1781. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 28 May 1810

1781. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 28 May 1810 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

Thank you for your Argument – it is well drawn up, & deserves the most attentive consideration. – still my opinion remains unaltered, that, if the H of Commons possess such a power, – it is time it were taken from them, – for while it exists all discussion upon political affairs is matter of sufferance & not of right. Once establish the case of Gale Jones as a precedent & we have no other security against an actual despotism than what <may> be found in the fears of the Ruling Powers. [1] 

I am returned from Durham & have written nothing for this Installation, [2]  but I believe I see my way & know how to begin, – & that once xxx accomplishd the thing is soon done. In the course of the week I will endeavour to send it you. The worse it may happen to be the more it will prove how desirous I have been to do something.

Scotts poem pleases me more than either of his former ones, [3]  tho I like its measure less. It is not overcharged with costume & has passages of first rate merit.

God bless you


May 28. 1810


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M.P./ London
Postmark: FREE/ 31 MY 31/1810
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Wynn’s Argument upon the Jurisdiction of the House of Commons to Commit in Cases of Breach of Privilege, published in May 1810. This defended the powers of the House of Commons to imprison those it considered had breached its privileges. These issues had become acute when the House decided on 5 April 1810 that Sir Francis Burdett had breached parliamentary privilege by denouncing the House’s decision to exclude reporters during its debates on the disastrous Walcheren expedition of 1809. Burdett particularly condemned the Commons’s decision to imprison the radical John Gale Jones (1769–1838; DNB) for his criticism of its proceedings over the Walcheren debates. Burdett was imprisoned 9 April–21 June 1810. BACK

[2] Southey had been asked by Wynn to write a poem commemorating Grenville’s (Wynn’s uncle) installation as Chancellor of Oxford University. It was published as ‘Verses. Spoken in the Theatre at Oxford Upon the Installation of Lord Grenville’, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.2 (1811), 641–643. BACK

[3] The Lady of the Lake (1810), as compared to The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and Marmion (1808). BACK

People mentioned

Grenville, Thomas (1755–1846) (mentioned 1 time)
Scott, Walter (1771–1832) (mentioned 1 time)