383. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 25 February 1799
383. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 25 February 1799 *
My dear Wynn
If I had not letters written by you of a late date & a frank so late as the 20th the newspapers would have indeed alarmed me. I have seen your name in the Sun, Star & Courier as being on board the Proserpine.  − this is a dreadful circumstance. I also have apprehensions of the same kind for a brother of Edith. lately wrecked on the Spanish coast, & about to return from Porto by way of Dublin. weeks are elapsed since he ought to have been here, & from the continued winds, & the accounts of wrecks innumerable in the Irish Channel, I have <reason for> very serious fears.
I could not help being startled at seeing your name. the probability of your going had before occurred to me, & then I began to think of all the possibilities that you might <have> left London at the latest period. however it is palpably impossible, & yet I shall be glad to see your handwriting.
You ask me about law. in Coke & Blackstone  every passage is familiar to my eyes, to my mind they are not familiar because I have not the opportunity of applying them. for any thing but a Lawyer, my professional knowledge would I believe be great, & as a part of general information I should neither wish or want more. but this is not Lawyers enough. since the weather has broke I am sensibly better, but very different indeed from what I was twelve months ago in bodily strength. at present no person can be more unequal to any kind of application.
I expect to send you my book  tomorrow. it appears to me very odd that people should think me careless of correction after what has been done to Joan of Arc – 
God bless you –
Feby. 25. 99.
Have you seen the Inscription for an Oak – & the Wig of the Scarecrow?  there is a story in Plutarchs Morals of Pausanias which will make a fine ballad. 
* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr/ 5. Stone Buildings/ Lincolns
Postmarks: BRISTOL/ FEB 25 99; FE/ 26/ 99
Endorsements: Feb. 25 1799; Mr. Wynn
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 3p.
 The frigate Proserpine had been wrecked off Heligoland on 31 January 1799. Although the London newspapers had reported the presence of a Mr Williams Wynn on board, Southey had confused his friend with his older brother, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn (1772–1840; DNB). The passengers had also included Wynn’s uncle, Thomas Grenville (1755–1846). For an account of the sufferings of the passengers and crew see A Narrative of the Loss of His Majesty’s Ship the Proserpine, James Wallace, Esq. Captain. Compiled by John Wright, First Lieutenant (1799). BACK
 Edward Coke (1552–1643; DNB), author of the four-part Institutes of the Laws of England (1628–1644); and William Blackstone (1723–1780; DNB), Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769). BACK
 Either Poems (1799) or Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1799). BACK
 Southey was being slightly premature: ‘Musings On the Wig of a Scarecrow’ and ‘Inscription Under an Oak’ were published anonymously in the Morning Post on 21 and 27 February 1799, respectively. BACK