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

2127. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 28 July 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. July 28. 1812

My dear R.

A note like yours ought not to have remained so long unanswered, but during a route of nearly 400 miles, the greater part performed on foot I found no time for writing. On my return letters were awaiting me which materially alter my prospects for the winter. It is considered essential to the interests of the Register, – almost indeed necessary to its farther continuance, – that it should be published in March, instead of July. In the main this depends upon me, – for if I can be ready with it, no other person excused can have any apology for being behind hand. I need not say that the success of this work is to x me a matter of great importance. So I postpone my London journey till the fourth years volume is finished, [1]  & shall not see you before the close of March. All things considered I am not very sorry for this now, & shall be glad of it then. I gird up my loins therefore without delay for this new journey undertaking.

I have been to the sources of the Tyne & the Tees upon Cross fell, – & down Teesdale, to Durham. Home thro Wensley Dale & by the Yorkshire Caves. We missed Davy by six hours at Rokeby, – the Trojan Morritts seat, [2]  – a beautiful place upon the Yorkshire Greta, where we were welcomed after the manner of the heroes of the old with the proper hospitality.

A third edition of Kehama [3]  is wanting, about 100 copies of the second being all that are left. My profits therefore will by the two editions will have been 260 £. If the tide continues to flow, my account in the Row [4]  will soon be squared, & then I shall receive annual returns, from a large capital of labour. – Better late than never – & this is as true in Catalonia as in my concerns at Keswick. I like the foreign prospect well. – In the North nothing but good can happen, for whether Buonaparte or Alexander [5]  be destroyed there can be nothing to regret, – except that either one of them should escape his fitting punishment. In Spain we have the game in our own hands if we only play it with common sense.

We are annoyed here by the failure of the Workington Bank, which supplied almost all the circulation of the place. [6]  I have 30 of its notes, & grumble at nothing so much as at the folly of government in suffering the people to be subject to such hazard of loss & continual inconvenience. It used to be considered one of the first xxxx duties of government to provide the country with a proper circulating medium. Why should not the Bank [7]  have its agent in every town, instead of the country banker?

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: Fr/ RS./ 28 July 1812
MS: Huntington Library, RS 190
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813). BACK

[2] John Bacon Sawrey Morritt (1771–1843; DNB), traveller, classical scholar and member of the Society of Dilettanti. He had gained the nickname ‘Troy’ for his endeavours to prove that the city had been a real place, not an invention of Homer. He owned the Rokeby estate, where he entertained a large circle, including Humphry Davy and Walter Scott. BACK

[3] The third edition of The Curse of Kehama appeared in 1812. BACK

[4] Southey’s account with Longman & Co. of Paternoster Row. BACK

[5] Alexander I (1777–1825; Emperor of Russia 1801–1825). Napoleon had invaded Russia on 24 June 1812. BACK

[6] The Workington Bank, along with other country banks, had failed earlier in 1812. It is estimated that its customers lost £105,000 in total. BACK

[7] The Bank of England. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013