1709. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 13 November 1809

1709. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 13 November 1809 ⁠* 

Nov. 13. 1809.

My dear Wynn

I remember Allen of Balliol, but never had any acquaintance with him. [1]  – my old friend was of University, poor fellow, & has long been in his grave. [2]  God be merciful to his soul! – I am so far a Catholick as to remember it nightly in my prayers – for he has many sins rather than errors of judgement I fear, to answer for, – & suffered loose morals to grow out of vicious principles. For many years we had been estranged without any dispute, & each I believe continuing dearly to love the other, – for seldom have I known a man of brighter talents, never one of a kinder heart.

I have no intercourse with any Oxford men except those whom you yourself know. Lightfoot is not a Master. There is my Uncle indeed who is now in London about to take one of the D of Bedfords [3]  livings. I believe the xx Catholick question would weigh with him against Lord G. & I do not think he will go out of his way to vote for any body else. Alma Mater I conceive to mean an Old Woman, nevertheless I & the Old Woman agree upon this question, – & it is perhaps the only one on which we are agreed. It is unlucky that the D of P. did not live a few months till your Uncle was in power (as I suppose he <soon> must be) [4]  – the Old Woman would then have been quite as ready to kiss his Netherlands as she was to kick them in 1807. [5] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] 16 NOV/ 1809
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Untraced. BACK

[2] Southey’s friend from university was Robert Allen who died in 1805. BACK

[3] John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766–1839; DNB). BACK

[4] The Duke of Portland (1738–1809; DNB) resigned from the Prime Ministership in October 1809 and died on 30 October. Portland had also been Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Grenville was installed as the new chancellor of the university in 1810. BACK

[5] Oxford University, Southey’s alma mater, was opposed to the emancipation of Catholics. It had opposed Grenville on the issue during his ministry in 1807. Portland’s ministry, which succeeded Grenville’s, had opposed emancipation but fell in October 1809. Southey means that, rather than face the prospect of Grenville becoming its chancellor, the University would have toadied to the Duke of Portland, had he lived, to ensure that he, as an opponent of Catholic emancipation would have remained its chancellor. BACK