630. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 November [1801]

630. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 November [1801] ⁠* 

Bridge Street.  Nov. 21.

Your letter with the Bill reached me – or rather I reached it – only this morning – & I write only in form to acknowledge it.

Mr Corry opened an interesting conversation with me this morning. he hinted – I suppose the usual method of proposing – that I should write the history of the war in Egypt [1]  – officially – that is with the papers & sanction of government. they want to blaze off with the glory of their victory there. To this I opposed a rumour that Sir Sydney Smith [2]  meant to be his own Commentator. if not – why not I as well as any one else? indeed the rather – because I liked Bonapartes [3]  scheme, & should as justly pay as just an attention to the scales – bearing ever in mind the figure over the Castle Gateway. [4]  if this comes to any thing it will be profitable. you shall hear the earliest tidings.

The packet you allude to as directed here is not yet come. I marvel thereat.

Edith desires to be remembered –


yrs truly

R Southey.


* MS: Huntington Library, RS 13. ALS; 1p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] French troops had invaded and occupied Egypt in July 1798. They were not expelled by British forces until September 1801. BACK

[2] Sir Sidney Smith (1764-1840; DNB), whose defence of the city of Acre in March-May 1799 had halted the advance of French troops into Palestine. BACK

[3] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821; First Consul 1799-1804, Emperor of the French 1804-1814) had commanded French troops in Egypt 1798-1799 and planned to make the country a French colony. BACK

[4] A statue of Justice, with sword in one hand and scales in the other, stood above the lower gateway of Dublin Castle. Unfortunately, rainwater tended to collect in one of the two pans of Justice’s scales, ensuring they were usually unbalanced. BACK

People mentioned

Corry, Isaac (1753–1813) (mentioned 1 time)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)