3638. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 23 February 1821

3638. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 23 February 1821⁠* 

My dear G.

I forgot to tell you in my last, that I had instructed Longman to send you three copies of the Vision, [1]  – to wit your own, Herries’s & the third for your own unrevealed purpose, [2]  you may have told me what that purpose is, – xxxx it must not be presented in my name to a stranger, – which <because this> would be like leaving a card at Mr Hs door to introduce myself to his acquaintance, but there is no reason why you should not offer it in your own.

Did you receive the letter which I wrote to you concerning a French Roderick? [3]  – I have just heard from the Lady who sent it me that another translation was published at the same time, [4]  – & that a third is talked of. [5] Xx xxx I am abused by one French critic [6]  & by a travelling English lecturer whose name is Thomas Mulock [7]  & who falls foul of me because he not so much because I am a bad poet (which he holds me to be), but because I am in his judgement – an ugly Christian. What with praise & abuse, in prose & in verse, in French & in English Roderick xxx is at this time reigning in the Parisian newspapers.

Buy in 200 for me when you think fit. [8]  <& send me the residue.> As you have dividends of your own to receive, & confess that you are not regular in calling for them, it will be giving yourself a motive for regularity if you receive mine also; & therefore I again ask you to get a power of attorney for that purpose. I have in the 3 per cents 425£. xxxx <14> dividends for 150 <more> due since the autumn of 1815, – & upon the rest ever since you put it in. – In the course of the year I shall add to this, – for my book of the Church [9]  is in progress, – & I suppose the Megistos will rather publish the first volume of the PW. [10]  as soon as it is publ printed, than wait till the whole is ready. The first will be compleated in September.

I have been all this week working upon the first vol: of Brazil, [11]  inserting a great deal of curious matter from documents which I had not obtained when it was published. This kind of labour will have its reward hereafter for what I am doing adds greatly to the value of the book, & to the interest of the narrative. – You know not how I long to have the Hist: of Portugal [12]  in the press & to press it will go the very instant that the P War is compleated.

The children are ill suffering with an endemic catarrh & cough. – Do not forget the Coronation Book. I have some vague forethoughts about the poem. [13] 

God bless you


23 Feby 1821


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [illegible]
Endorsements: 23 Feby 1821; 16 Feby. 1821
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s A Vision of Judgement (1821). BACK

[2] It is not clear for whom this third copy of Southey’s poem was destined. BACK

[3] Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 26 January 1821, Letter 3616, concerning Pierre Hippolyte Amillet de Sagrie (1785–1830), Roderic, Dernier Roi des Goths (1821), no. 2700 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. This was a translation of Southey’s Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[4] Antoine André Brugière, Baron de Sorsum, Roderick, le Dernier des Goths (1820), no. 2697 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[5] Probably the material relating to Roderick in Abel Hugo (1798–1855), Romances Historiques Traduites de l’Espagnol (Paris, 1822), pp. 1–32. BACK

[6] Unidentified. BACK

[7] The lecture series on English literature given in Paris in 1820 by the Irishman Thomas Mulock (1789–1869), a failed merchant, political reactionary, and associate of George Canning. The tone of Mulock’s lectures is encapsulated by Thomas Moore, who was in Paris at the time they were given. On discovering that he ‘was to be one of the victims of … [Mulock’s] tomahawk’, Moore put off his proposed attendance at them until a later day; The Journal of Thomas Moore, eds Wilfred Sellars Dowden, Barbara Bartholomew, and Joy L. Linsley, 2 vols (East Brunswick, N.J., 1983), I, p. 367. Moore had earlier described Mulock as ‘a pedantic young Irishman, and a mighty genius in his own estimation’ (I, p. 63). Mulock found ungodliness in everywhere and in everyone. On his return to England in 1821 he became a dissenting preacher in Staffordshire and, in later life, was confined as a lunatic on several occasions. BACK

[8] Southey is here instructing Bedford to buy interest-bearing government stocks on his behalf. BACK

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

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

[11] The second edition of the first volume of the History of Brazil (1822). BACK

[12] Southey’s uncompleted and unpublished ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[13] Southey wrote a few notes for a coronation ode, dated ‘Feby 9. 1821’ in his notebook, now at Huntington Library, San Marino, HM 2733, f. 126r. But he did not get beyond this and no ode was written for the coronation on 19 July 1821. He had asked Bedford to send him any book he could think of that detailed the coronation ceremony; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 9 February 1821, Letter 3630. BACK