3414. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 7 January 1820

3414. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 7 January 1820⁠* 

My dear Wynn

A report from Hobhouses brother [1]  had found its way here, that you were to move for Hunts [2]  committal to Newgate. Upon Your letter has explained it. .. I almost wish you had taken upon yourself to make the motion against Burdett, [3]  & forced Ministers into the most salutary act of vigour that could possibly have been shown.

I have ascertained that I am Cannon Southeys heir at law: [4]  & that two of the estates [5]  were not sold by Lord S. one of them worth about 300 £ a year. More than this I know not as yet. If I should by this chance obtain an independance, it would come in good time, – there is no likelihood of any other chance.

Your godson has been very ill this week. We should think him perfectly recovered were it not for that he seems to have totally lost his appetite, – & this of course gives xx considerable uneasiness, – for we cannot in any way account for it.

I see by todays paper that Badger Doyley [6]  is just married. – somewhat late in life, for the he Badger must by this time be as grey as his namesake.

You will not see me till we meet in town. Poor Strachey will have many a heart–ache from the recollections which he will meet in London. His father dead – his eldest sister xxx, & his brother John. Christopher as good as dead, – & more friends & closer attachments probably left in India than he will find in England. [7]  Separations of this kind are a foretaste of death. I would rather be as I am with respect to worldly wealth, than have paid the same price for his fortune, – or for any fortune however ample.

I think I know how to obtain some information concerning Probert. [8] 

What is become of the Stowe Catalogue & the second volume of the Irish Scriptores? [9] 

God bless you


7 Jany. 1820.


* MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4813D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The source of Southey’s information was probably Henry Hobhouse (1776–1854; DNB), Under-Secretary at the Home Office 1817–1827. He did not have any brothers, but Southey may have been under the impression that he was the brother of John Cam Hobhouse, 1st Baron Broughton (1786–1869; DNB), radical MP for Westminster 1820–1833, Nottingham 1834–1847, Harwich 1848–1851, at this time briefly imprisoned for a breach of parliamentary privilege in his pamphlet, A Trifling Mistake in Lord Erskine’s Recent Preface (1819). BACK

[2] Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt (1773–1835; DNB), leading radical and campaigner against the Cabinet’s ‘Six Acts’ (1819) to suppress radical dissent. Wynn did not move this motion in the House of Commons. BACK

[3] Wynn mentioned his intention to try and commit Burdett to prison to a number of MPs, but failed to receive much support and did not proceed with the idea. BACK

[4] John Cannon Southey’s (d. 1768) fantastically complex will gave Southey some hope of inheriting property at Fitzhead in Somerset, following the death of Southey’s third cousin, and John Cannon Southey’s heir, John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765–1819; DNB). Southey was John Cannon Southey’s heir at law, i.e. he was entitled to inherit his real property if he was intestate. However, this did not help Southey’s claim on the Fitzhead property. BACK

[5] Pyleigh farm in Lydeard St Lawrence and Preston farm in Milverton (worth £300 p.a.). BACK

[6] Thomas D’Oyly married Elizabeth Simons (dates unknown), daughter of Nicholas Simons (1754–1839), Rector of St Margaret’s, Canterbury 1807–1822, Rector of Ickham 1822–1839, on 4 January 1820, Morning Chronicle, 6 January 1820. BACK

[7] A roll call of Strachey’s deceased relatives: his father, the Venerable John Strachey, Archdeacon of Suffolk (1738–1818); one of his younger sisters, Caroline Strachey (1783–1815); and his older brother, John Strachey (1773–1808), Junior Merchant and Revenue Assistant with the East India Company in Malabar. His younger brother, Christopher Strachey (1778–1855), was only ‘as good as dead’ in that he was in the Royal Navy (and rose to be a Rear-Admiral). BACK

[8] William Probert (1790–1870; DNB), Welsh Unitarian Minister and polymath. Wynn had asked for information about Probert as he had heard that Probert was about to publish The Gododin, and The Odes of the Months: Translated from the Welsh (1820). BACK

[9] 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 (1818–1819). BACK

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