3534. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 3 October [1820]

3534. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 3 October [1820]⁠* 

My dear R.

The odds & ends of time which are bestowed upon this fair-showing (as we should have called it at Westminster) would not have been better employed; – & if you draw from this confession the inference that some of my time is not so well employed as it ought to be, I cannot pretend to deny it, tho I shall not allow that this is any misapplication, for it brings back fine scenes rememberable occurrences & delightful days to my recollection, & Mrs R. & Miss Ann – may probably derive from it the same kind of pleasure. [1] 

Cuthbert has had a somewhat severe illness – a bilious remittent fever, which has made the last ten days a very anxious time. Thank God he is now recovering

I wonder Murray has not put the Peninsular war to the Press. [2]  But I am in no hurry, if he is not. – Where will the troubles of the Peninsula end? I am quite unable to guess. [3]  In Portugal this is clear that any Revolution which totally separates it from Brazil must be an evil, because in the growing importance of that country, it would have a protection, which it cannot expect from any other quarter, especially if its politics takes (as seems likely) an Anti-Anglican character, – always the mark of liberal opinion in Portugal. Our Government ought to be told that this revolution has been brought about thro the English Press – a curse to other countries as well as its own – four Portugueze Journals were printed here at one time, of which two were Jacobinical in the extreme, & a third Revolutionary: and all, even the fourth (which was set up as a counter-poise by Funchal the Ambassador) laboured to exasperate the Portugueze against the English. [4]  Yet this was allowed – while the Ministers had an Alien Bill, [5]  under which they might have sent these incendiaries packing.

God bless you


Oct 3.


* Address: To/ J Rickman Esqre
MS: The Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, James Saxon Childers Papers. ALS; 4p. (c).
Dating note: Year is identified from contents. BACK

[1] Southey had sent Rickman a fair copy of part of his travel journal from their tour of Scotland, 17 August–1 October 1819, later published as Journal of a Tour in Scotland, ed. Charles Henry Herford (1929). Susannah Rickman had accompanied her husband and Southey, though Ann Rickman (b. 1808), her eldest child, had not. BACK

[2] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[3] In Spain, an army revolt in January 1820 led to the re-establishment of the liberal Constitution of 1812 in March 1820, though the country remained divided between Royalists and Liberals. In Portugal, a revolution in August 1820 led to plans to elect a Cortes and demands for the monarchy to return from Brazil, where it had fled in 1807–1808, following the French invasion. BACK

[4] The ‘Jacobinical’ journals were: Correio Braziliense (1808–1822), a liberal Portuguese journal published in London, no. 3203 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library; and either Microscopio de Verdades (1814) or O Espelho Politico e Moral (1813–1814). The ‘Revolutionary’ journal was O Portuguez (1814–1822). O Investigador Portuguez em Inglaterra (1811–1819), no. 3409 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, was set up as a rival publication, subsidised by Domingo Antonio de Sousa Coutinho, 1st Count and Marquis of Funchal (1760–1833), Portuguese Ambassador in London 1803–1814. BACK

[5] The Aliens Act (1793) required all foreign immigrants to register with local magistrates and empowered the government to detain or deport them. BACK