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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1502. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 4 September 1808 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

Due orders have been given respecting the Cid to Our Fathers . It has been a good deal delayed by Frere. [1]  – the proofs take a long round to him thro Mr Hammond, [2]  – & like most men who have not had much to do with the press, he detains them a long time. This is of little consequence, & what he has given me is of very great value to the book.

If todays news be true & the Dutch are permitted to export paper will soon fall in price – Indeed the Spanish Revolution has opened such a market for us, that I suppose Bonaparte will desist from making war upon our commerce, as it is no longer possible to do it to any effect.

I will send you some Kehama in a few days [3]  – as soon as a press of letter-writing is got thro. – an occupation which tho I avoid it as much as possible, takes up far more than is either convenient or agreeable. I wish sometimes that one of my friends the Hindoo Gods could xxx accommodate me with a few of his superfluous heads & hands. – I could find plenty of work for them.

God Bless you

RS

I have found out an odd thing – that the Merino sheep which we are taking so much pains to introduce into England from Spain, were originally taken to Spain from England. – If this be the case, as seems certain, a few generations will bring back xx inferior wool & better mutton. [4] 

Sept. 4. 1808.


Notes

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Unpublished.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

[1] Three of Frere’s translations from the Poema del Cid were appended to Southey’s edition of the Chronicle of the Cid (1808). BACK

[2] Probably George Hammond (1763–1853; DNB), a fellow diplomatist of Frere’s. BACK

[3] For this, see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 18 October 1808, Letter 1522. BACK

[4] Britain had first obtained the merino sheep, long jealously guarded by the Spanish because their fine wool commanded high prices, at the end of the eighteenth century. Now, in 1808, with the two countries allies against France, a further 2000 Paula merinos were obtained. Southey’s notion that the merino originated in Britain is supported by historians only to the extent that in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Arab-descended sheep of Spain were improved by the import of British bloodstock. BACK

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August 2013