2728. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 27 February 1816

2728. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 27 February 1816⁠* 

My dear Wynn

The letter which I inclose to be directed by your hand relates to a melancholy subject. A youth by name James Dusautoy wrote to me to submit samples of his poetry & ask my advice respecting his pursuits in life. In consequence of that advice & of my interference he was placed as a xxx sizer at Emanuel; [1]  nothing could be better than his prospects there, – & nothing more promising than his talents; when the fever of last year put an end to all. His papers have been sent me; & it is most probable that I shall publish a selection from him. This letter is to his father [2]  upon the subject.

I read Lord Grenvilles speech at the opening of the session with great pleasure, agreeing with him entirely in all points. [3]  The argument appears to me fallacious that because England has increased in power since the peace of Utrecht, [4]  France ought to be left with all that Louis 14 added to her: [5]  England has increased in colonial power, – which is not available in European war, – indeed during war her foreign possessions divert a part of her strength. And as for any increase at home, France has kept pace with it, except till the loss of population & of maritime force during the last 25 years, – losses which a very few years of peace will repair.

However the world has had a great example as well as a most aweful lesson. The example has been incompleat, & the lesson is lost upon our Broughams & Burdetts, still I hope England & the whole of Europe will be the better for both. I am taking a wide range in my poem, [6]  & venture upon high ground toward the close, touching the prospects of society. It has grown under my hands & is not yet compleated, – so I must go to work.

God bless you


27 Feby. 1816.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A student in receipt of benefits such as free meals or lower fees, in return for performing defined duties. BACK

[2] James Du Sautoy (1761–1859), who had retired from his post as a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines in 1798. Southey’s enclosure does not survive. Southey did not publish a collection of Dusautoy’s poems. BACK

[3] Grenville had spoken in the House of Lords on 19 February 1816; the main focus of his speech was to oppose the size of the Army that the government proposed to maintain in peacetime. BACK

[4] The Treaty at Utrecht (1713) concluded the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1713). BACK

[5] In the reign of Louis XIV (1638–1715; King of France 1643–1715), France expanded its territory, especially in Flanders, Alsace and the border with Spain. Very few of these gains were given up in the Treaty of Paris (1815). BACK

[6] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK