2003. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 December 1811

2003. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 December 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. Dec. 22. 1811.

My dear Grosvenor

That you are a most wicked correspondent is certissimamente certissimo. [1] 

I began a letter to Gifford but on second thoughts it seems better to say what I have to say to you. The Q. ought to say something about Spanish America & I cannot do it because it must form a chapter in the Register. [2]  But I think Blanco might be applied to, [3]  – he understands the subject thoroughly, his opinions are as wise as they are moderate, & in unison with those of our own government. & any little assistances which might be required in weeding out a few foreign idioms, or anglicizing a sentence you could give him. There is a mischievous article upon this business in the British. [4]  It came from Walton (the author of a bad book upon S Domingo) [5]  who was crammed for the purpose by the Caraccas Deputies, & was in fact merely their mouthpiece. [6]  But these Deputies scarcely make a secret of their wishes that the mother country were subdued, – because there would then be no obstacle to a free commercial intercourse between England & Venezuela. The same spirit exists at Buenos Ayres – I have Gazettes [7]  from thence which make it apparent. –

If you think as I do about this matter communicate it to Giffard

God bless you


A merry Xmas to you & a happy new year.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr./ [in another hand] 9 Stafford Row/ Pimlico/ J. C. Herries
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘Certainly most very certain’. BACK

[2] For Southey’s account of the revolution in Venezuela, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 367–394, and Buenos Ayres, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 395–421. BACK

[3] Southey’s suggestion led to Blanco White’s review of Walton’s Present State of the Spanish Colonies in Quarterly Review, 7 (June 1812), 235–264. BACK

[4] British Review and London Critical Journal, 2 (1811), 118–149, review of Felix de Azara (1746–1821), Voyage dans l’Amerique Meridionale (1809). The article strongly argued for the independence of the Spanish colonies in South America. BACK

[5] William Walton (1783/4–1857; DNB), Present State of the Spanish Colonies; Including a Particular Report of Hispanola, or the Spanish Part of Santo Domingo (1810). Walton had been junior secretary to the British expedition which captured the town of Santo Domingo from the French in 1802, and had remained there as British agent. He returned to England in 1809 and developed a career as a political journalist, arguing against ministerial policies towards Spain and Portugal. A keen agriculturalist, he was also an advocate for the importation of ‘Peruvian sheep’ (vicuna) and alpacas into Britain. BACK

[6] A Congress at Caracas had declared Venezuela to be an independent Republic on 5 July 1811. BACK

[7] Probably copies of La Gazeta de Buenos Ayres, a weekly newspaper, which ran from 7 June 1810 – 12 September 1821. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)