3709. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 4 August 1821

3709. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 4 August 1821⁠* 

My dear G.

Lord Lonsdale called on me yesterday, & said that endeavours had been made to bring Wynn into office; but there was a difficulty in the way, because he could only have a high situation. [1] Lord Grenville, who is wholly with the Government had expressed his desire that something should be done for three of his friends, to wit – CWWW. – Freemantle, [2]  & Frankland Lewis. [3]  The latter has got something, & I rather think from what was said, that Wynn is kept out by Lord Sidmouths [4]  staying in, & he stays in against his own inclination, because the Chancellor [5]  threatens not to stay in after him. – If this be news to you, you will be glad to hear it, for when matters have gone so far, there can be little doubt that a place will be found ere long. – Lord Liverpool wishes very much to have Canning in again; but all the other ministers are against it, & the King also, who is hurt at his resigning an office which he had asked him to retain. [6] 

I am going on Monday with the two Ediths [7]  & Cupn to visit Senhouse at Netherhall, for ten days or a fortnight, certainly not for a longer time. Cupn has a scaly skin, for which salt water is advised. He has invented a mode of carrying himself in a wheelbarrow, from which I infer that he would certainly have invented the German Horse, [8]  if it had not been invented before him. – Netherhall is a house at which I am at home, – I take work with me, & shall set about the chapter there which relates the beginning & course of the Portugueze insurrection, till the landing of Sir A Wellesley. [9]  The materials for this chapter are luckily portable, & I am just come to it in order of time. – You had better read a chapter at a time, than take it by disjointed sheets.

Gifford tells me you have the proofs of the S.S. [10]  If so I wish you would send them to me. – Murray has offered me 100£ to enlarge the sketch of Cromwells life into a little volume, & it is not unlikely that I may accept his offer, as the shortest way by which that sum could be earned. [11] 

To whom should I dedicate my History of the P. War, – for that is a question which must soon be determind if the booksellers should think proper to publish the volumes seperately. [12] The D. of Wellington I do not think of, – what I say of him in the work itself, & in the Inscriptions [13]  which will be published at the same time with the last volume, renders any compliment of this kind superfluous. To the King? that would cost me three court dresses at three pounds each: [14]  – & moreover it might easily be interpreted into a wish of obtruding myself on his notice, as if I wished to be remembered to some purpose. I am more inclined that that page should be inscribed to the memory of Spencer Perceval as a right-minded, fearless English minister. – To the D. of York? [15]  Perpend this question.

Did you get the Crimes of Aguirre? [16] 

I shall not stay at Senhouses longer than the 20th, & may perhaps return as early as the 17th, till then, direct to me with him, Netherhall Maryport, Cumberland. And if you tell me that you are coming so much the better.

Think of my buying Wilsons Arte of Rhetorique, printed by Grafton 1553, [17]  – at a stall in Keswick marketplace this morning! And four older leaves at the end of it of St Brendans legend, [18]  which would be a rare prize if it were perfect

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 7 AU 7/ 1821
Endorsements: 4 Augt 1821; 4 Augt 1821
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Negotiations had started in June 1821 to bring the followers of Lord Grenville, including Wynn, over to the government. Wynn was their most prominent spokesman in the House of Commons, and it was always intended he would receive a Cabinet post. However, Wynn wished to be Home Secretary or Secretary for Ireland and for there to be a wider reshuffle, including moves to include some Whigs. He did not finally take up the post he had initially been offered, President of the Board of Control, until January 1822. BACK

[2] William Henry Fremantle (1766–1850), MP for various seats 1806–1827 and whip of Lord Grenville’s supporters in the House of Commons. He finally became a Commissioner at the Board of Control 1822–1826 and then Treasurer of the Household 1826–1837. BACK

[3] Thomas Frankland Lewis (1780–1855), MP for various seats 1812–1834 and 1847–1855. A supporter of Lord Grenville, he was made a member of the Irish Revenue Commission on 15 June 1821, the first public sign of a possible juncture between the Grenvillites and the government, and held a variety of posts down to 1830. BACK

[4] Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844; DNB), Prime Minister 1801–1804, Home Secretary 1812–1822. BACK

[5] Nicholas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley (1766–1851; DNB), Chancellor of the Exchequer 1812–1823. BACK

[6] Canning had resigned as President of the Board of Control in December 1820. BACK

[8] The ‘Pedestrian Carriage, or Walking Accelerator’, also known as the ‘German Horse’, after its inventor, Karl Drais (1785–1851). It was a precursor of the bicycle, but without pedals, so that the rider sat on the saddle and pushed the frame along with his feet. BACK

[9] Chapter 10, History of the Peninsular War, 3 vols (London, 1823–1832), I, pp. 425–525, on events in Portugal in June–August 1808. BACK

[10] 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

[11] Southey’s ‘Life of Cromwell’, Quarterly Review, 25 (July 1821), 279–347. Southey did not turn this material into a book. BACK

[12] History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832) was published in three volumes and dedicated to George IV. BACK

[13] Southey’s ‘Inscriptions Triumphal and Sepulchral Recording the Acts of the British Army in Spain and Portugal’ were not published together until they appeared in Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 122–156. BACK

[14] The ‘court dress’ was not the garb worn by the Poet Laureate at levées, but the more expensive binding required for each of the three volumes of the History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832) in order to fit them for presentation to George IV. BACK

[15] Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827; DNB), younger brother of George IV and Commander-in-Chief 1795–1809, 1811–1827. BACK

[16] Southey’s The Expedition of Orsua; and the Crimes of Aguirre (1821), originally intended to be part of the History of Brazil (1810–1819) and first published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.2 (1812), i-l. BACK

[17] Thomas Wilson (1524–1581; DNB), The Arte of Rhetorique, for the Use of all Suche as are Studious of Eloquence, Sette Forth in English (1553), no. 3127 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. The book was printed by Richard Grafton (c. 1511–1572; DNB), King’s Printer 1547–1553. BACK

[18] The medieval ‘Life of St Brendan’ and ‘Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot’ related the legendary voyages and discoveries of the Irish monk, St Brendan (c. 484–c. 577). BACK

Places mentioned

Netherhall (mentioned 3 times)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)