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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt

130. Thomas Clio Rickman to Robert Bloomfield, 30 May 1804* 

Dear Sir

Ignatius Sancho [1]  not only wrote very good letters, but also gave me good direction about sealing them—leave a space free from writing for the wafer or wax—now by your not doing this I have lost a word of yours—a thing I am sorry to do—it is always to be regretted that any sun has spots in it but they are better borne in the sun than less luminous bodies—& Mr Paine's vanity as an author—of vanity & its various branches we'll talk when we meet—of men I know him to be the humblest—best—simplest that he is most acute and perspicuous, all the world knows—I had no intention my dear sir to induce you to promulgate anything—I only simply thought as I advertized not the work it might be desirable among a few friends—as to difference of opinions, it matters not a straw—all that is necessary is for every man to be a Gentleman and every woman a Gentlewoman—query—If I am confoundedly violent who never use violence in private or public—what are the Demagogues—the Consuls the Princes;—the Priests & Rulers of this world—Further, I can truly say to you I am obliged to you for your frankness I am yours to the Clouds—


May 30 1804

My boy shall call for the Poem at your house & I will sell them as fast as I can

P.S. of Vanity—Rochfoucault has some good says [2] —in this methink you our own Vanity makes us think that of others intolerable this I know that he is not always, the most who most seems—

You are deservedly a popular pastoral Poet but I mean to be of the mind that lucky circumstances and not your real merit as a Poet which is very great brought about your popularity & success—'There is a tide in the affairs of men' [3]  which brings about what no merit would—but which merit does after set and foment

God bless you & your house for myself I rejoice in your profanity

* University of Virginia Library, MS 11974 boxed w/11847; BL MS RP 4250 BACK

[1] Ignatius Sancho (c. 1729-80): born on a slave ship, died in London. Sancho was a shopkeeper, a composer, an actor, and one of the first black Britons to become a writer. The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (1782), is one of the earliest accounts of African slavery in English that was written by a former slave. BACK

[2] E.g. 'Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay', 'When not prompted by vanity, we say little'. François de la Rochefoucauld, Reflexions ou sentences et maximes morales (1665). BACK

[3] Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act 4, scene 3. BACK

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Published @ RC

September 2009