2952. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 23 March 1817

2952. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 23 March 1817⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

The Devil must have been in my two lawyers to talk of shame & wickedness! [1]  – Read the inclosed, – & if you can, go with it to Turner. Against his judgment I would not act a second time: – whether there be any thing libellous he will at once perceive, – & you & he & the Docstor may determine upon the prudence of publishing it. [2] 

If my letter to Wm Smith should not have been printed xxx you must then alter the first line, & say “a brief statement,’ instead of ‘my last words”


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ 9. Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate
Stamped: [partial] py Post/ Unpaid/ St Westmr
Postmark: 4 o’Clock/ 26 MR/ 1817 EV
Endorsement: 23 March 1817 with Enc to the Courier – Histy of Wat Tyler
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. AL; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s case for an injunction against the publishers of his youthful play, Wat Tyler (1817), was refused in the Court of Chancery, after a hearing on 18–19 March 1817. Southey was aggrieved at the case made by his lawyers, Sir Anthony Hart (c. 1754–1831; DNB) and Sir Lancelot Shadwell (1779–1850; DNB), as reported in e.g. Morning Post, 19 March 1817, ‘it was of the utmost importance that the dissemination of a work, professing such wicked and mischievous sentiments, both as it regarded the public welfare, and the character of the individual, who had long since disavowed the sentiments contained in it, should be immediately stopped’. BACK

[2] The enclosure, which has not survived, was a fair copy of Southey to the Editor of the Courier, [19 March 1817], Letter 2946. This had originally been sent to Wynn, 19 March 1817 (Letter 2948), for him to forward to the newspaper. Wynn’s absence from home led to a delay in his receiving the letter. Southey, concerned at his letter’s non-appearance in the Courier and unaware that Wynn was away from London, here sends a copy to Bedford, seeking his opinion. BACK

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