1023. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [20 January 1805]

1023. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [20 January 1805] ⁠* 

Dear Rickman

I have desired Bedford to call upon you about this expedition to Portugal – for this reason. [1]  He has made it known to General Moore that I want to go, [2]  & tells me that it is expedient I should ask for something specific. now about these things I am not so well informed as you will be, – as far as I am it appears that the office of Inspector of Accounts would suit me best – what I beg of you is to say whether among the xxxxxx civil appointments annexed to such an established there be any one less unsuitable xxxx to one who like myself has no great call to any other business than my <his> own. – If I can live at Lisbon at the King’s expence, & be paid into the bargain for living there, there would be a clear demonstration of the fitness of things so far as they related to me. if after all we are not about to send troops there – there is an end of the matter. but seeing the positive assertions in the paper it was my business to look out in time, Bedford was one channel – & not a bad one, – by means of my Uncle also I shall make application in other quarters.

Longman will send you my republication from the Anthology. [3]  – I have a notion that the fictions of Romania which are said to have come to us from the Moors (which is impossible) came from the Jews. Rabbinical tales, & stories which they, being universal travellers picked up in the East.

farewell in haste –


Sunday night


* Endorsement: 20 Janry 1805
MS: Huntington Library, RS 67. ALS; 1p.
Dating note: The dating is from Rickman’s endorsement. Southey dates the letter ‘Sunday night’, and 20 January 1805 was a Sunday. BACK

[1] See Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 January 1805, Letter 1022. BACK

[2] Sir John Moore (1761–1809; DNB), Scottish General with a long and varied military career. He was also MP for Lanark Burghs 1784–1790. After the controversial Convention of Cintra (1808), Moore was given the command of the British troops in the Iberian peninsula. He was fatally wounded at the Battle of Corunna. In December 1804 he was sent to review the practicability of defending Portugal from a French invasion. His favourable report was widely leaked to the press, e.g. Aberdeen Journal, 9 January 1805. BACK

[3] Southey’s contributions to the Annual Anthology (1799–1800) were republished under his own name in Metrical Tales and other Poems (1805). BACK

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