1651. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 8 July 1809

1651. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 8 July 1809 ⁠* 

Keswick. Saturday July 8. 1809.

My dear Wynn

You will be a little surprized to hear that Canning has expressed a wish to serve me, & that in consequence Walter Scott has been xx desired to communicate this to me & find out in what manner it can be done conformably to my own inclinations. There was a situation of 300 £ a year in his own department which he would have offered, – but that was nobly judged by himself, Scott & Ellis to be inadequate to the x expence of time & attendance which it required. So Scott wrote to mention to me Professorships at the Universities, Diplomatic Situations, – or any other thing which could be pointed out.

Professorships in England are fenced about with subscription, & therefore unattainable by me. In Scotland I would accept one if nothing more suitable can be found. The Secretaryship in Portugal is now no longer desirable. My Uncle has left that country & the salary would not support me there. I am too old to begin the pursuit of fortune in that line, – & nothing but the desire of becoming independent ever made me desirous of a situation for which I know myself in many points to be exceedingly unfit. The truth is that I have found xx my way in the world, & am in that xxxxxxxxxx state of life unto which it has pleased God to call me, & for which it has pleased him to qualify me. At the same time my means are certainly so straitened that I should very gladly obtain an addition to them, if it could be obtained without changing the main stream of my pursuits.

Now Sharp has told me that the Stewardship <to Greenwich Hospital> for the Derwentwater Estates is expected soon to be vacated by the death of a Mr Walton. [1]  Long [2]  is the managing Director, – & for this Sharp has advised me to apply, – I have therefore written to Scott to tell him this, & I now write to you, well knowing that if you can be of use of to me in this application you will. [3]  What the value of the appointment is I do not know. Sharp fancies from 6 to 800 a year. If this be thought ‘too good a thing for me’ [4]  – as I dare say it will, – the Cumberland estates might be divided from the Northumberland ones. Certes I should rather have the whole than half, but better half a loaf than no bread. And now I have done all that it is in my power to do; having thus found out a specific thing, – asked for it, & written to you for your assistance, if you can give me any. Having done this I dismiss the subject altogether from my thoughts. In this respect I have been truly a philosopher that no hopes or fears with respect to worldly fortunes have ever given me an hours anxiety.

God bless you



* Address: [deletions and re-address in another hand] To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M P./ Wynnstay Penrhyn Arms/ Wrexham/ Bangor
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298; WREXHAM/ 202
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 243–244. BACK

[1] Nicholas Walton (d. 1809). BACK

[2] Untraced. BACK

[3] Southey asked several friends to intercede on his behalf for this position, but in the end it was considered to be unsuitable for him; see Southey to Walter Scott, 8 August 1809 (Letter 1666) and Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 August 1809 (Letter 1669). BACK

[4] In an earlier letter to Walter Scott, Southey recounts his attempt to get a diplomatic position in Portugal through Charles James Fox who was Foreign Secretary in the ‘Ministry of all the Talents’ before his death in 1806, reporting that Fox considered the ‘Consulship’ to be ‘too good a thing for me’; see Southey to Walter Scott, 16 June 1809, Letter 1645. BACK

People mentioned

Scott, Walter (1771–1832) (mentioned 3 times)
Canning, George (1770–1827) (mentioned 1 time)
Ellis, George (1753–1815) (mentioned 1 time)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)
Sharp, Richard (1759–1835) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)