243. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 3 August 1797] *
My dear Grosvenor
I like the plan you propose, & see no objection to it at present. but you know how feasable those things appear which we wish. one circumstance only may happen to prevent it — I have some hopes that my mother will come & live with me. this I very earnestly wish & shall use every means to induce her, but it does not appear so probable as I could desire. this I shall know in a short time — & if then you have not changed your intentions — you know how gladly I should domesticate under the same roof with you. in that case I should certainly prefer keeping a servant for various oeconomical reasons.
I think you would derive more good from Epictetus  than from studying yourself. there is a very proud independance in the Stoic philosophy which has always much pleased me; you would find certain sentences in the Enchiridion which would occur to the mind when such maxims were wanted & operate as motives. besides when you are examining yourself you ought to have a certain standard by which to measure yourself: & however far an old Stoic may be from perfection, he is almost a God when compared to the present race who libel that nature which appeared with such exceeding lustre in Athens in Lacedæmon & in Rome. I could send you to a better system than that of the bondsman Epictetus, where you would find a better model on which to form your conduct. but the mind should have arrived at a certain stage to profit properly by that book, which few have attained. it should be cool & confirmed.
As for the Law I am less surprized at your laying it down than at your taking it up. with your prospect of independance I think your leisure could scarcely be worse employed than in learning that which you would only wish to remember in your profession. for myself I think I know Blackstone  well now — & shall get on well. but if Buonaparte should come how many fine schemes he will spoil!
I write now in haste. my time is fully employed & I must walk into town, on an errand already too long delayed.
Are the Hendersons  at Lymington? I should like to see the younger one again. I like her.
To recur again to the first part of this letter. I have many acquaintance strangers to you. many worth your knowing — some not — these last meet only with mere civility from me. how far their occasional calls would be disagreable to you — you best know.
So God bless you.
* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/
Stamped: CHRIST/ CHURCH
Postmark: BAU/ 3/ 97
Endorsements: 2 August 1797; 2 Augt 1797
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, pp. 321–322 [in part, where it is dated 2 August]. BACK