3137. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 May 1818

3137. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 May 1818⁠* 

My dear G.

I have written to Nash the directions concerning the books when ever they shall be delivered out of Purgatory, & into the hand of Pater Noster. [1]  He will have to take charge of Senhouse’s, & therefore may save you the trouble of seeing the Long Men upon this business. Even if the release should be speedily effected, it will be at least two months before I shall have the satisfaction of seeing them. It is some thing {however} a great pleasure to know that they are in England.

My annual catarrh has made its visit, & lost none of its force. It will in all likelihood hang on me with more or less violence for ten or twelve weeks. Just at present it provokes an incessant expectoration which is very uncomfortable.

I shall take the opportunity of sending back the number of the Satirist [2]  by Senhouse, who will deposit it at the Docstors for you.

We were on the Lake yesterday for the first time this season, & drank tea at the spot which I have frequented for that purpose for the last fifteen years, – for it is so long since I have been resident at this place, – more than a third part of my life. – I wish you were here – this is the sweetest season of the year, & usually as it is now, the finest, in this part of the country. It makes me idle, – so that I would fain be from morning till night in the open air. – I am reviewing Evelyns Memoirs, [3]  – he was a man much after my own heart. I cannot imagine what is become of the Q.R.! [4]  – If it be not forthcoming soon you must send me some money when the next payment is made, [5]  for I have been looking for this supply for the last six weeks.

Will you get for me, & send viâ Murray, as they may come in his next parcel, four boxes of Seidlitz powders [6] pro bono mearum primarum viarum, – & one box pro bono parvarum puellarum, [7]  if – if such a commission may be given & executed. Incolumi Doctore et xx Collegia Medicarum

Incolumi Doctore et Warwickâ-Lanâ of – Chings Worm Lozenges: [8]  – for we are sure what we have to deal with as to one sort of the enemy in three cases, & some reason to suspect another sort in one.

Fare well I am in a great humour for idling moralizing, & Butlerizing, [9]  which is next kin to it, if you were but here to indulge the mood.

Remember me to Henry – – his name puts me in mind of the White Horse at Brixton & that of the flood! [10] 


20 May. 1818. Keswick.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsements: 20 May 1818; 20 May 1818
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A consignment of books, that Southey had bought in Brussels in 1817 and that included the compendium of hagiographies, the Acta Sanctorum (1643–1794), later no. 207 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. ‘Purgatory’ was the customs office, which the books had to clear. BACK

[2] The Satirist; or, Monthly Meteor, 11 (September 1812), which Bedford had forwarded to Southey for the article ‘Mr M’Kerrell and Mr Brougham’, 208–227. Robert M’Kerrell (1761–1841), a textile merchant and manufacturer in Paisley, had on 28 May 1812, given evidence to the House of Commons committee enquiring into the Orders in Council system, which enforced a trade blockade on territories controlled by France. The Whig opposition were campaigning for its repeal, on the grounds that it harmed British manufacturing. Brougham denounced M’Kerrell (though not by name) in the House of Commons on 16 June 1812, claiming he had told the committee that textile workers were overpaid and ‘oatmeal and water were good enough for Englishmen.’ M’Kerrell denied he had said this and published an acrimonious exchange of letters between himself and Brougham in The Times of 20 July 1812. Southey had been collecting material that could be used against Brougham in his election campaign in Westmorland. BACK

[3] Southey’s review of Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn (1818) appeared in the Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1818), 1–54. BACK

[4] Quarterly Review, 18 (January 1818) was not published until 9 June 1818. It contained Southey’s article (co-written with Rickman), ‘On the Poor Laws’, Quarterly Review, 18 (January 1818), 259–308. Southey would not be paid for this article until it appeared. BACK

[5] Bedford, a civil servant, disbursed Southey’s stipend as Poet Laureate. BACK

[6] A laxative mixture of tartaric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium sodium tartrate. BACK

[7] ‘For the good of my first going’; and ‘for the good of my little girls’. BACK

[8] Southey asks from the ‘safe doctor’ of Warwick Lane (probably a reference to the dispensary at the headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians) some Ching’s lozenges – a patent medicine for intestinal worms containing high levels of mercury. BACK

[9] To butlerize was to devise stories and jokes relating to ‘the Butler’, a whimsical character invented by Southey and Bedford during their time at school. BACK

[10] Mr Tinkler, the landlord of the White Horse, Brixton Causeway, and another man were drowned in floods in London on 8 May 1818. Southey’s joke here is a little obscure. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)