3017. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 August 1817

3017. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 August 1817⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Unluckily I have lost Beresfords [1]  address, & more unluckily still the answer which I have just received from Rickman, & which I must request you to communicate to him is that the change of Speakers [2]  has postponed the work of his Indices indefinitely, & with regard to himself (R) very uncertainly, it being probable that he may have nothing to do with it. “Hereafter we shall see if it be done & under whose auspices. Nor at present have I any other work in hand or in prospect which might enable me to gratify your friends wishes. If any should occur I will not be unmindful of him, – that is as far as trial goes.” [3] 

I was down at Westminster meaning to see you on Saturday noon (the day of my departure) when I was called away by a note which I found there from G. Dyer requesting to see me on particular business & saying that if he did not see me now he never expected to have another opportunity. – But you shall see the note, & have the sequel when we meet.

Tell me when you may be expected. I shall look out your old sleeping quarters for you; [4]  but you will take your meals here. The Rickmans [5]  set out tomorrow & will arrive before you. Wm Westall is lodging at the bottom of the garden, – a man of first rate powers in his profession. The General is on the Island, & we have planned Heaven knows how many parties (Jupiter [6]  i.e. the weather permitting) when you & the Rickmans are come. Nash also will be in Keswick, & Senhouse will come over, that we may climb the Cumberland mountains together, as well as those of Switzerland & Savoy.

I have been working upon papers which Lord Sheffield sent me respecting the army on the East coast of Spain, [7]  – & (such odd things xxx forced upon me) I have had to write to the Bishop of London requesting him to appoint a Chaplain at Pernambuco & sending him resolutions of the British settlers there respecting the salary &c – which instead of transmitting thro an official channel, they sent to me! [8] 

Among the letters awaiting me on my return was one from Rochford, Essex from N.T.P. requesting that I could write an Acrostic for him upon his mistress Rebecca, [9]  & enclosing a pound bill ‘to pay the postage.’ I have told him <in reply> that the money shall be expended in giving four poor old women a flannel petticoat each. – Had if not been for the money one might have supposed this to be a hoax, – but it is genuine impudence allied with ignorance. You shall see the letter – I have a heap of such strange applications – from which a curious selection may one day be formed.

Remember me to Wynn & so God bless you


Monday 25 Aug. 1817. Keswick


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre
Endorsements: 25. Augt 1817; 25 August 1817
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Charles Griffis Beresford (dates unknown), an old Westminster schoolfellow, who was seeking employment in the cataloguing of parliamentary papers in the office of the Speaker of the House of Commons. BACK

[2] Charles Abbot, Rickman’s patron, had retired as The Speaker of the House of Commons and Charles Manners-Sutton (1780–1845; DNB) was elected as his successor on 2 June 1817, serving 1817–1835. BACK

[3] A quotation from a letter sent by John Rickman to Southey, 23 August 1817, Huntington Library. BACK

[4] Bedford had rented a room from Daniel Crosthwaite (c. 1738–1816), one of an extended family prominent in Keswick life, on previous visits. BACK

[5] John and Susannah Rickman and their children: Anne (b. 1808); William Charles (1812–1886); and Frances (dates unknown). BACK

[6] Jupiter was the chief god of the Romans. BACK

[7] In connection with Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[8] Southey had received a letter from his friend Henry Koster transmitting this request for a chaplain to be sent to the British community in this Brazilian province. BACK

[9] Rebecca Rankin (1795–1871), eldest daughter of William Rankin (c. 1769–1833), a prominent farmer in Bocking, Essex. On 30 October 1817 she married Charles Stock (1781–1835), a ‘gentleman’ who later became a coal merchant. The identity of ‘N.T.P.’ is a mystery. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)