1345. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [10 July 1807]

1345. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [10 July 1807] ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

I have no farther news of Tom which is very provoking.

The great MS. chronicle with a coat of Russia leather [1]  is of too much importance to be risked by sea, – for it is the most valuable book in my whole collection. The way in which it can with least trouble to you be conveyed to me by land will be to send it to Longman. I learn that xx it will be xxx <best> to ship the whole cargo for Newcastle, not only because it is in war time a safer voyage, but & the freight is as much less, as the land carriage is more, – so that there is a clear saving of time & risk. This same post will carry a letter to Biddlecombe written in very pressing terms. [2] 

Palmerin to my surprize as well as vexation is far from being completed. [3]  A sheet will perhaps have waited on you before this time, for the love of the house of Commons, [4]  – not with any wish that you should employ one minute in looking over it in that state.

The calculation of the cost of a pressed man was taken suspiciously from a book of George I : there given confidently by him as having been made under Keppels [5]  orders. I inserted it think thinking, just as you say, that the truth would probably be enough to put an end to that detestable system.

One borrowed book from Longman I shall keep to amuse you in a wet evening. Berkeleys Poems with his Mothers Preface: [6]  as you knew him it will be well worth your looking at it. – The Tantara-raras seem to be xx enacting the first scene in the Alchemist. [7]  – I wish they would get thro their business, & leave the newspaper columns open for more amusing matter.

The masons are gone, & the first division of my books actually embarked. [8]  I am in daily hopes of hearing that they have reached Liverpool.

Warm weather it is to be hoped will make all parties tired of warm debates & set you soon at liberty.



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS./ 10 July 1807
MS: Huntington Library, RS 115. ALS; 4p.
Dating note: from JR’s endorsement BACK

[1] Fernao Lopes (c. 1385–after 1459), Cronica del Rei Dom Fernando o Noveno Rei de Portugal, no. 3829 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library is described there as ‘a fine old MS., but stained and wormed in the margin russia, gilt leaves’. BACK

[2] For this, see Southey to Charles Biddlecombe, 10 July 1807, Letter 1344. BACK

[3] Palmerin of England; by Francisco de Moraes. Corrected by Robert Southey from the Original Portugueze (1807). BACK

[4] Until the new parliament commenced, Southey could not take advantage of Rickman’s privilege, as the Speaker’s secretary, of franking mail gratis. BACK

[5] Augustus, Viscount Keppel (1725–1786; DNB), naval officer and politician. BACK

[6] Poems by the late George-Monck Berkeley ...: with a Preface by the Editor, Consisting of Some Anecdotes of Mr. Monck Berkeley and Several of his Friends (1797). The author (1763–1793; DNB) was the author of plays and criticism as well as poetry; the editor, Eliza (née Frinsham) Berkeley (1734–1800; DNB), was his mother. BACK

[7] The tantara-raras were, in Southey’s parlance, the noisy, blaring MPs. In Ben Jonson (1572–1637; DNB), The Alchemist (1610), Act I, scene i the characters Jeremy and Subtle argue over who is the more important to the swindle they are contriving. Tantara-rara, Rogues All was the title of a 1786 play by John O’Keeffe (1747–1833; DNB); see The Dramatic Works of John O’Keeffe Esq., 4 vols (London, 1798), III, pp. 349–90. ‘Tantara-rara, Fools All Fools All’ was also a popular song from Henry Fielding’s (1707–1754; DNB) play The Lottery (1732). BACK

[8] Books sent by sea from Bristol by Charles Danvers. Having decided to stay at Greta Hall earlier in the year, Southey was now gathering together his books and other belongings. BACK

Places mentioned

Greta Hall/ Greeta Hall (mentioned 1 time)