3731. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 14 September 1821

3731. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 14 September 1821⁠* 

My dear R.

Wynn tells me he hears from many quarters that the disgust between the King & his Ministers has gone on increasing so rapidly, thanks to the exertions of the female favourite, [1]  that it is scarcely possible a compleat change can be avoided. “For my own part, he adds, I doubt extremely, whether if one had the power of picking an Administration from all parties, one could form any of sufficient strength in the H. Commons, to resist the greatest danger of the present time, – I mean the disposition of that body to take the whole executive power to itself.” –

A truly able minister would soon make a vigorous <strong> administration. Where we are to look for one, or when we shall see one, God knows, – but I think the way is preparing, & these precious Juries have done more good, than could have been effected by all the reasoning in the world.

I never saw the Year Books – but should be right glad to have them within reach. [2] 

More journal tomorrow. [3]  It calls up pleasant recollections, – – & the death of my poor little friend Nash makes me feel how desirable it is to put such recollections in order, before any thing occurs to cloud them.

I was at Penshurst last year, – & had also seen it in my youth, with the greatest interest, Sir P. Sidney being one of my favourites. [4] 

Remember me to my fellow travellers. [5] 

God bless you


14 Sept. 1821. Keswick.


* Address: To/ J Rickman Esqre
Endorsement: RS to JR 14 Sept/ 1821
MS: Huntington Library, RS 416. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Elizabeth Conyngham, Marchioness Conyngham (1769–1861; DNB), George IV’s mistress from 1819. Her demands that the government employ her friends and relatives was causing some strain between George IV and his Cabinet. BACK

[2] The Year Books are the collected law reports of England, 1268–1535. Rickman is probably referring to the standard ‘Vulgate’ edition of 1678–1680. BACK

[3] Southey had been sending Rickman a fair copy of the journal he had kept on their tour of Scotland in August–September 1819, later published as Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819, ed. Charles Harold Herford (1929). Nash had accompanied Southey on his continental tour of May–August 1817, but Southey’s journal of this trip was never published. BACK

[4] Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586; DNB), poet, who was born at Penshurst Place, Kent. Southey had probably visited Penshurst in June 1820, when he spent a few days at Tunbridge Wells (only five miles from Penshurst) during his prolonged stay in the south-east of England. His youthful visit is unrecorded, but might have inspired his ‘Inscription for a Tablet at Penshurst, the birthplace of Sir Philip Sidney’, Morning Post, 7 December 1798. BACK

[5] Rickman’s wife and youngest children, William Charles Rickman (1812–1886) and Frances Rickman (dates unknown), who had accompanied Southey on his Scottish tour of August–September 1819. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)