2866. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 November 1816

2866. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 November 1816⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

I want to raise 30 £ a year, for four years from this time, & for this purpose.

There is a lad at Richmond school (Yorkshire) by name Herbert Knowles, [1]  – picked out from a very humble situation for his genius (he has neither father or mother) & sent to this school (a very excellent one) by Dr Andrewes the Dean of Canterbury, [2]  – & a clergyman by name D’Oyle – so the name is written to me, if it should turn out to be D’Oyley of the Bartlett Buildings Society so muc & the Quarterly so much the better. [3]  From these & another clergyman he was promised 20 £ a year, his relations promising 30 £ more, & Tate (the schoolmaster, a good & able man) gave him his the run of his school; – more he could not do for the valid reason that he has a wife & ten children; – so his boarding &c were to be provided for. The plan was that when qualified here he was to go as a Sizar to St Johns. [4]  And this plan has been defeated by an inability on the part of his relations to fulfill their engagement, owing to unforeseen circumstances – connected I suppose with the pressure of the time.

In this state of things, Herbert Knowles, God help him, thought the sure way to help himself was to publish a poem. [5]  Accordingly he writes one, – & introduces himself by letter to me, requesting leave to dedicate it to my Worship – if upon perusal I think it worthy & so forth. – Of course I represented to him the folly of such a scheme, – but the poem is brimfull of power & of promise, – I have written to his master & received the highest possible character of him, both as to disposition & conduct, – & now I want to secure for him that trifling assistance which may put him in the right path & give him at least a fair chance of rendering the talents with which God has endowed him, useful to himself & beneficial to others.

Of the 30 £ which are wanting for this purpose, I will give 10. And it is not for want of will that I do not supply the whole. Perhaps if you were to mention the circumstances to Herries & to Gifford it might not be necessary to go farther. – He must remain where he is till October next, & by that time will be qualified for St Johns.

God bless you


20 Nov. 1816.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Endorsements: 20 Novr 1816; 20 Novr 1816./ abt. Herbert Knowles
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 221–223 [misdated 23 November 1816]. BACK

[1] Richmond School was a medieval foundation, at this time famous for the standards of its classical learning and the number of its scholars who proceeded to Cambridge University, in particular. BACK

[2] Gerrard Andrewes (1750–1825; DNB), Rector of St. James’s, Piccadilly (1802–1825), Dean of Canterbury (1809–1825). He had been an usher at Westminster School 1771–1784. BACK

[3] George D’Oyly was co-editor of an annotated Bible (1814) for the Anglican Missionary organisation the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, which met in Bartlett’s Buildings. D’Oyly was a frequent contributor to the Quarterly Review. BACK

[4] That is, as an undergraduate in St John’s College, Cambridge, supported by a scholarship, in return for which he performed various specified duties. BACK

[5] ‘The Three Tabernacles’. Knowles was hoping to publish it and had written to Southey asking permission to dedicate it to him. Following Knowles’s early death, Southey himself published the poem as ‘Lines Written in the Churchyard of Richmond, Yorkshire’ in his article ‘Cemeteries and Catacombs of Paris’, Quarterly Review, 21 (April 1819), 359–398 (396–398). BACK

People mentioned

Knowles, Herbert (1798–1817) (mentioned 2 times)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)
D’Oyly, George (1778–1846) (mentioned 1 time)
Tate, James (1771–1843) (mentioned 1 time)