3725. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 September 1821

3725. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 September 1821⁠* 

My dear G

Will you find out where Mackenzie [1]  is, & get this letter sent to him. It is to ask some details concerning the negociation with the Spanish troops in Denmark, in which he was concerned. [2]  If he gives them to me, they will make one <or two> interesting pages in my History, which I should think he would like to see there. [3]  For myself, I have as much satisfaction in mentioning persons in a way which may gratify them, as some of my contemporaries have in holding them up to ridicule. – Mackenzie told me the story in Paris, but I could not trust myself to repeat the particulars; nor indeed if I had had time to minute them, should I think it proper to introduce them without his permission.

Now for a piece of useful advice Mr Bedford, when you have occasion to take rhubarb, [4]  take it in beer or porter, & in no other vituals, – for these malt liquours have an extraordinary effect in diminishing its taste – I have txxx experienced this, & am to make farther proof this night, being still.

Yours in a thorough-go nimble


3 Sept 1821.


* Endorsement: 3 Sept 1821
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 2p.
Note on MS: The enclosure, a letter to Colin Alexander Mackenzie, has not survived. BACK

[1] Colin Alexander Mackenzie (1778?–1851), a wealthy Scot who was employed on a number of delicate diplomatic missions and may have been a government spy. In 1815 he was appointed one of the Commissioners of Liquidation, Arbitration and Deposit, who adjudicated on claims by British citizens for loss of property against the French government. Southey had dined with him in Paris on 17 and 19 May 1817. BACK

[2] In 1807, while Spain and France were still allies, the Spanish Division of the North was sent to northern Germany. In August 1808, after France invaded Spain, the troops were evacuated by British ships and transported back to Spain to fight the French. BACK

[3] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War, 3 vols (London, 1823–1832), I, pp. 657–659, dealt with Mackenzie’s role in the evacuation of the Spanish Division of the North. BACK

[4] Southey was taking rhubarb to try and settle his digestive system. BACK