1599. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 14 March 1809

1599. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 14 March 1809 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

You have here at last another dose of Kehama, [1]  & I shall send you the continuation quam-celerrime. [2]  The 18th section is begun, & 21 will compleat it, so you see I am not far from the conclusion, & of course see my way plainly before me. Two questions now arise, how to publish this poem, – & in what metre to write the next. 25. £ has hitherto been my profits upon Madoc. [3]  I am disposed to get more for Kehama, which is not worth half so much. Landor [MS torn]ld print it for me if I would let him, – & so far I think his offer [MS torn] be accepted as to enable me to publish it wholly on [MS torn]y <own> account, thereby securing the whole of what the book[MS torn]ler otherwise would share with me. I would get subscribers if I could, – but am fully persuaded that I could not get two hundred, – & then it is not worth the trouble. But on my visit to Edinburgh I shall hear Scotts opinion about the best mode of publishing, he drives his pigs to a good market, & may perhaps put me on the way of driving mine to a better than I have yet found out.

I am about the Missionaries & the article will be longer than I expected. [4]  it is in the shape of history with speculation at the end; – nothing argumentative like the last.

It is a good thing to have secured our footing for the Cid in the Monthly, [5]  – if we can do the same for my History, [6]  it will be helping a lame dog over the stile –

Who reviewed Edwards [7]  & Pinkerton? [8]  I trace Scott in many articles. [9]  – That about Spain wants x force & foresight, It looks not beyond a campaign, – it rests upon temporary politicks; – there is little knowledge of the past, less insight into what is to come. [10]  It refers imprudently as well as insultingly to old party feelings, which have died a natural death & had better not be disturbed, for it might be easier to raise the spirit than to lay it.

I expect without sorrow the utter destruction of the House of Austria. [11]  The time which it takes may <ought to> be well improved in Spain, but our Ministers are turned petty-foggers – & worthy only to be retained by sheep-stealers & sharpers. Wynn has done himself credit –

And now Mr Bedford wishing that you were here to prose over the fireside with me for the rest of the evening, – & that all who deserve it were at the Devil, – in which case I ha conceive the price of provisions would be materially lowered, & seats in a certain assembly would become cheap – I remain

your most obedient humble servant


March 14. 1809.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ [added in another hand] 9 Stafford Row/ Pimlico
Endorsement: 14 March 1809
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p. (c).
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Curse of Kehama (1810). Southey was sending his brother Thomas drafts of the poem via Bedford. BACK

[2] Meaning ‘as quickly as possible’. BACK

[3] Madoc (1805). BACK

[4] Southey reviewed Transactions of the Missionary Society in the South Sea Islands in the Quarterly Review, 2 (August 1809), 24–61. BACK

[5] Southey had asked Bedford to write a review of his Chronicle of the Cid (1808) for the Monthly Review; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 28 February 1809, Letter 1590. The book was reviewed in complimentary terms in the Monthly Review, 63 (1810), 131–144. BACK

[6] The first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil was published in 1810. BACK

[7] John Hoppner (1758–1810; DNB) reviewed Anecdotes of Painters Who Have Resided or Been Born in England: With Critical Remarks on their Productions, by Edward Edwards, Deceased, Late Teacher of Perspective, and Associate, in the Royal Academy; Intended as a Continuation to the Anecdotes of painting by the late Horace Earl of Orford (1808) in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 36–49. BACK

[8] Barré Charles Roberts (Bedford’s cousin) reviewed John Pinkerton (1758–1826; DNB), An Essay on Medals; or an Introduction to the Knowledge of Ancient and Modern Coins and Medals, especially those of Greece, Rome, and Britain (1808) in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 112–131. BACK

[9] Scott reviewed in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809): Robert Hartley Cromek (1770–1812; DNB), Reliques of Robert Burns, Consisting Chiefly of Original Letters, Poems, and Critical Observations on Scottish Songs (1808), 19–36; Southey’s The Chronicle of the Cid (1808), 117–134; John Barrett (1753/4–1821), An Essay on the Earlier Part of the Life of Swift, by the Rev. John Barrett, D. D. and Vice Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. To which are Subjoined Various Pieces Ascribed to Swift, Two of his Original Letters, and Extracts from his Remarks on Bishop Burnett’s History (1808), 162–177; [with William Gifford] Sir John Carr (1772–1832; DNB), Caledonian Sketches, or a Tour through Scotland in 1807 (1808), 178–193. Scott also had a hand in William Erskine’s (Lord Kinneder; bap. 1768–1822; DNB), review of John Philpot Curran (1750–1817), Speeches of the Right Honourable John Philpot Curran, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, on the late very Interesting State Trials (1808), 96–107. BACK

[10] George Ellis [with George Canning] reviewed Exposé des Manoeuvres et des Intrigues qui ont Préparé l’Usurpation de la Couronne d’Espagne, et des Moyens Employés par l’Empereur des Francais pour la Mettre á Exécution…; Traduit de l’Espagnol par M. Peltier [alternative title Affaires d’Espagne] (1808) and Pedro Cevallos Guerra (1760–1840), Conféderation des Royaumes et Provinces d’Espagne contre Buonaparte ([1810]) in the Quarterly Review, 1 (February 1809), 1–19. BACK

[11] Napoleon’s forces did defeat the Austrians later in 1809, forcing them in October to make peace on his terms. BACK

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