1223. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 9 October [1806]

1223. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 9 October [1806] ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I have just received from you two extra-best-superfine-elephant-imperial-franks – containing a compleat apparatus but not one line of directions how to use it, & without such I might as well think of squaring the Circle. Into one of these the inclosed I suppose had slipt – perhaps in place of a letter designed for me –

Is the way to use it thus – place the paper xxxxxx under the black leaf, & the glass under that? But what is to be done with <on the black leaf one of the oiled leaves in the book, or rest the hand on the little piece of mahogany, the duplicate will then be read transparently. [1]  This is the best guess I can xxxx form – but I shall not try it till I hear your directions.

The unborn inheriteth not my punctuality not having arrived when expected. [2]  They who keep others waiting often plead difference of clocks for an excuse – (I remember once putting my watch back twenty minutes & marching up school with it in my hand to convince Beef Steaks [3]  that he had come in too soon) – but the unborns computation of time is sure to be right.

I am working as hard as seven negroes just when canes are xxx cut.

God bless you


Thursday Oct 9 – & now do I xxxx remember that no letters go tonight for London – however if one should come from you by tomorrows post I shall not receive it in time – being to dine upon the Island [4]  – so I dismiss this for the sake of the inclosed.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Whitehall/ London/ Private
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ OCT11/ 1806
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] In his letter to Wynn of 17–18 October 1806, Southey refers to this ‘apparatus’ as a ‘double writer’, and it is likely to have been an early version of carbon paper, first patented by Ralph Wedgwood (1766–1837) on 7 October 1806 as the ‘stylographic manifold writer’; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 17–18 October 1806, Letter 1228. BACK

[2] Herbert, the Southeys’ first son, was born 11 October 1806. BACK

[3] Untraced. BACK

[4] Derwent Isle, Derwentwater, where William Peachy lived in the summertime. BACK