914. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 18 March 1804]

914. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 18 March 1804] ⁠* 

Dear Rickman

I will beg you to drop the inclosed into the box of Penelope Trotters [1]  successor. it is thus inclosed because it is merely a letter of business on my own concern – or rather on my vagabond brother Edwards. Instructions have reached me from Lisbon to ship him again. he is I find living at board & lodging in Herefordshire under the eye of a friend of my Uncles & not as I imagined with his Aunt – so that the breach seems effectual – which is at least one good thing. John May has interest with Captain Markham, [2]  & that seems a good channel to get him an appointment.

Thank you for the Franciscus Maximus – for certainly I was neither Minorite nor Minim. [3]  I have no time now to acknowledge it in any other way. The books may well remain till I can pack them – for my hands are full – & moreover I have a cargo at Liverpool & on their way from thence.




* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS./ Mar. 18th: 1804 –
MS: Huntington Library, RS 53. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating from endorsement. BACK

[1] A joky reference to Rickman’s servant, who is to deliver the enclosed letter by hand, alluding to the servant, Penelope Trotter, in George Dyer’s ‘A Monody on the Death of Penelope Trotter’, Poems and Critical Essays, 2 vols (London, 1802), II, pp. 229–235. BACK

[2] John Markham (1761–1827; DNB): naval officer who was a member of the Board of Admiralty (1801–1804 and 1806–1807) and MP for Portsmouth (1801–1818 and 1820–1826). BACK

[3] By ‘Franciscus Maximus’ Southey means ‘The Great Frank’. His pun is on Saint Francis of Assisi (Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182–1226) and his world-renouncing followers (known as Minorites), but refers to Rickman’s use of the privileges of the Speaker of the House of Commons, in whose office he worked, to frank letters on Southey’s behalf. BACK

People mentioned

Tyler, Elizabeth (1739–1821) (mentioned 1 time)
May, John (1775–1856) (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Edward (1788–1847) (mentioned 1 time)