2589. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 April 1815

2589. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 April 1815 ⁠* 

My dear R.

A man has taken out a patent for making carriages run upon legs instead of wheels, which is to save friction & jolting. [1]  This is Monthly Magazine news. There is another man who wants to have sheep-folds, inclosures, houses & towns made in hexagons for the future, [2]  & a third projector (who is no less a personage than Sir Richard Phillips himself under his signature of Common Sense,) wants to have private intelligence conveyed by telegraphs, to those who chuse to pay for it. [3]  – Dr Holland [4]  advances a theory that earthquakes & hot-winds are occasioned electrical effects. If it were so, well-water would never foreshow earthquakes, nor x & siroccos would not come <always> from the same quarter. [5] 

Whence all this caution & timidity in the Cabinet? Does Ld Liverpool think it possible to remain at peace, – & if he does not why so afraid to speak out, when policy requires that England should threaten as well as strike? I wish M Wellesley were minister, & I wish Canning had not gone abroad. He is wanted at home, but he will return with diminished reputation.

Bedford is gone to Brussels with Herries, whose journey thither is of bellicose augury. – I am glad Murat is with Buonaparte, [6]  the rogues should be all on one side, & then we x may have a general jail delivery.


21 April 1815.


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS./ 21 April 1815
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 24 AP 24/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 248. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 404–405. BACK

[1] The patent had been taken out by Lewis Gompertz (1779–1865; DNB), animal rights activist, of Kennington, Oval, see Monthly Magazine, 39 (April 1815), 243–244. BACK

[2] Monthly Magazine, 39 (April 1815), 200. The proposal came from Charles Lucas (1769 -1854; DNB), curate of Avebury 1791–1816 and miscellaneous writer. BACK

[3] Monthly Magazine, 39 (April 1815), 201–205. BACK

[4] Henry Holland (1788–1873; DNB), physician and author of Travels in the Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia, &c. During the Years 1812 and 1813 (London, 1815), p. 49. BACK

[5] Henry Holland (1778–1873; DNB), physician and author of Travels in the Ionian Islands, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia etc during 1812 and 1813 (London, 1815), pp. 20–21, 47–50. BACK

[6] Joachim Murat (1767–1815), Marshal of France, King of Naples 1808–1815, and Bonaparte’s brother-in-law. BACK