3339. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 31 July 1819

3339. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 31 July 1819⁠* 

My dear G.

When you go to Longmans I wish you would use your judgement in chusing a binding for the original mss of the H. Brazil, – which is on its way to town, in a parcel directed to Osiris. There are three vols of the History, & two of Collections for it, – in the quartain size. [1]  The Collections contain a good deal of matter which has not been incorporated, & will therefore be of use hereafter. – Whether there will be any one to value this mss as an heir loom, God knows. There will however be those who would prize it as a bequest, – x so I would have it drest like something which is likely to be preserved. You know the value which I attach to this, the greatest of my labours. I shall win by it certainly a wider, & perhaps a more lasting reputation than by Roderick or Kehama. [2] 

Wynn has told me of Lord Byrons dedication to me. [3]  I have no intention at present of noticing it, if it sees the light, – but if it should sufficiently provoke xx me, you may be assured that I will treat him with due severity, as he deserves to be treated, – & lay him open, in a live dissection.


Poor Lloyd will send you a packet of papers to be submitted to Gifford for admission or rejection, as he may see fit. [4]  They are I believe reviews of some recent poetical works. He may very likely be deficient in a certain manner & method which is only acquired by practice in what may be called public writing; but in tact, & acuteness of observation, he excels most men, – & there is a fervour & fluency in his prose which is not often found in an English writer, – reminding one indeed of Rousseau & of Madame Stæl. [5]  If Gifford should be struck by his specimens – well: if not, they will add but little to the litter of his room, & no harm is done.

I expect a summons from Rickman about the tenth of August, – from thence for six or eight days. [6]  Before that time I shall have sent off the remainder of my paper to G. upon the Monastic Orders, part of which will tickle your fancy. [7]  How I long to take up that subject upon a fair scale – I am quite certain it would make one of the most curious books that ever were written.

Your godson thrives to admiration, – but his arm has not yet healed, & this weather of course is very unfavourable to it. [8]  It gives him no inconvenience, – but it makes xxx us somewhat uneasy, as not knowing how troublesome it may prove at last.

Espriella goes with me to the Highlands, & having that journal to start with, I shall look to my old friends for the ways & means of next year. [9]  For I have much to say upon momentous subjects which could not be brought forward in any other shape.

When you give directions about binding the MSS. desire them also to bind a set of the Brazil for my own library, [10]  & do you chuse for it such a binding as it befits the Historiographer of the Tupinambas to have for his own work: it ought I think to be as magnificent as the dress xxx of Manoel Felix which you will find, faithfully described from his own manuscript pp. 320 & 327 of the last volume. [11] 

God bless you


Keswick. 31 July. 1819.

I hear that D Juan is published without the dedication. I should like to know who has suppressed it, & why it has been suppressed. [12] 


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 3 AU 3/ 1819
Endorsements: 31. July 1819; 31 July 1819
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 137–138. BACK

[1] Southey’s ‘Collections for the History of Brazil’ and original manuscripts of his History of Brazil (1810–1819) were nos 3154–3155 in the sale catalogue of his library. Both sets were ‘half bound in calf’. BACK

[2] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814) and The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[3] The first two cantos of Byron’s Don Juan (1819–1824) were published anonymously on 15 July 1819. The ‘Dedication’, which attacked Southey and others, was suppressed. It soon became very well known, though it was not published until 1833. BACK

[4] Lloyd had written a review for the Quarterly Review; it does not seem to have been published. BACK

[5] The philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778); and Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein (1766–1817), Swiss writer. Southey had met her in 1813 and had been impressed; see Southey to Edith Southey, 16 September 1813, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Four, Letter 2301. BACK

[6] Southey toured Scotland for six weeks with Rickman and Telford 17 August–1 October 1819. BACK

[7] Southey’s review of Thomas Fosbrooke (1770–1842; DNB), British Monachism; or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England (1817), Quarterly Review, 22 (July 1819), 59–102. Southey planned, but did not write, a ‘History of the Monastic Orders’. BACK

[8] Charles Cuthbert Southey had been vaccinated against smallpox. BACK

[9] Southey planned, but did not write, a sequel to his Letters from England: By Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella (1807). BACK

[10] A copy of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) in ‘calf, extra, marbled leaves’ was no. 2625 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[11] The Tupinamba were one of various Tupi-language groups that inhabited Brazil when the Portuguese arrived in the sixteenth century. In History of Brazil, 3 vols (1810–1819), III, pp. 320, 327, Southey described Manoel Felix de Lima (dates unknown), a Portuguese explorer of central Brazil, dressed in ‘a full dressed shirt, red silk stockings, breeches of fine green cloth, a miner’s jacket of crimson damask lined with silk and laced with ribbands, morocco shoes, a wig, and a gold-laced beaver hat’ (320); and ‘pearl-coloured stockings, a waistcoat and breeches of embroidered dove colour velvet, and a coat of red barbarisco, lined with white silk, and with cuffs of rose coloured velvet; the wig, the gold-laced hat, and the Indian cane, completed his costume’ (327). BACK

[12] See note 3, above. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)