297. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [25 March 1798] *
Sunday. Lady day. 98.
My dear Grosvenor Bedford
According to the family Bible my brother Thomas was twenty on the 1st of December last. he has been five years in the service. certainly it is his intention to continue <in> it till he gets a Lieutenancy. his future plans, future circumstances must determine, & no person has any business to enquire into them. As for his political opinions, I am not his conscience keeper, nor do I think it a question to be <asked or> answered, till St Dominic  be appointed first Saint of the Admiralty.
My dear Grosvenor do not suppose that I am insensible of your friendly intentions. but whoever the person may be who thus qualifies his hints of patronage, I think his questions somewhat unnecessary & impertinent. Tom is a good sailor, he is a young man in whom I know no fault, not even a failing; I love & respect him, not because he is my brother, but because I know no one more entitled to respect & love. Assuredly every additional interest is desirable – but I trust he has enough, to need but little, any assistance so proffered.
And now Grosvenor I will write to you upon this subject, for I have been thinking of your friend in power all the last page. I thank you. write to Tom – he will be gratified by hearing from you, & his answer will be the only proper data for you to act upon. I answer but only for myself in this world.
As for news of myself – I have none – except indeed that an event of some importance happened to me on Friday, when I had a tooth drawn. I am well – tho I believe approaching still nearer to the true skeleton proportion. Edith is better than when she left London – but not in health. She is very thin & very weak. more I have not to say. I have no love of epistolizing; in this I am altered. in other points I am the same – & among those others, I
yrs truly, as it is in the beginning, is now, & ever shall be. 
My direction is to Cottles.