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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. XII. 1799
Thomas Holcroft to William Godwin, 22 November 1799

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
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Hamburg, Cathermen Strasse, 100, Nov. 22nd, 1799.

“. . . Do not imagine you have been long out of my thoughts. Your novel, your tragedy, your well-being and happiness in every sense, are the frequent and serious subjects of recollection. Having made four at least fruitless attempts in Hamburg to make the first productive of some small gain to you, I hoped to have been more successful at Berlin, where I am told the booksellers are more liberal and enterprising. Two men of considerable literary merit here have read it, and, after considerable praise of the style, have pronounced it cold and uninteresting: at least
they plead, when I endeavour to controvert them, as far as they are judges of the taste of readers in Germany. I have not read it since I left England, but the impression it then made cannot have been so entirely false as for their decision to be entirely true, though I never felt satisfied with your choice of a subject. In your last I learned with pleasure you have extended it to four volumes, for I suppose you would not have done this, had you not found incidents and passion grow upon you, and where these are, success must be.

“For your Tragedy I am still more, I may say, irritably anxious. I saw it only in its half-finished state. Give me the history of its theatrical progress. When is it to be performed? What are your feelings? Do you remain thoroughly concealed? Are you yet thoroughly under the scourge of Managerial tyranny? I am very desirous to hear this, and anything else you can tell me on the subject.

“. . . Let me know if Opie has received my pictures, what you think of them, and what he and others say. In my opinion, the ‘Guide’ is a masterpiece, though it will not appear so, perhaps, till it has been deeply considered. . . . Care has been taken of young Arnot.

T. Holcroft.”