1359. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 September 1807

1359. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 September 1807 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I have for ten days been in expectation of you. So long it is since a letter from Harry Bedford came telling me Grosvenor was to set out for this place, & inclosing a letter for him, which is too weighty for an ordinary frank; & what is to be done with it if Dapple does not come for it himself – he must tell me. I hope it is not either the return of his disorder or the effect of your bruise that detains you. [1] 

This evening the first proof of the Cid [2]  made its appearance. Other news have I none, except that I have been very idle & am now setting to for a hard campaign: & that I now & then remember his Majestys Treasury with a gentle imprecation upon it for not remembering me.

I am glad to hear that some of their committees of enquiry have discovered John Bowles to be a defaulter to the amount of 60,000. [3]  If that fellow be not rope-ripe (in old Joshua Sylvesters phrase [4] ) no man can ever deserve to be invested with the halter – There are three things to console us for the miserable disgrace at Buenos Ayres: [5]  – the abandonment of schemes of conquest equally mischevious & impracticable; – the proof (tho unhappily at our cost) that the people of a country & even of a city are able to defend it, – & lastly that the main disgrace falls upon General Crawford, [6]  who by his ridicule of the volunteers, by his eulogiums upon Mack, [7]  & his scheme of fortifying London proved himself worthy of any shame which could befall him.

God bless you


Saturday Sept –19. 1807


* Address: To/ C W WilliamsWynn Esqr M. P./ Wynnstay/ Wrexham
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Grosvenor Bedford had been suffering from a liver complaint; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 2 January 1807, Letter 1255. Meanwhile, Wynn had recently had an accident of some kind; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [end of August 1807], Letter 1356. Bedford had visited Wynnstay en route to Greta Hall. BACK

[2] Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid, from the Spanish was published by Longmans in 1808. It comprised translations from the Crónica Particular del Cid (1593), with additions from the Crónica de España of Alphonso the Wise (1541) and Romancero e Historia del Cid (1632). BACK

[3] John Bowles (1751–1819; DNB): an anti-jacobin writer, spy, and informer and a driving force in the Society for the Suppression of Vice, Bowles was rewarded for his extreme loyalist actions with several sinecures, in one of which – commissioner for the sale of Dutch prize ships – he was accused in parliament of largescale fraud. BACK

[4] Joshua Sylvester (1562/3–1618; DNB), translator of Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas (1544–1590), Bartas his Devine Weekes and Workes (1605). BACK

[5] In June 1806, with Spain, the colonial master of South America, under French sway and Britain’s enemy, a force under Admiral Sir Home Riggs Popham (1762–1820; DNB) and William Carr Beresford (1768–1856; DNB), occupied Buenos Aires and held it until 14 August. On 3 February 1807 the attack was renewed when the British took Montevideo from the sea. In July a British attempt to retake Buenos Aires was repulsed with great loss of life. BACK

[6] Brigadier-General Robert Craufurd (1764–1812; DNB), participated in the failed attack on Buenos Aires in early July. BACK

[7] Karl Mack, Baron von Leiberich (1752–1828), Austrian soldier, commander of the forces defeated by Napoleonic France at Ulm and Austerlitz. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Greta Hall/ Greeta Hall (mentioned 1 time)