2783. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 7 May [1816]

2783. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 7 May [1816] ⁠* 

My dear R.

One of the inclosed is for a Portugueze Journal containing an account of M. Beauchamps plagiarism of my Hist of Brazil. [1] Koster perhaps has taken more trouble in drawing it up than was necessary, – I shall say a sentence or two about it myself in the advertisement to the forthcoming volume.

I trouble you often with inclosures – – & am asked as coolly by the females of this family to frank a letter as if my name were potential at the Post Office.

It is an unwise oeconomy (I shall soon class that word with candour, liberality philanthropy, & the other abominables abominanda of the age) – to deprive our Consuls of their salary, & make them wholly dependant upon the trade. [2]  The very reverse of this poli is wanted, – we want able & respectable men to fill the situation, – & during the war the want of such men was continually felt, e.g. in the Levant. But the system is to be penny-wise with the mob, & pound-foolish with the powers above!


7 May


* Address: John Rickman Esqre// St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 10 MY 10/ 1816
Seal: black wax, with ‘S’, ‘In Labore Quies’ motto below
Endorsement: 7 May 1816
MS: Huntington Library, RS 282. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had enclosed a notice for a journal, drawn up in Portuguese, by Henry Koster, highlighting the plagiarism of his History of Brazil by Alphonse de Beauchamp (1767–1832), in his Histoire du Brésil (1815). Southey accused Beauchamp of plagiarism in the preface to the second volume of his History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), II, pp. vi–viii. BACK

[2] Consuls were at this time representatives of governments in foreign cities who dealt mainly with trade issues (though they were accumulating other functions). British consuls were entitled to a fee from all British merchants and shippers using the city where they were based, but some consuls in more important locations (like Lisbon) also received a salary. BACK

People mentioned

Koster, Henry (1793–1820) (mentioned 1 time)