298. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [25 March] 1798 *
Lady day. 98
My dear Wynn
I thank you for your list of books. they shall come in succession after I have digested Coke,  a tough dish, & not the more palatable for the notes that season it. I am however dieting upon it to some effect.
To what you say of marriage I reply not — because my own opinion inclines to yours, & the habit of arguing pro & con, tho perhaps it may be well for a lawyer, is calculated to produce a scepticism of mind, an unsettled state of mind, prejudicial to virtue & happiness.
My book  will soon be finished. I will send it you as soon as possible, & also, if you think it will be right, a copy for Richards.  it will be civil as the large copies are not for sale, & it will be very handsome. 
I heard of Martin Butt last week. he is a curate, & near the parsonage house on which his father wasted so much money.  I shall probably see him in the summer, & pass some days in that neighbourhood.
I see that Lewis has castrated his Monk, greatly to his improvement.  it was a good plan to make his book popular first, & decent afterwards. I think I have added a good motto to my second edition, on the back of the title page. it is from Erasmus. Ut homines, ita libros, indies seipsis meliores fieri oportet. 
You will find a fine anecdote in my notes of the Irish, which will amuse you. a custom of leaving the right arm unchristened, that they might give a more deadly & ungracious blow with it — & then you know the Christian part had not to answer for the sin. 
Who was it used to thank God for being born a man not a beast — a Greek not a barbarian?  as a Hottentot I might have been very well contented — but indeed I am thankful I was not made an Irishman.
God bless you.
* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr/ 5. Stone Buildings/ Lincolns Inn/ London
Postmarks: FREE MR/ 26/ 98; B/ MR/ 98
Endorsement: March 25 Lady day 1798
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D
 Cottle printed larger copies of Southey’s works, to be distributed as gifts; see Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle [c. 18 May 1797], The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part 1, Letter 217. BACK
 George Butt (1741–1795; DNB), the father of Southey’s schoolmate John Marten Butt, had incurred considerable expense building a new parsonage at Stanford, Worcestershire, where he was Rector. BACK
 The Latin translates as ‘Books are like people: they ought to improve on themselves day by day.’ It was used as an epigraph to Joan of Arc (1798) and is a quotation from the works of Desidirius Erasmus (c. 1476–1536), Dutch scholar. BACK