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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1806-1811

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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A renewed intimacy, of which more hereafter, with Lords Holland and Lauderdale, awakened Godwin’s somewhat waning interest in politics, which however, had only waned, because he had drifted out of political into purely literary circles. On the death of Charles James Fox, for whom his admiration had always been sincere, he wrote the éloge which is subjoined, and which was printed in the Morning Chronicle. It is an excellent specimen of his style at this period of his life, dignified and worthy of the great statesman, whose frailties are too well, whose services to liberty are too little remembered by this generation.

To the Editor of the ‘Morning Chronicle’

Sir,—You will, if you think proper, insert the inclosed in your paper, and subscribe it with my name. It is an unexaggerated statement of what I think of the character of our lately deceased Minister, taken in a single point of view. In writing it, I have dismissed from my mind all temporary feelings of regret, and expressed myself with the severity and plainness of a distant posterity. I have nothing to do with Administration, and have scarcely a slight acquaintance with a few of its Members. My character, such as it is, and my disposition, are subjects of notoriety; and every one capable of judging righteous judgment, has a tolerably sound idea respecting them. Perhaps then even my
testimony, individual and uninfluenced as it necessarily is, may not be an unacceptable tribute to the memory of the great man we deplore.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

W. Godwin.
London, October 21, 1806.


Charles James Fox was for thirty-two years a principal leader in the debates and discussions of the English House of Commons. The eminent transactions of his life lay within those walls; and so many of his countrymen as were accustomed to hear his speeches there, or have habitually read the abstracts which have been published of them, are in possession of the principal materials by which this extraordinary man is to be judged.

Fox is the most illustrious model of a Parliamentary Leader, on the side of liberty, that this country has produced. This character is the appropriate glory of England, and Fox is the proper example of this character.

“England has been called, with great felicity of conception, ‘The land of liberty and good sense.’ We have preserved many of the advantages of a free people, which the nations of the Continent have long since lost. Some of them have made wild and intemperate sallies for the recovery of all those things which are most valuable to man in society, but their efforts have not been attended with the happiest success. There is a sobriety in the English people, particularly in accord with the possession of freedom. We are somewhat slow, and somewhat silent; but beneath this outside we have much of reflection, much of firmness, a consciousness of power and of worth, a spirit of frank-dealing and plain-speaking, and a moderate and decent sturdiness of temper not easily to be deluded or subdued.

“For thirty-two years Fox hardly ever opened his mouth in Parliament but to assert, in some form or other, the cause of liberty and mankind, and to repel tyranny in its various shapes, and protest against the encroachments of power. In the American war, in the questions of reform at home, which grew out of the American war, and in the successive scenes which were produced
by the French Revolution, Fox was still found the perpetual advocate of freedom. He endeavoured to secure the privileges and the happiness of the people of Asia and the people of Africa. In Church and State, his principles were equally favourable to the cause of liberty. Englishmen can nowhere find the sentiments of freedom unfolded and amplified in more animated language, or in a more consistent tenor, than in the recorded Parliamentary Debates of Fox. Many have called in question his prudence, and the practicability of his politics in some of their branches; none have succeeded in fixing a stain upon the truly English temper of his heart.

“The reason why Fox so much excelled, in this reign, William Pulteney, and other eminent leaders of Opposition, in the reign of George II. was, that his heart beat in accord to sentiments of liberty. The character of the English nation has improved since the year 1760. The two first Kings of the House of Hanover, did not aspire to the praise of encouragers of English literature, and had no passion for the fine arts; and their minister, Sir Robert Walpole, loved nothing, nor pretended to understand anything, but finance, commerce, and peace. His opponents caught their tone from his, and their debates rather resembled those of the directors of a great trading company, than of men who were concerned with the passions, the morals, the ardent sentiments, and the religion of a generous and enlightened nation. The English seemed fast degenerating into such a people as the Dutch; but Burke and Fox, and other eminent characters not necessary to be mentioned here, redeemed us from the imminent depravity, and lent their efforts to make us the worthy inhabitants of a soil which had produced a Shakespeare, a Bacon, and a Milton.

Fox, in addition to the generous feelings of his heart, possessed, in a supreme degree, the powers of an acute logician. He seized with astonishing rapidity the defects of his antagonist’s argument, and held them up in the most striking point of ridicule. He never misrepresented what his opponent had said, or attacked his accidental oversights, but fairly met and routed him when he thought himself strongest. Though he had at no time studied
law as a profession, he never entered the lists in reasoning with a lawyer that he did not show himself superior to the gowned pleader at his own weapons. It was this singular junction of the best feelings of the human heart, with the acutest powers of the human understanding, that made Fox the wonderful creature he was.

“Let us compare William Pitt in office, and Charles James Fox out of it; and endeavour to decide upon their respective claims to the gratitude of posterity. Pitt was surrounded with all that can dazzle the eye of a vulgar spectator: he possessed the plenitude of power; during a part of his reign, he was as nearly despotic as the minister of a mixed government can be: he dispensed the gifts of the Crown; he commanded the purse of the nation; he wielded the political strength of England. Fox during almost all his life had no part of these advantages.

