728. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 18 October 1802 

728. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 18 October 1802 ⁠* 

The Scriptores Rerum Hispanicarum [1]  is a Latin book – (the English may come too as a make weight – it is useful in way – one of the many works of the most indefatigable translator I remember) – about the same size as the English one– in a yellowish rough calf binding – the only book which I possess so bound. I believe its first title is Hispania Illustrata. but you will ascertain it by the odd circumstance that it was compiled from the Library Roberti Beli Angli. the following will fill the box. I underline those which I should prefer if they will fit equally well.

Portugueze Dictionary – a thick 4to all in Portugueze. [2] 

Estatutos de Coimbra. [3]  folio. – Estatutos da Ordem de Christo. [4]  folio. I believe both in parchment & lean.

Catalogo das Rainhas de Portugal. [5]  a thin folio & lettered. the four duodecemos in blue paper that came to pieces in their former carriage being Vida de S. Francisco Xavier by Lucena. [6] 

Hist. de los Ordenes Militares  [7]  a thin parchment folio. Historia Maritima [8]  – 3 of the small quarto size – bound a la Portugueze & in good plight. a curious book – being the history of all the shipwrecks of their Indian vessels, collected from those who escaped the wreck & regularly published for the use of others. – these will probably suffice but I will add a few more titles for security –

Frey Gerundio. [9]  2 small 4to. Flores de Espana. [10]  X folio. thin. Hist. Insulana. [11]  folio parchment. the papers of the Portugueze Academy [12]  – 5 or 6 small 4to clumsily half bound in Morocco that has been pressed smooth & so spoilt. two of the same family [13]  a little taller whose names I remember not – but they are ax commentaries upon the Law of Portugal – bound like the last – except that the Binder had English Letters & Rules for the back.

I would have the twenty quartos of the Xxx Hist Genealogica, [14]  but they will weigh plaguily heavy – & it is wiser to wait till they may be shipped for Neath – if my treaty take effect.

You mistake my Circ. Xtmas. I do not hastily publish, nor till after the last finish so far as my next journey to Portugal be concerned in it. but I thank you for your offer of a home in London. I shall not move willingly – & see no probability of any business to call me – but if it should you will make me the less reluctant to obey.

Vincent & I did not part on good terms. I received my xx indeed he sent me away <off> & you may smile at the effect it produced – I parodied Shenstone.

He frownd with scholastical sway –
I could scarcely my freedom discern –
So sternly he sent me away
I thought that he bade me return. [15] 

I was to blame – but less than he was, the punishment exceeded the offence – & Vincent never used me well – because I was the son of a country tradesman. this was less felt by me than it was seen by others – but there were palpable & shameful instances – for I was perhaps the most regular in my conduct of all who were under him. my feelings towards him have changed materially since his book in defence of public schools. [16]  I forgave him all private ill will – & could have shaken him by the hand for it. the Nearchus [17]  is a middling thing – & the other book less than middling – so says my Uncle – a man of more than middling intellect & information. – Vincent wanted to make me a Latin poet – & I had sense enough to follow my own instinct.

Lamb I hear has been at Keswick this summer. xxxx conjugal rixation [18]  of which he speaks would not have affected me – indeed my presence would have greatly repressed it – for I am the only man among his acquaintance to whom Coleridge does not complain of his wife – & that I think implies some merit on my part. it is all from his want of calculation, from that constant sacrifice to present impulse which marks his character & blasts the brightest talents that I have ever witnessed. I very much wished you to have seen him once. Lamb knows him better than most men – & I thoroughly know him – you would have given a fair first-sight opinion – because you would have looked thro the dazzle of conversation. Lamb says “the rogue has given me philtres to make me love him” [19]  – I never feel so little satisfied with myself as when upon recollecting that my inclination to like him has always got the better of a judgement – felt at first sight – & deliberately & perpetually strengthened by every experience.

George the Second is in London, & George the First trying what he can do to serve him. characteristic situations! Danvers proposed a good tutorship here but the Second George thought it beneath him. poor fellow it is a most unhappy madness – by the by do you know a deaf Irish Member who is here with his children & a still deafer wife – a Mr Saunderson? [20]  He seems a clever man if one could but talk to him without cracking ones lungs.

