3328. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 6 July [1819]

3328. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 6 July [1819] ⁠* 

My dear R.

I now inclose the concluding notes, – the list of words, & the tables of money, weights & measures, [1]  – a pleasant dismissal – as being the last of so long a work. Yet long as it has been, I never felt weary of it – & if others took but half as much delight in the perusal, as I did in the composition, – the book would speedily make its fortune – & mine.

A gentleman of this county, [2]  much above his country-men in many respects [MS torn] a friend of Curwens, [3]  has been shot by mistake in the Mediterranean by Curwens friends the Insurgent Privateers, – they took, or chose to take, the vessel for a Spaniards, – & fired first & enquired afterwards. This is the second Englishman [4]  murdered in this manner of whom I have heard in the since the Bill concerning Foreign Enlistment was brought in, [5]  & so much nonsense in consequence talked by men who deserve to be hooted for their utter ignorance respecting Sp– America. I believe that if the Spaniards could <were to> land 500 men at B Ayres, & offer an amnesty & an a free trade, – they the authority of the M Country would be xxxx <acknowledged> with the utmost joy, – so weary must all parties be of anarchy & perpetual danger.

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 9 JY 9/ 1819
MS: Huntington Library, RS 373. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Year from postmark. BACK

[1] ‘Explanation of such Portuguese, Spanish, and other Foreign Words, as are used in the Text’ and ‘Table of Weights, Measures, and Money’, History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 899–900. BACK

[2] Westmorland Gazette, 10 July 1819, reported the death of the wealthy merchant, William Walker (d. 1819) of Gilgarran House, near Workington. He was travelling from Liverpool to Genoa when, on 1 June 1819, his ship, the Brunswick, was fired on by the Spanish corvette the Pronte. Walker was mortally wounded. BACK

[3] John Christian Curwen (1756–1828; DNB), MP for Carlisle 1786–1790, 1791–1812, 1816–1820 and MP for Cumberland 1820–1828. Curwen was a Whig and a supporter of the cause of independence for Spanish America. BACK

[4] Southey may be referring to Captain Malcolm Ross (d. 1819), Master of the Duke of Wellington, who was killed on 28 February 1819 off the coast of Brazil, when his ship was attacked by the American privateer Irresistible, captained by John Daniel Danels (1783–1855) of Baltimore. Henry Koster had been able to tell Southey of these events in some detail. BACK

[5] The Foreign Enlistment Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 13 May 1819 and passed its Second Reading on 3 June 1819. It was intended to prevent the recruitment of British citizens to fight in conflicts abroad – primarily on the side of independence movements in Spanish America. It was, therefore, vigorously opposed by radicals who supported the revolutionaries. BACK