1616. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 21 April [1809]

1616. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 21 April [1809] ⁠* 

I have written so that the other page may be torn off & consigned to Gifford – Have you heard that the Bishop of Durham  [1]  is writing an answer to that said defence of the Mission. [2]  I suppose the good old man smells heresy & will take for his motto Non defensoribus istis –  [3] 

The rejection of your Cidiana I rather impute to some implacable enemy against me than any other cause, – in whom, or for what cause I know not, – but the M. Review has manifested it for the last ten years. [4] 

Tomorrow or Saturday at the latest, I expect to send off my Portugueze article, [5]  by post, as Murray has instructed me. The American one a few days afterwards. [6]  My work necessarily takes up more time than ordinary reviewing, because in both cases it is wholly without extracts to fill it out. I shall be glad to receive the Hesiod, [7]  which I have an inclination to read carefully, but wish to be paid for so doing. About the desire of limiting all articles to a single sheet I made no mistake, & am glad to find that Giffard perceives the folly & impracticability of it.

You, in common with all Sir J Moores friends must be sorry for the publication of their late documents, which so incontestably prove him to have unequal to the situation in which he was placed. [8]  And what madness to publish such an account of an army to which Parliament had voted thanks! – I am much pleased with Freres part of the correspondence, – & not a little gratified to find him confirming every opinion which I have constantly confessed upon the subject of our campaign in Spain. Your last letter of politics is not quite in unison with my feelings & foreseeing – Things are come to this dilemma, – reform or ruin, – & on one of these horns I pray to God that John Bull may give his Damned [illegible word] a deadly toss. I Mr Bedford am a pensioner – so much the worse for me, – but I am not the worse for the pension, – & there is not a man in England who would <more> gladly see the D of Y.––– [9]  & his Majestys precious ministers exalted according to their deserts than I RS. should do. As for a new ministry I have no expectation of a better. – one set is as bad as the other, & I rather hate the whigs the worst, because they pretend to some honesty, which I must do the in-rogues the justice to say they do not. But a constitutional reform would save the country, & nothing short of that will be of any avail.

I have had the Mumps & have been in the Dumps, by rhyme & by rea by reason thereof. – Your Godson (my Moon I call him – but he insists upon it that he is not a Moon – his answer this morning to the application ran thus ‘A son I am, & a boy’, & Herbert Southey I are, & a good boy & a nice boy) – that long parenthesis puts me to the expence of another nomination case. Your Godson, then I say, would soon find the way to your heart, for never did the same number of round inches contain more sweetness, more quaintness, – & I might almost add beauty to the list. Frank him down one of those books pictures-books which will go in a letter, & I will tell him his Godfather sent it Oh how his bright eyes widen & sparkle! –

God bless you

yrs as ever.

April 21


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster.
Endorsement: 21 April 1809
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ APR 24/ 1809
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. AL; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Shute Barrington (1734–1826; DNB), Bishop of Durham from 1791 to 1826. BACK

[2] Southey reviewed the Periodical Accounts Relative to the Baptist Missionary Society (published from 1794); [John Scott-Waring (1747–1819; DNB)], Vindication of the Hindoos from the Aspersions of the Reverend Claudius Buchanan, M.A. With a Refutation of the Arguments Exhibited in his Memoir, on the Expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India, and the Ultimate Civilization of the Natives, by their Conversion to Christianity… By a Bengal Officer (1808); Thomas Twining (1776–1861; DNB), A Letter to the Chairman of the East India Company, on the Danger of Interfering in the Religious Opinions of the Natives of India; and on the Views of the British and Foreign Bible Society, as Directed to India (1807), in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 193–226. BACK

[3] The Latin translates as ‘not such defenders’, and is from Virgil, Aeneid, II, V, 21. BACK

[4] Southey had asked Bedford to write a review of his Chronicle of the Cid (1808) for the Monthly Review; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 28 February 1809, Letter 1590. The rejection mentioned here was temporary: the book was reviewed in complimentary terms in the Monthly Review, 63 (1810), 131–144. BACK

[5] Southey reviewed Extractos em Portuguez e em Inglez; com as Palavras Portuguezas Propriamente Accentuadas, para Facilitar o Estudo d’Aquella Lingoa (1808) in the Quarterly Review, 1 (May, 1809), 268–292. BACK

[6] Southey reviewed Abiel Holmes (1763–1837), American Annals; or, a Chronological History of America, from its Discovery in 1492 to 1806, in the Quarterly Review, 2 (November 1809), 319–337. BACK

[7] Hesiod was a Greek pastoral poet thought to have flourished between 750–650 BC. Charles Abraham Elton (1778–1853; DNB) published The Remains of Hesiod the Ascraean: Translated from the Greek into English in 1809. Southey did not review this work. BACK

[8] The diplomatist John Hookham Frere was sent to Spain as minister-plenipotentiary to the Central Junta on 4 October 1808 and when the French marched on Madrid he urged Sir John Moore (1761–1809; DNB), the Commander of the British forces in northern Spain to also advance upon Madrid despite his inclination to retreat through Portugal. After the disastrous retreat to Corunna, Frere was blamed for this advice and recalled by the British government. After some of Frere’s and Moore’s correspondence was read out in the Commons on 27 April, Moore’s side of matters was presented in James Moore (1763–1860; DNB), A Narrative of the Campaign of the British Army in Spain, Commanded by His Excellency Sir John Moore. Authenticated by Official Papers and Original Letters (1809). Frere’s correspondence with Moore was published in 1810 in a work entitled To the British Nation is Presented by Colonel Venault de Charmilly, Knight of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis, the Narrative of his Transactions in Spain with the Rt. Hon. Hookham Frere, His Britannic Majesty’s Minister Plenipotentiary, and Lt. Gen. Sir John Moore, K.B. Commander of the British Forces: with the Suppressed Correspondence of Sir J. Moore: Being a Refutation of the Calumnies Invented Against Him, and Proving that He was Never Acquainted with General Morla. BACK

[9] Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827; DNB), Commander in Chief of the army. He held the post from 1798–1809, but was forced to resign in the wake of allegations that he had profited by allowing his mistress, Mary Anne Clarke (c. 1776–1852; DNB), to accept money from army officers, in return for which promotion was arranged. In May 1811 the Prince Regent reinstated his brother as Commander-in-Chief of the army, a post which he held for the rest of his life. BACK

People mentioned

Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 2 times)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 2 times)
Frere, John Hookham (1769–1846) (mentioned 2 times)
George IV (1762–1830) (mentioned 1 time)