1595. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 8 March 1809]

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1595. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [c. 8 March 1809] ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

The inclosed bears its direction, – it is six hours worth of civility for my Uncles wife. [1] 

I have not often seen a worse Reviewal than that of the Cid in the Quarterly. [2] Scott has forgotten the antiquity of the book, & criticised it as if it were not history but romance, – for he complains that there is no love in it, – he might as well look for love in the London Gazette.

My defence of the Baptist Mission is much mutilated. [3]  The omissions of most consequence are a well passage implying the writers disbelief of the Trinity & Incarnation. – & another in which the effect of the doctrine of everlasting damnation was shown upon some of the converts, – the how such a doctrine was necessary to make missionaries, & how tho it would sometimes assist, it would more frequently impair them.

Sharons article [4]  is as good a one as a man can write upon a language which he does not understand, – & it must be remembered that all who do understand <it> talk nonsense about it.



* Endorsement: Circa Mar-1809
MS: Huntington Library, RS 139ALS; 2p.
Dating note: dating from pencil endorsement possibly not in JR’s hand BACK

[1] Southey had previously enquired whether Catherine Hill was interested in poetry (see Southey to Herbert Hill, 31 December 1808, Letter 1560), and had copied out for her three of his ‘Metrical Tales’ (see Southey to the Herbert Hill, 8 March 1809, Letter 1596). BACK

[2] Southey’s The Chronicle of the Cid (1808) was reviewed by Walter Scott in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 117–134. BACK

[3] Southey reviewed the Periodical Accounts Relative to the Baptist Missionary Society (published from 1794); [John Scott-Waring (1747–1819; DNB)], Vindication of the Hindoos from the Aspersions of the Reverend Claudius Buchanan, M.A. With a Refutation of the Arguments Exhibited in his Memoir, on the Expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India, and the Ultimate Civilization of the Natives, by their Conversion to Christianity… By a Bengal Officer (1808); Thomas Twining (1776–1861; DNB), A Letter to the Chairman of the East India Company, on the Danger of Interfering in the Religious Opinions of the Natives of India; and on the Views of the British and Foreign Bible Society, as Directed to India (1807), in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 193–226. BACK

[4] Sharon Turner [with John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth (1751–1834; DNB)] reviewed Charles Wilkins (bap. 1749–1836; DNB), A Grammar of the Sanskrîta Language (1808); William Carey (1761–1834; DNB), A Grammar of the Sungskrit Language, Composed from the Works of the Most Esteemed Grammarians; to Which are Added Examples for the Exercise of the Student, and a Complete List of the Dhatoos or Roots (1804); and Henry Thomas Colebrooke (1765–1837), Grammar of the Sanskrit Language (1805), in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 53–69. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013

People mentioned

Hill, Catherine (1775–1848) (mentioned 1 time)
Scott, Walter (1771–1832) (mentioned 1 time)
Turner, Sharon (1768–1847) (mentioned 1 time)