2271. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 June 1813

2271. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 June 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. June 20. 1813.

My dear Grosvenor

You will certainly see me in July, if I am alive & well & no unforeseen obstacle arise. And I think by the middle of the month at latest. It would have been sooner, if my whole house were not disorganized in a mournful way. Ediths brother is dying here: He came down at Xmas to pass a few weeks, broke a blood vessel shortly after his arrival, & is now in the last stage of atrophy, produced by a complication of hepatic & pulmonary diseases. For the last week Edmondson has said that his death might be hourly expected, – still he is alive, & God knows how long he may linger on. [1]  – I have nothing more to grieve me on this occasion than the common feelings of human nature, – but those are enough; & you will not wonder if in the utter absence of all comfort which about the house, & the dislocation of hours, habits & employments which extends to every member of it, – I should neither be able to find place or composure for regular & urg business, however urgent.

I will bring the stag’s-horn.

Day after day I expect in vain a promised letter from the Shuffler. The only chance which I have of not being cheated, is this, that the B’s. will look to gain more by printing my history & getting a share in it, than by playing me a trick now. James B. has requested to print it, in a letter which as yet I have not yet answered, – & indeed this is not my busi this rests with Murray & not with me. It is settled that I write the History of the Peninsular War, recasting what is in the Register: [2]  the terms will probably not be settled till I am in shall be in town.

Meantime I get no money from this fellow. Send me therefore the amount of my next quarter, [3]  & we out of the unborn stock, & replace it when payment is made at your shop.

The best news I can give you de me ipso  [4]  is that Thalaba is going to press for a third edition: [5]  – one among many xxxxxx symptoms that my name is acquiring a savoury odour.

This unaccountable armistice! [6]  & the more unaccountable weakness of the allied army! – See what it is to depend upon the capricious feelings & will of an individual like Alexander! [7]  My comfort is still in Spain, & Minas [8]  dispatches, in a packet of Cadiz papers which reached me yesterday, came like a cordial. We have given him two <pieces of> cannon which were landed at Deva in Asturias, – & with these he goes battering away at the French line of fortified posts, raising all that he takes, & thus clearing the roads & leaving them no shelter between one strong fortress & another. If Lord Wellington advances to Vittoria he will derive considerable aid from this indefatigable man, who really deserves to be called the Scanderbeg [9]  of Spain.

Tell Blanco that if it had not been for this death in the house, which I have long foreseen, I should have pressed him to have been here at this time: – but that I hope & trust he will make his visit in the autumn, – perhaps we may travel together.

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer
Endorsement: June 20 1813
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] George Fricker died on 24 June 1813; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 28 June 1813, Letter 2274. BACK

[2] Southey planned to use material he had produced for the Edinburgh Annual Register for his History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[3] The next quarterly payment of Southey’s government pension, granted in 1807. BACK

[4] ‘Of myself’. BACK

[5] A third edition of Thalaba the Destroyer appeared in 1814. BACK

[6] After the French armies and those of the Sixth Coalition had both suffered massive casualties at the Battles of Lutzen (2 May 1813) and Bautzen (20–21 May 1813), they agreed to an armistice on 4 June 1813 to re-group their forces. The war resumed on 13 August 1813. BACK

[7] Alexander I (1777–1825; Emperor of Russia 1801–1825). BACK

[8] Francisco Espoz y Mina (1781–1836), since 1810 he had been commander of the guerrilleros of Navarre against French troops. BACK

[9] The Albanian national hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405–1468), who helped preserve his nation from the threat posed by the expansion of the Ottoman empire. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)