1772. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [before 24 April 1810]

1772. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [before 24 April 1810] ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

There is one part of your letter to which I can make no reply now, – for I am not alone, & there ought to be no person present when ones eyes water. – Only take care of yourself, – do not be your own physician – & when you are better, avoid with especial care any thing which might occasion your <a> relapse.

You will not be displeased to hear that I have engaged with Murray to write him such a life of Nelson as shall be put into the hands of every youth destined for the navy. a five shilling volume, – for which he gives me a hundred guineas. [1]  – You will also not be surprized to hear that the particular want of connection which you specify (& I dare aver every instance of the same kind that you has ever ocurred in any of my reviewals) is occasioned by an omission of Giffords. This case is one which I regret a good deal, because it did justice to Lady Hamilton, [2]  & therefore ought especially to have been printed after the very decided manner in which I had condemned Nelsons conduct toward his wife. [3]  However I have an opportunity of rectifying all this fully.

Gifford will wonder at <part of> my last letter to him [4]  – It proceeded from a misconception arising from this circumstance. He offered me double pay, – & sent me a draft for 28– 16. – Of course, I conceived this to be the whole pay, – & that at the double rate, it could only be about twenty two pages instead of eight & forty for which by his own desire I had cast it. – Murray has since sent me a draft for thirty guineas more, & the Review having reached me I see that his curtailments (tho they have cruelly emasculated the life) have very little shortened it. Now I have asked him for the MSS. if not destroyed – under an a notion that the half of it, not used would have been transferable for <to> the promised work Life volume. If this be worth explaining, explain it for me, – for it is an awkward business to write expressly about it.

God bless you my dear Grosvenor


Those Kehamas [5]  are to be returned here, – there are but two books more, which sans fail will be sent to you in the course of the week.

Herberts thanks – he has a very high idea of his Godfather. [6] 


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr./ [in another hand] 9 Stafford Place/ Pimlico/ JCH
Endorsement: Recd 25 April 1810
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Internal evidence indicates this is written shortly before Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 24 April 1810, Letter 1773. BACK

[1] Southey had reviewed John Charnock (1756–1806; DNB), Biographical Memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, &c., &c., &c.; with Observations, Critical and Explanatory (1806); James Harrison (d. 1847), The Life of Lord Nelson (1806); T. O. Churchill (fl. 1800–1823), The Life of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, &c (1808); and James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB) and John McArthur (1755–1840; DNB), The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. from his Lordship’s Manuscripts (1809); see Quarterly Review, 3 (February 1810), 218–262. Murray had now commissioned him to expand this into a full-scale Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[2] Emma Hamilton (c. 1765–1815; DNB). BACK

[3] Frances Nisbet (1761–1831); Quarterly Review, 3 (February 1810), 253: Nelson’s ‘attachment to Lady Hamilton was like infatuation, and its baneful influence hung over him during the remainder of his life.’ BACK

[4] This letter does not seem to have survived. BACK

[5] Manuscript copies of some of the later books of The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[6] Those Kehama … Godfather: Inserted at top of fol. 1 r. BACK

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