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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
William Godwin to Sir Richard Phillips, 1801

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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Produced by CATH

Dear Sir,—I thank you for your attention to the paper I sent you, and for the civility of enclosing me one of the printed copies.

“Here, however, my gratitude stops. I never did, and I never will thank any man for altering any one word of my compositions without my privity. I do not admit that there is anything indecorous or unbecoming in the statement which you have omitted. But that is not material. I stand upon the principle, not upon the detail. If the part omitted had been to the last degree solecistical and
absurd, my doctrine is the same. ‘No syllable to be altered, without the author’s privity and approbation.’ It is highly necessary, my dear Sir, that I should be explicit on this point. I am now writing a book, of which you are to be the publisher. It is to be “
Godwin’s Life of Chaucer,” and no other person’s. My reputation and my fame are at stake upon it. The moment therefore, I find you alter a word of that book (and you cannot do it without my finding it) that instant the copy stops, and I hold our contract dissolved, though the consequence should be my dying in a jail. I know you have contracted that worst habit of the worst booksellers (the itch of altering) and I give you this fair and timely warning. Yours truly,

W. Godwin.

“In glancing over the Prospectus you have sent me, I find (in the 4th line from the end of the paragraph in the middle of page 2, the word untried for untired, which makes nonsense.”