3365.1 Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 15 October 1819]

3365.1 Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 15 October 1819] ⁠* 

My dear R.

Ere this I trust you are safely landed in Palace Yard. [1] 

I have been called on to prepare an Address, asking for strong measures. Lord L. has been with me about it. And the enclosed contains a copy which goes for Lord Wm G.s [2]  perusal – that he may send his name. [3]  – The Whigs here have been trying to coalesce with the Yahoos, & the Yahoos have treated them as they deserve. [4] 

Remember us to Mrs R. – I shall soon send you some Inscriptions, more meo, [5]  in which I am endeavouring to do honour to the Roads & the Canal. [6] 

God bless you


The Giant [7]  desires his love to the young Giant & to Francofurte. [8] 


* Address: To/ J Rickman Esqre
MS: Huntington Library, RS 438. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating from content, which indicates this was written around the same time as Southey’s letter to Londsale, [15 October 1819], Letter 3364. BACK

[1] On 6 October 1819, the Rickmans had left Greta Hall to travel to their home in Palace Yard, Westminster, London; see Southey to Sharon Turner, 6 October 1819, Letter 3359. BACK

[2] Lord William Gordon (1744–1823), son of Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720–1752). He owned the Waterend estate on the west side of Derwentwater and was married to Frances Ingram-Shepherd (1761–1841), sister of Isabella Anne Ingram-Shepherd (1760–1834), second wife of the Marquess of Hertford, the Lord Chamberlain. BACK

[3] Following the ‘Peterloo’ Massacre of 16 August 1819, in which local magistrates ordered the dispersal of a public meeting in Manchester, resulting in at least eleven deaths, Whigs in Cumberland organised a County Meeting, held on 13 October 1819, to protest at the magistrates’ actions and send an Address to the Prince Regent. The conservative response was drawn up by Southey – an Address to the Prince Regent denouncing the radicals and calling for curbs on the press. A copy of this, intended for Lord William Gordon, was enclosed in Southey’s letter to Rickman. BACK

[4] Jonathan Swift (1667–1745; DNB), Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Part 4 described a race of beings called the Yahoos, who were ignorant, coarse and incapable of reason. They closely resembled human beings. Here Southey uses the term to refer to the radicals of Carlisle. They held their own demonstration at Coal Fell Hill, to denounce events at ‘Peterloo’, on 11 October 1819. The Whigs in Cumberland had sought a meeting with the radicals, but ‘The request was at once rejected, with an intimation that they could manage their own concerns’, Carlisle Patriot, 2 October 1819. BACK

[5] ‘In my way’. BACK

[6] Rickman was Secretary to the Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges and to the Commissioners for the Caledonian Canal. Southey had inspected work on both projects, when he had visited Scotland with Rickman in August-September 1819. Although Southey did not produce inscriptions for the Highland roads, he did write three ‘Inscriptions for the Caledonian Canal’: ‘Inscription for a Tablet at Banavie, on the Caledonian Canal’, Friendship’s Offering. A Literary Album (London, 1826), pp. [167]–168; and ‘At Clachnacharry’ and ‘At Fort Augustus’, The Anniversary; or, Poetry and Prose for MDCCCXXIX (London, 1829), pp. 194–197. BACK

[7] i.e. Southey. BACK

[8] William Charles Rickman (1812–1886) and Frances Rickman (dates unknown, she married Richard Brindley Hone (1805–1881), Vicar of Halesowen 1836–1881 in 1836); the two youngest children of John Rickman. They had accompanied Southey and Rickman on their tour of Scotland. BACK