3675. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [21 April 1821]

3675. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [21 April 1821]⁠* 

My dear W.

I am about by favour of his representatives book to write a life of Cromwell for the Q. R. [1]  partly (inter nos) with a view of one day revising the lives which I have written <published> & shall write publish this, & forming them into a series. The looking forward to such a revisal reconciles me in some degree to the want of those great collections, which I constantly feel the want of, – but which are beyond my means to purchase. If ever you are in power, which as (in spite of the Catholic question) [2]  I hope to live to see you, I will try whether you have can procure me a set of those records which have been published at the public expence. [3] 

Did you ever see Hobbes’s Behemoth? [4]  I should very much like to see it, because the view which such a man took of our civil & religious factions must be very well worth knowing. And yet I have never seen it referred to by historians, – & only by accident know the subject of the work.

God bless you


Easter Eve.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre M.P./ Whitehall/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 24 AP 24/ 1821
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4813D. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Year from postmark; Easter eve (the day before Easter Sunday) fell on 21 April in 1821. BACK

[1] Oliver Cromwell (c. 1742–1821; DNB), Memoirs of the Protector, Oliver Cromwell, and of His Sons, Richard and Henry. Illustrated by Original Letters, and Other Family Papers (1820). This book provided one of the occasions for Southey’s ‘Life of Cromwell’, Quarterly Review, 25 (July 1821), 279–347. BACK

[2] Wynn favoured full political rights for Catholics; Southey was totally opposed. BACK

[3] Wynn was one of the Commissioners on the Public Records of the Kingdom, a body periodically appointed since 1800 to look into the nation’s archives. He actively supported plans to publish collections of medieval records, as well as series like Statutes of the Realm (1810–1825). BACK

[4] Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679; DNB), Behemoth: the History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England, and of the Counsels and Artifices by which they were Carried on from the Year 1640 to the Year 1660 (1681). BACK