3614. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 January 1821

3614. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 January 1821⁠* 

My dear G.

If you look at the Preface you will see that I have discharged some of my obligations to Lord Byron & Co. [1] 

The Ded: I believe is perfectly in form, – at least it begins & ends according to pattern. [2]  With regard to the political part of it it refers to the poem & therefore is not misplaced – As for its provoking censure & abuse so let it. These are not times for acting timidly. & you must remember th[MS torn] the cut-throat part of the press cannot hate me more virulently than they do. – My only demur is whether there be an impropriety in there appearing to offer advice to the King, – tho it is no more than is done in all the addresses. Xxxx Upon this I should like you to consult Herries, as a safe opinion, – & if you both agree that the dedication had better be suppressed, cut it off & destroy it, & dispatch the rest of the packet without delay to Longman.

I have had all the proofs of the poem, & am very well pleased with it in print. It looks well & reads well, & there is nothing uncouth either to the eye or the ear.

If G. means to have it reviewed, [3]  which from the singularity of the book he canx hardly help doing, the person who would do it with the best union of will & ability would be John Coleridge

God bless you


22 Jany 1821.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsement: Janry 22 1821/ Dedication
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A Vision of Judgement (London, 1821), ‘Preface’, pp. xvii–xxii, where Southey denounced ‘the Satanic school’ of poetry without naming any one poet. BACK

[2] A Vision of Judgement (London, 1821), ‘Dedication’, pp. [v]–viii. The ‘Dedication’ was undoubtedly ‘political’, not only praising Britain’s victory in the war against France, but stating: ‘The same perfect integrity has been manifested in the whole administration of public affairs’ (vi); not a view the Whig opposition endorsed. However, the earlier draft of the ‘Dedication’ in Huntington Library, San Marino, HM 2733, shows Southey had intended to go much further and urge that ‘adequate remedy should be applied to that intolerable licentiousness of the press … either by the vigorous application of existing laws or by the enactment of such new ones as the suspension of the abuse may render necessary’. BACK

[3] A Vision of Judgement was not reviewed in the Quarterly Review. BACK