2890. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 31 December 1816

2890. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 31 December 1816 ⁠* 

My dear R.

I have borrowed the last Edinburgh R. in consequence of your reference to it, – & with no amicable intention. [1]  – I have the infidel on the hip, & shall give him a cross– buttock. [2] 

P. 254 they say it has been successfully contended that Parliament has no controul over the money secured to the Crown out of the booty taken from France. [3]  to what extent is this true? The villainy with which it is stated is apparent enough, – but tell me the naked fact, & then when I know how much to admit, I will lay on the lash. – In the Review [4]  I am fettered, – but out of it – I shall speak plainly, & thereby give tenfold weight to the defence of established things, by freely condemning abuses. Among them I reckon the Droits. – What a silly paper this is in the Edinburgh!

Many New Years to you


31 Dec. 1816


* Address: To/ J Rickman Esqre.
Endorsement: 16 Decr. 18167.
MS: Huntington Library, RS 301. ALS; 2p.
Note on MS: the endorsement is misdated 16 December 1817. BACK

[1] Rickman had drawn Southey’s attention to the latest issue of the Edinburgh Review in his letter of 25 November 1816, Orlo Williams, Lamb’s Friend the Census Taker. Life and Letters of John Rickman (London, 1912), pp. 185–187. In particular, Rickman pointed out reviews of Francis Holt, The Law of Libel (1816), Edinburgh Review, 27 (September 1816), 102–144, and of Henry Schultes, Reflections on the Progressive Decline of the British Empire, and on the Necessity of Public Reform (1815), Edinburgh Review, 27 (September 1816), 245–263. BACK

[2] Terms for a hold and a throw in the sport of wrestling. BACK

[3] The Edinburgh Review article was factually correct in arguing that the monies received from the capture of shipping in enemy ports (known as ‘Droits of the Admiralty’) were, during the war, available to the Crown without Parliamentary control. BACK

[4] In the Quarterly Review Southey was subject to editorial restraint, but he was intending to write a book on the ‘State of the Nation’, in which he could express his views freely – this book was not written. BACK