1315. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [April-May 1807]

1315. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [April-May 1807] ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

A long contested law suit in chancery concerning Cannon Southeys will [1]  has been decided against Ld Somerville [2]  in my Uncle T Southeys favour – it gives him the old furniture & plate of Fitzhead House, – & a few acres held only by one life. But my Aunt writes to me secretly to say that Lord S. is selling the lands which came to him from Cannon Southey, – & that this he cannot do, unless, John S. joined him in cutting off the entail, – without my acquiescence, – his remainder vesting in me. Is it think you worth while for me to obtain a copy of the will? – I remember you once told me – from having heard something of one of the many trials which it had occasioned that my claim was good for nothing, – which I am very much disposed to believe, & not to make any enquiry about it – As for his selling the estate I may be sure that nobody will buy it if the conveyance be not good.

In this which is decided Thomas S. suceeds as heir to his brother by <his> will – for otherwise the right was mine by the words of the will – for of this clause I have an extract. –

The last sheets of Espriella [3]  I have not ventured to send you, lest before they reached London you should have been unsecretaryfied [4]  – so they went by parcel.

I have written for all my books – & am waiting eagerly for fine weather that the plaisterers may do their work & make ready for the carpenter. My study (if you recollect it not a small room) will I think be compleatly filled – & perhaps overflow.

God bless you

RS –

My daughter is so like you that it is impossible your own should be more so. What have you christened her? [5]  or is she still in danger of Limbo!

If Marquis Wellesley [6]  joins the new ministry & becomes their head – you will regret having shielded Felix from Paul [7] 


* MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4813D (undated letters). ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Dating is based on internal evidence of Southey’s books being sent for and his study being made ready in other letters of this period. BACK

[1] Cannon Southey (dates unknown), the son of John Southey and the heiress Mary Cannon. The Lord Chancellor, Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine (1750–1823; DNB), had provided the judgement in the Court of Chancery, on 28 March 1807, in the case of Southey v. Lord Somerville. This was one of the many court cases, concerning the disposal of property at Fitzhead in Somerset, which arose from the fantastically complex will of Southey’s distant relative, Cannon Southey (d. 1768). BACK

[2] John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765–1819; DNB). BACK

[3] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella; Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[4] That is, if Wynn had formally lost his government office and, therefore, his privilege of free mail by the time of the package’s arrival, he would have to pay for its postage. BACK

[5] Wynn’s wife, Mary, had given birth to their first child, a daughter in January. She was named Charlotte Williams-Wynn (1807–1869; DNB). BACK

[6] Richard Colley Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley (1760–1842; DNB): Anglo-Irish politician and bellicose Governor-General of the British colonies in India between 1798 and 1805. Wellesley did not become head of the new ministry, and declined a cabinet position while his conduct as Governor-General was under investigation. BACK

[7] See Acts 24: 1–21, where St Paul appears before the Roman governor of Judea Felix. BACK

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