1955. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 13[–14] September 1811

1955. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 13[–14] September 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. Sept. 13. 1811.

My dear Grosvenor

I know not how it happened that you were not among the first persons whom I wrote to you after my return. Here we have been twelve days, great part of which have been employed in unpacking books, arranging them, disarranging others to make room for new comers, playing with Lunus, & enjoying the feeling of being once more at home.

Croker enclosed me no note from Perceval, – but Perceval wrote me a very civil note himself, enclosing Yorkes [1]  to him, – (for which by the by I paid postage, an ignorant Clerk at the Post Office charging it because it was not dated, & as I was leaving Bristol there was not time for me to write to Mr Freeling, & instruct the Clerk in the nature of Treasury privileges) I wrote a letter of thanks to Mr Perceval, [2]  & another to Mr Croker, as it was incumbent on me to do, – the latter enquiry seems to imply that the letter never reached him, – it is however far more likely that he has forgotten it, than that it should have miscarried, – & I am sorry for this, because it seems to make him suspect me of inattention. [3]  As for Tom it is no excuse for his slighting you, that he hurried out of town without even letting his Uncle know he was about to depart.

I take shame to my self for not having written to make my acknowledgements to Herries. The only reason was that I waited to ask you under what cover I should direct to him.

I shall go up Skiddaw as soon as James White (poor H Kirkes brother) arrives. we expected him Tuesday or Thursday – tomorrow is the next coach day, & he will certainly be here, if he could find a place. The first fine day after his arrival I shall take him up Skiddaw, & then you may expect enough stags-horn for all your friends & acquaintance. I will pack up with it two small volumes which I want to convey to Turner; take them to him, – for being acquainted with one of the best & wisest men in the world, you ought to lose no opportunity of keeping up your intercourse with him.

This leads me to remember that my Uncle made an expedition to call on you which proved unsuccesful. He only knew that you lived somewhere near Buckingham Gate. & thinking Capt Burney would know where, called upon him, – but the Capitaneus was from home, & so the attempt failed.

About the bust [4]  I will make enquiry – You had better ask Wynn, & if you see my Uncle you had better tell him of it also.



James White is arrived, so you may look for the club moss in four or five days. there will be an ample supply for the Glendoveers [5]  godmothers & all your other friends into the bargain. We have been dining at the head of the Lake, where we wanted you, for this reason among others, that the potatoes might have been better boiled. Remember me to your father & mother – Miss Page & the Master of the Rolls. Gifford knows that I am at work for him. x He will have Bell & Lancaster in this number, – a heavy blow for the Edinburgh. [6]  For the next I hope to provide more than one article, – having this cogent reason for exerting myself to that end that I am at present brevis pecuniæ, [7]  – a sort of brevity Mr Bedford into which the most long winded author may sometimes happen to fall.

God bless you. we are all right glad to hear of your continued well-doing.



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 17 SE 17/ 1811
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Dating note: 13 September was a Friday in 1811. BACK

[1] Charles Philip Yorke (1764–1834; DNB), First Lord of the Admiralty 1810–1812. BACK

[2] This has not survived. BACK

[3] Southey had been thanking those individuals instrumental in obtaining promotion for his brother Tom; see Southey to Herbert Hill, 12 May 1811, Letter 1921, and Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 4 August [1811], Letter 1943. BACK

[4] Southey eventually had a bust sculpted in 1813 by James Smith (1775–1815). BACK

[5] A good spirit in The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[6] Southey’s defence of Bell’s system over Lancaster’s appeared in the Quarterly Review, 6 (August 1811), 264–304. It was, however, severely edited before publication, and his personal attacks on the Edinburgh Review were removed; see the account in Jonathan Cutmore, The Quarterly Review Archive. Southey’s wrath had been provoked by an article in the Edinburgh Review, 17 (November 1810), 58–88, which had criticised Bell and proclaimed Lancaster’s methods superior. BACK

[7] ‘Short of money’. BACK

People mentioned

Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 3 times)
Burney, James (1750–1821) (mentioned 2 times)
Croker, John Wilson (1780–1857) (mentioned 2 times)
Perceval, Spencer (1762–1812) (mentioned 2 times)
White, James (1787–1885) (mentioned 2 times)
Turner, Sharon (1768–1847) (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 1 time)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)
Bell, Andrew (1753–1832) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Skiddaw (mentioned 2 times)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)