3727. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 9 September 1821

3727. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 9 September 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 9 Sept. 1821

My dear Grosvenor

I wish to possess a Castle in Bohemia, my good Aunt Mary has the like desire, & as there are two Castles to be had there, together with twelve villages, (enough to qualify me in all conscience for a Baron of the Holy Roman Empire) I beseech you, with as little loss of time as may be, to transmit, in such manner as Herries may best direct, the sum of two pounds to W. H. Reingenum, [1]  Banquier, No 13. Rue Zeil, Francfort sur Main, to purchase one ticket in my name, & one in my Aunt Mary’s, – in the Lottery for the Seven Estates in Bohemia which are to be played for at Vienna on the first of next month. And I invite you, Grosvenor, to purchase a ticket also, & let us go shares in the adventure; – & if we get the prize, we will make a merry & memorable journey to Prague, & you shall take your choice of xx seven titles for your Baronship, to wit Ziekem, Wolschow, Koyschitz, Shunkaú, Libietitz, Prztanitiz, & Oberstankau. [2] 

Just suppose Grosvenor that Fortune in one of her freaks was to give us this prize, & we were to set out for the purpose of taking possession of “twelve villages, two chateaux, seven farms, & several mills & manufactories” valued judicially at 896,755 florins of Vienna. I suppose the inhabitants are included. – The notion I think will amuse you as much as it does us. So buy the tickets Grosvenor. The Castles in question are certainly probably <certainly> two of the King of Bohemias [3]  castles, because they make the great prize in an Imperial Lottery, – but whether they are two of the Seven Castles the history of which Corporal Trim began to Uncle Toby, I pretend not to determine. [4]  By all means however let us have a chance for them, I should <like> a good fortune well, & much the better if it were a queer xxx case one, & came in a comical way.

So God bless you Grosvenor & make us both Barons, & my Aunt a Bohemian Baroness.



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] 12 S/ 182
Endorsement: 9 Sept. 1821/ Bohemia
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), V, pp. 94–95. BACK

[1] Wolf Herz Reinganum (1756–1828), leading Jewish banker in Frankfurt. The lottery was widely advertised in European newspapers, for example, Journal D’Affiches de Gand, Bruges, Courtrai, et des Deux Flandres, 26 April 1821. BACK

[2] The seven estates advertised were Zickau, Wolschow, Strunkau, Kogschitz, Liebietitz, Przestanitz and Oberstankau, and the draw was in Vienna on 1 October 1821. Southey did not win; neither did Byron, who also bought a ticket. BACK

[3] Francis I (1768–1835; Emperor of Austria 1804–1835). BACK

[4] Laurence Sterne (1713–1768; DNB), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–1767), Book 8, Chapters 18–25 contain Corporal Trim’s unfinished anecdote on the King of Bohemia and his seven castles. BACK

People mentioned

Southey, Mary (1750–1838) (mentioned 3 times)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)