2868. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 29 November 1816

2868. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 29 November 1816⁠* 

Keswick. 29 Nov. 1816.

My dear G.

Imprimus [1]  when you discharge my debt to the Grand Hyde tell him to send me a black coat & waistcoat, with some grey pantaloons & gaiters. [2] 

Secondly – know that the Grand Murray returned a summary but satisfactory reply to my remonstrance concerning his last quantum of payment. [3]  It was a farther sum of 45 £. making thus 100 for the one article & 50 for the other: the promise of a letter in the morrow accompanied it, but that morrow is three posts ago & has not yet come. I am pleased with this issue of my remonstrance, – but not pleased that there should have been occasion for it.

Thirdly I have begun to write upon existing circumstances: & am better pleased that it should be thus ex proprio motu [4]  than if there were any understanding in other quarters which could in the slightest degree operate as restraint. I take high ground; & shall bring heavy artillery to bear. In all likelihood it will be best to come forward in my own name, but of this, & of the publisher &c hereafter; – the title also is to be thought of – one will no doubt xxxx occur to me in due time. [5]  So tell Herries if any more be said to him upon the subject, [6]  to say that I am at work in my own way, – & there let that part of the business drop. It is no reason that I should sleep because they will not be awakened. I shall do my duty, – let who will be deficient; & I think some good will arise from it, – for I understand my work, & shall lay on, like Talus in Spenser [7]  with an iron flail, – & like him in the service of justice.

Nash is still at Sir George Beaumonts – remember that you sit to him or else when I forgive them that trespass against me I shall except you.

In the course of five or six days I shall finish the life of Wesley for the Correspondent. [8]  Perhaps I may enlarge it one of these days for publication in a separate volume, [9]  – which the subject certainly deserves – & perhaps the execution.

I hope I shall hear soon from you about Herbert Knowles [10]  – that if you cannot help me in this matter I may apply elsewhere.

Would that the winter were over! but this is an idle wish – for spring & summer & the next <other> winters will make little difference in my feelings, till so much time has elapsed that the past cannot be brought as it is now into contact with the present. Perhaps this is not intelligibly exprest – I mean that if that had not taken place which has, – I know at present how things would have been, – how the days would have past, – & what would have been at this time my hopes & actual enjoyments. [11]  Some few years hence (if I should live so long) – this will not be ca the case; – & time can take nothing from me that I would not willingly part with to obtain this relief. – However if I have no spirits to spare I have enough for the ordinary calls of life, & can gird up my loins for exertion when it is needful.

Good night – I shall now go smite the Philistines. [12] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 2 DE 2/ 1816
Endorsement: 29 Novr. 1816./ Mr. Murray’s answer to remonstrance
Seal: black wax, with ‘S’, ‘In Labore Quies’ motto below
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘First’. BACK

[2] Bedford, a civil servant, received on Southey’s behalf his stipend as Poet Laureate. Here Southey wishes the bill of Hyde (d. 1820), his London tailor, to be paid. BACK

[3] See Southey to Bedford, 18 November 1816, Letter 2865. Quarterly Review, 15 (July 1816) had been published on 12 November 1816. It contained Southey’s review of Domingo Badia y Leblich (1766–1818), Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, Between the years 1803 and 1807 (1816) at 299–345, and ‘Works on England’ at 537–574. Southey felt he had been underpaid for this work. BACK

[4] ‘Of one’s own accord’. BACK

[5] This pamphlet or book on the ‘State of the Nation’ was not published; Southey did, though, write on ‘Parliamentary Reform’ in Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 225–278, and the ‘Rise and Progress of Popular Disaffection’ in Quarterly Review, 16 (January 1817), 511–552. BACK

[6] Bedford had passed on to Southey a ministerial suggestion, made via Herries, that Southey should write for, and manage, a new government-funded journal attacking radical reformers. See Southey’s letters to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 7, 8 and 10 September 1816 (Letters 2835, 2836 and 2839). BACK

[7] In Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599; DNB), The Faerie Queene (1590–1596), Book 5, Talus is an iron man, who never sleeps, and relentlessly pursues wrongdoers: he represents justice without mercy. BACK

[8] In 1817 a new journal was launched, published by Longmans and edited by John Stoddart (1773–1856; DNB), who had in 1816 been dismissed from the editorship of the Times for the intemperate Toryism of his articles. It was entitled The Correspondent; Consisting of Letters, Moral, Political, and Literary, between Eminent Writers in France and England; and designed by presenting to each Nation a Faithful Picture of the Other, to Enlighten both to their True Interests, promote a Mutual Good Understanding between them, and render Peace the Source of a Common Prosperity. Southey contributed a sketch of the life of John Wesley (1703–1791; DNB) to the first two numbers (1 (1817), 26–48; and 2 (1817), 157–176). However, the Correspondent lasted only one further number. Stoddart became the editor of a new ministry-supported paper, The New Times (1817–1828). BACK

[9] Southey expanded his article into a full-length book: The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[10] See Southey’s letter to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 November 1816, Letter 2866. BACK

[11] Southey refers to the death of his son Herbert on 17 April 1816. BACK

[12] The traditional enemy of the Israelites in the Bible, and thus by extension ‘the enemy’; the usual Biblical injunction was to ‘smite the Philistines’, as in 1 Samuel 23: 2. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)