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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1220. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 27 September 1806 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

Can you insert for me in letter 31, the name of the place at which the Oxford stage would stop for dinner – the first stop beyond Henley would be the fit place. [1] 

Bunbury has promised to send me Sir John Moores poems – but I suspect they will come too late to be of any use in this edition. [2]  The book is as bad as you think it, & is a good deal worse than it would have been if I had seen [sic] the proofs – this however I shall not tell Bedford. The main censure which it will incur is for inaccurate printing in wh[MS obscured] it bears away the bell from any book in the language except Andersons Poets. [3]  [MS obscured] very few days I shall send you my preface which contains a brief skelet[MS obscured] history of English poetry. As for the dullness patience! tis none of mine. Collectors & bibliographers ought to excuse it. – & there are plenty of beautiful pieces for other readers towards the close. I hope it will sell, & xxx shall gladly be content in this instance with profit instead of praise.

Peter Roberts’s [4]  speculation is like most of the Welsh speculations too finely spun – the passage however is xx singular. But I do not want to find Madoc in Virginia. [5]  His descendants must not be more [MS obscured] than they were when they left home. The best story is that which places them on the shore of a great lake, with good boats, & tame cattle.

Your Uncle [6]  is not in his fit place – but still in a good one – & in one which wanted to be in better hands. The West Indies have been left at the mercy of the [MS obscured] this whole war. Lord Melville afforded a great relief to the officers in letting th[MS obscured] draw for their pay. – Something should be done for the men & the midshipmen, who never can receive a farthing of their pay any where but in England. It would save much mischief in future years to take Martinique & Guadeloupe [7]  & keep them; – in which case many xxxx {lives} would be saved by sending ships there to refit instead of to that poisonous place at Antigua. – For peace I neither expect it – nor wish it. The war will be a glorious one. France & Spain may be stript of all their colonies & Bonaparte taught that if he will be Lord of the continent of Europe – England will be Lady every where else – On the continent nothing is to be done except it begin in Holland, which should be given to Prussia, & Hanover into the bargain. Both countries would like the exchange.

God bless you

RS.

Saturday 27 Sept. 1806.


Notes

* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Whitehall/ London/ Private
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] FREE/ SEP/ 1806
MS: National Library of Wales MS 4812D
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The name of the village in question is given as Nettlebed. Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[2] Southey is discussing an entry for the anthology he jointly edited with Grosvenor Charles Bedford entitled Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807). John Henry Moore, 2nd Baronet (1756–1780; DNB), published a volume of poems entitled The New Paradise of Dainty Devices in 1777, reissued in 1778 with some new pieces as Poetical Trifles. His poetry was not included in Specimens of the Later English Poets. BACK

[3] Robert Anderson (1750–1830; DNB), ed., The Works of the British Poets, with Prefaces Biographical and Critical (1792–1807). BACK

[4] Peter Roberts (1760–1819), cleric, biblical scholar and antiquarian who published several Welsh histories, including A Sketch of the Early History of the Cymry (1803). BACK

[5] Southey’s poem Madoc (1805). BACK

[6] Wynn had three uncles who were in politics: William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville (1759–1834; Foreign Secretary 1791–1801, Prime Minister 1806–1807; DNB); Thomas Grenville (1755–1846; DNB), President of the Board of Control in 1806 and then First Lord of the Admiralty; George Nugent-Temple-Grenville,1st Marquess of Buckingham (1753–1813). BACK

[7] French possessions in the West Indies. BACK

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August 2013