624. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [11] November [1801]

624. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [11] November [1801] ⁠* 

Dear Rickman

Blessed be the power of franking that allows innocently a short letter.

Mr Corry & I have effected a junction at last. I suspect our connection would not have taken place had the Peace [1]  broke out sooner – that he does not want me – & that his offers of assisting my diplomatic views – mean that I ought to pursue them. amen! – withal he is as courteous & kindly as man can be, & I feel fully satisfied.

Enclose my money to him, as soon as you conveniently can – for the funds are low.

I forgot to give you an article of useful information. I discovered in Archers shop, Dame Street, Dublin, [2]  that there actually did then & there exist, one quarto volume, containing 24 [3]  – what the Greeks would have called Ραςοδιαι, which may be translated rigmaroles – celebrating <upon> the great piety of the great Alfred [4]  – all which may be had at the moderate price of one guinea that is one pound two shillings & ninepence Irish. with the farther expence of duty, freight, & booksellers profit. doubtless you will profit by the hint, & examine how far the Author comes under the penalties of the Butleraboo statute. [5] 



R. Southey.

25. Bridge Street. Westminster. Wednesday. Nov –


* MS: Huntington Library, RS 15. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: The contents suggest that the Wednesday on which this was written was 11 November 1801. BACK

[1] Britain and France had signed ‘Preliminary Articles of Peace’ on 1 October 1801. This was effectively a ceasefire to allow negotiations for a full treaty. BACK

[2] John Archer (d. 1811) ran a bookshop at Commerce Buildings, Dame St, Dublin, which was a meeting-place for Irish intellectuals. BACK

[3] Joseph Cottle, Alfred, an Epic Poem, in Twenty-Four Books (1800). BACK

[4] Alfred the Great (849-899; DNB), King of Wessex 871-899. BACK

[5] ‘Butler aboo’ was the war cry of the Butlers, one of Ireland’s most powerful Norman families. The Irish Parliament had outlawed the use of such war-cries as far back as 1495, as they provoked conflicts. Cottle’s Alfred would not be penalised under the statute, as it denounced war, dwelling, as one contemporary reviewer observed, ‘with peculiar delight upon the representation of the gentler passions’, Critical Review, 31 (February 1801), 161. BACK

People mentioned

Corry, Isaac (1753–1813) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Dublin (mentioned 1 time)