938. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [9 May 1804]

938. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [9 May 1804] ⁠* 

Kendal. Wednesday

Dear Wynn

I am waiting for the stage, & have more than enough to thank you for your Suggestion offer, but Rickman expects me – & as he keeps house that will be the most convenient home for me.

An odd coincidence has occurred here in this neighbourhood. a day labourer who works for Clarkson the friend of the Negros came the other day to a friend of his masters & askd him if he knew had heard of Addison who wrote the Spectator. [1]  why yes – was the answer – every body has heard of him – Sir – said the man – perhaps you do not know that my name is Addison. he was my grandfathers brother – & we have always understood that by his will his left property was left to his daughter [2]  (who was crazy) for her life, & afterwards to revert to his heirs at law. she is lately dead – & the property is gone to the Warwick family [3]  – but ‘I am Addisons heir at law. – the man then requested Luff [4]  as he had friends in London to make enquiry into the original will – & also into Miss Addisons. I have undertaken this – & will beg Counsellor Wynn to walk with me to Doctors Commons. [5]  – the man possesses several letters of Addisons which will be lookd into. he is certainly what he pretends to be, & has certainly some chance of being right in his claim. but it seems like a dream that a question should now arise concerning Addisons will!

I left all well at home yesterday, both the Edithling & her mother. Wordsworth has been over to see me, & I walkd with him to his own house (13 miles on my road) rested about three hours – & proceeded to Lowood Inn that night – from whence I have walkd twelve this morning. this evening the long coach will carry me to Lancaster & tomorrow (I hope safely) to Liverpool. there I shall stop 24 hours & then embark again – so that if the good Long Coach port in safety I may be in town Sunday or Monday. arrive when I may I shall look for you at the first breakfast time, for there I shall be sure of you

God bless you –



* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Lincolns Inn/ London
Stamped: KENDAL/ 261
Postmark: FREE/ MAY 12/ 1804
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 4p.
Dating note: Postmarked 12 May and headed ‘Wednesday’, the Wednesday of that week being 9 May. BACK

[1] Joseph Addison (1672–1719; DNB): editor, with Richard Steele (1672–1729; DNB), of The Spectator (1711–1714). BACK

[2] Charlotte Addison (1719–1797) was an infant when Addison died and throughout her long life suffered from deafness and other ailments. BACK

[3] In 1716, Addison married Charlotte Rich, née Myddleton, Countess of Warwick (bap. 1680–1731) to whose son, Edward Rich (b. 1698) he had been tutor. Rich, who became the 7th Earl of Warwick on reaching his majority, died in 1721 aged twenty three, supposedly worn out by the excesses of a rake’s way of life. BACK

[4] Captain Charles Luff (d. 1815): a friend of the Clarksons and the Wordsworths, who lived at Patterdale, at the head of Ullswater, and later took an official post at Mauritius. BACK

[5] The buildings in London in which civil law courts sat. BACK

People mentioned

Clarkson, Thomas (1760–1846) (mentioned 2 times)
Wordsworth, William (1770–1850) (mentioned 2 times)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Rickman, John (1771–1840) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Grasmere (Dove Cottage) (mentioned 1 time)
Ullswater (mentioned 1 time)