2132. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 3 August 1812

2132. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 3 August 1812 ⁠* 

Aug 3. 1812.

My dear Wynn

I come to you once more for a frank, & leave the letter open that as you have seen Adderley’s paper you may see my reply to it, – a reply which will be as little satisfactory to you as to him. [1]  You will carry your point, – but if there must be another civil war, as I believe there will, if I were Prince Regent it should be upon this point, & not upon the next which must follow.

Revolutions in the moral world, like plagues in the physical one, will pursue their course. England I believe must have its turn, – the end may be good, but the operation xx of the medicine <must be> long & painful. The best hope I have is that we may be completely victorious abroad before the evil day comes on, & so have a clear field to ourselves as we had in the days of Charles I. [2] 

I will get Burkes works [3]  when I can meet with them at a sale price. In general I should most probably agree with him, – but not often in the application of his general views, – for never was there any man who so completely

To party gave up what was meant for mankind. [4] 

God bless you


I am in hopes of seeing the Czar Peter here shortly. I wish you could drive down during your batchelor state to meet him. You have never seen me with my books about me. There is an easy way of coming by a mail from Liverpool, reaching Kendal in time for a six-o-clock coach to Keswick on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday mornings. Secure a place at Liverpool, & you are here in 24 hours from Acton. [5] 


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M.P./ Acton/ Wrexham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s letter to Adderley probably contained his objections to Catholic Emancipation, a policy Wynn favoured. BACK

[2] Charles I (1600–1649; King of Great Britain 1625–1649 DNB). Southey’s point is that the English civil war of 1642–1651 did not lead to an invasion from abroad. BACK

[3] An edition of Edmund Burke (1729/30–1797; DNB). Southey eventually owned a 16 volume set of 1815–1827, no. 492 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[4] Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774; DNB), ‘Retaliation; a Poem’ (1774), lines 28–31, ‘Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such,/We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much;/Who, born for the universe, narrow’d his mind,/And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.’ BACK

[5] I am in hopes … Acton: postscript written at top of fol 1r. BACK

People mentioned

Elmsley, Peter (1774–1825) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)