2130. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 1 August 1812

2130. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 1 August 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. Aug. 1. 1812

My dear Grosvenor

Since my return home on this day week, I have been hoping by every post to receive tidings that you were on the way, or about to set forth. I write however to exhort you to come by way of Leeds, take then the Kendal coach to Settle, & there take guide & horse for Gordale Scar, eight miles distant, & take my word for it you will neither repent the time nor the pains nor the expence that it will cost you. From Settle proceed to Ingleton a stage of 10 miles. The Caves [1]  are within a round of 12 miles from Ingleton. I have just made this tour & urge you to follow my steps. Ingleton is twenty miles from Kendal, – & the Keswick stage leaves Kendal every Tuesday Thursday & Saturday at six in the morning.

I wish you would write a note to the Czar Peter, & give the him the following reasons why he should come to Keswick, & come with as little delay as may be. 1. he cannot travel to a more beautiful place. 2. he can <go> no where where he will be more heartily welcome. 3dly summer is passing away. 4thly – the produce of our garden, such as it is, passeth away also, & I would have him come while the season for green pease & pies endureth. 5thly the great cheese which is reserved for him to cut is in daily danger from the mice.

Yesterday I sent off a large portion of the life of Nelson [2]  to Murray – it is has been very long delayed, but I shall speedily compleat it now & proceed without intermission to clear off all my engagements with Murray. I have advised him to put Jovellanos’s book [3]  into Blanco’s hands. Blanco will like to write upon this subject, – he will be better paid for it than for any other employment, & he will write in such a manner as will serve the review.

A third edition of Kehama [4]  is gone to press. Encouragement to hasten with Pelayo, [5]  – the more so as the three next poems which I look on to are will be each of a more popular cast than the Spanish story. I resumed Pelayo this morning, & am now just at the outside of the door of the church, where he is within: [6]  the action will xx now follow thick & thronging, & I have a second sight of many fine situations, the detail of which will gradually evolve itself as I proceed.

I had sent for Jones’s grammar & Howards Vocabulary [7]  for the Deus Lunus before your letter arrived, – you may give him a Greek exercise book if you please, – Huntingfords [8]  I know by name.

You have perhaps seen the Register [9]  for 1810 – which I have not. This book sells well in Scotland, scarcely at all in London, & it is suspected that the London booksellers, being concerned in the other two Registers wilfully obstruct its sale. [10]  I myself do not from what I had an opportunity of observing suspect that the Longmen are not very solicitous for its success. They are deliberating at Edinburgh upon the propriety of altering its form & making but one volume, – an alteration, if it be made, likely enough to prove fatal to the work, – certain at any rate to destroy all the advantage gained by length & uniformity of sets, which it is now beginning to obtain, & which is the only advantage the other Registers have over it. However this may be I apprehend that the work is in some danger of not continuing beyond a fourth volume, – an evil of considerable magnitude in its present respect to its poor historiographer, but which I dare say he will think as little of as he has done of all such evils, when it comes to the point. My time becomes of more marketable value every year; & if my reputation should get sufficient strength to carry off my the work of my own choice, I shall have little cause to regret the loss of this employment, should it take place, as I expect.

I shall like to see what you have done about poor Barry Roberts. [11]  Of course you will bring it with you. – We have planned a cart-expedition to Buttermere & wait for you to join it as the light-horseman of the party. Skiddaw is another atchievement for you this year.

Remember me to your father & mother, & the Master of the Rolls.

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 4 AU 4/ 1812
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] White Scar cave, containing underground streams and waterfalls. BACK

[2] Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[3] Gaspar de Jovellanos (1744–1811), Spanish statesman, author and philosopher. The book is probably A Suos Compatriotas Memoria, en que se Rebatem les Calumnias Divulgadas contra los Individuos de la Junta Central (1811) ; no. 3499 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Blanco White did not review it for the Quarterly. BACK

[4] The Curse of Kehama (1812). BACK

[5] The early incarnation of Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[6] Roderick, Book 6, line 204. BACK

[7] John Jones (1766–1827; DNB), A Grammar of the Greek Tongue (1808); Nathaniel Howard (1781–1834), A Vocabulary, English and Greek, Arranged Systematically (1810). BACK

[8] George Isaac Huntingford (1748–1832; DNB), whose A Short Introduction to the Writing of Greek (1778) was a popular textbook. BACK

[9] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810 (1812). BACK

[10] The long-established Annual Register (founded 1758) was published by a congerie of publishers, including Longmans; the newer Asiatic Annual Register (1801–1812) was aimed at those interested in Indian affairs. However, the market was increasingly crowded by new productions, e.g. the New Annual Register (1812). BACK

[11] Bedford published Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of Barré Charles Roberts in 1814. Southey reviewed it in Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 509–519. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 3 times)
Skiddaw (mentioned 1 time)