1756. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 9 March 1810

1756. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 9 March 1810 ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

John May has just procured for me a book from Lisbon containing an authentic account of the conduct of the French in Portugal. [1]  I am in immediate want of it, & believe it to be not too bulky for a frank imperial. Therefore I have desired him to send it to you. If it be not convenient to procure a direction from the Locutor Maximus, [2]  – do you transfer it to your neighbour Bedford at the sign of the Checquers, & he will get it franked by Perceval.

I am a little vexed whenever you make my use of your privileges appear like an abuse of them, by imposing a tax upon yourself.

I have found leisure to read Middletons Life of Cicero, – a good book. [3]  The Signs of the Times are almost as bad now as they were then. Of late I have read so much history as to have produced the good effect of standing being self-corrected of much previous ignorance. x How impossible is it for any man to be a statesman who is not thoroughly versed in history! The best of those who have acquired the xxx xxx title in our times has been no better than a States-mannikin.

God bless you


March 9. 1810.


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: From/ RS./ 9 March 1810
MS: Huntington Library, RS 148. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Observador Portuguez, Historico e Politico de Lisboa (1809), no. 3556 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Southey reviewed the book in Quarterly Review, 4 (August 1810), 1–24. BACK

[2] Locutor Maximus, literally ‘The Greatest Speaker’, i.e. Rickman’s employer, Charles Abbot, The Speaker 1802–1817. BACK

[3] Conyers Middleton (1683–1750; DNB), whose Life of Cicero had first appeared in 1741. Southey owned an edition of 1757, no. 1874 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

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