1756. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 9 March 1810 *
My dear Rickman
John May has just procured for me a book from Lisbon containing an authentic account of the conduct of the French in Portugal.  I am in immediate want of it, & believe it to be not too bulky for a frank imperial. Therefore I have desired him to send it to you. If it be not convenient to procure a direction from the Locutor Maximus,  – do you transfer it to your neighbour Bedford at the sign of the Checquers, & he will get it franked by Perceval.
I am a little vexed whenever you make my use of your privileges appear like an abuse of them, by imposing a tax upon yourself.
I have found leisure to read Middletons Life of Cicero, – a good book.  The Signs of the Times are almost as bad now as they were then. Of late I have read so much history as to have produced the good effect of standing being self-corrected of much previous ignorance. x How impossible is it for any man to be a statesman who is not thoroughly versed in history! The best of those who have acquired the xxx xxx title in our times has been no better than a States-mannikin.
God bless you
March 9. 1810.