I have not learnt your rapid handwriting. mine oeconomizes paper – & therefore in letter writing becomes prodigal of time – this morning I have none to spare. remembrances from my household & from Danvers. – from me also to Lamb & his sister


R. Southey.

Oct. 18. 1802.


* Address: [partial] Esqr / hens Court/ Palace Yard/ Westminster
Postmarks: B/ OCT 19/ 1802; [partial] 122/ BRISTOL/ 80
Endorsement: RS/ Oct. 14./ 1802
MS: Huntington Library, RS 28. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 293-295 [in part]. BACK

[1] Robert Beale (1541-1601; DNB), Rerum Hispanicarum Scriptores (1579), no. 1420 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Rickman had mistaken an unidentified English translation for this work in Latin. But Southey was wrong in thinking Beale’s work had the title Hispania Illustrata. This book of 1604 was by the Belgian Jesuit, Andeas Schottus (1552-1629). BACK

[2] Possibly Bernardo de Lima (dates unknown), Diccionario da Lingua Portugueza (1783), no. 3503 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Estatutos da Universidade de Coimbra (1772-1773), no. 3197 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Fernando De Moraes (fl. 1717), Diffiniçoens e Estatutos dos Cavalleyros e Freyres da Ordem de Jesu Christo (1717), no. 3592 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[5] Jose Barbosa Machado (c. 1688-c. 1770), Catalogo Cronologico, Historico e Genealogico, e Critico das Rainhas de Portugal (1727), no. 3233 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] Joao de Lucena (1549-1600), Historia da Vida do S. Francisco de Xavier (1788), no. 3412 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[7] Francisco Caro de Torres (c. 1560-1630), Historia de las Ordenes Militares de Santiago, Calatrava, y Alcantara (1629), no. 3327 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] Bernardo Gomes de Brito (1688-1759), Historia Tragico-Maritima (1735), no. 3476 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] Jose Francisco de Isla (1703-1781), Historia del Famoso Predicador Fray Gerundio de Campazas (1770), no. 3496 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] Antonio Sousa de Macedo (1606-1682), Flores de Espana, Excellencias de Portugal (1737), no. 3792 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[11] Antonio Cordeiro (1641-1722), Historia Insulana das Ilhas a Portugal Sugeytas no Oceano Occidental (1717), no. 3363 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[12] Memorias de Litteratura Portugueza, pela Academia Real das Sciencas de Lisboa (1792-1796), no. 3532 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[13] Memorias de Academia Real das Sciencias de Lisboa (1797-1799), no. 3302 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[14] Antonio Caetano de Sousa (1674-1759), Historia Genealogica da Casa Real Portugeza (1735-1748), no. 3738 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[15] A parody of William Shenstone (1714-1763; DNB), ‘Pastoral Ballad, in Four Parts. Written in 1743’, lines 37-40; Southey had previously sent this to Thomas Davis Lamb, [c. 31 July 1792], The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part 1, Letter 20, and (a slightly different version) to Charles Collins [begun 4 June 1792], The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part 1, Letter 12. BACK

[16] William Vincent, A Defence of Public Education (1801) had robustly refuted allegations about the lack of religious education in public schools. BACK

[17] William Vincent, The Voyage of Nearchus from the Indus to the Euphrates (1797). The ‘other book’ was The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (1800-1805). BACK

[18] Quarrelling between Samuel Taylor and Sara Coleridge. BACK

[19] King Henry IV, Part 1, Act 2, scene 2, lines 18-19 [adapted]. BACK

[20] Francis Saunderson (1754-1827), MP for County Cavan in the Irish Parliament 1788-1800, and the UK Parliament 1800-1806. He was so deaf he used an ear trumpet in the House of Commons. He was an Irish Whig, who had opposed the Irish administration and the Union of 1800. His wife was Anne White (d. 1845), of Miskin, Glamorgan. They had seven children. BACK

People mentioned

Lamb, Charles (1775–1834) (mentioned 4 times)
Vincent, William (1739–1815) (mentioned 3 times)
Burnett, George (c. 1776–1811) (mentioned 2 times)
Danvers, Charles (c. 1764–1814) (mentioned 2 times)
Fricker, Sarah (1770–1845) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)
Dyer, George (1755–1841) (mentioned 1 time)
Lamb, Mary Anne (1764–1847) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)