1410. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [3 January 1808]

1410. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [3 January 1808] ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

I send you the inclosed, supposing that you know where to direct it, which I do not.

I am shall get to press with the first vol of Brazil almost immediately on my return; [1]  – the French books wanting shall be had, if they are to be found in England or in France; – for after searching the public libraries I will go to all the private ones to which access can be procured. I shall also be able to send the Portugueze History to press nearly at the same time – if I can find two or three Spanish Chronicles which are wanting, & which may probably be found either at Lord Hollands or Lord Butes. [2] 

Longman will find Mort Arthur [3]  in the same size as Amadis, [4]  & [MS torn] well pleased to have prints of costume; – if we can devise the means of having them xxxxxx designed to our liking. I do not think a whole volume of introductory matter will be too much, – allowing about a third of it for critical bibliology. There is the question to examine how far the books of chivalry grew out of the manners of the age, & how far those manners were produced by them. Few persons have so great a mass of xxxx knowledge at command to bear upon this enquiry as I have. – They will be twelvemonths printing the romance & in that time there will be hours of inclination enough to produce these historicalx dissertations.

This removal of the Portugueze court [5]  is the best possible event for Brazil & for England, – not to mention my history. It was effected in the only way in which any person who knew the Prince could suppose it possible, – from fear not from firmness, – he embarked in the night & ran away, – instead of taking with him all the who wished to go, & leaving a capital to the French stript of its treasure & its best population. But the nobles who followed him & abandoned their property deserve great praise.

Remembrances to Mrs R

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr.
Endorsement: RS./ 3 Janry 1808.
MS: Huntington Library, RS 124. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: dating from JR’s endorsement BACK

[1] The first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil was published in 1810. BACK

[2] John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute (1744–1814; DNB), son of the 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–1792, Prime Minister 1762–1763; DNB) a literary patron, whose library the Marquess inherited. BACK

[3] Southey’s planned edition of Morte d’Arthur appeared as The Byrth, Lyf and Acts of King Arthur (1817). BACK

[4] Southey’s translation of the Spanish romance Amadis of Gaul (1803). BACK

[5] On 29 November 1807, the British navy had aided the Portuguese Prince Regent and the Queen, his mother, in escaping Napoleon’s invasion of their country by escorting them across the Atlantic to Brazil. BACK

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