3307. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [early June 1819]

3307. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [early June 1819] ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

If you are in London the last week of July I shall hope to see you there. – Booksellers are so much in the habit of lying in their advertisements that they sometimes keep up the practise by word of mouth. Wesleys life [1]  is so far from being ready, that it will stand still during my absence from home. One volume is printed, – & only three sheets of the se[MS obscured]nd. My time of late has been wholly devoted to Brazil. [2]  My annual catarrh impedes me a little just now, by the manner in which it affects my eyes. But I am near the end of this great labour. What a pleasure it will be to get the History of Portugal [3]  into the press! I shall work with more ardour in bringing out the Peninsular War, [4]  for the sake of following it with this, the favourite object of my xxx literary ambition.

You told me the second volume of the Irish Scriptores [5]  was nearly ready, & I have waited for that to review it. Is not the total neglect of this publication a good specimen of the manner in which reviews are conducted in England! The merit & importance of a book never enter into the Editors consideration, – he thinks of nothing but whether the subject carries with it a temporary interest that will make his Journal take.

God bless you



* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqre M.P./ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4813D. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: The letter belongs to early June 1819, shortly before Southey’s decision (10 June 1819) not to travel to London. BACK

[1] Southey’s The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[2] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[3] Southey’s unfinished and unpublished ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[4] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[5] Charles O’Conor (1764–1828; DNB), Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres, 4 vols (1814–1826), no. 2112 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. O’Conor was a priest from a well-known family of Irish scholars. His book was an edition of some of the Irish manuscripts in the library at Stowe, where he worked as chaplain to Mary, Marchioness of Buckinghamshire (d. 1812), the sister-in-law of Wynn’s uncle, Lord Grenville. O’Conor also edited Bibliotheca MS. Stowensis. A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Stowe Library, 2 vols (1818–1819). Southey did not review these works in the Quarterly Review. BACK