1884. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 12 March 1811

1884. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 12 March 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. March 12. 1811.

My dear Rickman

Murray has sent me two proofs of the Review [1]  straight – telling me he did so to save time, & that he has sent them to you also. Now do not you suppose from this that the said Murray has received the slightest hint or intimation from me that you xxxx <are> a party concerned. I kept the first proof three days, – in case you should send me yours with any alteration. – In my own part saving correcting the manifold nonsense of the printer I have only expunged the first page, so that it now [MS torn] with the lines from Cowper. [2] 

I am not satisfied with what I have done. Pasley’s is too good a [MS torn] for reviewing. Your matter makes up however for the want of any thing [MS torn]nal in mine – & if we can but Paslefy the Review, – it is doing something towards inoculating the whole ministerial world with the right John-Bull virus.

Your Greek [3]  tells me the end of a dismal history. It shocked me the more because I could not but think it was quite as well for the world that he was out of it, – & better for himself. Poor fellow, [4]  in an evil hour did he become acquainted with me, & yet had he always listened to me he might at this day have been a happy & useful member of society. –––

Your parcel has arrived safely at Durham, – but they must receive a yet unwritten letter from hence before they know who to thank for it. My sister there has presented me with a niece a few days ago.

The Irish papers are not a little instructive. The Emancipators here have made the Catholicks perfectly frantic – & the Irish are such fools as <to> believe that Ld Grenville cares a fig about them, & to forget all the floggings & half-hangings which were sanctioned by the Cabinet in which he was a leading member. – Whenever he talks about goading the Irish to rebellion, he should be reminded of those measures & of his nephew Sir Watkins Lambs. [5] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS/ 12 March 1811/ Burnetksi/ Burnetski [1 illegible word]
MS: Huntington Library, RS 169. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Orlo Williams, Lamb’s Friend the Census-Taker. Life and Letters of John Rickman (Boston and New York, 1912), p. 156 [in part; undated]. BACK

[1] Sir Charles William Pasley (1780–1861; DNB), Essay on the Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire (1810). Southey’s review (which Rickman had assisted him with) was deemed by Gifford to be ‘perfectly incorrect and dangerous’ with the result that the version published in the Quarterly Review, 5 (May 1811), 403–457, was much altered by Croker, in consultation with Gifford and Murray; see Jonathan Cutmore, The Quarterly Review Archive. BACK

[2] The review of Pasley opened with the following quotation: ‘War is a game which, were their subjects wise,/ Kings should not play at’, Quarterly Review, 5 (May 1811), 403. The source is William Cowper (1731–1800; DNB), The Task (1785), Book 5, lines 187–188. BACK

[3] i.e. a section in Greek in Rickman’s most recent letter. BACK

[4] George Burnett, who had recently died in a workhouse infirmary. Rickman replied to Southey’s observations on 11 April 1811: ‘Of Burnet – I understand he died of a rapid decline, and in an hospital where he had due attention. I knew not why the thing was represented worse than this; and I can tell you, that the over-acted sorrow of C.[Coleridge] has been very mischievous’ (Orlo Williams, Lamb’s Friend the Census-Taker. Life and Letters of John Rickman (Boston and New York, 1912), p. 155). BACK

[5] The ironic nickname given to the Ancient British Fencibles, commanded by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn (1772–1840), for their brutality during the Irish uprisings in 1797–1798. They were disbanded in May 1800. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)