1503. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8–9 September 1808

1503. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8–9 September 1808 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Had I been a single man I should long ere thus have found my way into Spain. I do not perceive any possibility of my going now & for this plain reason; my pension would not support my family during my absence, – & there is no reason to suppose that any salary which might be allowed me would be more than sufficient for my expences abroad. So much the better: for if it were otherwise & the offer were made me, I believe I ought to accept it, & this could not be done without a great sacrifice. Three children & a fourth in prospect are not easily left, & ought not to be left without unless some important advantage were to be obtained from <by> leaving them. I am obliged to Gifford; – very much obliged to him; – it is likely that Frere, from his knowledge of my Uncle, would be disposed to listen to him, but that enough could be obtained to render my acceptance of it prudent, or even practicable seems out of the question. [1] 

Thank you for your offer. the old Letters [2]  need nothing more than the Printers revisal, – & for the Cid, – he may perhaps have made his appearance by the time this reaches you: for the publication would take place immediately on the receipt of the last proof from Frere. [3] 

I stick in Toms manuscript [4]  for want of time & resolution to rhyme the third section. It shall however soon be done.


So far was written last night, immediately on the receipt of your letter – In matters of any import this is my way, – to reply from the instantaneous feeling, – & then let the reply lie quietly for cooler judgement. You see what my thoughts are upon the subject. I should accept an advantageous offer; xxx but am so certain of being desperately home-sick during the whole time of absence, that <I am glad there is little> the improbability of any offer sufficiently advantageous. xxx xxx Yet had I 500 £ to dispose of I would go in the first packet for Lisbon, expressly to purchase books. The French have beyond all doubt sold off the convent libraries & perhaps the publick one, & such a collection may now be made, as could never at any other time be within reach.

As for a history of the Spanish Revolution Landor is in the country, & if he feels it & if he is disposed to do it, there never was that man upon earth who could do it better.

God bless you


Sept. 9. 1808.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster.
Endorsement: Copied – Sept 9 1808
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ SEP 13/ 1808
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 167–168 [with omissions]. BACK

[1] Gifford’s proposal, it seems, was that Southey should join the embassy headed by Frere; see Southey to Herbert Hill, 12 September 1808, Letter 1506. BACK

[2] Southey’s Letters written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797) were being reprinted in an expanded form as Letters written during a Journey in Spain, and a Short Residence in Portugal. BACK

[3] Southey’s edition of the Chronicle of the Cid (1808) contained three of Frere’s translations from the Poema del Cid in an appendix. BACK

[4] A draft of The Curse of Kehama (1810) was being sent in letters to Thomas Southey. BACK