2772. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 26 April 1816

2772. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 26 April 1816 ⁠* 

My dear R.

I inclose proof of occupation. [1]  – In the last four days I have written more than a sheet of the Q Review, [2]  & made ready three sheets of the Hist. of Brazil, [3]  – besides some other things. – It is impossible to comprize this history in two volumes, – unless I had given the mere caput mortuum [4]  of results, & abstaind from all detail. But I shall hasten on, get the second out in ten or twelve weeks from this time, & proceed with the third instanter, so as not to let the press stand. [5]  This current chapter is a curious one, – the first strong contest in which the Jesuits were engaged in S America. [6] 

I am gaining strength, – & we are in all respects as well as possible under so sore an affliction. It is impossible that any parent could have been blest with a child more entirely in all things after his own heart, – you may judge therefore of the extent of my loss. Were I not assured that these privations are only for a time I could not support it: in that assurance I look back without regret & forward without repining; – rather indeed with thankfulness & with hope.

Remember me to Mrs R. Remember also that we look for you when your holy days arrive

God bless you


26 April. 1816


* Address: John Rickman Esqre// St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 29 AP 29/ 1816
Seal: black wax, with ‘S’, ‘In Labore Quies’ motto below
Endorsement: 26 April 1816
MS: Huntington Library, RS 278. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey response to the shock and grief caused by the death of his only son Herbert, on 17 April 1816, was to dedicate himself even more fervently to his writing. BACK

[2] Gifford made room for Southey in the next issue of the Quarterly Review, 15 (April 1816), 1–69, where he published Southey’s review of a series of memoirs of the French Revolutionary wars, including the royalist rising in La Vendée, 1793–1796. BACK

[3] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[4] Literally, ‘Dead head’, the name given to the useless residue of an experiment in alchemy. BACK

[5] The second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil appeared in 1817; the third and final volume was published in 1819. BACK

[6] History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, Chapter 25 (pp. 381–448) dealt with conflicts in Paraguay between the State, Church authorities and the Jesuits in the 1640s. BACK

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