2491. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 October 1814

2491. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 October 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. 21 Oct. 1814.

My dear Wynn,

I am greatly obliged to you for the trouble you have have taken to discover the Welsh phenomenon, & not a little vexed that it should have proved in vain, – the more so as my other letter addressed to his friend at Manchester has this evening been returned to me from the General Post Office. [1]  That the thing should be a hoax is not very likely, for there is nobody xxxx to enjoy it. However I now send you the original letter to see if you can pick out from it any thing which may lead to a right direction. As for directing a letter to Llynn Aledd [2]  it would be useless. Llynns in Wales are as numerous as Ballys in Ireland.

Your determination respecting your brothers steward [3]  is, in my judgement perfectly right, & I am sure you will always reflect xx upon it with satisfaction. – Would to God this business with America were settled. [4]  It is a war of the Devils own making from which nothing but mischief can arise. Yet while it lasts I would strike hard & home, & therefore cannot but approve the blow at Washington. [5]  If poor Ross had not fallen, Baltimore would probably have experienced the same fate. [6] 

If the Catalans take part with Mina he may defy the rest of Spain. [7]  Both in Catalonia & Aragon there has ever been a spirit of liberty; What a beast is this Ferdinand, [8]  & what madmen must his advisers be! – They have made me a Member of the Royal Spanish Academy, [9]  – & if his abominable system continues till my history [10]  be publishd, they will probably confer upon me a second honour in expunging my name.

The life of Nelson is to be translated into Danish, – by the Dane whose account of the Battle of Copenhagen I have quoted & made much use of. [11] 

I have begun another poem, or at least the introduction to it, which is addressed to my eldest daughter. The title is A Tale of Paraguay, a true story, of very few incidents, but singularly beautiful. [12]  I write it in ten syllable rhymes disposed ad libitum: [13]  & the probable extent will not exceed a thousand lines.

My miscellaneous poems are again in the press. [14]  I have incorporated the Metrical Tales [15]  with them, & rearranged the whole in three volumes, adding those from the Register, [16]  Bishop Athendio & one or two others. [17] 

Did you see the March to Moscow in the Courier? [18]  If not I will send it you, with the two unprinted supprest stanzas. General Bentham [19]  had a fine edition printed to send to Russia, & some copies on white sattin!!

My best wishes that your xxx hopes may not be again disappointed. [20] 

God bless you

Yrs affectionately


Return me the Welshmans letter.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M.P./ Llangedwin/ Oswestry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Evans, an aspiring writer, had asked Southey for help. Southey had agreed to read anything Evans sent him; see Southey to Greeton Evans, 19 August 1814 (Letter 2470) and 20 August 1814 (Letter 2472). Southey had involved Wynn in an attempt to ensure that Evans received his reply; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 August 1814, Letter 2471. BACK

[2] The home address that Evans gave on his letter. BACK

[3] Unidentified. BACK

[4] The United Kingdom and the United States were at war 1812–1814. BACK

[5] British troops occupied Washington on 24 August 1812 and burned a number of public buildings, including the White House and the Capitol. BACK

[6] Major-General Robert Ross (1766–1814; DNB), a Peninsular War veteran, commanded the British troops who occupied Washington. He was killed on 12 September 1812 as he led his troops towards Baltimore. However, the British army failed to capture the city. BACK

[7] Francisco Espoz y Mina (1781–1836), a noted guerrilla leader during the Peninsular War. On 25–26 September 1814 he led an attempted rebellion in Pamplona against the authoritarian royal government. BACK

[8] Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833). He had abolished the liberal Constitution of 1812, imprisoned leading liberals and restored the Inquisition. BACK

[9] The Real Academia Espanola, founded 1713. It regulated the use of the Spanish language. BACK

[10] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[11] Andreas Andersen Feldborg, A Tour in Zealand, the Year 1802; with an Historical Sketch of the Battle of Copenhagen (1805), which had supplied details for Southey’s Life of Nelson (1813); see Southey to Thomas Southey, 24 December 1812 (Letter 2192) and Southey to John Murray, 19 October 1814 (Letter 2489). Feldborg’s translation does not seem to have been published. BACK

[12] A Tale of Paraguay (1825). Southey’s source was Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717–1791), Historia de Abiponibus (1783–1784). BACK

[13] ‘At one’s pleasure’. BACK

[14] Minor Poems (1815). BACK

[15] Metrical Tales (1805). BACK

[16] ‘The Alderman’s Funeral’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), II, pp. 204–213, first published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.2 (1810), i-iv; ‘King Ramiro’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), III, pp. 138–147, first published in Morning Post, 9 September 1803, re-published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.2 (1810), v-ix; ‘Queen Orraca and the Five Martyrs of Morocco’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), III, pp. 181–192, first published in Morning Post, 1 September 1803 as ‘Queen Urraca, And The Five Martyrs of Morocco’, re-published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.2 (1810), ix-xiii; ‘Verses Spoken in the Theatre at Oxford, on the Installation of Lord Grenville’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), I, pp. 57–62, first published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.2 (1811), 641–643; ‘Garci Ferrandez’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), III, pp. 128–137, first published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.2 (1811), 637–641; ‘The Inch Cape Rock’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), III, pp. 148–152, first published Morning Post, 19 October 1803, re-published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.2 (1812), lxxiv-lxxvi. BACK

[17] ‘A True Ballad of St Antidius, the Pope, and the Devil’, Minor Poems, 3 vols (London, 1815), III, pp. 171–180; first published as ‘A True Ballad of a Pope’, Morning Post, 4 February 1803. BACK

[18] ‘The March to Moscow’, a ‘droll ballad’, published in the Courier, 23 June 1814. The suppressed stanzas were: one on Roscoe, see Southey to John Rickman, 15 June 1814, Letter 2442; and a second on Brougham and Jeffrey. As published in Southey’s final collected edition the second suppressed stanza read: ‘And Counsellor Brougham was all in a fume/ At the thought of the march to Moscow:/ The Russians, he said, they were undone,/ And the great Fee-Faw-Fum/ Would presently come/ With a hop, step, and jump unto London./ For as for his conquering Russia,/ However some persons might scoff it,/ Do it he could, and do it he would,/ And from doing it nothing would come but good,/ And nothing could call him off it./ Mr. Jeffrey said so, who must certainly know,/ For he was the Edinburgh Prophet./ They all of them knew Mr. Jeffrey’s Review,/ Which with Holy Writ ought to be reckon’d:/ It was through think and thin to its party true;/ Its back was buff, and its sides were blue/ Morbleu! Parbleu!/ It served them for Law and for Gospel too’; see Poetical Works, 10 vols (1837–1838), VI, pp. 218–219. BACK

[19] Samuel Bentham (1757–1831; DNB), Inspector-General of Naval Works 1796–1807. He had worked in Russia, 1780–1791. BACK

[20] Wynn as yet had no son and was clearly hoping his next child would be a boy. It was a girl; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 15 December 1814, Letter 2516. BACK

People mentioned

Evans, Greeton (mentioned 2 times)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)