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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2206. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 19 January 1813 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Thank you for your solicitude. I am nearly arrived at that age when every man is said to be either a fool or a physician, – & I can explain my own attack satisfactorily. The head feeling I have been subject to since the year 1798; – it is no doubt the same sensation which is experienced, in fainting, & in an hysterical woman {it} would end in a fit. The sickness was an accidental effect of flatulence, – my stomach is so easily irritated, that in the sick head aches to which I am subject, no emetic is ever needed; – as soon as I perceive that it is necessary to clear the stomach, it is scarcely necessary to put my finger into my mouth, – I can xxxx effect the same purpose by an act of volition. The moment therefore in this last case I an apprehension of something was excited, – the thing itself followed – Your prescription of exercise however is followed. Before your letter arrived I had given Lunus full powers to rouse me at day break, & we fetch a walk before breakfast whenever the weather permits.

This goes with the last proof of my article upon the state of the populace. [1]  Pray secure the manuscript of this article, – or a set of the proofs before they receive that emasculation which they {it} may perhaps be destined to undergo. [2] 

Murray I see puts my name to Nelson. [3]  I left it to his discretion. –

I have just finished the tenth book of Roderick, [4]  – with what success I dare not say; – it is the most difficult part of the poem, & the difficulty is almost insuperable. Would the work were finished! I begin think seriously of dropping some of my engagements {in order} to have leisure for things of more ultimate importance. The Register [5]  may soon drop me, or perhaps I shall drop it, & get out of my dealings with John Ballantyne as well as I can. – And I shall most probably withdraw from the Review [6]  when those xxxx subjects which I have undertaken are cleared off. Jeffrey pays himself & Brougham (if not every body else) twenty guineas per sheet as the regular price. I have been paid twice at this rate, – (for Nelson [7]  & the Methodists [8]  – ) I ought to have received the same price oftener, (especially for the Inquisition [9] ) – the Q. ought to pay me as highly as the Ed. [10]  pays anybody, but I shall never give any hint of this kind, & in fact I am not sure that I wish any such arrangement to be made, – for it would tempt {me} to continue in a vocation which possibly even then is not the most profitable to which I could betake myself, & certes not the most worthy.

What is become of your papers? & where is my pension [11]  – where, ah – where!

I long to send you those books of Roderick [12]  which you have not seen.

RS.

Keswick. Jany. 19. 1813.


Notes

* Endorsements: 9 Jany 1813; Jany 19. 1813
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s review of Patrick Colquhoun (1745–1820; DNB), Propositions for ameliorating the Condition of the Poor: and For Improving the Moral Habits, and Increasing the Comforts of the Labouring People (1812), appeared in the Quarterly Review, 8 (December 1812), 319–356. BACK

[2] As predicted, some cuts were made to the article. BACK

[3] Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

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

[5] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811 (1813) was to be Southey’s last. BACK

[6] Southey did not withdraw from the Quarterly Review. BACK

[7] Southey’s review of John Charnock (1756–1806; DNB), Biographical Memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, &c., &c., &c.; with Observations, Critical and Explanatory (1806); James Harrison (d. 1847), The Life of Lord Nelson (1806); T. O. Churchill (fl. 1800–1823), The Life of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, &c (1808); and James Stanier Clarke (c. 1765–1834; DNB) and John McArthur (1755–1840; DNB), The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. from his Lordship’s Manuscripts (1809), see Quarterly Review, 3 (February 1810), 218–262. It had been expanded into the full-scale Life of Nelson (1813). BACK

[8] Southey’s review of Hints to the Public and the Legislature, on the Nature and Effect of Evangelical Preaching. By a Barrister (1809), in Quarterly Review, 4 (November 1810), 480–514. BACK

[9] Southey’s review of The History of the Inquisitions; including the Secret Transactions of those Horrific Tribunals (1810); Letter upon the Mischievous Influence of the Spanish Inquisition as it actually exists in the Provinces under the Spanish Government. Translated from El Español, a periodical Spanish Journal published in London (1811); Narrativa da Perseguição de Hippolyto Joseph Da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendonça, Natural da Colonia do Sacramento, no Rio-da-Prata, prezo e Processado em Lisboa pelo pretenso Crime de Fra-Maçon, ou Pedreiro Livre (1811), Quarterly Review, 6 (December 1811), 313–357. BACK

[10] Edinburgh Review. BACK

[11] Southey had received a government pension of £200 p.a. (£144 after tax) since 1807. BACK

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

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August 2013