2643. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 14 August 1815

2643. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 14 August 1815 ⁠* 

14 Aug. 1815. Keswick

My dear Grosvenor

The half notes arrived duly, [1]  – but I was dining with Sir G Beaumont, & returned home too late to acknowledge the receipt. There is a vile story about our bonfire. [2]  The evening proved wet so that it was inevitably postponed, – & some of the rabble here got up between three & four in the morning, & set fire to it when none but themselves could see it, – consuming thus materials what it had cost £7. to place there, & throwing into the fire the cannon which had been carried up. This is a specimen of Keswick feeling. It would not do to let them have the satisfaction of spoiling our sport, – so we set to work again & if Wednesday be a fair day, by dint of we shall put hands enough in requisition to carry up every thing at once, & fire off upon the Duke of Yorks birth day instead of the Princes. [3]  I confess it would gratify me much to punish these fellows if we could fix upon them.

Let nothing but impossibilities prevent you from joining us at Waterloo. I will drink Rhenish with you till I see two Bedfords, & till your optics double the Laureate.

If Lord Lynedoch did not admire the coat, why then God forgive him for not doing justice to the incomparable Hyde. [4]  – He invited me to his house in Scotland, – & I shall feel no scruple in propounding to him any question by letter, on which I may need information. I asked him if it were true that Mina was in England [5]  – he believes that Mina the first is, not Espoz y Mina, but his nephew & precursor, who first gave celebrity to the name. [6]  Learn for me if you can if <whether> he be in London.

Have you any Waterlooiana for me? – I shall hold a firm tone at the conclusion [7]  upon the necessity of weakening France so far as is necessary for the security of the rest of Europe.

God bless you


Your Frenchman [8]  shall be received with due attention, & I shall be glad to converse with him de rebus Gallicis. [9] 


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E / 17 AU 17/ 1815
Endorsement: 14 August 1815
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. half-banknotes – a secure way of sending money in the post, by tearing banknotes in half and sending the two halves separately. BACK

[2] The planned bonfire at the top of Skiddaw on 12 August, to celebrate the victory at Waterloo; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 August 1815, Letter 2642. BACK

[3] i.e. on 16 August (birthday of Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827; DNB)) rather than on 12 August (birthday of the Prince Regent and Robert Southey). BACK

[4] Southey had dined with the army officer and leading figure in the Peninsular War, Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch (1748–1843; DNB), and worn his new coat (made by Hyde, his London tailor) for the occasion; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 August 1815, Letter 2642. BACK

[5] The Spanish guerrilla leader Francisco Espoz de Mina (1781–1836). He had led an unsuccessful rising against the absolutist royal government at Pamplona on 25–26 September 1814 and fled into exile. He did not return until the Revolution of 1820. BACK

[6] Francisco Javier de Mina (1789–1817), nephew of Espoz de Mina and guerrilla leader in Navarre 1808–1810. He, too, had fled Spain after his uncle’s failed rising. However, he went to France, rather than Britain. BACK

[7] Southey had been commissioned to write a second review article on Wellington, capitalising on public interest following Waterloo. He eventually reviewed the following for Quarterly Review, 13 (July 1815), 448–526: Eustache-Auguste Carel (1788–1836), Précis Historique de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1808 à 1814 (1815); Jean Sarrazin (1770–1848), Histoire de la Guerre d’Espagne et de Portugal, de 1807 à 1814 (1814); General View of the Political State of France, and of the Government of Louis XVIII (1815); An Answer to the Calumniators of Louis XVIII (1815); Official Accounts of the Battle of Waterloo (1815); Lieutenant-General W. A. Scott (dates unknown), Battle of Waterloo (1815). BACK

[8] Unidentified. BACK

[9] ‘Of French things’. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)