3200. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 5 October 1818

3200. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 5 October 1818⁠* 

My dear R.

Wilberforce has been with me this morning, – to the utter astonishment of all in the house who have yet seen him: – such a straggling visitor, – he was longer a going – going – going – than a bad bales of goods at an auction, & even when he began to go, he brought to at the bookcase on the staircase, & again in the parlour, to the utter despair of his wife, [1]  who resigns herself with comical composure to all his comicalities. He will be here during the week, & I shall do my best to strengthen in him certain wholesome apprehensions which he feels concerning the state of the press.

Dauncey the Counsel is here also. I was very intimate with his wife (who has been dead many years) – indeed I was almost bred up with her. [2]  He is a thoroughly right-minded xxxx man.

I have at this time for a guest the only son of Hare Townsend, [3]  who was as you may remember a great ally of Burdett. I am glad to hear that this person is evidently much changed of late, & begins to see that under such mob leaders as Hone, Hunt [4]  & Co, estates would be as much in danger as thrones & churches.

I have two papers in the QR. Evelyns memoirs [5]  & the other which you recognized, & which is the worse for not being having been planned, – but it is what I intended wrote the greater part thinking that your communications might be inserted; [6] & hence there is a want of method about it, probably rather more than what there x always is in my meditations for Albermarle Street. [7] 

But I must dress to go dine at the island [8] 

God bless you


Oct 5. 1818.


* MS: Huntington Library, RS 355. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 99–100. BACK

[1] Barbara Wilberforce, née Spooner (1777–1847). BACK

[2] Philip Dauncey (1759–1819), barrister, mainly practising in the Court of Exchequer. He had been married to Marie Dolignon (1769–1805), the daughter of Elizabeth Dolignon, who was effectively Southey’s guardian when he was at Westminster School. BACK

[3] Henry Hare Townsend (1765–1827), wealthy landowner and radical. BACK

[4] Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt (1773–1835; DNB), radical politician. BACK

[5] Southey’s review of Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn (1818) appeared in Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 1–54. BACK

[6] Southey’s article ‘On the Means of Improving the People’ also appeared in Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 79–118. BACK

[7] The location of Murray’s publishing house. BACK

[8] Derwent Island, the summer home of the Peachys. BACK