300. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 30 March 1798

300. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 30 March 1798 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

I have a commission to trouble you with. at Number 374 Oxford Street are to be sold certain parsnips, called sugar parsnips, from which, the advertisement states that sugar may be procured by an easy process, & in considerable quantities. the price of the quantity to be sold is half-a-guinea. [1]  Now some friends of mine wish to try the experiment. Will you call there & purchase them, & leave the direction to Mrs Jardine to be left at Mr Cottles – Wine Street – Bristol.  [2]  I will pay you when we meet in May, & if you are disposed to try them at Brixton, you may take part & try the experiment at a cheap rate. the mans name is Pritchett. I shall be obliged to you, to do this the first time you go to Soho Square, as this is the season to plant them.

My brother Tom is H.M.S. Mars. Spithead or elsewhere. I thank you for your last.

I shall see you on the 10 of May – & will pass the following Sunday with you at Brixton early in the week after I am bound for Yarmouth. Oh – de Musæo. [3]  Of the two copies reserved for me in your hands – I resign one for John May, & you may carry it to Carlisles for him. our garden scheme [4]  is I hope in a fair way.

yrs for ever & ever.


Friday 30 March. 1798 [5] 

I am quite ashamed to have forgotten to send this letter to you on Saturday [6] 


* Address: To / G. C. Bedford Esqr / Exchequer / London
Seal: [partial, illegible]
Endorsement: 30 March 1798
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Pritchett’s Fruit Warehouse, 374 Oxford Street, London, specialised in new, imported species of fruit and vegetables, including the Transylvanian Cattle Cabbage, the German Turnip, and the Great Flemish Carrot. They advertised regularly in the metropolitan press. Adverts for the sugar parsnips – an alternative to slave-produced sugar cane – seem not to have survived. BACK

[2] The Jardines owned a small estate at Pickwick, near Bath, and Mrs Jardine was presumably considering planting sugar parsnips there. In 1798, Cottle issued the two-volume Sermons, By the Late Rev. David Jardine, of Bath. Published from the Original Manuscripts, by the Rev. John Prior Estlin. BACK

[3] Grosvenor Charles Bedford’s translation of Musaeus (fl. c. early 6th century), The Loves of Hero and Leander (1797). BACK

[4] John May and Southey’s plan for a convalescent hospital. BACK

[5] 1798: Inserted in another hand. BACK

[6] I am quite … Saturday: Written on the address leaf. BACK

Places mentioned

Yarmouth (mentioned 1 time)
Cottles (mentioned 1 time)