3175. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 1 August 1818

3175. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 1 August 1818⁠* 

My dear G.

The first part of this Tender Epistle which you now receive is to be followed by a pleasant digest of the various slanders uttered & afterwards eaten by Brougham, in his public character. [1]  I have received two rich cases from Croker, & have other collectors at work for me.

I wrote to Murray concerning it some ten days ago, & desired he would send me the Parl: Debates from the time when Brougham came in for Winchelsea in the last Parliament. [2]  But they are not come. The middle part of the letter of course cannot be put together till these materials are before me. But I have got on with the concluding part where Gog & the ER. [3]  come in for their share.

The beginning need not go to the Press till the whole is ready, – for there is no hurry, – tho I shall not make any unnecessary delay. Harry thinks I am writing in exculpation of myself. But you will see that being called upon flatly to contradict a gross & offensive insolent slander, I take advantage of that occasion to give this fellow a thorough dressing, – & this will certainly be of some use here, where the pamphlet will be conned with curiosity by xx all my neighbours.

I have asked Murray to let Pople print it. The documents in proof of the historical slanders (MacKerrel [4]  &c) will go in an appendix. And I shall have a letter from Wordsworth. – What a dose it will be for this paltry scoundrel, – & I am sure that when you {shall} have read marked & inwardly digested the extracts with which the letter begins, you will agree with me that it is impossible to treat him with more severity than he deserves.

Do not wait for Wynn, – put Bourke [5]  off & set off with the Mag: Rot for the mountains as soon as you can.

God bless you


Keswick Aug. 1.

Ask Murray to send me a navy-list. [6] Tom being here, & hungry for one.

The Hydians [7]  are arrived.


* Address: To/ G C Bedford Esqr
Endorsements: 1 August 2e 1818; 1 August 2e 1818 d
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey was transmitting a draft of the first part of an attack on Brougham. Southey’s intended pamphlet was provoked by a speech made by Brougham in the course of the general election of 1818. As the Courier reported on 4 July, Brougham, campaigning for the parliamentary seat of Westmorland against the candidates favoured by Wordsworth’s patron, the Earl of Lonsdale, spoke at the hustings at Appleby on 30 June, attacking Southey and Wordsworth. Southey was dissuaded from publishing the retort that he discusses here. Part of it finally appeared as a ‘Postscript’ to the second edition of Carmen Triumphale (London, 1821), pp. 45–53. BACK

[2] Brougham was returned as the MP for Winchelsea 1815–1830. BACK

[3] Jeffrey and the Edinburgh Review (1802–1929), the main Whig quarterly journal, to which Brougham was a contributor. BACK

[4] 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. BACK

[5] A friend of Bedford’s whose visit would prevent Bedford’s travelling on holiday to the Lakes. BACK

[6] The annual list published by the Royal Navy of all its officers, their ranks and their ships. BACK

[7] Southey’s new clothes, sent from his London tailor Hyde (d. 1820). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)