2156. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 9 October 1812
2156. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 9 October 1812 *
My dear Grosvenor
Thank you for your news, – its substance tho not in the Bulletin form, is in the Courier,  – but I am afraid that Bulletin & all will not quite justify three chears, – like Ld W.s entrance into Madrid.  The great battle is manifestly the battle of Mojaisk,  – tho the circumstances are xxxxxxx <much> at variance with the French accounts, unhappily xx Buonaparte dates from Mojaisk, – so that he has evidently not been beaten back. Nevertheless I am satisfied that he has little to boast, & that he may say with Pyrrhus  another such victory will be his ruin: the Russians must ultimately be victorious, if they are neither betrayed not frightened into a peace; till they are victorious, I confess myself apprehensive of such a result.
Certes, & Certissime,  Grosvenor, there is nothing which I should like better than to write the history of the Peninsular war,  – so in whatever you may say to Gifford upon the subject, my disposition to the subject must be taken into the account.
The first proof of the Register is on my table.  John Ballantyne is a thorough shuffler. I asked him to make his arrangements so that my drafts might be payable in London instead of Edinburgh: & this he said should be done; – yet he did not at the same time tell me where I was to draw upon him, & delays writing I suspect for the purpose of procrastinating my bills. Not that the man is or can be embarrassed, – but that every delay is so much interest saved. Meantime he has about 110£ of mine in his hands, & while he is shuffling I am in want of money. Can you lend me thirty pounds, till I get this fellows address? As soon as it comes I will draw upon him to the full & send you the draft. And most assuredly if he attempts to play me any trick I will have done with him at the end of the volume.
Did you receive the Common-Place-Book?  – Your note was duly delivered to Sally Crosthwaite  by the hands of Dr Bell.
Downmans  price is ten guineas. He is gone to Newcastle, & did not talk of going to London, – otherwise he could xxx of course have no objection to copying from a picture.
Concerning Marquis Wellington. I suspect some want of conduct in Clinton  who was <left> at Cuellar when Lord W. went to Madrid, & who let the French advance to Astorga, & bring off their garrison from Toro & Zamora. – We are clumsy at sieges & do that by lavishing brave blood which ought to be done by sciences: generals who act thus, ought to when they storm a place to put the garrison to the sword. Every Frenchman who might have been thus sacrificed at C Rodrigo would have saved five English at Badajoz.  It seems to me that 2500 men would not have been left by the French at Burgos, unless Massena  meant to make an effort to relieve them: if so there will be another battle, & sans doubt another victory, – at less expence probably than the Fort itself will cost our xxxxxxx bungling engineers. An second victory would enable Lord W. to push on part of his army to Vitoria & seize the stores; the Spaniards might <then> blockade Pamplona, & be these things as they may, I think he will; as soon as he has crippled Massena, march upon Zaragoza,  – where I think I would give one of my eyes to see his entrance with the other.
I should dearly like to write the history of this war, & to make it as compleat as views, portraits, plans & human industry could make it. What fine materials the Countess would procure concerning Zaragoza!  But this is a dream & the sooner I wake from it the better. You may <be> sure his Majesty’s Historiographer  will deal by Lord Wellington as he has dealt by Nelson,  & disgrace our military hero as he has done our naval one by a clumsy compilation.
God bless you
Keswick. Oct 9. 1812.
I am sorry that Canning stands for Liverpool.  A contest with Brougham seems to be letting himself down.  What respectability can he derive from being Member for Liverpool, or what weight in the House? If he sat for Old Sarum he would be Canning still, & Middlesex, Westminster or Yorkshire  could make him nothing more!
* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr./ Exchequer/
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 12 OC 12/ 1812
Endorsement: 9 Octr 1812
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
 The battle of Borodino, or Mojaisk, was reported in the Courier, 7 October 1812. The issue of the newspaper, probably that for 8 or 9 October 1812, that dealt with Wellington’s entry into Madrid does not survive. BACK
 The battle of Mojaisk, also known as the battle of Borodino, 7 September 1812, saw massive casualties on both sides. Although it was a French tactical victory, in the longer-term Napoleon’s failure to destroy the Russian army marked a turning point in his campaign in Russia. BACK
 King Pyrrhus of Epirus (319/318–272 BC), whose army suffered massive casualties in defeating the Romans in the battle of Heraclea, 280 BC. Hence, the phrase, a pyrrhic victory. BACK
 Southey might have lent Bedford one of his own common place books; or he could be returning one of Bedford’s own books; see Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 29 September 1812, Letter 2152. BACK
 Peter Crosthwaite (1735–1808), was a retired naval commander, publisher of maps and inventor of the aeolian harp. In the 1780s he established the first museum in Keswick. Its treasures included a set of musical stones, a stuffed albatross and a pig with no legs. By 1811 the Museum was run by his son Daniel (c. 1776–1847), a portrait painter. Sally Crosthwaite might be his sister, Sarah Crosthwaite (1771–1817). BACK
 John Downman (1750–1824; DNB), who in autumn 1812 painted two portraits of Southey (one commissioned by Murray) and one of Edith. BACK
 The Countess of Bureta, María de la Consolación Azlor y Villavicencio (1775–1814), a Spanish aristocrat who took an active role in the two sieges of Zaragoza in 1808–1809. BACK
 James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB), who earlier in 1812 had been appointed Historiographer Royal, a post Southey had coveted. BACK
 James Stanier Clarke and John McArthur (1755–1840; DNB), The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. from his Lordship’s Manuscripts (1809). BACK
 Canning was elected an MP for Liverpool in the general election of 1812. This was a constituency with a large electorate (c. 4,000), compared to the handful of voters at the pocket borough of Old Sarum. BACK