3622. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 31 January [1821]

3622. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 31 January [1821] ⁠* 

31 Jany

My dear R

Thank you for the Vox Populi which is I think in a fair way of being estimated at what it is worth, & therefore it is well that it should have been thus authentically recorded.

The cover has on the inside a direction for the inclosed. The M.S. contains the sum of many hours work in London, bestowed upon a collection of the original dispatches from the Government at Lisbon & the Court of Philip 3. to the Governor of Brazil. [1]  The matter is curious, & has never before seen the light. I have also for the additional notes, the items of the whole establishment of the colonial Government, a very curious document. [2]  The whole was done in hours before breakfast, in Q Anne Street. [3] 

This would be the time for the Catholics to move their question, & strive for the re establishment of their system in England. For a people who chuse to have Bergamis mistress [4]  for their Queen, could not possibly make any objection to the Whore of Babylon. [5] 

It is worthy of the Whigs, & of the noble brood of Russel, to have taken up two such causes as the Popish Plot & Queen Caroline! [6]  The whole of history would not furnish a third case bad enough to make a Triad!

God bless you



* Endorsement: RS./ 31 Jany 1821
MS: Huntington Library, RS 408. ALS; 3p.
Dating note: Year from endorsement. BACK

[1] The ‘Preface’ to History of Brazil (1822) [unpaginated] thanked Archibald Constable (1774–1827; DNB), Scottish publisher, bookseller and stationer, for ‘a collection of original dispatches from the home Government to D. Luiz de Sousa, during his administration of Brazil’. Luis de Sousa, Conde do Prado (c. 1580–1643) was Governor-General of Brazil 1617–1621, in the reign of Philip III (1578–1621; King of Spain and Portugal 1598–1621). This manuscript had been brought to Southey’s attention by James Gooden, and Constable had agreed to purchase it and let Southey make use of it for his History of Brazil. BACK

[2] This document was not included among the ‘Supplemental Notes’ to the second revised edition of the first volume of Southey’s work, published as the History of Brazil (1822). BACK

[3] Southey had transcribed these manuscripts during his stay in London in May–June 1820. BACK

[4] Bartolomeo Pergami (1783/4–1842) was a member of the entourage of Queen Caroline (1768–1821; DNB), George IV’s estranged wife, and was accused in the Bill of Pains and Penalties, introduced by the government in 1820, of committing adultery with the Queen. BACK

[5] A figure described in Revelation 17–18; often associated by Protestant commentators with the Catholic Church. BACK

[6] The ‘Popish Plot’ was a fictional Catholic conspiracy, whose existence was promoted by many Whigs in 1678–1681. Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792–1878; DNB), Whig MP for various seats 1813–1861, Prime Minister 1846–1852, 1865–1866, had written about the ‘Popish Plot’ in his The Life of William, Lord Russell, with Some Account of the Times in which He Lived (1819), a biography of William Russell, Lord Russell (1639–1683; DNB); Lord John had also been a prominent supporter of Queen Caroline. BACK

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