3416. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 10 January 1820

3416. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 10 January 1820⁠* 

Keswick. 10 Jany.1820

My dear G.

Yesterday I received a note from Murray, with a proof of the first part of Marlboroughs Life. [1]  The great man has sent me the sum which I required; [2]  he does it against the grain, & tells me it was not a mistake as I had supposed, – however he writes in a stile of dignified civility, & as the Megistos allows me to be the Megisteros on this occasion, all is well. He took full time to deliberate, & would not be very well pleased if he knew how decidedly I should have acted, if he had come to a different determination. It is best as it is, & I am very glad that I asserted my proper claims; – independent of what is due to myself, the sum of which he would have cut me short will pay my butchers bill. – When it became evident from lapse of time that he was deliberating how to act I laid Marlborough aside; – now I have resumed it, & must stick to it till it is done, which will be in a week or ten days.

Cuthbert thank God has almost recovered, – he is much reduced, – we had an anxious eight days with him, – the longest & severest illness he had ever endured.

I have had a letter from Croker which a good deal surprized me. Lord Bathurst supposing that I had a son growing up, called upon him to offer me a writership. [3]  I never saw Lord B. & if he had heard much of me from any of my friends, he would have known that the offer was in vain, & moreover would hardly have made it thro that channel. So I take the offer as it was meant, xx xxxx to be an expression of good will towards me for having deserved well in literature. If it please God I shall deserve better before this year is out. The life of Wesley [4]  is likely to excite some talk in the world, – & the Dialogues <to> which I shall probably will <give the title of> ‘Sir Thomas More’ [5]  will set tongues at work, & heads also in due time. I have good hope of making this a book which will do good at the time & be remembered hereafter. My mind was never more active than at this time

Do you know that Jeremy Bentham calls me Saint Southey in his book? [6]  What a pity that Gifford should have struck out the Benthamish compound epithet which I had annexed to his philosph of metaphysico-politico-critico-patriotico-phoolo – which I had affixed to his philosophy! [7] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 13 JA 13/ 1820
Endorsement: 10 Janry 1820
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s review of William Coxe, Memoirs of John Duke of Marlborough, with his Original Correspondence; Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources. Illustrated with Portraits, Maps, and Military Plans (1818–1819) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (May 1820), 1–73. BACK

[2] For 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, published 11 December 1819. He had not received £100, the sum he expected. BACK

[3] Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst (1762–1834; DNB), Secretary of State for War and the Colonies 1812–1827. A ‘writer’ was a junior administrator in the East India Company. The only way to gain such a post was through patronage – usually nomination by one of the company’s directors. BACK

[4] Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[5] Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829). BACK

[6] Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832; DNB), Church-of-Englandism and its Catechism Examined (London, 1818), p. 26. BACK

[7] It is not clear from which article this term was removed, but Southey took a later opportunity to respond in his review of The Works of the Reverend William Huntington, S. S. Minister of the Gospel, at Providence Chapel, Gray’s Inn Lane, Completed to the Close of the Year 1806 (1811) in Quarterly Review, 24 (January 1821), 462–510, published 6 April 1821, by bracketing Bentham with a number of others as an example of a famous contemporary ‘quack’ (510). BACK

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