3380. Robert Southey to John Rickman, Guy Faux Day [5 November] 1819

3380. Robert Southey to John Rickman, Guy Faux Day [5 November] 1819 ⁠* 

Sir M M W Ridley seems to declare off from the Whigs – Perhaps the Keelmen have converted him. [1] 

My dear R.

Authorship makes a man acquainted with strange correspondents. – Here is a letter to one of the New-Methodist Preachers, [2]  – alias Kilhamites, [3]  – in reply to an offer of information & a present of certain pamphletts.

– When opportunity offers remember the East Indian Vocabulary, [4]  – & Sir J Hippesley Cox’s Catholic – Parl – Proc: [5] 

I have a proper fear of law, & shall let Turner guide me in my proceedings. [6]  It will be no disappointment if he advises me to forego my claims; – & certainly I should far rather refer them to arbitration than to Chancery.

God bless you


Guy Faux Day. 1819


* Endorsement: Nov. 5. – 19
MS: Huntington Library, RS 377. ALS; 1p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Sir Matthew White Ridley, 3rd Baronet (1778–1836), Whig MP for Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1813–1836. Ridley had extensive business interests in north east England, especially in the coal industry. Southey suggests his commitment to Whiggism had been shaken by a major strike by the keelmen (27 September–20 October and 4–9 November 1819), who transferred coal from the banks of the Tyne and the Wear to larger ships. While Ridley was scarcely likely to have sympathised with the keelmen, he remained a committed Whig. Southey’s information may refer to Ridley’s caution about the prospects for a County Meeting in Northumberland to protest at the local authorities’ actions in breaking up the meeting at St Peter’s Field, Manchester on 16 August 1819, which led to at least eleven deaths. BACK

[2] Unidentified. BACK

[3] Followers of Alexander Kilham (1762–1798; DNB), usually known as the New Connexion, which had broken away from the mainstream of Methodism in 1797, particularly over issues of church government. BACK

[4] Possibly A Compendious Vocabulary, English and Persian (1780), printed for the East India Company and much republished. BACK

[5] John Coxe Hippisley (c. 1747–1825), MP for Sudbury 1790–1796, 1802–1818, had broken with his Whig allies after 1813 over his doubts on Catholic Emancipation. He spoke often on Catholic issues 1813–1817, usually requesting a Select Committee to investigate issues such as Catholic marriages, or nunneries. Southey here asks for copies of Hippisley’s speeches in the House of Commons, as recorded in the official Report of Parliamentary Proceedings, usually known as Hansard, after its publisher, Luke Hansard (1752–1828; DNB). BACK

[6] John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765–1819; DNB), agricultural reformer and third cousin of Southey, had died on 5 October 1819. This produced a further round of legal tangles over the Fitzhead estate in Somerset that Somerville had inherited and on which Southey possibly possessed a claim. BACK

People mentioned

Turner, Sharon (1768–1847) (mentioned 1 time)