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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2117. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 27 June 1812]⁠* 

My dear R.

My yearly task was finished ten days ago, concluding dully enough with Regency debates; [1]  – but on the whole it is a respectable volume, rich in the attack against Bankes [2]  &c, – & with some good Spanish Chapters. I am now doggedly & against the grain toiling at an article for the Q. after which I start for a fortnights run into the bishoprick, as Durham is calld by the Durhamites, – a convenient distinction, where the name of the town & the county happens inconveniently to be the same.

You are going on at St Stephens [3]  worse that I feared, – the only comfort is that as the present men have no longer any one principle, or settled system of conduct, one cares not how soon they may be kicked out, nor by whom. [4] 

Ld Wellington I suppose means to threaten Madrid, & Soult [5]  must either evacuate Andalusia or consent to see Joseph [6]  driven to the Ebro. How easy would it be by a great effort, commensurate with the importance of the object to destroy the French in Spain while Buonaparte is in the North! But it is sickening to think of the opportunities that are thrown away upon us.

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS./ July 1812’ and ‘Circa./ 1: July 1812
MS: Huntington Library, RS 191
Unpublished.
Dating note: This letter was written ten days after 17 June, when Southey completed his work on the Edinburgh Annual Register; see Southey to Thomas Southey, 17[–19] June 1812, Letter 2116. BACK

[1] The parliamentary debates that led to establishment of the Regency in January 1811; see Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.1 (1812), 532–575. BACK

[2] Henry Bankes (1757–1834; DNB), MP for Corfe Castle 1780–1826. His campaign against sinecures and selling the reversion to offices was attacked in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.1 (1812), 207–218. Spain was dealt with in ibid., 353–508. BACK

[3] St Stephen’s Chapel, in the Palace of Westminster, was the meeting-place of the House of Commons. BACK

[4] The Cabinet formed in May-June 1812 took a ‘neutral’ attitude to Catholic Emancipation. BACK

[5] Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia (1769–1851), overall commander of the French forces in Spain and Portugal. BACK

[6] Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844), who had been installed as King of Spain and the Indies by his brother Napoleon in 1808. He abdicated in 1813, returned to France and in 1817 went to America. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013