1498. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [started before 23 August 1808]

1498. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [started before 23 August 1808] ⁠* 

Dear Grosvenor

Recepi, & am, in haste, – for a shoal of Lakers are to drink tea here & minutely expected, – after which I take them on the lake in my boat. I am glad Nicol [1]  remembers my prophetic feelings about Spain, – of which I am not a little proud. Often & often when expressing that opinion have I seen such a look of incredulity on those present, as if they thought I were saying so merely for the sake of astonishing them, & of seeming to think differently from every body else: – a trick which Gods knows never belongs to me.

I am very-very-most-very-or damned busy, as a man would say who swears, – & be it known that I have no objection to the occasional use of such expletives of emphasis! My old travels [2]  are just come to me to be weeded of some of their faults, – interpolated with later knowledge, – & hurried thro the press as fast as they can go. Sir Richard Phillips that worthy knight [3]  has just published some Travels in Spain & Portugal, [4]  in which he has xxx inserted 8 pages of mine from the MMagazine, literatum, – as if they were written by the author of the book himself, – as cool a piece of plagiarism as one shall see of a summers day.

Remember me to your Father & Mother – & to Harry, & tell me how to get Kehama to you – as I mentioned in my last. [5]  – My belief is that the downfall of Bonaparte is approaching. The heart of man is against him, & against that there is no power which can stand.

A Dios



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster.
Endorsement: Recd Aug 23 1808.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ AUG 23/ 1808
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 82–83.
Dating note: from endorsement BACK

[1] William Nicol (d. c. 1855), publisher, and friend of Grosvenor Bedford’s. He was the son of George Nicol (1740?-1828), in whose publishing firm he became a partner in 1800. BACK

[2] Letters Written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797). BACK

[3] Originally part of the third volume, 1803, of Phillips’s series A Collections of Modern and Contemporary Voyages and Travels the Tour through Spain, and Part of Portugal; with Commercial, Statistical, and Geographical Details was repackaged as a stand-alone work in 1808, padded with matter from elsewhere, including, on pp. 230-235, old contributions of Southey’s on Iberian literature from the Monthly Magazine, 1 (1796), 451–453 (for Southey’s contributions see his letters to the Editor of the Monthly Magazine, 3 July 1796, [c. October 1796], [c. November 1796], [c. December 1796], [c. April 1797], [c. July 1797], [c. August 1797], [January 1798], [March 1798], [April] 1798, 4 February 1799. Respectively, Letters 164, 180, 183, 188, 208, 230, 242, 281, 289, 301, 376 of The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Two, edited by Ian Packer and Lynda Pratt. BACK

[4] Travels through Spain, and Part of Portugal, with Commercial, Statistical, and Geographical Details (1808). BACK

[5] Southey’s poem The Curse of Kehama (1810). For this, see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 16 August 1808, Letter 1494. BACK

People mentioned

Phillips, Richard (1767–1840) (mentioned 1 time)
Bedford family (mentioned 1 time)