My dear friend
I am just now enabled to give you some intelligence concerning my self. In this topsey-turveying of ministers Wynn was very anxious as he says ‘to pick something out of the fire’ for me. The Registership of the Vice Admiralty Court in St Lucie  was offered – worth about 600 £ a year – he wrote to me offering this – or as an alternative (the only one in his power) a pension of 200 £, – but before my answer  could arrive it was necessary that he should chuse for me, & he judged rightly in taking the latter. Fees & taxes will reduce this to 160 £ – the precise sum for which I have hitherto been indebted to him – so that I remain with just the same income as before; – the different source from which it is derived is however as you may suppose sufficiently grateful – for tho Wynn could, till now, well afford this, & I had no reluctance in accepting it from one who is the oldest friend I have in the world (for we have xxx been intimate for 19 years) – he has now nearly doubled his expenditure by marrying, & his wifes fortune could have been very little. This I suppose is asked for, & granted to me as a man of letters – in which character I feel myself fully & fairly entitled to receive it, – & you know me too well to suppose that it can make me lose one jot of that freedom both of opinion & of speech, without which I should think myself unworthy – not of this poor xxxx earthly pittance alone – but of Gods air & sunshine, & my inheritance in heaven.
I sent you the Specimens,  – & shall <have to send you,> owing to some omissions of Bedfords making, a supplementary volume hereafter,  – which will complete its bibliographical value – of its other merits & defects hereafter – It will not be very long before you (I trust) before you will receive Espriella  – the Printer  promises to quicken his pace, – & I hurry him, anticipating that this book will give you & my other friends some amusement & deserve approbation on higher grounds.
Thank you for all your kindness to Harry – I have been daily in hopes of hearing what you thought of him.
This change of ministry – I am as hostile to the measure which was the pretext for it as the King himself, – but having conceded that measure, the Kings conduct is equally exceptionable.  Neither the country nor the Commons called for the change – & they were getting credit & deserving it – by the Army Bill – the blessed Abolishment of the Slave Trade  – the projected reforms – & the projected plan for educating the poor. And now their places are to be filled by a set of men of tried & convicted incapacity, with an old woman at their head!  – But I must refer you to my friend D Manuel Alvarez  for the reasons why there is always a lack of talents in the English Government.
God bless you, yrs in haste
Monday March 30. 1807.
* Address: To/ John May Esqr/ Richmond/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: [partial] E/ APR2/ 1807; 10o’C[MS torn]/ A[MS torn]/ 180[MS torn]
Endorsement: No. 126 1807/ Robert Southey/ No place 30th March/ recd. 2d April/ ansd. 7th do’
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 72–74; Charles Ramos (ed.), The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), pp. 111–112. BACK
 The so-called Ministry of All the Talents, of which Wynn was a member, fell in March 1807 because the King would not accede to its plan to introduce an act emancipating Catholics from the civil penalties and restrictions placed upon them. BACK