3095. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 March 1818

3095. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 March 1818⁠* 

My dear G.

Gifford will deliver you the proofs of an Article on the Poor Laws, [1]  which, as you will perceive is a paper of no little importance, – & for obvious reasons, the less my name is connected with it the better, – one reason why I thought proper to praise the Ed: Review there. [2]  Now the reason why the proofs are to be handed to you is, that (without letting it be known to any person) you may give them to Rickman who will check the article against all the Parl: Documents referred to therein & return it to you, for Gifford. – But do not mention that it has been in R’s hands. [3] 

I am weary of expecting this box, which seems to be destined to be delayed by every imaginable combination of circumstances. It is nine months till I since it set off from Milan, & it has not got to Keswick yet! [4] 

When you have any assets in your hands, & happen to be near Temple Bar, send me I pray you from Twinings 24 pounds of Souchong Tea (common tea; between six & seven shillings a pound) & three pounds of green, at 10 or 12 shillings [5] 

God bless you


Keswick 17 March.

Oh! – I had nearly forgotten to say that there is a dreadful report in town concerning Greenwich Hospital, – all their woods it is said are to be cut down. My dear G. think of Castlelet! Is there nobody who can point out to the persons concerned that thinning these woods instead of cutting dow all down, would be as much more advantageous for the estate, – as it would be desirable for the country wherein they stand. Especially in Castlelet – where there are trees which fifty years hence will be fine timber. [6] 


* Endorsement: 17 March 1818
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s article (co-written with Rickman), ‘On the Poor Laws’, was published in Quarterly Review, 18 (January 1818), 259–308. BACK

[2] Edinburgh Review, Southey’s main enemy and a journal to which Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834; DNB) was a frequent contributor. Southey detested Malthus’s arguments about the poor, as he made clear in Quarterly Review, 8 (December 1812), 319–356. This section on the Edinburgh Review was not printed. BACK

[3] This secrecy was probably because Rickman was a civil servant in the office of The Speaker of the House of Commons and did not want his name to be associated with a controversial article. BACK

[4] A consignment of books Southey had bought in Milan in June 1817. BACK

[5] Twinings tea merchants were located in the Strand, London, near Temple Bar. BACK

[6] Castelet is a wooded hill near Derwentwater, once part of the estates of James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater (1689–1716; DNB), which were forfeited to the Crown after his execution for treason and were administered by the commissioners of Greenwich Hospital for disabled sailors (founded 1692). In 1817 concern about the estate’s lack of profitability had led to a review of its operations. Southey was clearly affected by local gossip because at this time there were no plans to cut down the trees he mentions here. BACK

People mentioned

Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 2 times)
Rickman, John (1771–1840) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)