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

2495. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 4 November 1814 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Inclosed is my Memorial [1]  which I will beg you to {correct if needful, & then to} seal & forward it. I do not believe that I was indebted for any Term at Grays Inn; to the best of my recollection the last time I was in the Hall I kept no term, & for this reason, – a new regulation had been made that three dinners must be eaten instead of one. In intended conformity to this rule I had laid out my time, & secured my place for Bristol in the mail; on the third night of from the commencement of the term. But on going into the Hall the first day I was informed that the three dinners must be eaten in as many half weeks. It did not suit me to alter my arrangements – & lose my place – I preferred losing the term, & especially enquired at the time whether any expences would be acquired, – as I had not yet committed the act of eating, when I was assured not. And I therefore left the Hall, with a distinct understanding that that term was not kept, & not chargeable. – I do not think this could have been later than May, – & perhaps could ascertain the point by reference to some letters, – but 1–15–8 – is not worth the trouble of a dispute.

The sooner you can let me have some money the better, for it is low water with me. – I am a little uneasy at what you say about Gifford. A portion of the article ought to have reached him three or four days before you wrote, – sent as he desired under cover to Barrow, [2]  – & the concluding portion thro the same channel would be with him today. [3]  If it be lost I shall be seriously inconvenienced, – for I have calculated upon its produce towards my half-yearly bills. I must work very hard for him. You do not know (& I wish no one else to know) that thro C’s conduct I have had for some time a serious increase of expense thrown upon me, – the rent & taxes of his part of the house, & the support of part of his family, – the whole of what Mrs C. receives going to the two boys. [4]  Coming upon so severe a loss with Ballantyne this falls very heavily upon me. [5]  – You should have Roderick ready for the next x number, – it is of importance to start early. [6] 

God bless you

RS.

4 Novr. 1814

This is such a dirty trick of the Worshipfuls, that I heartily wish the 300 Absentees would subscribe to contest the point. I would willingly throw five pounds after the seven to expose the injustice.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsement: 4 Novr 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 108–109. BACK

[1] Southey’s response to a bill from Gray’s Inn for ‘Absent Commons’; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 30 October 1814, Letter 2494. Southey had enrolled in Gray’s Inn on 7 February 1797 with the intention of qualifying as a lawyer, but had abandoned his legal studies on his return from Portugal in 1801. Presumably, he had forgotten to inform Gray’s Inn and was still registered as ‘absent’. The last term he attempted to keep was probably in May 1799. BACK

[2] John Barrow (1764–1848; DNB), promoter of exploration, author and contributor to the Quarterly Review. He worked with Croker at the Admiralty, where he was Second Secretary 1804–1806, 1807–1845. BACK

[3] Southey’s article on Alexander Chalmers (1759–1834; DNB), The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper (1810), Quarterly Review, 11 (July 1814), 480–504; and Quarterly Review, 12 (October 1814), 60–90. Southey was concerned that the ‘middle’ section of the article had gone astray in the post; see Southey to John May, 9 November 1814, Letter 2498. BACK

[5] Southey’s investment in Ballantyne’s Edinburgh Annual Register had been a failure. In addition, when Southey ceased to write the historical section of the Register at the end of 1813, he had lost £400 p.a. BACK

[6] Bedford’s review of Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814) appeared in Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 83–113. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013