3609. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 January 1821

3609. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 January 1821⁠* 

Keswick 17 Jany. 1821

My dear G.

I begin to be a little impatient for a proof of the Vision, – the newspapers I see announce it as being in the press & it is desirable that it should make its appearance before any report of its form gets abroad. [1] 

About a month ago Murray said in a short note that he should send me a draft for the article concerning the SS. the next day. [2]  Many next days have past without any appearance thereof, & I wish Gifford would ask if it has been sent, there being a possibility that it may have been lost on the way, an accident which have befallen letters to or from me, three or four times in the course of my life, – one not very long since which was addressed to yourself.

Gifford has very often vexed me by turning a paper of mine over to the next number, whereby my budget is sometimes very inconveniently deranged, – more so than he perhaps is aware of. It lays me always under an obligation to Murray, & in once instance it enabled him to take a very unfair advantage of me, & pay me fifty pounds for one of my best papers instead of an hundred, – because it stood over for Giffords convenience, when it ought to have appeared, – two papers were then printed in one number, & Murray chose to abide by an offer he had made to insert two in every number, one at 100 & the other at 50. [3]  I made no remonstrance, but felt that I had not been well used.

There may however be some advantage ultimately in the frequent disappointments to which I have been subjected. They very much weaken the single motive which induces me ever to write under an editor who takes such unwarrantable liberties with my papers. If I cannot obtain the supplies which I want by this means when I want them, I must seek for them thro some other channel. Say nothing about this. I shall withdraw quietly, & derive larger sums from Murray – in a manner much more worthy of myself, & without having my works corrected like a school boys exercise. [4] 

I can hardly tell you how much I was shocked by the xxxxxxx hearing of poor Nash’s death. [5]  Indeed I have not yet recovered it.


Westalls drawings are here, very very beautiful they are. [6]  I think of entitling the book Colloquies with a Ghost, by Montesino: this appellation not being a nom de guerre, where no concealment is either desired or affected, but to avoid the awkward appearance of “Author” – at the head of a speech in the dialogue. I almost doubt about the two Odes, – whether to print them with the Vision, – or to reserve them for this publication, as was at first intended. [7] 

Our weather is mild & fine, – not a speck of snow to be seen. The days are perceptibly lengthening. Remember that you come early this year, & make your arrangements accordingly. I count (as far as one dares count upon any thing in this uncertain world) upon a great deal of enjoyment with you at home & abroad.

Have you seen any thing of Strachey? Remember me to him when you do, & give me his direction which I have forgotten. – Edward Hill went to Westminster on Monday, – I wish he may find as much pleasure & advantage thro life in Westminster friendships as I have done:

God bless you my dear Grosvenor.



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ 2/ 1821
Endorsement: 17 Janry. 1821
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘In a few days will be published in 4to. THE VISION OF JUDGMENT: a Poem. By ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq.’, Morning Chronicle, 11 January 1821. BACK

[2] 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

[3] Southey had in fact protested vehemently on two occasions when he had published two articles in the same issue of the Quarterly Review and felt he had been underpaid. The first was Quarterly Review, 15 (July 1816), where Southey reviewed a series of volumes by travellers in England under the title ‘Works on England’ (537–574), and his review of ‘Ali Bey’, Domingo Badia y Leblich (1766–1818), Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, Between the Years 1803 and 1807 (1816) also appeared at Quarterly Review, 15 (July 1816), 299–345; see Southey to John Murray, 17 November 1816, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Five, Letter 2864. In Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 1–54, Southey reviewed Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn (1818); his article ‘On the Means of Improving the People’ appeared at 79–118. For Southey’s protest, see Southey to John Murray, 7 October 1818, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Five, Letter 3201. BACK

[4] Murray had offered Southey £400 for a book derived from the journal of his continental tour of May–August 1817 (this was not written); and £1,000 for a blank-verse poem occasioned by the death of Herbert Southey. Southey began, but did not finish, such a poem, entitled ‘Consolation’. Sections were published after his death as ‘Fragmentary Thoughts Occasioned by his Son’s Death’ in Oliver Newman: A New-England Tale (Unfinished): With Other Poetical Remains (London, 1845), pp. 93–95, and ‘Additional Fragment, Occasioned by the Death of his Son’, Poetical Works of Robert Southey. Complete in One Volume (London, 1850), p. 815. Murray also published Southey’s The Book of the Church (1824) and Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829), and discussed a number of other projects with Southey on his visit to London in May–June 1820, including a series of biographical studies. BACK

[5] Brief notices of Nash’s death appeared in the newspapers, including Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 13 January 1821, but he did not receive an obituary. BACK

[6] Westall produced the following six sketches of Lake District scenes that were engraved for Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, 2 vols (London, 1829): vol. I: ‘Druidical Stones near Keswick’, ‘Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite-water, and Skiddaw, from Walla Crag’, and ‘Derwentwater from Strandshagg’; and vol. II: ‘Crosthwaite Church and Skiddaw’, ‘Greta Hall, Derwentwater, and Newlands’, and ‘Tarn of Blencathra’. BACK

[7] ‘The Warning Voice. Ode I’ and ‘The Warning Voice. Ode II’, the New Year’s Odes for 1820 and 1821, were not published until they appeared in The Englishman’s Library: Comprising a Series of Historical, Biographical and National Information (London, 1824), pp. 381–389. They were not published with A Vision of Judgement (1821). BACK

People mentioned

Murray, John Samuel (1778–1843) (mentioned 4 times)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 3 times)
Nash, Edward (1778–1821) (mentioned 1 time)
Westall, William (1781–1850) (mentioned 1 time)
Strachey, George (1776–1849) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Edward (1809–1900) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)