1998. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [before 14 December 1811]

1998. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [before 14 December 1811]⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

I trouble you with a packet for the twopenny post, – containing a young authors tragedy. [1]  In a day or two I shall send thro the same channel a packet which you will receive with more pleasure – the last half of the book of Bell & the Dragon, – & the dedication. [2]  And tomorrow I expect to finish another book of Pelayo, [3]  after which the heat & action of the poem will follow in full stream.

I have heard indirectly from Sharp that Ld Dudley & Ward [4]  told him the last years Register was to be made the subject of a Parliamentary Motion. [5]  – This is not the best authority in the world – but it may be so, & in that case I may visit London in the winter instead of the autumn for the purpose of being introduced to Mr Coleman. [6]  If this should happen I shall read my defence at the bar, which will be very short & pithy. And in the future volumes whenever I have a comment to make upon Mr Whitbread, [7]  I shall take care to write fully as usual, – but print a string of asterisks like the in like the recital of xxxx <what was said to> Tristrams misfortune when the misfortune happened to him at the window. [8] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. B.
Endorsement: Recd 14. Dec. 1811
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Possibly a play by Ebenezer Elliott; see Southey to Ebenezer Elliott, 7 February 1811, Letter 1866. BACK

[2] The Origin, Nature, and Object, of the New System of Education (1812), an expansion of Southey’s article in Quarterly Review, 6 (August 1811), 264–304. Southey had initially planned to include an epistle attacking Jeffrey. He decided against doing so. BACK

[3] What became Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[4] The politician John William Ward, Earl of Dudley (1781–1833; DNB), MP for Wareham 1807–1812. BACK

[5] The threat of parliamentary action was the result of a long aside in the Edinburgh Review, 18 (August 1811), 420–423n, which had questioned whether the ‘virulent personal abuse … levelled at the most respectable members of the Legislature’ in the Edinburgh Annual Register was in breach of Parliamentary privilege and hinted that action against the author and publishers might be taken. In the event, the Edinburgh Review’s suggestion was not acted on. BACK

[6] Francis John Colman, serjeant-at-arms (i.e. the chief law enforcement officer in the Houses of Parliament) from 1805–1811. He died in Portugal on 12 December 1811. His successor was John Clementson (1780–1856), who served in a temporary capacity from January–March 1812, when the post went to Henry Seymour (1778–1844), who held it until 1835. BACK

[7] The radical MP Samuel Whitbread (1764–1815; DNB). BACK

[8] Tristram Shandy, hero of the novel by Lawrence Sterne (1713–1768; DNB), was circumcised by a falling window sash. When the subject is discussed in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (London, 1759–1769), vol. 2, book 27, it is mostly in asterisks. BACK

People mentioned

Bell, Andrew (1753–1832) (mentioned 1 time)
Lancaster, Joseph (1778–1838) (mentioned 1 time)
Sharp, Richard (1759–1835) (mentioned 1 time)