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

2450. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 25 June [1814] ⁠* 

My dear R.

Is your Spanish information accurate in representing Ferdinand as having been at Seville? – I thought his schemes had been matured at Valencia, & that he had proceeded from thence to Madrid. [1]  – If you recollect in what manner the Cortes was chosen, you will see that it must fairly have represented the educated class of Spaniards: the Ja Jacobines were the minority in it, but the grievances were so manifest & so grievous that the most bigotted joined in many of their reforms, & they were able to raise a popular cry which enable them to effect others. Both parties I doubt not have been grievously wrong: but the Ferdinand party ought to be damned for imprisoning Quintana, [2]  – the author of all those Government addresses & proclamations which did so much in keeping up the spirit of the nation, & of which some were equal to any remains of antiquity.

As for my odes it will be well if they pay their own expences. [3]  If they did more I own my fingers itch to pay due respect upon the occasion to the Emperor of Elba [4]  & King Joseph. [5] 

RS.

Saturday 25 June.


Notes

* Address: To/ J Rickman Esqre.
Endorsement: RS/ 25: June 1814
MS: Huntington Library, RS 227
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey was correct. Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833), had hatched his plan to abolish the Constitution of 1812 during his stay in Valencia. BACK

[2] The Spanish poet and man of letters Manuel José Quintana (1772–1857). He had written patriotic odes and proclamations during the French occupation, but was imprisoned by the returning Ferdinand VII from 1814–1820. BACK

[3] Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (1814), which commemorated the visits of Alexander I (1777–1825; Emperor of Russia 1801–1825) and Frederick William III (1770–1840; King of Prussia 1797–1840). BACK

[4] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) had been exiled to Elba under the terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau (11 April 1814), he was given sovereignty over the island and permitted to retain the title Emperor. BACK

[5] Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844; King of Naples 1806–1808; King of Spain 1808–1813). BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013