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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. II. 1800
Thomas Holcroft to William Godwin, 11 February 1800

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Hamburg, Feb. 11th, 1800.

“. . . The chief, though not the only purpose of this letter, is to inform you that Mr Villiaume has at last undertaken to have your book translated and a thousand copies printed, the profits of which, without risk, you are to share. But it is necessary to premise that these profits, if any, will not be paid till Easter, 1801, and that the agreement is verbal. I meet this Mr Villiaume at the house of a merchant. Delicacy would not permit me to ask for formal written documents, and I have no reason on earth to suspect him of dishonesty, with this only exception, that dishonesty is here practised beyond credibility. Such, at least, is the cry, which the anecdotes I have heard confirm. You may gain eighty pounds, you can lose nothing. . . .

“Has your Tragedy been performed? I think it would suit the German stage; but the German stage, honour excepted, is almost barren of emolument.

“Of my Comedy, according to your account, there is little hope. Mr Richardson’s improvements are some unintelligible, and others, in my opinion, of the Irish kind—they would improve it to its destruction. I approve my plan, and as a plan will not alter it; for that plan is its very soul, if any soul it has. Perhaps, from his suggestion, I may make my simple Lawyer a Judge. If that will satisfy him, it shall be done; if not, so be it.


“The incidents of the last six months have occasioned me to neglect my father’s widow, and I am fearful lest the kind little woman should be in distress. You delight in the charities of life. If money is advanced on my pictures, so that I can pay debts contracted for them here, and if as much as twelve pounds in addition be to be had from them, I entreat you to write, in my name, to the Rev. Mr G. Smith of Knotsford, in Cheshire, to state absence, distance, &c., as the reason of her not having heard sooner from me, and to say that on receiving a draft and line under her own hand, the said sum of twelve pounds shall be immediately paid, and annually continued as usual.

“Were a man to be made miserable by the sudden deprivation of conveniences to which he had long been accustomed, I should be sufficiently so; but you know either my heroism or my romance, for I am happy amidst cold, dirt, ignorance, selfishness, and a long et cetera. My dear Louisa is in excellent health, my kind-hearted and industrious Fanny is my active and very essential assistant, You do not forget me, Mr Marshal and others take pleasure in serving me,—and think you I can be miserable?

“We shall soon stand still for ‘St Leon.’ Two vols, must appear at the Leipsic Easter Fair.

T. Holcroft.”