1296. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 March 1807

1296. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 March 1807 ⁠* 

25 March 1807

Dear Grosvenor

Our Fathers [1]  resolve upon a fourth Volume. [2]  Send me therefore forthwith all the biographies & specimens <of those> who were the reprobate in your scheme of election. As his Honour will also alas be his Honour no longer, [3]  & it will be too huge a parcel to lay before the Imperial Abbot, [4]  you had better transmit it thro Longman, who has other materials to send me. I will lay as little load as possible upon your shoulders in this business, – to what I cannot help laying on you will I know bend your back like Issachar, & patiently Dapple-ize for one who is more like the Knight than the Squire. [5]  Pray – pray, no delay in sending the papers.

And now we must have Henderson [6]  at last Mr Bedford.

Wynn has offered me in this last dying scramble 600 £ a year in the West Indies. you may guess my answer. [7]  I did not think he could have had leisure to think of me – It is a strange business, – I abhominate the rabble who come in, but am as hostile to the Catholicks as old George himself. – Oh what a damned trade is politicks. He talks of something else in his letter of which – if it take place – you will hear sooner than I shall – Grosvenor whenever you come here, & see how happy I am with a certain income of only 160 £ a year which my utmost exertions cannot double, – you will I think be convinced that a man may be very happy without being very rich.

Pray send the papers without delay. The speedy emission of a volume into the world is of more consequence to me in the very weighty concern of my ways & means – than – I think – you have always been aware of when the Printer & his Devil were looking after you, – a hint this for expecting the cancels.

God bless you


Wednesday March 25. 1807.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ MAR 28/ 1807
Endorsement: 25 March 1807
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The publishing firm of Longmans, so called by Southey because of their premises in Paternoster Row (‘Paternoster’ meaning ‘our father’), London. BACK

[2] Of the Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807). This did not appear. BACK

[3] Wynn, losing his place in government, would lose his privilege of franking mail. BACK

[4] Another possessor of franking privileges: Charles Abbot, Speaker of the House of Commons; Rickman was his secretary. BACK

[5] In Genesis 49:1–27, Issachar is likened to ‘a strong ass lying down between the sheepfolds: and he saw that settled life was good, and the land was pleasant; he put his shoulder to the burden, and became a slave under forced labour’. Dapple, Bedford’s nickname, was to do the donkey-work for a fourth, supplementary volume of the Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807). This did not appear. BACK

[6] Perhaps John Henderson (1757–1788; DNB), the Bristol child prodigy of whom Southey knew because he had had a hand in the education of Joseph Cottle. Henderson published no volume of verse, but a ‘specimen of [his] talent for Poetry’ was included in Walter Churchey (1747–1805; DNB), Poems and Imitations of the British Poets, with Odes, Miscellanies, and Notes (London, 1789), pp. 830–831. BACK

[7] Wynn had offered Southey a position in St Lucia, on the government payroll. For Southey’s refusal, see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [25 March 1807], Letter 1298. BACK

Places mentioned

Paternoster Row, London (mentioned 1 time)