3544. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 27 October 1820

3544. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 27 October 1820⁠* 

Keswick. 27 Oct. 1820.

My dear Grosvenor

The contents of this packet are to remain secret between ourselves: & tho I do not like to trouble you, I know you will not think your trouble ill-bestowed on this occasion. The sum for which I inclose a draft is paid me for drawing up an account of the late David Pike Watts, [1]  at his daughters desire, for her children, & perhaps for private circulation. [2]  This I am busy upon at present. The inclosed letter is to advice the bankers (Sir Peter Pole & Co.) [3]  that I have drawn, – payable to you. Send this letter of advice by the 2penny post (p.pd.) & as soon as you can make an opportunity, go with the draft & receive the money. I know this will be inconvenient, but I know also that in such a case, you will require no apologies in my part. Now for the application of the money. – Lend me 50£ till you receive it, & send me 100 more when you have received it. Pay 100£ to John May (4. Tavistock Street, Bedford Square) which if you cut the bills will cost you no other trouble than that of sending <it> him two in two letters by the 2d post; – & invest the remainder in the three per cents. [4]  You know I have 425£ there. & it may be best to buy in 375 more. I have dividends due to the amount of about 24£ (i.e. five years upon 100£, – & upon the rest since you purchased in for me) Will you take out a power of Attorney to receive them for me: this it will now be worth while to do, when I shall have 800 there, – especially as I shall add to it in a few months when the Book of <the> Church is finished. [5] 

Supposing the stocks to be at 70 (they are now under 68.) 375£ will cost 263.10.£. You will have 250£.

Mine Gott! de Stocsh! vat a shubject for a letter between you & me.


It is strange that Murray does not send the Pen: War to press. [6]  – I wrote to him for some books about the same time that the letter which miscarried to on its way to you was lost, & as he has not sent the books – I am apprehensive the letter was written on the same evening it may have shared the same fate – which would imply that the negligence, or criminality has been here. If you see the Megistos ask him if he received such a letter. He has sent me two parcels since (one with nothing but the review) [7]  – so that I am almost certain it cannot have reached him.

I have been expecting also that Gifford would send me a proof of the article upon Huntington, [8]  – for I reckon upon its insertion in the next number. Tell him this.

I did not intend that my intention of writing a life of George Fox should have been publicly known for some time. [9]  It has however got wind & thro this channel. Mrs Calvert was bred a Quaker. [10]  – I borrowed what books she happened to possess, & she applied to her sisters for their share of her fathers Quaker-Library. From one of these sisters Mrs Fry [11]  heard it, & I had a visit from her in consequence. Her wish evidently was that I should not pursue my purpose – because the Qs. are ashamed of their early history. The interview ended however in her offering me access to books papers &c. Old Ch. Lloyd has since written to me, & the whole Mundus Quakerius will be in commotion. I expects to be inundated with letters & civilities arising from an obvious motive. – On the whole the task of collecting materials will be facilitated & the book be written just in the same unbiassed spirit as if I were anonymous & unknown.

Let me know that you have received this, – & let me hear from you more frequently. I have scarcely seen your handwriting since my return. Nash will bring back a rich portfolio to show you. God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr
Endorsements: 27 Octr. 1820/ with draft for £500; 16 Octr 1820
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] David Pike Watts (1754–1816), a fabulously rich wine merchant and philanthropist. He had been an important supporter of Andrew Bell’s educational schemes and owned the Storrs Hall estate on Windermere. He was also the uncle of the painter John Constable (1776–1837; DNB). His daughter and heiress was Mary Watts-Russell (1792–1840), who had married, in 1811, another heir to a business fortune, Jesse Watts-Russell (1786–1875), MP for Gatton 1820–1826. They lived at Ilam Hall in Staffordshire and had eight children. BACK

[2] Some Account of the Late David Pike Watts, Esq.: with Extracts from his Letters (privately printed, 1841). BACK

[3] The banking firm of Sir Peter Pole, 2nd Baronet (1770–1850), MP for Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, 1819–1826. BACK

[4] Government stocks, paying three per cent interest. BACK

[5] Southey’s The Book of the Church (1824). BACK

[6] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[7] Southey’s review of Benjamin Haydon, New Churches, Considered with Respect to the Opportunities they Offer for the Encouragement of Painting (1818) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (July 1820), 549–591, published on 5 October 1820. BACK

[8] The preacher and religious writer William Huntington (1745–1813; DNB) had added ‘S.S.’ – ‘Sinner Saved’ – to his name to indicate his spiritual state. Southey’s 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) appeared in Quarterly Review, 24 (January 1821), 462–510. BACK

[9] George Fox (1624–1691; DNB), founder of the Society of Friends. Southey did not write this book. BACK

[10] Mary Calvert, née Mitchinson (dates unknown). She was the daughter of John Mitchinson (dates unknown), a Quaker conveyancer in Carlisle, and had two sisters: Ruth Maude, née Mitchinson (1772–1849), married to Jacob Maude of Selaby Hall, Durham (1757–1840), a Quaker landowner and colliery proprietor in the North East; and Abigail Salkeld, née Mitchinson (1777–1831), married to Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Salkeld (1761–1820) of Holme Hill, near Carlisle, a retired Quarter Master General of the army of Bengal. Widowed in 1820, Abigail married, in 1822, John Staig (1770–1855), Collector of Customs and later Deputy Lieutenant of Dumfriesshire. BACK

[11] Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845; DNB), Quaker philanthropist and prison reformer. BACK

People mentioned

Murray, John Samuel (1778–1843) (mentioned 2 times)
May, John (1775–1856) (mentioned 1 time)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)
Nash, Edward (1778–1821) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Tavistock St, London (mentioned 1 time)