2586. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 11 April 1815 *
My dear R.
I fear the Devil of cowardice has got into our Cabinet – God grant the ague fit do not prove catching. Vigorous measures might conquer France in the course of six months, – but if six months be lost he must be a bolder prophet than I am who would venture to say when or how the struggle will terminate. Buonaparte is come back because his soldiers cannot & will not live without war, & accordingly he begins by promising them their fill of it. But he finds that the people, passive as they are, want peace, & that he is not ready to meet the allies upon this present footing – therefore he now talks about peace, & at the same time endeavours to curry favour with the old Jacobines, & take his stand upon the old ground of the Revolution.  –– With all my heart I wish M. Wellesley were Minister. As for Giant Despair  he knows that war ought not to be avoided if it could, & could not if it ought: & he believes that it cannot be carried on more than two years without a national bankruptcy. These are the Grenville politics!
I shall now compleat & publish my series of Inscriptions recording the acts of the Army in the Peninsula, – fit work for the P. L. but of very difficult execution. I have written ten, – about a third of the number. 
God bless you
11 April 1815.
* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre/ St Stephens
Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Endorsement: RS/ 11 April 1815
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 14 AP 14/ 1815
MS: Huntington Library, RS 247. ALS; 2p.
 During the ‘Hundred Days’ Napoleon gave France a Constitution, with a Chamber of Peers, elected Chamber of Representatives and a guarantee of freedom of the Press. This ‘Acte Additionel’ to the original Bonapartist regime was approved by a plebiscite. He also definitely and finally abolished the French slave trade. BACK
 A character in John Bunyan (1628–1688; DNB), Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). Southey seems to be applying the term to William Grenville for his gloomy counsels about the forthcoming war against Napoleon. BACK