2162. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 October 1812

2162. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 October 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick Oct 25 1812.

My dear Grosvenor

Sir Shuffler is at Edinburgh, where a letter from his house tells me his he is confined to his bed. – the bill will be accepted payable in London (the letter tells me) & he is to send me in ten days a remittance for 50 £ more “by such a London Bill as he purposes to use in future.” I do not know what cause you have discovered to think ill of him, more than is known to me; – but I have no fear of the stability of the concern, – the elder brother (the Printer) has a good character & a prodigious business, & Scott, who is embarked in the Register [1]  would not risk his any thing without good assurance that it was trusted to a safe bottom. – What must be done with the Bill is to sent it to Mr John Ballantyne, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, for acceptance, – & then get it cashed. It will be the last of the kind, & with those which are to follow I trust there will be no difficulty or trouble.

Dawes [2]  picture is becoming a very fine thing, – but for the Graculus [3]  himself, he is the coolest fellow that ever got his foot into another mans house.

I have made the Ballantynes behave themselves properly about the Chronicle, [4]  which I will not suffer to be taken out of my hands, because it is not possible that any other person should avoid repeating things which have found fitter place in the History.

So Maitland is removed. [5]  I suspected mismanagement in that quarter. If the General Donkin who is next in command, be as I believe he is Rufan Donkin, he is an old play fellow of mine when I was quite a child, & quoad brains he is of a good breed on the mothers side. [6] 

Rejoice with me in the progress which Roderick [7]  is making – & condole with me, in that I am now busy about Commercial Credit – & have then to plunge into the bottomless abyss of Bullion! [8] 

Gifford will hear from me in two or three days. I have nearly finished a pleasant article for him upon Dizzy’s book. [9] 



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [twice] E/ 28 OC 28/ 1812
Endorsement: Recd 29 Octor
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[2] The history and portrait painter George Dawe (1781–1829; DNB). Dawe’s residence at Greta Hall whilst he worked on the 9 foot by 8 foot canvas ‘Mother Rescuing her Child from an Eagle’s Nest’ was not without controversy, with some members of the household complaining about his habit of keeping windows open. The picture was based on William Hayley’s (1745–1820; DNB), ‘The Eagle’, first published in Designs to a Series of Ballads (1802). BACK

[3] The Latin name for a jackdaw. BACK

[4] The chronicle of the year’s events found in the second volume of each yearly instalment of the Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[5] Frederick Maitland (1763–1848; DNB) had resigned his command in Spain in November 1812. BACK

[6] Southey’s erstwhile schoolfellow Rufane Shaw Donkin (1773–1841; DNB). He was the son of General Robert Donkin (1726/7–1821) and of Mary, the daughter of the Revd Emanuel Collins. Collins was the Vicar of Bedminster in Somerset in the mid-18th century and had scandalised local society by running a public house, ‘The Duke of Marlborough’, conducting clandestine marriages for money and lampooning his neighbours in verse. Donkin was a career army officer. He served as quarter-master general on the east coast of Spain from 1810–1813 and in 1811 was promoted to the rank of Major-General. BACK

[7] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[8] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 89–114. BACK

[9] Isaac D’Israeli, Calamities of Authors; Including some Inquiries Respecting their Moral and Literary Characters (1812), Quarterly Review, 8 (September 1812), 93–114. BACK

People mentioned

Ballantyne, John (1774–1821) (mentioned 2 times)
Ballantyne, James (1772–1833) (mentioned 1 time)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)