear R.

I have got hold of a capital Frenchman who has written a history of Massenas [1]  campaign in Portugal, to prove that the French beat the English wherever they met them, & that Ld Wellington is no general! [2]  – My paper has failed to day, & I have not yet seen the particulars respecting Paris, – but from some hints in a letter I fear we have been at the old fools work of magnanimity again.

Vieyra is indiscriminately written with an i or a y in the penultima. I have taken advantage of this [3]  to make a difference to the sight between the restorer of Pernambuco Joam Fernandes Vieira, [4]  & the Jesuit Antonio Vieyra, [5]  of whom much is to be said.

Are you compleatly recovered? I shall be glad to have this answered to my wish.

Have you seen the project for travelling to the North Pole over the ice? [6]  Setting aside other dangers I think there is a very imminent one of not finding the ship when they come back, – the road not being much travelled.


9 July. 1815.


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS/ 9 July 1815
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 12 JY 12/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 255. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Andre Massena (1758–1817), commander of the invasion of Portugal in 1810–1811. BACK

[2] Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815), one of series of books reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526. For examples of his swipes at Carel, see Ibid, 461, 463, 472, 475. BACK

[3] i.e. in his History of Brazil. BACK

[4] João Fernandes Vieira (c. 1613–1681), key figure in expelling the Dutch from Pernambuco in 1644–1654. BACK

[5] Antonio Vieira (1608–1697), Portuguese Jesuit. He was variously a diplomat, missionary and writer and vigorously promoted the series of Jesuit ‘Reductions’, or settlements, in South America in 1653–1661. Southey did, indeed, have much to say about him, see, for example, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, pp. 449–538. BACK

[6] A proposal raised by William Scoresby (1789–1857; DNB), polar explorer and scientist, in a paper on ‘Polar Ice, and the Practicability of a Journey to the Pole’, read to meetings of the Wernerian Society in January-March 1815. For a summary, Annals of Philosophy; Or, Magazine of Chemistry, Mineralogy, Mechanics, Natural History, Agriculture, and the Arts, 6 (London, 1815), 142–145. Southey later acquired a copy of Scoresby’s Account of the Arctic Regions, and Voyage to the Northern Whale Fishery (1820–1823), no. 2520 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

People mentioned

Wellesley, Arthur (1769–1852) (mentioned 1 time)