2026. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [January 1812]

2026. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [January 1812]⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Pistols I must have, – they allow of two shots, & they are more easily put out of the way by day, & in the way by night. [1]  The evening I wrote to you Shelley was knocked down at his own door. [2]  – so close to it as to fall back senseless into the passage, & thus escape robbery. So that you see there is some cause for the alarm, & that it may not be amiss to carry arms at night for some time to come.

Instead of the watchmans rattle send me two – for a good neighbour of ours requests me to get her one. [3]  I am afraid I shall never persuade her to join me t & xx perform a duet with them. But that I have the full & free permission of my Governess to provide myself with this musical instrument, witness her hand

Edith Southey  [4] 

There Grosvenor. How I am threatened about if any improper use should be made of this said Rattle I leave you to guess, who know the Jerry-sneakery to which I am reduced.

What is become of the Quarterly?

Vale vale.


I like the silence of the French papers respecting Suchet [5]  – & I am in great hopes that General Simon [6]  will furnish a job to M: Jean Ketch. [7] 


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Private/ [in another hand] 9 Stafford Row/ Pimlico/ J. C. Herries
Endorsement: Jany 1812
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] See Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 January 1812, Letter 2018. BACK

[2] This incident occurred on 19 January 1812. BACK

[3] Possibly Sara Coleridge. BACK

[4] Edith Southey’s signature. BACK

[5] Louis Gabriel Suchet, 1st Duc d’Albufera (1770–1826), Marshal of France and key figure in the French campaign in the Iberian peninsula. He had captured Valencia on 9 January 1812. BACK

[6] General Simon (dates unknown) had been a prisoner on parole in Odiham, Hampshire since his capture in October 1810. He attempted to organise a plot to free other French prisoners and absconded to London, where he was discovered on 12 January 1812 and sent to Dumbarton Castle. He was finally exchanged in 1814. BACK

[7] A French equivalent of the British public executioner Jack (John) Ketch (d. 1686; DNB), whose name and reputation for brutality entered into popular mythology. BACK

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