1202. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 19 July [1806]

1202. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 19 July [1806] ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

I handsel (heaven knows the orthography of that word) my seal upon my brother Harrys thesis. One is directed to Carlisle – one to George Dyer – both having expressed a wish to have one – the third you may look at or not at your before it goes into one of the lateral receptables of your Privy Cabinet, – or while it is there in course of use – at your own pleasure. Being of softer texture than acts of Parliament it is better suited for the xxxxxxxxxx use to which it will be applied.

Country air I hope will effectually restore Mrs R.s health. The rumour concerning Coleridge is false. We believe he is living at Rome under a feigned name as necessary precaution. [1]  this is Stoddarts news. [2] 

Tom is come home to England, & hopes to get a spell here. [3]  In that case you may probably see him as he passes this town.

Your Sphynx forms an excellent seal. My blackletter is not orthodoxly shaped, & might have been a little larger & a little deeper cut – but I like it well on the whole. [4] 

I am providing a Chronicle of the Cid for English Readers, which is as curious a fiction of manners & society as you have ever seen. [5] 

Turners Review will never fall in my way till I get to London again. I am obliged to him for a friendly shove, which would have been a hearty one had it been in a more effectual place. [6]  But the circulation of that journal cannot be extensive, nor its effect much.

The Printer & I go on as slowly as I could wish – for the Cid delights me more than my ideal Spaniard [7]  – I shall write speedily to Duppa of & concerning him. –

God bless you


Saturday. July 19. —


* Endorsement: RS./ 19 July 1806
MS: Huntington Library, RS 92. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Coleridge was in the process of returning from Malta via the continent and reached England in August 1806. BACK

[2] Sir John Stoddart (1773–1856; DNB), writer and lawyer, who from 1803 to 1807 was an advocate for the king and the admiralty at Malta, in which capacity he became an associate of Coleridge. BACK

[3] Thomas Southey had been serving in the West Indies as part of the British campaign to achieve naval dominance in the Caribbean during the Napoleonic wars. BACK

[4] Southey’s seal bore the motto ‘In Labore Quies’, meaning ‘In Labour Rest’, borrowed from the sixteenth-century Spanish historian Esteban de Garibay (1533–1600), and also engraved on his bookplate. BACK

[5] Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid was published in 1808. BACK

[6] Sharon Turner, review of Madoc in General Review of British and Foreign Literature, 1 (June 1806), 505–526. BACK

[7] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella; Translated from the Spanish (1807) was being printed by Richard Taylor (1781–1858; DNB), printer and naturalist, who would go on to establish the publishing firm of Taylor and Francis with his son William Francis (1817–1904; DNB) in 1852. BACK