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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 23 December 1806

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Dec. 23. 1806.
My dear Rickman,

I am left alone to my winter occupations, and truly they are quite sufficient to employ me. Two months, however, if no unlucky interruption prevent, will be sufficient to clear all off, and send Espriella and Palmerin into the world. I have an additional and weighty motive for despatch. The times being South American mad, my account of Brazil, instead

* Artaxerxes, surnamed Longimanus—Longman.

of being the last work in the series, must be the first. There are in the book-case down stairs at your house sixteen bundles of sealed papers. Those papers contain more information respecting South America than his Majesty’s agents have been able to obtain at Lisbon; more, in all probability, than any other person in Europe possesses except one Frenchman, now returned to Paris: he has seen them, and is very likely to get the start of me unless, which is not improbable,
Bonaparte choose to withhold from the world information which would be of specific use to England.

“Concerning these papers, of whose contents I was till last week ignorant, my uncle has written to me, urging me to make all possible speed with this part of the book, and desiring me to offer the information to Government. I enclosed the letter to Wynn, and it may be he will advise me to come up to London upon this business. I hope not. I should rather wash my hands of all other business first, and then can certainly, in half a year, accomplish a large volume, for on this subject there is no collateral information to hunt for. A very few books contain all the printed history, and there will be more difficulty in planning the work than in executing it. There will be business of some consequence in the way of map-making, which will delight Arrowsmith. My uncle has very valuable materials for a map of Brazil.

“This is of so much consequence that it will perhaps be advisable to let the Palmerin sleep, and so have a month’s time. . . . . Wynn’s letter will instruct
me whether to set to work for myself or for the Government; giving them information is, God knows, throwing pearls you know to whom, but, so the pearls be paid for, well. The best thing they could do for me and for them, if they really want information about South America, is to send me to Lisbon for that specific purpose, without any ostensible charge.

“There is nothing in the world like resolute, straightforward honesty; it is sure to conquer in the long run. I have been reading Quaker history, which is worth reading because it proves this, and proves also that institutions can completely new model our nature; for, if the instinct of self-defence be subdued, nothing else is so powerful.

Fox’s death is a loss to me, who had a promise from him, but I will not affect to think it a loss to the country: he lived a year too long. England cannot fall yet, blessed be God! because its inhabitants are Englishmen; but, if any thing could destroy a country, it would be the incurable folly of such governors.

“Have you seen the Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson? If not, by all means read it: it is the history of a right Englishman; and the sketch of English history which it contains from the time of the Reformation is so admirable, that it ought to make even Scotchmen ashamed to mention the name of Hume. I have seldom been so deeply interested by any book as this. . . . .

R. S.”