3169. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 20 July 1818]

3169. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 20 July 1818] ⁠* 

My dear R.

The inclosed will procure for me a Mss. concerning Brazil. [1] 

I have given Brougham a most tremendous dressing, both in his own person, & in his Edinburgh masquerade dress. [2]  The conclusion is yet to be written, – & this will be a comparative statement of my political opinions & of his, as to home politics, – after a most triumphant exposure of our difference during the war. There is also a gap in the middle, – intended to be filled with a clear statement of all the cases of calumny committed in Parliament by the said B: – documents in an Appendix. Think how comfortable a pain record for his perusal. He had better have taken the Devil by the horns, when there was neither Church, Cross nor Holy Water within forty miles of him, & he in a state of mortal sin to boot.

Tomorrow I go over to Wordsworth, where I shall get some facts, more powder & shot.

God bless you

RS. Samson Agonistes [3] 

Woe be to the Philistines!


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 20 JY 20/ 1818
Endorsement: RS/ 21 March 1818
MS: Huntington Library, RS 345. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, p. 188. BACK

[1] The enclosure has not survived. The manuscript was to assist with Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[2] Brougham had provoked Southey’s ire by, reportedly, attacking him at the hustings for the Westmorland election on 30 June 1818. Southey was dissuaded by Bedford and Rickman from publishing this retort to Brougham and the Edinburgh Review (to which Brougham contributed), which he modelled on his pamphlet A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M. P. (1817) and termed the ‘Tender Epistle’. The sections that were completed were published (without naming Brougham) as a ‘Postscript’ to the second edition of Carmen Triumphale (London, 1821), pp. 45–53. BACK

[3] John Milton (1608–1674; DNB), Samson Agonistes (1671), literally ‘Samson the Antagonist’. In Judges 13–16, Samson’s main enemy was the Philistines. BACK