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

2535. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 31 December [1814] ⁠* 

My dear R.

I have written some worthless rhymes for performance at court – the sin be upon those who made me write them. [1]  – I am glad of the peace with America, [2]  – as terminating a war in which we did not go the way to get the only things which could be got by it; honour & vengeance. – They say the Income Tax will be dropt; [3]  – it is a wicked tax – but what can be substituted for it? Better however any thing than this.

Something is likely to come out of the gasses at last, some experiments related in the Monthly Magazine for this month seem to show that they may furnish the best & easiest means of preserving meat. [4] 

Many & happy new years to you –

RS.

31 Decr.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS./ 31 Decr. 1814
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: FREE/ 3 JA 3/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 241
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s second attempt at a New Year’s ode for 1815, ‘The palm of peace is won’, which only exists in one draft version, dated ‘29 Dec. 1814’ in his notebook, now Huntington MS 2733, ff. 16v-17r. BACK

[2] The Treaty of Ghent, signed 24 December 1814, ended the War of 1812 between Britain and America. BACK

[3] The war-time income tax was finally abolished in 1816. BACK

[4] Monthly Magazine, 38 (December 1814), 460. BACK

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August 2013