3461. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [2 April 1820]

3461. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [2 April 1820]⁠* 

My dear Wynn

If I can get a place at Kendal in the night coach, I shall reach Liverpool by eight in the on Tuesday morning; but as the coach passes thro Kendal, instead of starting from thence, I cannot secure a place. However the chances are much in my favour. From Liverpool I shall take the first conveyance to Chester, and may perhaps xxx xxxxx & xxxx get on to Oswestry by the first stage. In case of being detained there <at Chester> till the next morning, I xxxxxxx <may> find something at the booksellers wherewith to while away the time. But if the hours suit, I will make no delay. When you set off for town I can accompany you as far as our road lies in the same line, – for I probably to Shrewsbury. I have to make a visit at Ludlow.

The dirty trick by which Curwen has got in for the County, may possibly lose a vote to his party by the issue of the next election at Carlisle; [1]  & must I think divide Whig from Radical at the next General Election. – There is a talk of petitioning that some proper person may be appointed to act as High Sheriff in Westmorland during elections, in consequence of Lord Thanets conduct. [2] 

I look with much anxiety, & no little fear, to the meeting of the Cortes. [3]  Had it been convoked without reestablishing the Constitution of the Liberales, I should have augured more happily. But that Constitution is full of absurdities, & must lead to anarchy. Something worse than the deposition of Ferdinand [4] are is to be apprehended. Quoad Ferdinand nobody would care. But a Jacobine Revolution in Spain would be a tremendous evil. The convulsion would not stop there. Germany would feel it, – & God knows what might happen in France. – Spain is in a dreadful state. Ferdinand has been over thrown less by his own faults, & the spread of popular opinions than by his distresses. If he could have paid his troops & his ser civil servants there would have been no opposition to his caprices. But the same distress must continue to felt. The Government used to depend mainly for revenues upon S America. Half or more of those resources have been cut off, & the people at home have been ruined by war & pestilence. A revolutionary Government may & probably will, plunder the Church & the nobles; but this plunder will not support it long & will not even afford a supply of xxx money for immediate emergency the French having taken care of all that was convertible into bullion. [5]  There will be only lands to sell, – in a country where there is nobody to purchase them.

God bless you


Easter Sunday.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre M.P./ Llangedwin/ Oswestry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D
Dating note: Easter Sunday fell on 2 April in 1820. BACK

[1] John Christian Curwen (1756–1828; DNB), Whig MP for Carlisle 1786–1790, 1791–1812, 1816–1820, was elected one of the two MPs for Cumberland on 17 March 1820. The ‘dirty trick’ was that Curwen was firstly elected for Carlisle, and then launched a late campaign in Cumberland, which did not challenge the Tory incumbent, John Lowther (1759–1844), MP for Cumberland 1796–1831, but instead attacked the moderate and inactive Whig, George Howard, Viscount Morpeth (1773–1848), MP for Morpeth 1795–1806, MP for Cumberland 1806–1820. Curwen’s victory in Cumberland precipitated a by-election in Carlisle. Unfortunately for Southey, the seat was not won by a government supporter, but by the radical, William James (1791–1861), MP for Carlisle 1820–1826, 1831–1834, MP for East Cumberland 1836–1847. BACK

[2] Sackville Tufton, 9th Earl of Thanet (1769–1825; DNB), was the main financial supporter of the Whig cause in Westmorland, where he was Hereditary High Sheriff 1786–1825. BACK

[3] An army revolt in Spain in January 1820 led to the re-establishment of the liberal Constitution of 1812 in March 1820. BACK

[4] Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833). BACK

[5] During the French occupation of Spain in 1808–1813 a good deal of the country’s portable wealth had been looted. BACK