1940. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 July 1811

1940. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 July 1811 ⁠* 

Friday July 19. 1811.

My dear Wynn

Your letter followed me from Keswick, from which place we have been nearly six weeks absent. In another week we leave town & after halting at Richmond, Bristol, Lanthony, Ludlow perhaps, & probably Teddesley, – we will find our way to you about this day month. – Elmsley is to call on me this morning. I have not yet seen him.

The reviewal of Pasley I do not own, – because by the great omissions & alterations which have been made in it, it directly contradicts xxxx some of my opinions has been made directly to contradict <some of> the opinions which I had laboured with most earnestness to impress. [1]  My remedy must be found in the third years Register, wherein I shall pour out the whole vial of my wrath upon the Sicilian government. [2] 

My brother is gone to sea upon a promise of promotion procured by Herries’s means. Perceval wrote to Yorke [3]  recommending him, & Croker has been very civil to me upon the occasion. I dined with him the other day at the Admiralty. I am not much afraid of a change, – & if there should be one, it is most likely that Tom would be included in the last batch. [4] 

The Register will be out in a few days. It will displease all parties in turn, – I have spoken fairly & fully upon the D of York [5]  & the Walcheren expedition, [6]  – but in spite of both these wretched affairs the ministry have not a more zealous advocate, – less, it must be confessed in love to them, than in abomination of their opponents.

Kehama [7]  succeeds better than any of my former books. I have cleared 76£ by it for my half. As soon as my accounts with Longman are even I shall be able to make better terms. – that it is to print on my own account, & take the whole profits, instead of giving him half. Flaxman [8]  I am told is making designs from Kehama, – nobody can be so much surprized at the comparative success of this poem as I am myself.

God bless you




* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M.P./ Llangedwin/ Oswestry
Postmark: FREE/ 19 JY 19/ 1811
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 228–229. BACK

[1] Sir Charles William Pasley (1780–1861; DNB), Essay on the Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire (1810). It was sent to Southey for review but the resulting article was deemed by Gifford to be ‘perfectly incorrect and dangerous’. The version published in the Quarterly Review, 5 (May 1811), 403–457, was, therefore, much altered by Croker, in consultation with Gifford and Murray; see Jonathan Cutmore, The Quarterly Review Archive. Southey particularly objected to the removal of his views upon the adviseability of British intervention in Sicily; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 17 May 1811, Letter 1924. BACK

[2] Southey had to wait until Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 422–437 to express his opinions. BACK

[3] Charles Philip Yorke (1764–1834; DNB), First Lord of the Admiralty, 1810–1812. BACK

[4] See Southey to Herbert Hill, 12 May 1811 (Letter 1921), and Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 4 August [1811] (Letter 1943). BACK

[5] In 1809, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827; DNB), had been forced to resign as commander-in-chief of the British army in the wake of allegations that he had profited from office trafficking. After a lengthy investigation, the charges were found to be unproven. It had, however, become apparent that his former mistress Mary Anne Clarke (c. 1776–1852; DNB) had received money from individuals keen for her to use her influence with the Duke, and that the Duke himself had known of her actions. For Southey’s account, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 109–301. BACK

[6] The ill-fated Walcheren campaign of 1809. Over 4000 British soldiers died and some 4000 more were affected by disease. For Southey’s account, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 660–692. BACK

[7] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[8] The sculptor, decorative designer and illustrator John Flaxman (1755–1826; DNB). He did not publish illustrations based on Kehama. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Llanthony (mentioned 1 time)
Teddesley (mentioned 1 time)