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

2265. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 26 May [1813] ⁠* 

My dear R.

Peradventure I may see you in about four weeks. – The impediment to my appearance at Streatham is removed, & circumstances are likely to lead me there. I cease to labour on the Register [1]  after {with} this fourth volume, & am therefore in a situation similar to that of Mr Vanisttart with the leather tax. [2]  There is however little danger of my being puzzled in finding ways & means. – My first thought is to turn to account ready materials & a good capital of knowledge, by recasting the Spanish portion of the Register, & so cas & making in proper form & with all necessary documents, a proper history of the war in the peninsula. [3]  – I prophesy that the Historiographer [4]  has the same intent, – & doubt whether his office will not enable him to weigh me down with the booksellers.

What news of Mrs R & the expected?

RS.

May 26.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS./ 26 May/ 1813
MS: Huntington Library, RS 207
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813), was the last edition written by Southey. BACK

[2] Nicolas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley (1766–1851; DNB), Chancellor of the Exchequer, narrowly defeated an attempt to repeal the leather tax by 125–120 in a House of Commons vote on 20 May 1813. He could therefore hope he was done with the matter, as Southey was with the Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[3] Southey’s three-volume History of the Peninsular War was published between 1823–1832. BACK

[4] James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB) who in 1812 had been appointed Historiographer Royal, a post Southey had coveted and campaigned for. Southey’s prophecy was wrong. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013