3172. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 July 1818

3172. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 July 1818⁠* 

Keswick 25 July. 1818

My dear G.

Thank you for the half notes.

If the fire will not tempt you to Keswick let the water tempt you & the Mag: Rot. This day Tom & I were in the Newlands beck. [1]  O Grosvenor! I thought of you there, & the other unhappy persons who have nothing better than Thames water in a hot day. Do you remember those beautiful deep baths of clear glassy water where you once bathed with me in Newlands, & those still more delightful ones which we reconnoitred after we came out of the water? It was in these latter that I played the river God this morning.

The Dogstar thinks Brougham will challenge me. [2]  He got so little credit by his challenge at Appleby that he is not likely to make a second attempt at establishing a character for courage by such means. And it must be allowed that he has some reason to think seriously of duelling, having lost a brother in one. [3]  This certainly ought to make him more cautious how he offers an insult, – but some thing in his shyness upon such occasions may fairly be xxxxxx ascribed to a consideration of his mothers feelings. [4]  Both you & Harry seem to suppose that my Letter is a defence of myself but you will see that this is not the case. I take advantage of an unprovoked attack to expose him thoroughly, & this will have a considerable effect upon not upon his friends, but upon those who have yet their part to chuse, or who are disgusted with his conduct, & would be glad to have such an exposure to appeal to. I care not how much is pruned away, it is better to write as one feels, & prune afterwards. The strength of the pamphlett will lie in a statement of the calumnies {of} which he has been convicted in the H. C. & a view of the E Review [5]  – politics as contrasted with the events.

God bless you. A rainy evening makes it dark almost an hour before its time.



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 28 JY 28/ 1818
Endorsement: 25 July 1818
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The beck near Tom's home, Emerald Bank. BACK

[2] The Courier had reported on 4 July 1818, that Brougham, campaigning for the parliamentary seat of Westmorland against the candidates favoured by Wordsworth’s patron the Earl of Lonsdale, had, when he spoke at the hustings at Appleby on 30 June, attacked Southey and Wordsworth. Southey was dissuaded from publishing the retort that he discusses here. Part of it (without naming Brougham) finally appeared as a ‘Postscript’ to the second edition of Carmen Triumphale (London, 1821), pp. 45–53. BACK

[3] Peter Brougham (1781–1800), Brougham’s elder brother and an army officer, was reportedly killed in a duel on 11 July 1800 in San Salvador. His family refused to believe he had died in such a manner and made efforts to prove he had been murdered. BACK

[4] Eleanor Brougham (c. 1750–1839), daughter of James Symes (1723–1753), Church of Scotland Minister at Alloa, Clackmananshire. BACK

[5] The Edinburgh Review (1802–1929), the main Whig quarterly journal, to which Brougham contributed. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Emerald Bank, Newlands (mentioned 1 time)