1530. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 9 November 1808 *
My dear Grosvenor
I am ready, desirous & able to bear a part in this said review.  You will however think it odd that the very subject on which you seem to suppose me most able is one which I should rather avoid. I have not the sort of talent requisite for writing a political pamphlet upon the state of Spain, – these things require a xxx <kind> of wire-drawing which I have never learnt to perform, & a xxx <method> of logical reasoning to which my mind has never been habituated, & for which it has no natural aptitude. What I feel about Spain you know, – what I think about <it> is this, – the country has much to suffer, in all probability there will be many & dreadful defeats of the patriots, & such scenes as have never been witnessed in Europe since the destruction of Saguntum  & Numantia  may perhaps be renewed there. Joseph will very likely be crowned at Madrid,  & many of us may give up the cause of Spanish independance as lost. But so surely as God liveth & moveth in the hearts of men, so surely will that country eventually work out its own redemption.
Now Grosvenor, understand me clearly. I could not fill half a score of pages by dilating & diluting this; – but that is I should be a sorry pamphleteer; but I believe my self to be a good reviewer in my own way, which is that of giving a succinct account of the contents of the book before me, extracting its essence, bringing my own knowledge to bear upon the subject, & where occasion serves seasoning it with those opinions which in some degree leaven all my thoughts words & actions. If you had read the Annual Reviews you would comprehend this better by example than I can make you in a letter. Voyages & Travels I review better than any thing else, being well read upon in that branch of literature, better indeed than most men. Biography & History are within my reach, – upon any of these topics I will do my best. It is just proper to mention that there are now before me for the Annual Drurys Madagascar, – Clarksons Hist of the Abolition – Tennants Indian Recreation – & Zouchs Sir P. Sidney.  – Any thing else may be sent me – the Life of Bruce  could not be put into better hands.
You know my way of thinking upon most subjects. I despise all parties too much to be attached to any. I believe that this country must continue the war while Bonaparte is at the head of France, & while the system which he has perfected remains in force, – I therefore from my heart & soul execrate & abominate the peace-mongers. I am an enemy to any farther concessions to the Catholicks. I am a friend to the Church establishment, – not as a Churchman, for I am almost a Quaker, – but because an establishment is now, & long will be necessary, – & the one we have secures toleration to such hereticks as myself. I wish for reform, because I cannot but see that all things are tending towards revolution, & xxx nothing but reform can by any possibility prevent it.
This much is said to you, that it may be said thro you. – To yourself I add that the pay proposed will be exceedingly suitable to my poor finances, & that the more books of travels they send me the better; for that reason. I had almost forgotten to say that if a fit text be sent me the subject of converting the Hindoos is one upon which I am well prepared. It is my belief that they ought to be converted both as a matter of policy & duty, – & as you know I do not suppose salvation to be exclusively attached to any particular faith, you may be sure that this opinion does not proceed from religious bigotry. Claudius Buchanans book  would perhaps be the best text, if it be not too old. One two or three articles I could provide by the end new year. this had better be one,  – Bruce another. The place from whence all parcels should be sent, whether by coach or waggon is the Bull & Mouth. 
Fare well – & God bless you
Nov. 9. 1808.
Kehama is in great glory. 
* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr./ Exchequer/ Westminster/
Endorsements: Nov 9 1808/ 9 Novr 1808
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ NOV 12/ 1808
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 182–184 [with omissions]. BACK
 Southey’s reviews of these books appeared in the Annual Review for 1808, 7 (1809), Robert Drury [(1687–1734?; DNB)], The Adventures of Robert Drury, during fifteen Years Captivity on the Island of Madagascar; containing a Description of that Island; an Account of its Produce, Manufactures, and Commerce; with an Account of the Manners and Customs, Wars, Religion, and Civil Policy of the Inhabitants: to which is added, a Vocabulary of the Madagascar Language. Written by himself, and now carefully revised and corrected from the original, (1807), 253–263; Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846; DNB), The History of the Rise, Progress, and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade by the British Parliament (1808), 127–148; Thomas Zouch (1737–1815; DNB), Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Sir Philip Sydney (1808), 224–235. The review of William Tennant (1758–1813; DNB), Indian Recreations: Consisting Chiefly of Strictures of the Domestic and Rural Economy of the Mahomedans & Hindoos (1808) appeared on pages 658–670. BACK
 Alexander Murray (1775–1813; DNB), Account of the Life and Writings of James Bruce ... Author of Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile: in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 & 1773 (1808). This was reviewed in the Annual Review for 1808, 7 (1809), 263–270. BACK