2229. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 5 March 1813

2229. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 5 March 1813 ⁠* 

March 5. 1813.

My dear R.

My packet is composed of two notes from the Ladies of the family [1]  – for the Twopenny; – One of my own with the same destination, containing a draft in payment of my Life-insurance. – & an Exchequerite with pension receipts. [2] 

Things seem to be going on as ill here at home as the Devil could desire. You might indeed in the Committee set the Concessors to make up their minds upon the securities, & thus convince them themselves how impossible it is that they & their the ram Paddies rampant should ever agree upon them. But the Wellesleys & C.  [3]  want to come in, & Lord C. [4]  wants to stay in, & they will have so many foolish men to follow them, & so many mischievous ones to lend a hand at any thing that can make tend to shake the old fabric, – that, unopposed as they are now by any man of influence, they will have carry it all their own way. [5]  This is not the only sign that Jupiter [6]  gives of his determination to destroy us.

I suppose it is true that Brougham is the Princess’s adviser. I suspected him from the moment I read the first letter. [7] 

From such things & such people it is really a comfort to pass to the Tupinambas & Tapuyas. I have been refreshing myself in Brazil. [8]  This is one of those things in which ‘increase of appetite doth grow – by what it feeds on”. [9]  In six weeks after my return from the South I mean to send the concluding volume to the press.

We are going on well. I & my son & my two eldest daughters [10]  are all mounted in Cumberland clogs, & bid defiance to all dirt when we clatter away thro the streets in them. They have not the inconvenience which you would expect from their unbendableness, & I find them so comfortable that I am grieved to think I should have lived ten years in the country without before I adopted the wisest of its fashions.

Remember me to Mrs R. Little Anne [11]  I no doubt has forgotten me. The first week in May I hope to set off for for town.



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: Fr./ RS./ 5 Mar. 1813
MS: Huntington Library, RS 200. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[2] Southey had received a government pension since 1807. BACK

[3] Canning did not join the government until 1816. BACK

[4] Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh (1769–1822; DNB), Foreign Secretary 1812–1822. BACK

[5] Southey was deeply worried that Canning and Wellesley, who both favoured Catholic Emancipation, might join the Cabinet, which was officially ‘neutral’ on the issue (Castlereagh was also in favour). This was a crucial time as the Catholic Relief Bill, which gave the government a veto over the appointment of Catholic bishops, in return for full Catholic rights, had passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons and was being considered in committee. BACK

[6] Roman king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder. ‘Whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first makes mad’ was a popular maxim. BACK

[7] On 14 January 1813, Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1768–1821; DNB), the estranged wife of the Prince Regent, had written to her husband protesting about the restrictions placed on her access to their daughter, Princess Charlotte. In early March a second letter on the same subject was sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons. As it was unsigned its authorship was initially questioned, though it was later attributed to Caroline. After debate, parliament agreed that it was the Regent’s right as a father and ruler to be in charge of his daughter’s education; see Gentleman’s Magazine, 83 (April 1813), 361, 363–364, 373–376. The letter was widely, and correctly, attributed to Brougham, the Princess’s legal adviser; see, for example, the Courier, whose report of 18 February 1813, strongly implied Brougham’s authorship. BACK

[8] The second volume of Southey’s History of Brazil, published in 1817. BACK

[9] Hamlet, Act 1, scene 2, lines 348–349. BACK

[11] Ann Rickman (b. 1808). BACK