“It has been said, that Pitt preserved his country from the anarchy and confusion, which from a neighbouring nation threatened to infect us. This is a very doubtful proposition. It is by no means clear that the English people could ever have engaged in so wild, indiscriminate, ferocious, and sanguinary a train of conduct as was exhibited by the people of France. It is by no means clear that the end which Pitt is said to have gained, could not have been accomplished without such bloody wars, such formidable innovations on the liberties of Englishmen, such duplicity, unhallowed dexterity and treachery, and so audacious a desertion of all the principles with which the minister commenced his political life as Pitt employed. Meanwhile, it was the simple, ingenuous and manly office of Fox to protest against the madness and the despotic proceedings of his rival in administration; and, if he could not successfully counteract the measures of Pitt, the honour at least is due to him, to have brought out the English character not fundamentally impaired, in the issue of the most arduous trial it was ever called to sustain.

“The eloquence of these two renowned statesmen well corresponded with the different parts they assumed in public life. The eloquence of Pitt was cold and artificial. The complicated, yet harmonious, structure of his periods, bespoke the man of contriv-
ance and study. No man knew so well as Pitt how to envelope his meaning in a cloud of words, whenever he thought obscurity best adapted to his purpose. No man was so skilful as Pitt to answer the questions of his adversary without communicating the smallest information. He was never taken off his guard. If Pitt ever appeared in some eyes to grow warm as he proceeded, it was with a measured warmth; there were no starts and sallies, and sudden emanations of the soul; he seemed to be as much under the minutest regulation in the most vehement swellings and apostrophes of his speech, as in his coldest calculations.

Fox, as an orator, appeared to come immediately from the forming hand of nature. He spoke well, because he felt strongly and earnestly. His oratory was impetuous as the current of the river Rhone; nothing could arrest its course. His voice would insensibly rise to too high a key; he would run himself out of breath. Everything showed how little artifice there was in his eloquence. Though on all great occasions he was throughout energetic, yet it was by sudden flashes and emanations that he electrified the heart, and shot through the blood of his hearer. I have seen his countenance lighted up with more than mortal ardour and goodness; I have been present when his voice has become suffocated with the sudden bursting forth of a torrent of tears.

“The love of freedom, which marks the public proceedings of Fox, is exactly analogous to the natural temper of his mind; he seemed born for the cause which his talents were employed to support. He was the most unassuming of mankind. He was so far from dictating to others, that it was often imputed to him, though perhaps erroneously, that he suffered others to dictate to him. No man ever existed more simple in his manners, more single-hearted, or less artificial in his carriage. The set phrases of what is called polished life, made no part of his ordinary speech; he courted no man; he practised adulation to none. Nothing was in more diametrical opposition to the affected than the whole of his behaviour. His feelings in themselves, and in the expression of them, were, in the most honourable sense of the word, childlike. Various anecdotes might be related of his innocent and de-
fenceless manners in private and familiar life, which would form the most striking contrast with the vulgar notions of the studied and designing demeanour of a statesman. This was the man that was formed to defend the liberties of Englishmen: his public and his private life are beautiful parts of a consistent whole, and reflect mutual lustre on each other.

“To conclude, Fox is the great ornament of the kingdom of England during the latter part of the eighteenth century. What he did is the due result of the illumination of the present age, and of the character of our ancestors for ages past. Pitt (if I may be excused for mentioning him once again) was merely a statesman, he was formed to seize occasions to possess himself of power, and to act with consummate craft upon every occurrence that arose. He belonged to ancient Carthage—he belonged to modern Italy—but there is nothing in him that expressly belongs to England. Fox, on the contrary—mark how he outshines his rival—how little the acquisition of power adds to the intrinsic character of the man!—is all over English. He is the mirror of the national character for the age in which he lived—its best, its purest, its most honourable representative. No creature that has the genuine feelings of an Englishman, can recollect, without emotions of exultation, the temper, the endowments, and the public conduct of Fox.”

The business in Hanway Street and the books issued from it took up a great amount of time, and Godwin’s devotion to it, as well as that of his wife, was great. His literary work was more incessant than it had been since the years of his early residence in London. His correspondence with friends was almost wholly on this subject, and the help he received was very considerable. Old friends and new, whose acquaintance had hitherto been only with his writings, came forward with loans or gifts, among them conspicuously Sir Francis Burdett, Lords Holland, Selkirk, and Lauderdale, and the sale of the books themselves was large. In the spring of 1807 it seemed desirable to move
into more spacious premises than those in Hanway Street, and a shop was taken in Skinner Street, Holborn.

Attached to this was a good dwelling-house; and since Godwin’s identity, or at least close connection with Baldwin, had ceased to be a secret, there was no need for a double establishment. The business was removed to the new house on May 18, and on August 11th, 1807, Godwin and his wife took up their abode there. The home at Somers Town was not entirely abandoned for a few months, however: the children only joined them in Skinner Street late in the autumn.

