3412. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 5 January 1820

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey, Part Six

3412. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 5 January 1820⁠* 

Keswick. 5 Jany. 1819 <1820> [1] 

My dear G.

A happy new year to you. Mine has had but an inauspicious beginning. Cuthbert was seized with a bilious attack on the 1st & it is but just now that we can pronounce him, I hope, to be recovering. The recovery however will be sadly impeded by an endemic catarrh & cough, with which the mother & all the children are at this time affected, & Mrs C. to boot. As yet I have escaped, but I have suffered much from anxiety, & was laid up the whole of yesterday by a sick headache. It gave me however the first opportunity of trying an experiment which I give myself credit for devising, – that of taking milk & water, instead of warm water only, when vomiting is to be excited. I thought this would take off the edge of the acidity, & preserve the throat from that excoriating sensation t which this operation had always before produced. It succeeded perfectly. Henry who likes a physical fact will be pleased with this; & reasoning from this, I think a draught of milk might very probably remove the heart-burn.

I told you that I had returned to Gifford Murrays draught for my last paper. [2]  The great personage has not yet thought proper to take the least notice of this, – so I suppose he is chewing the cud in anger, – tho angry he had no occasion to be, as I took the matter bonâ fide to be a mistake on his part. This is now plainly not the case. I should like you to ask Gifford whether he received my letter with the draft, that I may be quite sure it reached him. – I repent now having sent off the first part of Marlboroughs life. [3] The Megistos will not act wisely if he quarrels with me, – xxx question setting aside the question of handsome dealing. I meant to let him have the opusculum [4]  of “Sir Thomas More,” because as it contains matter which would not have occupied so much of my thoughts had it not been for the QR. I thought he had a claim to it, in preference to Longman. I have set about this little book & have just got thro the introductory dialogue – which is managed much to my satisfaction, & quite in a way to attract notice, & raise a talk. The motto will show you at once the purport of the book. Respice, aspice; prospice. [5]  & you will xxx readily perceive the advantage to be derived from throwing it into the form of discussion, & chusing such a personage as Sir Thomas More. [6] 

I returned to the post office the other day three half-crowns worth of abuse sent from New Orleans in the shape of extracts from Yankee newspapers. Every disrespectful thing said of America in the QR is imputed to me, in that country – while I heartily disapro disapprove of the temper in which America is treated. Such things however are not worth notice, & lies of this kind for many years past have been far too numerous to be noticed unless I gave up half my time to the task.

God bless you


On Monday morning the glass was at 9. in the afternoon of that day it was at 32. It is now raining – Wynn tells me that Strachey may be daily expected in England. I think of him when the wind blows, & shall be glad to hear he is safely landed.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 8 JA 8/ 1820
Endorsement: 5 Janry 1820
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] 1819 <1820>: Deletion and insertion in another hand. BACK

[2] Southey’s review of Thomas Fosbrooke (1770–1842; DNB), British Monachism; or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England (1817), Quarterly Review, 22 (July 1819), 59–102, published 11 December 1819. BACK

[3] Southey’s review of William Coxe, Memoirs of John Duke of Marlborough, with his Original Correspondence; Collected from the Family Records at Blenheim, and Other Authentic Sources. Illustrated with Portraits, Maps, and Military Plans (1818–1819) appeared in Quarterly Review, 23 (May 1820), 1–73. BACK

[4] ‘Minor work’; in this instance, Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829) published by Murray. BACK

[5] ‘Look to the past, the present, the future’; attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), these words were to appear on the title page [unpaginated] of vol. 1 of Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, 2 vols (London, 1829). BACK

[6] Sir Thomas More (1478–1535; DNB), Lord Chancellor 1529–1532 and opponent of the Reformation. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)