2577. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 18 March 1815

2577. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 18 March 1815 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn,

I have two hopes from this resurrection of the Devil. [1]  One is that the race of those cursed soldiers who have been bred up under Buonapartes system may do good execution upon each other, & that kind of military spirit be cut up by the roots. The other is that as I am sure know what your feelings must be, xx you & your friends [2]  may by this occasion come into office, – for never did any ministry stand more in need of being reinforced by men capable of acting boldly & decisively. What a weakness to let the property tax [3]  be hooted down when it was so palpably for the general good that it should have continued another year! What a madness to quarrel with the mob con[MS obscured] Bread. [4]  The last xxxxxxx xxxxxx can only be equalled by.

I was exceedingly pleased at what you said respecting duelling in the army. [5]  How much good might be done if men would set about it in the right spirit & the right way! I have long thought of writing a paper for the Quarterly upon real practicable reform, – & indeed have promised to do it. [6]  It would have been executed ere this, if I could have written without fear of the Editors timidity. It has always been my fate in reviewing to have th <an> editor come with his sow-gelders knife, & emasculate the style & the argument. Gifford plays the very Devil with me.

God bless you


Keswick. 18 March 1815.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 21 MR 21/ 1815
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), who had escaped from Elba on 26 February 1815 and returned to France. BACK

[2] i.e. the followers of Lord Grenville. BACK

[3] The Government had made an announcement in the House of Commons on 9 February 1815 that income tax would be abolished. In fact, the renewed war with France in 1815 meant the war-time income tax was not finally ended until 1816. BACK

[4] The Government had introduced its proposal for a sliding scale of duties on imported corn on 1 March 1815. The Bill passed on 23 March 1815, despite much urban opposition. BACK

[5] In a House of Commons debate on the Mutiny Bill on 7 March 1815, Wynn had advocated that ‘military duels should have some mark of disapprobation affixed to them’. BACK

[6] Possibly a reference to Southey’s article on ‘the Poor’ in Quarterly Review, 15 (April 1816), 187–235. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)