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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1043. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 4 March 1805 ⁠* 

Dear Wynn

As soon as you receive Madoc or see it advertised as on its way, inclose for me the inclosed, & seal the frank with your great seal which contains eight quarters more than the great globe itself. Heaven knows how the old Gentleman will take it, but at any rate I will not put him out of humour by carriage or postage. If he did but live enough in the world to know that literature is one sure road to distinction, all would be well.

My little girl seems quite well again. Still I shall have an anxious time till the teething is over. I sometimes half envy those who, if they have no headache, sleep undisturbed & work without uneasiness. The sweets & the sours of domestic life are mixed like lemon & sugar in punch. – but tho the sweets be improved by the mixture – I wish all the sour were out of the way. Some evils I have endured heretofore, – but there are none that go to the heart like these hopes & fears –

I hardly know what to wish about politics – the times are so perilous that I should tremble to see an administration for which I was interested. Without new taxes there is no doing, & yet there must be a limit beyond which taxation cannot go. & we are in a fair {way} of ascertaining it. That we should suffer from dearth also is monstrous when there are waste lands on every side of us; & after we have twice tasted of the evil. Should Fox ever come into power he hazards much. We now say of him if he had been minister; – & if history should say this too, what an object of regret & admiration will he be to the latest generations of Englishmen! The physician who is called in to a desperate case loses no reputation but it is not so with the statesman. – What a misfortune for Wyndham he was ever in power! Why did he not propose his army-reforms when he was Secretary at War? & what is his complection made of that he of all men can demand a reason for suspending the Habeas Corpus in Ireland?

The accounts from Portugal look warlike. no doubt this is compulsion, but the feelings of the people will be against us about those frigates. [1]  It was a vile business. The man who signed the orders ought to be hung up as a national scape goat. I wish there were a petition set on foot to his Majesty to dismiss the Ministers who had advised an action so dishonourable to the English character. This would wash off some of the shame.

God bless you.

RS.

Monday March 4. 1805


Notes

* Address: C. W. Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Lincolns Inn/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales MS 4812D
Unpublished. BACK

[1] On 5 October 1804, the British, having learned that Napoleonic France had intimidated Spain into paying an annual tribute of 72 million francs until it should declare war on Britain, launched a pre-emptive strike, in time of peace and without declaration of war. Four Spanish frigates bringing treasure from South America to the Spanish government were captured, and as a result, Spain declared war on Britain on 14 December 1804. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013