1613. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 April 1809

1613. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 April 1809 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

I might have told you on the 27th that I had a daughter born, & should have told you so a day or two afterwards, if Edith had not had a renewal of the complaint which alarmed me two months ago. This is no sooner over than the children  [1]  have their spring sickness, for in this climate of xxx England we have our sickly seasons, – more regularly than we have warm weather in the dog days: indeed in my growlings I should call half the days in the year dog days, – as being days only fit for dogs. I am unlucky <enough> just to know so much of physic as to discover bad symptoms very readily, & there is xxx hardly <a> symptoms which I cannot refer to some damnd thing or other, & which is most vexatious in that I can always <find> good reasons for a bad prognosis. Your godson here, who is as sweet a play-fellow as ever blest a fathers eyes, – is very unwell, & I am very uneasy, – & so I am going hard at work, to cram other thoughts into my head because I cannot bring any others out of it.

I have had my visitation also in the shape of cold, – but not to any great degree. The violent catarrhs which hang upon me for six weeks & one of which may perhaps do my business in six days, do not come till the warm weather, – they have a connection with sunshine which is to me inexplicable.

I am not certain whether I told you that Murray had bespoken of me an article about Portugueze literature for the next number. [2]  It was not perhaps very prudent in me to promise him one, inasmuch as whatever it contains will be so much subtracted from the novelty of one of my own future works, – but however I shall be paid for it better here than in any other form: He has asked also for something about the state of society in America [3]  – I am at work upon both these subjects, but have been grievously interrupted – & shall be prest for time to finish them especially as I am engaged to spend some days next week with Curwen at Workington Hall. [4]  Gifford & Murray seem to me to act unwisely in restricting the length of their articles to a single sheet, – if they wish to run against the Edinburgh [5]  they must allow us the same liberty room, – but the regulation will impose a greater restraint than any other review is subject to, – for a Quarterly cannot like a Monthly journal continue its articles thro succeeding numbers, & it is not unusual for the monthly journals to review works of importance thro two & even three succeeding numbers, to the extent of thirty or more pages. It is not often that such an extent is required, but it is sometimes utterly impossible to do justice either to your authors or yourselfes in less.

My brother Harry is likely to be married in the course of next month. My sister-elect is a Lisbonian, who will have something considerable after her fathers [6]  death & I suppose enough immediately to help him forward till he gets into good practise. He has been very successful, – this first year his fees having somewhat exceeded 100 Guineas, which is doing much, I know a little of Mary Sealy personally, & more of her by the good report of one of her friends whose judgement is implicitly to be relied on. In every respect this is a circumstance which gives me great pleasure, & I consider it as a great piece of good fortune that Harry should be settled within an easy days of journey of me, Durham being only fourscore miles by the turnpike roads, & not about sixty for crow, horseman or ten-toe-traveller.

God bless you


April 8. 1809.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Endorsement: 8 April 1809
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ APR 11/ 1809
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[2] Southey reviewed Extractos em Portuguez e em Inglez; com as Palavras Portuguezas Propriamente Accentuadas, para Facilitar o Estudo d’Aquella Lingoa (1808) in the Quarterly Review, 1 (May, 1809), 268–292. BACK

[3] Southey reviewed Abiel Holmes (1763–1837), American Annals; or, a Chronological History of America, from its Discovery in 1492 to 1806, in the Quarterly Review, 2 (November 1809), 319–337. BACK

[4] John Christian Curwen (1756–1828; DNB), politician and agriculturist, who owned Workington Hall in Cumbria where he embarked on an improvement programme that had a profound impact on local agriculture in the first half of the nineteenth century. BACK

[5] The Edinburgh Review. BACK

[6] Richard Sealy (c. 1752–1821) a wealthy Lisbon merchant. BACK

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