304. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [10 April 1798]

304. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [10 April 1798] ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I expected no letters on a Monday, & therefore did not look for any yesterday — but yours came from Maidenhead when a London one would not have come — & I have now only time to acknowledge it. The Ring [1]  shall come tomorrow — you must expect nothing from it — one stanza may cause a smile — & that is all.

have you forgotten the subject I once mentioned to you for a ballad without a ghost? — the castle inhabited only by the maniac & young woman? [2] 

I have thought of writing to you as a Member of Parliament [3]  upon the subject of the moral mxxx property left to charitable uses & misapplied. I am very glad you did not speak upon the Slave Trade [4]  — & yet I should <not> like you always to swim silently with the stream. it appears to me that on this subject much might be done — & the condition of the poor very greatly amended by only restoring to them what is pilfered.

God bless you.

yrs affectionately

R Southey.



* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr/ Dropmore Hill/ Maidenhead
Stamped: BRISTOL
Endorsement: April 10 1798
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s poem had appeared in the Morning Post, 22 February 1798, under the signature ‘Walter’ (probably a version of ‘Wat Tyler’, a favourite pseudonym of Southey’s). The poem was later renamed ‘King Charlemain’. BACK

[2] Southey noted this idea in his Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 95–96, but he did not turn it into a poem. BACK

[3] Wynn had been elected as one of the Members of Parliament for the pocket borough of Old Sarum in 1797. BACK

[4] On 3 April 1798 the House of Commons had rejected by 87 votes to 83 a motion to give William Wilberforce (1759–1833; DNB) leave to introduce a bill abolishing the slave trade. BACK