3166. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 July 1818

3166. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 July 1818⁠* 

My dear G.

Send me some money when you conveniently can, & when you see Pople (as probably you will ere long) pay him £ 2.18–6, for a set of Clarendon, [1]  a book which you will be surprized to hear I have never read – for it never happened to be within my reach.

You mistake about Brougham. I am not standing on my defence with him, but taking advantage of his having told three lies of me in public to expose his public conduct, & chastise him with scorpions. It is unnecessary to send the Times if you should find it. [2]  – I saw Calverts, & it was word for word as in the Courier, except that the Courier omitted the great applauses, which the Times had carefully inserted. [3]  I suppose you know that this paper is in the hands of a fellow who managed the Examiner while Hunt was in prison. [4]  And I believe you know also (what is not to be generally known) that I refused the management of it in April last year, when Walter [5]  was very desirous that I should have undertaken it, & would have made over part of the property to me, upon such terms as would in a few years have made my fortune. How greatly would his Majestys ministers have been obliged to me, if I had made the sacrifice! They should get this paper into their hands, it is much more injurious to them than any other, & from what I have heard of the proprietor he has little principle of any kind. The way would be to purchase the property.

You had better take your six weeks here than between Boulogne & Paris. We are enjoying good weather, sun & showers, a delightful out of doors temperature, & a fire within, in the evening.

The 15th sheet of Wesley is on my desk. [6]  When you have any curiosity to go thro the sheets ask Artaxerxes for them, & send them to me afterwards.

I think the Pellitory proves useful in allaying the toothache when that curse occurs, which it does but too often. [7]  In all other respects Shedaw is as I could wish to see her. But her mother is by no means well, – & I am greatly in want of bracing. Come & set me up again by a course of boating & mountaineering. The Beaumonts [8]  will be here next month, so will Wilberforce; – & the Islanders [9]  in September. If there be not inducements {enough} in all this worshipful society, – think of the Caviare, & I promise to support you with all my authority in your privilege of toasting cheese in the parlour, & forming a tripod of the poker & tongs after your own fashion, in defiance of your enemy Mrs Coleridge.

Hyde [10]  may send me a black coat & a pair of pepper & salt pantaloons, in such fashion as he may think proper to force upon me, – or black x worsted if it be better to be in readiness for a public mourning, [11]  – that it is to say, if it is at all necessary that the seat of honour should be in mourning xx xxxx xx the on such occasions.

God bless you


12 July 1818.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsements: Tea/ Nash for Frames/ Westall’s View/ Freight of Books/ Hyde’s Bill; 12 July 1818; 12 July 1818
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609–1674; DNB). Southey is possibly referring to the recent edition of The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (1816). If so, he did not receive a copy. BACK

[2] Bedford had sent Southey The Times of 3 July 1818, which reported Brougham’s campaign for the parliamentary seat of Westmorland against the candidates favoured by Wordsworth’s patron, the Earl of Lonsdale. In particular it reported Brougham’s speech on 29 June when he attacked Wordsworth by name for supporting the Lowther cause, referring to him as ‘a man who wrote prose, and other compositions which he could not call prose, but which he wished were poetry’. The Courier and The Times for 4 July carried Brougham’s speech at the hustings at Appleby on 30 June. In this address he attacked ‘The Wordsworths and the Southeys’ for spreading false rumours about Brougham and insulting the freeholders of Westmorland. It was this speech that led Southey to plan a public retort to Brougham. This was not completed, though, and part of it was published (without naming Brougham) as an ‘Appendix’ to the second edition of Carmen Triumphale (London, 1821), pp. 45–53. BACK

[3] The Times, to Southey’s chagrin, leaned towards the reformers’ side and so included details of the applause Brougham received. The Courier, a government supported paper, did not in its report of the same date. BACK

[4] Thomas Barnes (1785–1841; DNB) had become editor of The Times at the start of 1817 and held this office until his death. He had previously contributed articles to Hunt’s papers, the Examiner and The Reflector. BACK

[5] John Walter II (1776–1847; DNB), variously manager, editor and owner of The Times 1803–1847. See Southey to Henry Crabb Robinson, 13 March 1817 (Letter 2939) for his refusal of Walter’s proposal. BACK

[6] Proofs of The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[7] Edith May had been suffering from toothache and Bedford had sent a palliative, tincture of pellitory. BACK

[10] Hyde (d. 1820) was Southey’s London tailor. BACK

[11] The public were expected to dress in mourning clothes when prominent figures, especially members of the royal family, died. This was particularly true of Southey, who held a Court appointment as Poet Laureate. Public mourning was instituted for Queen Charlotte (1761–1818; DNB) after she died on 17 November 1818, and George III (1738–1820; King of Great Britain 1760–1820; DNB) after he died on 27 January 1820. BACK