3100. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 March 1818

3100. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 March 1818⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I know nothing of the author of the inclosed designs, – except that he has written me a very civil letter & says that he has made sketches in like manner from Madoc. [1]  That he can get any thing by them is impossible at so low a price; I send the specimens to you as thinking that you will like to see them, & if you find that any one is disposed to encourage them x so much the better.

It gives me great pleasure to hear that the Scriptores Rer. Hib: are only delayed; – & yet in such cases how much many melancholy proofs we have that delays are dangerous. For in case of Dr O Connors death who is there that could supply his place? Perhaps there is no other man xxx living who possesses the necessary knowledge, – & if such a man should be found it is “a thousand pounds to one penny” that he would not have the same good sense united with it. [2]  – When the Catalogue [3]  comes I will see what I can do in the way of making known the merits both of the scholar & the patron. – I am curious to see if the Antiochus of Joseph of Exeter be in this collection. [4]  It was said to be in the Chandos Library. [5] 

I am in a very interesting part of the hist: of Brazil, – the account of the Equestrian tribes. [6] 

God bless you


21 March. 1818


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre M.P./ 6. Whitehall/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 24 MR 24/ 1818
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 48123D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] William Hawkes Smith had sent Southey a ‘Prospectus’ and sample plates for Essays in Design Drawn and Etched by W. H. Smith, …Illustrative of the Poem of ‘Thalaba the Destroyer’ by R. Southey (1818). Smith’s plan was to publish by subscription at a price of 10s 6d; he had also illustrated Madoc (1805). BACK

[2] Charles O’Conor (1764–1828; DNB), Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres, 4 vols (1814–1826), no. 2112 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. This was an edition of some of the manuscripts in the library at Stowe. O’Conor was the chaplain of Mary, Marchioness of Buckinghamshire (d. 1812). Her husband, George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham (1753–1813; DNB), provided financial support for the project. BACK

[3] Bibliotheca MS. Stowensis. A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Stowe Library (1818–1819), compiled by Charles O’Conor. BACK

[4] Antiocheis, a Latin epic poem by Joseph of Exeter (fl. 12th century) written c. 1190. The poem is a lost work. BACK

[5] Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos (1776–1839; DNB), son of the 1st Marquess of Buckingham, acquired what remained of the Chandos library through marriage. His wife Lady Anne Brydges (d. 1836), was the heir of James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos (1731–1789; DNB). However, much of the library had been sold in 1747. Southey derived his information on Joseph of Exeter’s Antiocheis from Thomas Warton (1728–1790; DNB), The History of English Poetry, 3 vols (London, 1774–1788), I, p. [clii], note c: ‘Mr. Wise, the late Radcliffe librarian, [Francis Wise 1695–1767; DNB] told me that a manuscript of the Antiocheis was in the library of the late duke of Chandos at Canons.’ An edition of Warton’s work from 1824 was no. 2986 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] Southey was preparing the final volume of his History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), in which he describes the Indian tribes who learned the use of the horse, first introduced by the Spanish. The tribes, the Abipones, Mocobis and Tobats, are described at III, pp. 374–437. BACK