3208. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 11 November 1818*
My dear R.
I inclose you a billet-doux which has reached me by this days post. The spelling marks the rank of the writer, & the hand-writing indicates that he cannot be a young man. It is one symptom of the times, & as my faith in the conservative principle is strong, I wish I had nothing to disturb me more than such symptoms.  My youngest child has a smart attack of fever, – & we are just now in hope that it has taken a favourable turn. These things shake me to the very root.
The billet-doux contains a good proof of the effect of the rascally newspapers. Wilberforce says the newspapers are the great curse of the country, but thought it impossible to xxxx prevent the evil. For my part I often think of a verse in Lord Brookes poems – “Impossible, is but the faith of fear.” 
Give the billet-doux to Bedford when you see him, as worthy a place among his curiosities
This has been a long weary day; – anxieties alon of this kind quite render me incapable of composition. Happily I am proof against all others & could walk upright however heavy the load of cares business & of cares upon my back.
God bless you
11 Nov. 1818.