3046. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 2 December 1817

3046. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 2 December 1817⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I did not know that Lord G. had published Townsends pamphlett. [1]  – The whole substance of Malthus’ book – as far as there is any substance in it, is fitly comprized in one or two pages of this writers Travels in Spain. [2]  He was a remarkable person & died last year at a very great age, – considerably above four-score. His great-nephew (a son of Hare Townsend [3]  of Middlesex-Meeting notoriety) is in a fair way of being the best poet of the next generation.

I have resumed the Tale of Paraguay, [4]  & perhaps it may not be long before I shall send you a portion of it, – tho I write slowly (you would hardly believe how slowly) & the QR. is a grievous interruption when the time comes round, – for there is no work which I do with so little pleasure as reviewing, & therefore it costs me so much more time than any other, that I sometimes doubt whether upon the only principle that makes me continue to tug at this oar, I might not be better employed upon another voyage xxxx where I should have wind at will & might steer my own course.

Remember me to Elmsley. I will take care that the second volume of Brazil [5]  shall be sent him when he returns to town; – & if there be any other books of mine which he has not received, if he will let the Longmen know, he shall be supplied. I have always directed them to be sent.

God bless you


2 Dec. 1817.


* 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Unpublished.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] Joseph Townsend (1739–1816; DNB), physician, geologist and Vicar of Pewsey in Wiltshire, 1764–1816. Townsend’s A Dissertation on the Poor Laws (1786) anticipated Thomas Malthus’s (1766–1834; DNB) arguments against poor relief in An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). It was republished in 1817 with a preface by Lord Grenville. BACK

[2] Townsend was also the author of A Journey through Spain in the Years 1786 and 1787; with Particular Attention to the Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce, Population, Taxes, and Revenue of that Country, 3 vols (London, 1791), which described the reform of poor relief in the Spanish city of Alicante (III, pp. 183–185). An edition from 1814 was no. 2865 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Southey had met Townsend in 1797, but had not taken to him; see Southey to Joseph Cottle, 9 April 1797, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part One, Letter 210. BACK

[3] Henry Hare Townsend (1765–1827). When the radical, Sir Francis Burdett, was imprisoned in 1810 he was sent a laudatory address from ‘the Freeholders of Middlesex, in full county assembled’ on 5 May 1810. Hare Townsend was one of the key organisers and speakers at this event. BACK

[4] A Tale of Paraguay (1825). BACK

[5] History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK