3670. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 15 April 1821

3670. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 15 April 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 15 Apr 1821

Mr – Bedford

Sir

If I were once more to a-b-c-d-e-ize you for your silence [1]  – would it be more than you deserved?

I have more than one reason for writing just now. The first is a sort of apprehension that a draft from the Q.R. may have been lost. – When G. wrote to say that he postponed my memoirs of the S.S [2]  till the another number, he added that M. would send me a draft for it at that time, – & M. himself in a note which I received him from him about the same time used some expression which could only mean that he meant to send it the next day. It did not come however, – & I raised the wind in another quarter. But as I have not heard either from G. or M. since the publication of this last number, I really begin to apprehend that it may have been sent three months ago, & lost on the way.

Another thing which I have to say is to entreat you to get the proofs of this last paper for me, which I requested both of the Megistos & the Castrator to reserve for me.

And thirdly as I do not know who has succeeded to the rank of Sartor-Major vacated by poor Hydes death, [3]  will you order me a black coat & waistcoat, & a pair of loose pantaloons, trowsers perhaps they should be called, of some serviceable mixture.

I have received invitations to dine with the Literary Fund, [4]  (a society which I do contempt as the Swede x said of the Danes) [5]  – & with the Artists Benevolent Institution. [6]  These compliments were never before paid me. Cobbett has also paid me a complement equally sincer well deserved, & of undoubted sincerity: he marks me by name as one of those persons, who when the Radicals shall have effected a Reformation, are, as one of the first measures of the new Government, to be – executed. [7]  As a curious contrast to this, the Committee of Journeymen who propose to adopt what is practicable & useful in Owens plan, quote in their Report the 11th stanza of my Ode written in Dec. 1814 as deserving “to be written in diamonds”. [8] This is the first indication of a sort of popularity which in process of time I shall obtain & keep for the constant tendency of whatever I have written.

What news of the Lottery tickets? blanks sans doubt. [9] 

Wordsworth was with me last week. Oddly enough while I have been employed upon the Book of the Church, [10]  he has been writing a series of historical sonnets [11]  upon the same subjects, – of the very highest species of excellence. My Book will serve as a running Commentary to his series, & the one will very materially help the other, & thus without any concerted purpose, we shall go down to posterity in company. –

Cupn is in fine health & spirits: all the rest well, or tolerably so

God bless you

RS.

You will do for me what is needful concerning the Westminster Meeting. [12]  – What a shocking accident was that in D Yard! & how utterly unaccountable. [13]  If it took place in what was my old boarding house, – I xxxx got out at the window on that very floor, once during locking up hour – reached the wall in safety, descended into a yard where cows were kept, – & so skipt out.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/18 AP 18/ 1821
Endorsements: 15 Apl 1821; Sunday
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), V, pp. 59–61 [in part]. BACK

[1] See Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [started before and continued on] 18 October 1819, Letter 3367. BACK

[2] Southey’s review of The Works of the Reverend William Huntington, S. S. Minister of the Gospel, at Providence Chapel, Gray’s Inn Lane, Completed to the Close of the Year 1806 (1811) appeared in Quarterly Review, 24 (January 1821), 462–510, published 6 April 1821. BACK

[3] Hyde (d. 1820) was Southey’s London tailor. BACK

[4] The Royal Literary Fund, established in 1790 to aid British writers in financial difficulties. It received a Royal Charter in 1818. Much of the charity’s money came from its annual fundraising dinner, which was held on 10 May 1821. The ‘conviviality of the Meeting was sustained with unabated spirit till near midnight’, Morning Post, 11 May 1821. Southey did not attend. BACK

[5] Possibly a reference to Johannes Magnus (1488–1544), Historia de Omnibus Gothorum Sueonumque Regibus (1534), which concludes with a diatribe ‘contra Danos’. BACK

[6] The Artists’ General Benevolent Institution, founded in 1814, assists professional artists in financial difficulties. Their fundraising dinner was on 4 May 1821. Southey did not attend. BACK

[7] Possibly a reference to the following passage by Cobbett: ‘When my two-penny trash was ringing throughout the nation, in spite of Stewart, Walter, William Gifford and Southey, these ruffians called for dungeons to answer me with. Are not daggers as good logic as dungeons? Aye, and more manly logic too, because the use of them exposes the killers to danger; whereas the dungeon-logicians entrench themselves safely behind an army’, Cobbett’s Political Register, 35 (4 September 1819), 92. BACK

[8] Report of the Committee appointed at a Meeting of Journeymen, Chiefly Printers, to Take into Consideration Certain Propositions, Submitted to them by Mr George Mudie, Having for their Object a System of Social Arrangement, Calculated to Effect Essential Improvements in the Condition of the Working Classes, and of Society at Large (1821), quoting the 11th stanza of Southey’s ‘Ode, Written in December, 1814’, published in Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), II, pp. 235. The Report was based on plans put forward by the journalist George Mudie (b. 1788) to form a community exemplifying the principles of Robert Owen (1771–1858; DNB), manager and owner of the mills and model community at New Lanark in Scotland 1799–1825. Such a community was briefly formed in East London 1821–1822. BACK

[9] Southey’s Aunt Mary had given his children £4 to be invested in tickets in the government’s lottery. Southey had asked Bedford to buy the tickets; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 23 January 1821, Letter 3615. BACK

[10] Southey’s Book of the Church (1824). BACK

[11] Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Sketches (1822). BACK

[12] A reunion of old pupils of Westminster School, which Southey attended 1788–1792. Southey had agreed to share the office of Steward in 1821 and assume responsibility for part of the expenses. BACK

[13] Henry Joshua Rowley (1805–1821), a pupil at Westminster School, was found severely injured in Dean’s Yard on 9 April 1821 and died the following day. The Coroner’s verdict was that he died ‘by a fall from a window, but how it was occasioned there is no evidence to prove’, Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 14 April 1821. BACK

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