2257. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 16 May 1813

2257. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 16 May 1813 ⁠* 

London. May 16. 1813

My dear Grosvenor

Three weeks ago I wrote to John Ballantyne for £50. [1]  To day he writes me from London that he is in already in advance, – which is false, – for upon the completion of this volume now in the press about 175 £ will be due to me, – exclusive of the fifty which he has thus refused.

Of course this brings things to a crisis. I have written to his brother, who has the character of a man of honour, – shown him in what manner John B. shuffles, desired him to take back my share in the work, & likewise to look out for a writer who may succeed me in my department. – I have some little dependence upon the printers character, & rather more upon his connection with Scott; but lay my account with much plague & perhaps the loss of all that I have embarked in the concern.

Immediate embarrasment is the first consequence. If the money which I sent should by good luck still remain in your desk, send me half of it, & buy in one hundred instead of two. If it is gone, let me have upon the score of my pension [2]  what you can spare me towards that amount. – The present inconvenience I shall get over, – tho trouble will fall upon one who is not easily troubled vexed, – & I hope ultimately to be no loser by disposing of so much time & so much labour in another channel: but this time must show.

I am hard at work for Gifford, & hope he will be able to wait for me, – for this article now becomes essential to my ways & means. – Have you received Nelson? [3]  – Tell me how to direct to Herries, – that I may write to him about Tom. O dear Grosvenor how heart-breaking is this loss of naval-power! – This last action is perfectly unaccountable. The Peacock was a crack ship, her Captain as fine a fellow as any in the navy, – & the enemys superiority in guns a mere nothing. [4] 

Isabel has twice been ill with a bilious complaint within the last three week, – & this has made me more anxious & restless than you can well imagine. And Edith – poor Shedaw as I must call her by way of distinction suffers from Ascarides in a manner which is quite dreadful. – Perhaps there was never a worse case, – she has them, I have no doubt, in the bladder & intestines, – & how they are to be got rid of God knows

It is very long since I have heard from you. Remember me to your father & mother – I hope to see them in the fall may I not hope to see you sooner?



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 19 MY 19/ 1813
Endorsement: May 16.13.
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s letter to Ballantyne does not appear to have survived. BACK

[2] Southey had received a government pension of £200 p.a. (£144 after tax) since 1807. BACK

[3] Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[4] The 18-gun brig sloop Peacock had been sunk in action against USS Hornet off the mouth of the Demerara River, Guyana on 24 February 1813. The Peacock’s captain, William Peake (1770–1813), and seven of her crew were killed in the battle and a further nine British sailors died when the ship sank suddenly. BACK

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