3260. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 6 March 1819

3260. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 6 March 1819 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Thank you for the half-bills. The frank was put in a day after date, but it passed for a double, & so I paid nothing for the additional cover. – Charles Cuthbert shall be the name. The child is going on well, the mother tolerably, & I am in good humour with myself for the progress which I now make daily toward the completion of my Opus Majus. [1] 

Have you learnt to ride the German Horse, – or in other words to travel in the Pedestrian Carriage? [2]  I have seen this evening the first intelligible description of this odd invention, – & if a mountainous country were not the worst country in the world for one, I should be tempted to set up my carriage

Murraylemagne has the Osiris tells me has discovered since he dined with me in the summer – that I am a perfect xmisanthropist,” – a very ingenious discovery of that great personage, who might dispute with Swedenborgs Deity the title of the Maximus Homo. [3]  – The Almanachs are still xxxx in durance in Albermarle Street, & when the Review comes out, [4]  it is more than an even chance that they are forgotten, – for his people are much more careless than the Long Men of the Row, who are quite careless enough.

The young Charles was, as you suppose, born in the study. I see his birth is in the Westmorland Gazette, [5]  & from thence it will probably find its way into other papers, but if you think it worth while to have it noticed in the Courier his birth day was Wednesday 24. the day on which I wrote to you. [6] 

The Dutch call Godfathers & Godmothers by the queer name of Peters & Meters. Your godsons Meter will be my fellow traveller Mrs Vardon a woman whom you would like very much, – George Maule married her sister. [7]  Two <other> Peters xxxxx offered themselves – Chauncey Townsend, & Sir G. Beaumont. –

I am in the humour to go idling & gossiping on, – but this will not do for a man who has cut out for himself the work of eight quarto volumes, – & has to get his bread besides by lighter literature.

So good night


Keswick. 6 March. 1819


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 9 MR 9/ 1819
Endorsements: 6. March. 1819/ Answd with remaining/ xxxxxxxx for £40/ 9th March 1819; 6 March 1819
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[2] The ‘Pedestrian Carriage, or Walking Accelerator’, also known as the ‘German Horse’, after its inventor, Karl Drais (1785–1851). It was a precursor of the bicycle, but without pedals, so that the rider sat on the saddle and pushed the frame along with his feet. BACK

[3] Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). In his numerous theological writings he developed the idea that the Universe can be conceived as a human form, an idea he referred to as ‘Maximus Homo’ or ‘Universal Human’, but which Southey takes in the sense of ‘Great Man’, one of his many nicknames for Murray. BACK

[4] Quarterly Review, 21 (January 1819), published 4 June 1819 by Murray, whose firm was based at 53 Albemarle Street. BACK

[5] ‘On Wednesday morning, February 24, the Lady of Robert Southey, Esq., Poet Laureat, was safely delivered of a son’, Westmorland Gazette, 6 March 1819. BACK

[6] The news of Charles Cuthbert Southey’s birth appeared in the Courier, 24 March 1819: ‘BIRTH. On the 24th ult. at Keswick, the lady of Robert Southey, Esq. of a son’. It thereafter appeared in several provincial papers, including, the Bristol Mercury, 29 March 1819, and the Carlisle Patriot, 3 April 1819. BACK

[7] Mrs Vardon’s sister, Caroline Forsyth Tarbutt (b. 1788), married George Maule (1776–1851), Solicitor to the Treasury, in 1810. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)