1400. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 December 1807

1400. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 December 1807 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

Frank for me the inclosed to the Rev. Joseph Wilkinson. Thetford. Norfolk. [1] 

My brother Henry is looking about him where to settle. – Theford is one of the places which have been mentioned to him, & as I happen to be acquainted with the Rector of that place, this letter is to make enquiry concerning the chance there may be of his succeeding there. Another year in Lisbon would have been convenient for him. My Uncle loses 300£ a year by this expulsion of the English. My friend John May 20,000£. He is one of the best men I have ever known, – it was not possible to make a better use of affluence than he did, or to part with it with more composure.

I replied to the overtures about the Edinburgh Review by a decided refusal upon the ground of my xx utter disapprobation of the general system of criticism pursued by Jeffray, & my utter dissent from all his principles of facts, morals & politics. [2]  As Walter Scott happens to agree with me in the first, & in his opinions about peace & catholick emancipation he was well pleased with the ground & manner of this refusal.

Coleridge is to lecture at the Royal Institution. [3]  Have you heard that Davy is dangerously ill? I know no man whose death would be so greatly to be lamented as he has just struck out some of the most important & original discoveries that have ever been made in chemistry, & which if he lives to pursue them will set his name far above x all other natural philosophers.

God bless you




* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Wynnstay/ Wrexham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, p. 35. BACK

[1] Joseph Wilkinson (1764–1831), Anglican priest, lived at Ormathwaite Hall and subsequently became Rector of East and West Wretham, Norfolk. Wilkinson was an amateur artist whose drawings of the Lake District were published, with an introduction by Wordsworth, as Select Views in Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire (1810). BACK

[2] Archibald Constable (1774–1827; DNB), the Edinburgh publisher of the Edinburgh Review and Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and Marmion (1807), had asked through Scott whether Southey would become a contributor to the Edinburgh Review; see Southey to John Rickman, 1 December 1807 (Letter 1387) and Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 11 December 1807 (Letter 1396). For Southey’s refusal, see Southey to Walter Scott, 8 December 1807, Letter 1392. BACK

[3] Coleridge lectured on the Principles of Poetry at the Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, London, from January to June 1808. See S. T. Coleridge, Lectures 1808–1819: On Literature, ed. R. A. Foakes, 2 vols (London and Princeton, 1987), I, pp. 9–149. BACK