2509. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 2 December 1814

2509. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 2 December 1814 ⁠* 

Friday. 2 Dec. 1814

My dear Grosvenor

Your book [1]  arrived this morning, & I have gone thro it. I have always found that what seemed good to me in the mss. seemed better in the printed work, & so I find it now.

Tell me in the first place x if I am indebted to you for this book, or to Mr Roberts. It seems to have been sent from the printer to Murray. And if it be sent by Mr Rs desire, of course if becomes me to write him a letter of acknowledgement. [2] 

Tell me in the next place if there be any objection to having an account of it in the Quarterly; & if there be not, you may tell Gifford that I will prepare for one, instanter; – before any person can forestall me. [3] 

I must not forget to tell you, what perhaps you know by your own dolorous experience that the Dishonourable the Benchers of Grays Inn insist upon the seven Pounds, in reply to my Memorial. So I must request you to make the payment for me, & see my name struck off, according to their ‘order’ notified to me by Mr Williams. [4]  And then in due time & in proper place I will tell the story, & entitle it Ways & Means or How to raise the Wind. From their suffering exactly the <whole> time to elapse which the statute of limitation allows before they made the demand, it is perfectly clear that the imposition & injustice are intentional. Pay however quietly & express no resentment. [5] 

I have not yet seen Roderick. [6]  Admire my patience – I desired Longman to send the copies here by waggon, – & when they arrive I shall untie the string.

Herbert began with Jones’s Grammar [7]  – which is a very bad one. He only uses grammar for reference, & is half thro St Matthews Gospel. These exercises which you sent him are villainous; & would make Dr Bell rage if he were to examine them. But the Moon gets on well.

I am reviewing by wholesale propter paupertatem  [8]  – God forgive me. Roderick may be extolled, but as for its having a Scottish or a Lord Byronish sale, the thing is impossible. [9]  It is literally true that I should write thrice as much poetry as I do, if I could afford it: & for this reason I have in the course of my life spent as much time in reviewing, (speaking within compass) as would have sufficed to producet seven such poems as Roderick & Kehama. [10] 

I desired, or meant to desire, that a copy should be sent to Elmsley. Learn for me, when you have an opportunity, whether it has been sent.

God bless you


Estrada [11]  I believe is lucky enough to have escaped to England. Can you, thro Blanco, learn his address. I have some questions to ask which he can answer.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 5 DE 5/ 1814
Endorsement: 2 Decr 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Grosvenor Bedford’s Letters and Miscellaneous Papers … With a Memoir of His Life (1814) of his cousin Barré Charles Roberts, who had died in 1810 aged 21. BACK

[2] See Southey to Edward Roberts, 16 December 1814, Letter 2519. BACK

[3] For Southey’s review see Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 509–519. BACK

[4] Unidentified. BACK

[5] Southey had received a bill from Gray’s Inn for ‘Absent Commons’ and explained his case for not paying in a ‘Memorial’, delivered via Bedford; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 30 October 1814 (Letter 2494) and 4 November 1814 (Letter 2496). Southey had enrolled at Gray’s Inn on 7 February 1797, but had abandoned his legal studies on his return from Portugal in 1801. BACK

[6] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[7] John Jones (c. 1766–1827; DNB), A Grammar of the Greek Tongue (1808). BACK

[8] ‘On account of poverty’. BACK

[9] i.e. a bestseller, like the works of Scott and Byron. BACK

[10] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[11] Alvaro Florez Estrada (1765–1853), Spanish economist, lawyer and liberal. He was a prominent member of the Cadiz Cortes. He had, indeed, managed to flee to London after Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833) had ordered the arrest of leading liberals on 10 May 1814. He did not return to Spain until the Revolution of 1820. BACK