1570. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [c. 20 January 1809]

1570. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [c. 20 January 1809] ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

It is so long since I have heard from you that if Bedford had not per chance mentioned you in one of his last letters, I should have been making enquiry whether you were in this world or the next. I am looking with much more solicitude than I ever did before to the meeting of Parliament, to see what effect the Spanish question will have upon our home parties. – & I confess with a strong hope that it may lead to a schism between you & the Foxites, as they must still be called for want of any other name. [1]  Delay after delay, blunder after blunder, panic & pusillanimity, have not yet utterly lost the only opportunity we ever have had of bringing the war to a glorious termination; & had we but a Ministry who would act up to the wishes of the people & put forth the whole strength of England Bonaparte would inevitably find his grave in Spain. But if it be possible to ruin such a cause, our peace-party, our war office, & our wretched most wretched Cabinet will do it. There is no hope that the Edinburgh Review will destroy itself – for whatever gratifies the malignant passions is sure to find partizans in plenty, – but I hope it will think it must injure the party which it aims at serving. Nothing could be more absurd than xxx xxxx the way in which in which it has been endeavouring to give the opposition a Jacobinical character. [2]  To them it is as unjust as it must be mischievous, & for the Jacobines – as far as I have ever had any right or title to the appellation – & may be supposed to know the feelings & opinions of the better part of those who have been so called, all participation in the feelings of the Scotch Review, & all fellowship with Jeffray & his associates is utterly to be renounced. The true & consistent lovers of liberty are convinced that this war has now become <has long been> a business of national life & death; – our salvation is in our own right hands, & such can only come from ourselves. But if we abate one jot of heart & hope, we do the work of the enemy, & no heavier evil can befall us than we deserve.

If any separation of party takes place, – & I can be of any service in the way of newspaper essays, – or pamphleteering, – my whole heart will be with you & you have only to tell <me> in what manner I may be, or may try to be useful.

God bless you



* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M P./ London/ Wynnstay/ Wrexham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 20 JY 20/ 1809
MS: National Library of Wales MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 124–125.
Dating note: date from postmark BACK

[1] Wynn was of the Grenville faction within the Whig party; this grouping differed from the followers of the policies of Charles James Fox on the issue of how to deal with the French occupation of Spain and Portugal. BACK

[2] That is, the radical Whigs and Tories who both advocated a more bellicose policy towards Napoleon than the conciliatory policy favoured by the Edinburgh were branded as disloyal revolutionaries who endangered the security of the kingdom. See, for instance, ‘Mr Whitbread’s Letter on Spain’, Edinburgh Review, no. 24 (July 1808), 441; ‘Exposition of the Practices and Machinations which led to the Usurpation of the Crown of Spain, and the Means adopted by the Emperor of the French to carry it into Execution’, Edinburgh Review, no. 25 (October 1808), 215. BACK