2597. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 10 May 1815

2597. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 10 May 1815 ⁠* 

Why you are a greater villain than I thought you, – a more unpardonable sinner.

Extract from a note from Gifford. May 2. 1815.

Grosvenor has had a very enviable opportunity. – He will I dare say render you an interesting account of his peregrination.”

There you wretch! Read that! – Here have I been ever since your return daily expecting your news from Ld Wellington & the armies, – & what was to be hoped & what was to be feared, & what was to be expected, &c &c &c, – to say nothing of your dangers by fire & by water, – & the Devil a word have you told me!


Can you send me some money? – for I am in want thereof. My Egyptian article [1]  is a good mortgage as far as £30: the Wellington one will pay my half yearly bills. [2]  – I am afraid the Quarterly will long continue to be the better for my necessities; – tho I car sorely grudge the time which is bestowed upon such temporary & time-serving compositions. But what with the sudden subtraction of my Edinburgh xxxxxxxx resources, [3]  – the actual loss sustained there, the burthen which for nearly three years C. has thrown upon me, & then this rascally fellow [4]  swindling me out of 30 £ (for it was clearly a deliberate fraud) at the very time when my means were least adequate to the demands upon them; I am put to my shifts more than at any former time. I must have two articles in every number till my history [5]  is finished; – & yet you every temporary avocation necessarily delays that time.

It does not surprize me that you do not like the Inscriptions [6]  tho I differ from you in estimating their merit. When you see more of them you will I think in some degree alter your opinion, & perceive that they are diversified with considerable skill, & written with appropriate precision. I shall look carefully to your criticisms, – the word beleagered which you propose is not applicable; – it means besieged, & the people of Porto were not in a state of siege.

Longman proposes a pocket size, – & the notes to be extended to Biographical memoirs, – which I shall adopt in those cases <only> where there is good matter for them. He then thinks the book likely to be popular. A small edition in 4to he says may be printed if I desire it. I do not desire it. Not that I expect it to be popular, – but in any size – but I would not clog the sale by any foolish preference for a handsome outset. Roderick [7]  is selling well, – that is to say well for a book of mine, but my profits will little exceed 100 £ an edition, – & it will no doubt stick when it reaches a third, – & I am woefully behind hand in their books. A fashionable sale would send me smoothly on to Port Prosperity, – but it is impossible that any such a poem can get into vogue.

A youth of great promise wrote to me some three years ago about his future prospects. I gave him good advice, – & got him placed at Emanuel College, where he was doing as well as could be asked; his family built much upon him, – & with good reason. This fever has cut him off – & he like Kirke White is laid to rest in the Cloister of his own college. His name was Dusautoy, – his father [8]  a half-pay officer with a large family, – of whom this eldest boy was the hope as well as the pride. I have been a good deal affected at his death as you may well suppose.

God bless you


10 May 1815.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 13 MY 13/ 1815
Endorsement: May 10. 1815
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Jacques François Miot (1779–1858), Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire des Expéditions en Egypte et en Syrie (1814). Southey reviewed Miot in Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 1–55. BACK

[2] Southey was paid £100 for reviewing George Elliott (dates unknown), The Life of the Most Noble Arthur Duke of Wellington, from the Period of his first Achievements in India, down to his Invasion of France, and the Peace of Paris in 1814 (1814), for the Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 215–275. BACK

[3] The Edinburgh Annual Register. BACK

[4] Captain Thomas Perkins (1778–1815), a cousin of Edith’s. However, as Perkins died at Dover on 3 April 1815, he may have been prevented from repaying Southey because of ill-health, rather than as part of a fraud. BACK

[5] History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[6] Southey’s series of Inscriptions on the Peninsular War. Only 18 of the projected 30 poems were completed and they were not collected together until they were published in Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 122–156. Southey had sent Bedford six of the Inscriptions for his comments, Southey to Bedford, 9 April 1815, Letter 2584. Bedford’s proposed change related to ‘For the Banks of the Douro’, Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 132–133. BACK

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

[8] James Du Sautoy (1761–1859) who had retired from his post as a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines in 1798. He was barrack-master of the cavalry at Totnes 1803–1822. BACK