2570. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 13 March 1815

2570. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 13 March 1815 ⁠* 

13 March. 1815.

My dear R.

I trouble you with a consignment for the Twopenny. [1] 

You are in the midst of troubles which might have been foreseen. Was there ever such a blunder as to quarrel with the people about Bread! You will a Luddite war carried on against Granaries & standing corn, – which are as destructible as stocking frames. [2] 

I wonder B. [3]  did not land at Genoa & make for Milan where his chance is good, & his cause a fair one. My belief is that he will soon be knocked on the head as he deserves. There is however more spirit in this attempt than he has ever before displayed. The best thing would be for enough soldiers to join him to make the x struggle last some time, think of Soult [4]  versus Suchet [5]  – Frenchmen fighting Frenchmen, – & each party putting all prisoners to death tr as traitors. There is really a hope that some of these Dukes & Marshals may come to their proper end, – & better than all, Paris is not safe from a burning!

The Government will never be out of danger till tr banishment is made the sentence for sedition & seditious libels. But God help us what a set of rulers! There is Vanisttart [6]  xxxx cannot say Bo to a Goose, & he is placed in a situation where he is ex officio  [7]  to be pecked at by Ganders!

God bless you



* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS/ 13 Mar 1815
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 16 MR 16/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 245. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. the twopenny post. BACK

[2] The Government had introduced its proposal for a sliding scale of duties on imported corn on 1 March 1815. The Bill passed on 23 March 1815, despite much urban opposition. The Luddites smashed new machinery that threatened employment in the textile trades. BACK

[3] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), who had escaped from Elba on 26 February 1815. He landed at Golfe-Jean, on the Côte d’Azur and made for Paris. Southey felt Napoleon’s cause in Italy might be ‘a fair one’, because Southey supported the idea of a united Italy. BACK

[4] Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia (1769–1851). He supported Napoleon in 1815. BACK

[5] Louis Gabriel Suchet, 1st Duc d’Albufera (1770–1826). He also supported Napoleon in 1815. BACK

[6] Nicolas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley (1766–1851; DNB), Chancellor of the Exchequer 1812–1822. BACK

[7] ‘by right of office’. BACK