1660. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 29 July [1809]

1660. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 29 July [1809] ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

I have been walking over the mountains with xxxxx Danvers (who has now left me) – & I am too busy to write letters, – only – come when you will, & the longer you stay the more glad I shall be to see you arrive. Our best weather is in May, – our next best in autumn, – August seem to be the rainiest season, for the people talk of Lammas [1]  floods. I recommend therefore coming as soon as you can in September & staying as late as you can in October, – this is said wholly with respect to the probabilities of weather, & is of course to be regulated by your conscience.

Certes the map had better wait. [2]  I give you joy of a second child & Mrs R of a second daughter. About Mrs Clark [3]  we entirely agree & about Wardle [4]  we do not differ. What a cursed business is this of the Austrians! [5]  that house has now signed its death-warrant, – which nothing but its own pusillanimity could have done –



July 29.


* Endorsement: Fr./ RS./ 29 July 1809
MS: Huntington Library, RS 143. ALS; 1p.
Dating note: date from JR’s endorsement BACK

[1] The first day of August, formerly observed as a harvest festival. BACK

[2] Aaron Arrowsmith was preparing a map for Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). His Map of Brazil and Paraguay with the Adjoining Countries, originally intended for the first volume, appeared in the second volume. BACK

[3] Mary Anne Clarke (c. 1776–1852; DNB) was the former mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827), Commander in Chief of the army from 1798–1809. York was forced to resign in the wake of Clarke’s allegations that he abused his powers by allowing her to accept money from army officers, in return for which promotion was arranged. BACK

[4] Gwyllym Lloyd Wardle (c. 1761–1833; DNB), elected M.P. for Okehampton in 1807, had played a central role in exposing the Duke of York and Mary Anne Clarke’s involvement in office trafficking. However, his own reputation was quickly sullied when, in July, it emerged that Wardle had bought Clarke’s testimony against the Duke of York with a promise to pay for the furnishing of her house. BACK

[5] Britain and Austria were in alliance against France in 1809, but Napoleon advanced into Austria where he suffered a significant defeat at the battle of Aspern-Essling (22 May 1809). The Austrians failed to follow up this victory, which allowed Napoleon to seize the capital, Vienna, in early July. The Austrians were then defeated by the French at the battle of Wagram on 5–6 July 1809. BACK

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