1898. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 8 April 1811

1898. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 8 April 1811 ⁠* 

April 8. 1811.

My dear R.

Send me back the inclosed, because I preserve all letters of business of this kind, & this is a curious one. You will see that we are to be cut down to suit the convenience of Ministry & to fit the palate of the Sicilian Ambassador. [1]  – As for that Sicilian I will put him in a fever with the Register one of these days. – I had always some fear of this, & ought perhaps to have avoided the inconvenience, – but I knew that what Gifford might fear to put in I should have no fear about, & could always find a place for elsewhere.

I send herewith another experiment upon Coleridge, – on my part a very short xxxx one, lest it should fail. Had he opened the last I wrote him, it might have reprieved from that unhappy Burnett, – at any rate would have prevented the disgrace & misery of his exit. [2] 

Huzza for the news! [3]  Send another army to Coruña, & the autumnal campaign would then be upon the Ebro.

I am deep in the politics of Servia, the Mouths of Cataro, Turkey & Greece. [4]  If you were but Minister & I your historiographer, we should make up a grand story for posterity.

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS/ 8. April 1811
MS: Huntington Library, RS 172. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Part of the continuing dispute between Southey and the Quarterly over his review of Pasley’s Essay. Sir Charles William Pasley (1780–1861; DNB) had questioned whether British conduct to Sicily had been unwise and had suggested Britain should have ‘taken possession of Sicily for ourselves’, Essay on the Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire (London, 1810), pp. 171, 163. Southey undoubtedly agreed with this, making the interventionist case in the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 99. In contrast, the published version of Southey’s review of Pasley’s Essay, which had been rewritten by Croker, in consultation with Gifford and Murray, dismissed Pasley’s ideas as ‘fraught with dangerous principles’ (Quarterly Review, 3 (May 1810) pp. 429–431). Fabrizio Ruffo, Prince of Castelcicala (1763–1832), was the Sicilian minister to the Court of St James 1802–1815. Southey’s attack on the Bourbon regime in Sicily had to wait until Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 422–437. BACK

[2] Burnett had died in Marylebone Infirmary in London in February 1811. Southey’s letter to Coleridge has not survived. BACK

[3] The British and Portuguese victory over the French at Sabugal on 3 April 1811. BACK

[4] See the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 446–469. BACK

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