129. Robert Bloomfield to Thomas Clio Rickman, 29 May 1804


129. Robert Bloomfield to Thomas Clio Rickman, 29 May 1804* 

Shepherd & Shepherdess

City Road

May 29th 1804

To Mr Rickman

Sir, The enclosed letter came in a packet from Mr Lofft.

I recon that half a Guinea will pay for the Books your Lad has left lately, and for the former 4 copies of the Letters; [1]  I think the events of Domingo important in every point of view; and to Europe perhaps more important than any of us apprehend at present. [2]  As it is in a great degree a political subject it is more in your way than mine;—All your writings are so confoundedly violent, that I who have four years past made a determination to be nutral in Politicks and Religion, have much ado to convince myself that you ought to expect much assistance from such a cowardly fellow. And it is because I differ in both the above particulars from the Author you first put into my hands, that I do not feel myself acting a consistant part in spreading his opinions. Mr P in my estimation is the vainest of all authors. My circle of friends have long ago regreted that his great mind should decend so as to disgust his readers by boasting of himself. Perhaps when he laments the falling off of America from her purity of principle he is only lamenting the utterly unavoidable effects of a growing population there, or elsewhere, I believe that if perfect Republicanism be not a dream, its durability is. I am thus commiting myself to you compleatly; but it is to show you that I cannot propagate doctrines which I do not profess either to believe or to understand. I must and will be as private a Man as pastoral poetry will permit me to be, or subjects that involve not creeds and systems of which all the world knows I have had small means of judging. You are fond of frankness, of which you set an example both in your writings and your manners. You will therefore not be offended or surprized that I should follow it

With great Respect, I remain, Sir

Yours sincerely

Rob. Bloomfield

I have a small thing just published [3]  but it is too large for the post, or, I would beg your acceptance of a copy.—

I enclose half a Guinea, which I hope will ride safe.—

* University of Virginia Library, MS 11974 boxed w/11847; BL MS RP 4250 BACK

[1] Probably Bloomfield refers to Letters from Thomas Paine, to the Citizens of America ... To which are subjoined some Letters between him and the late General Washington, Mr. Samuel Adams, and... Mr. Jefferson: also, some Original poetry of Mr. Paine's, etc. Rickman published this volume in 1804. (See also Letter 130). BACK

[2] This French colony in the West Indies was then more commonly known as St. Domingue, and is now Haiti. In 1801 the slave population, led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, had effectively achieved independence, only for Napoleonic troops to attempt to re-establish control. In 1802, after L'Ouverture's capture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines became revolutionary leader. His forces defeated the French in November 1803 and on 1st January 1804 he declared Haiti independent. Paine, long an advocate of the emancipation of slaves, had argued that Napoleon should give up his attempt to reimpose slavery and withdraw French forces. BACK

[3] Bloomfield refers to his Good Tidings; or, News from the Farm (London, 1804). BACK