3754. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 7 December 1821

3754. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 7 December 1821⁠* 

Keswick 7 Dec. 1821

My dear G

The half bills are arrived, & with them Mackenzies [1]  note which proves beyond all possibility of doubt that there are as bad pens in France as in England. Marshal St Cyrs book [2]  has been in my possession some days, & very useful it will be to me, especially as I have a very able Spanish history to compare with it from for part of the time, partly in print, partly in the unpublished mss. which was sent me by the author. [3]  Thank Mackenzie for me. – The facts in his letter concerning Romana [4]  will be make a very interesting page in my work.

In reading the Life of Lord Keeper Guildford [5]  this morning, for the first time, it amused me very much to find that nothing ever made him so angry, as a report raised by his enemies that he had ridden a rhinoceros. [6]  I thought of your reason for not riding one. In our days we should not much regard a calumny of this kind. But it seems it was thought a very unfit thing for a Lord Keeper. I should like to know Lord Eldons opinion: it would probably be a more unbiased one than he gave in the case of Wat Tyler. [7] 

God bless you. I must go to work for Gifford. [8] 



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Endorsement: 7 Decr. 1821/ Ld Keeper Guilford
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Colin Alexander Mackenzie (1778?–1851), a wealthy Scot who was employed on a number of delicate diplomatic missions and may well 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 dined with him in Paris on 17 May and 19 May 1817, and Mackenzie offered to provide some details of his wartime activities. 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 from northern Europe in August 1808. BACK

[2] Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr (1764–1830), Journal des Opérations de l’Armée de Catalogne, en 1808 et 1809 (1821). BACK

[3] Francisco Xavier de Cabanes (1781–1834), Historia de las Operaciones des Exercito de Cataluna en la Guerra de la Usurpacion (1809), no. 3816 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of La Romana (1761–1811) was the Commander of the Spanish Division of the North. BACK

[5] Francis North, 1st Baron Guildford (1637–1685; DNB), lawyer, judge and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal 1682–1685. BACK

[6] Roger North (1651–1734; DNB), The Life of the Right Honourable Francis North, Baron of Guildford, 2 vols (London, 1808), II, pp. 240–241. BACK

[7] John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (1751–1838; DNB), Lord Chancellor 1801–1806, 1807–1827, had delivered the judgement in March 1817 that denied Southey an injunction against the publication of Wat Tyler (1817). The office of Lord Keeper of the Great Seal had been merged with that of Lord Chancellor since 1761. BACK

[8] In other words, to write for the Quarterly Review. BACK

People mentioned

Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)