1629. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 16 May  *
My dear Rickman
I had yesterday a visit from the Scotch Bookseller Ballantyne , who in consequence of something which I said in a letter to W Scott has formally proposed to me to undertake a Review of old Books – i.e of all except contemporary ones, – to come forth quarterly in crown number, the Editorship 100 £ a year, the writing ten guineas per sheet.  I believe I have christened it by the heathen name of Rhadamanthus. 
Such a volume would suit me better than any other lucre-of-gain work, inasmuch I should do exactly what pleased me, & having the power editorial in my own hands should be in no danger of mutilation, – xxxxx If it takes effect as I believe it will, can you create time to send some sound opinions into the world thro this medium? taking what text you will – There is Herodotus who wants to be read by you – save time by reading Littleburys translation  which is a solid one, – & have the original to refer to every notable passage. There is Homer upon whom you would throw more light than all the Commentators; – if you will examine him in your point of view, I will anatomize Popes version  – which I have long considered as the original sin of xxx our poetry. But above all, what I should most desire from you should be <is> something upon those political principles which are universal.
I shall go to Wm T. for some of his politics, – his oddities. To the Rose of Sharon for a Saga, & a Welsh bard, & when things are fairly arranged I will endeavour to persuade Lamb to put some money in his pocket by this easy way, for in no other manner can so much be got by authorship – unless a man had Scotts Goose, – who lays bigger eggs than ever. 
This Chapter 12 is for Hereford as before. 
I am xxxx writing in thunder lightning & in haste. – You will perceive that I have used Drake  & Cavendish  no better than the Capitaneus, & moreover that I have fallen foul of Ralegh,  – whom – sorry & I am to say – one of my supplementary notes proves to be a liar.
Remember me to Mrs R
yrs very truly
 Sir Walter Ralegh (1554–1618; DNB), courtier, explorer, and author, who aspired to increase British wealth through his voyages to the New World, and create a colonial empire on the north coast of South America. The note Southey refers to is in The History of Brazil (London, 1810), I, pp. 652–653. BACK