2851. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 11 October 1816

2851. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 11 October 1816⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I send you the first section of Oliver Newman. [1]  The train of thought belonging to it had long dormant, but in talking upon the subject with you, & now in transcribing this opening scene they are wakened up. – the plan which was originally [MS torn]tchd six years ago is now pretty well matured, – & I shall very probably soon resume [MS torn] in good earnest. [2]  – I hope it will not fall short of my former poems in interest or in execution. – & believe it will be the last of any length that I shall undertake of any length

Your letter requires a longer reply than I can now afford to give it. I believe that transportation is the proper punishment for seditious libel, – that any other is ridiculously inefficient, – & that unless this is resorted to, the worst consequences are to be apprehended, & that at no distant time.

My booksellers accounts have improved, – for the first time there is a balance in my favour in Longmans hands. Another year may enable me to pay off old debts, & xx begin to lay by. – Roderick has done this for me, & the Pilgrimage also has done well. [3]  An edition of 2000 sold in two months giving me a profit of 215£. Perhaps in another year I may be able to give up reviewing, which most assuredly I shall do as soon as I can afford it.

God bless you


11 Oct. 1816.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre M.P./ Llangedwin/ near/ Oswestry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The first book of Southey’s unfinished epic ‘Oliver Newman’. This had been completed in February 1815, but no further progress on the poem had been made. BACK

[2] Southey had made detailed notes and a plan of the poem, dated 19 January 1811; now in the Bodleian Library. BACK

[3] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814); and The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

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