There was now a fair ground for believing that the experiment would prove remunerative, and ensure a competence when actual brain work could no longer be depended on for the needs of each year. To render this more certain, however, it occurred to Marshal and others, among Godwin’s most intimate friends, to start a subscription for him over and above the sums which had been advanced or given in aid of the business by the friends named. So soon as this was mentioned to Godwin, he, who never thought his merits had been fully or sufficiently recognized, took the conduct of the scheme into his own hands. And though it is a sorry sight to see and hear a man blow his own trumpet so loudly, the letters which passed on the subject, and the appeal circulated by Marshal, but drawn up by Godwin himself, are too characteristic to be omitted.

The list of subscribers is very incomplete in the rough draught from which the copy is taken. The Diaries show very considerable additions, but from whom they came is too uncertain for extract here. The help thus given tided over the difficulty, and did much to place the household in Skinner Street on a more comfortable scale. Among the subscribers there were, no doubt, many who gave their aid rather to the veteran liberal than to the needy man of letters, since we find in the list most of the leading Whigs.

William Godwin to J. Marshall.
March 19, 1808.

“I have seen Johnson this morning, and laid before him every paper that I thought could throw light on this subject. He says that I am wrong to think of £50 subscriptions, and that, in his opinion, there ought to be none less than £100. He also objects to attending a meeting, and thinks (in which I agree with him) that if he writes a proper letter, it will answer every purpose. Perhaps in that case there will be no need of any meeting. I am to see him again on Monday: it would best forward the purpose if you would come here Monday evening or Monday to dinner, to settle final arrangements.”

The Same to the Same.
June 9, 1808.

“Once again I trouble you. You gave me reason to expect you to-day. Perhaps the rain has prevented you.

“I am much more resolute than when I saw you last. I feel it an indispensable duty to know the mind of Lord Grey, the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Norfolk, Coke of Norfolk, &c. &c. If you and nobody else will go to them, I must, and I will. We will dispense with authority to receive money, and merely use a name, Grattan or Sharp, or &c. at the door.

“I am prepared for the worst. I will go to prison. I will be in the Gazette. I will move to a meaner situation, or anything else that is necessary. But I must first know these men’s minds. Look at the enclosed list of subscriptions (I have distinguished those that are not present money). Will Lord Grey, or Lord anybody else, venture to regard this as a scheme to be blown upon? But we must be beforehand with evil reports.

“Let them say to you personally, ‘Put down our names,’ and I will contrive a way to receive their money.

“I also wish much to close Phillips’ question.

“Surely I need not tell you, that to be beforehand with evil reports, not a moment, not half a moment, is to be lost. Come, then, instantly.


“Johnson says in his letter many things to our purpose; among others, that our copyrights, with moderate care, would net £300 a year.”

The Same to the Same.
June 11, 1808.

“By all means begin with Fox’s men—Grey first, Bedford second, &c.

“If you see them, be eloquent.

Mr William Godwin, a gentleman well known to the public by his various writings, but who in worldly circumstances partakes of the usual fate of authors, has lately digested a plan for providing for himself and family by entering into the business of a bookseller, principally in the mode of supplying books for schools and young persons. He has composed several works in prosecution of this plan under the feigned name of Edward Baldwin, an expedient to which he felt himself obliged to have recourse in consequence of the prejudices which have been industriously circulated against him. These books are so written as to be incapable of occasioning offence to any; as, indeed, Mr Godwin would have held it an ungenerous and dishonourable proceeding to have insinuated obnoxious principles into the minds of young persons under colour of contributing to their general instruction. The books have accordingly been commended in the highest terms in all the reviews, and are now selling in the second and third editions respectively. A commercial concern, however, can only have a gradual success, and requires a capital greater than Mr Godwin can command. He has cheerfully devoted himself to this species of pursuit, that he might secure independence and competence to his family, and nothing can be more promising than the progress the undertaking has already made. But it is feared that it cannot be carried on to that maturity to which, it naturally tends, unless such opulent persons as are impressed with favourable sentiments of the talents and personal character of Mr Godwin will generously contribute to supply him with those means which he does not himself possess.


“Influenced by these considerations, and by the opinion that it is a much truer act of liberality to assist a man we esteem in giving effect to the projects of his industry, than to supply his necessities when such industry is no more, the undernamed gentlemen have respectively engaged to advance for the furtherance of Mr Godwin’s project the following sums:—

Earl of Lauderdale £100 Rt Hon. H. Grattan, £50
Lord Holland, 100 Rt Hon. J. P. Curran, 100
Duke of Devonshire, 50 Hon. J. W. Ward, 50
Earl Cowper, 50 S. Whitbread, Esq., M.P., 50
Earl of Thanet, 50 W. Smith, Esq., M.P., 50
Duke of Bedford, 50 R. Sharp, Esq., M.P., 50
Earl Grey, 50 S. Rogers, Esq., 50
Earl of Rosslyn, 50 Mr J. Johnson, 100
Earl of Selkirk, 50 Sir R. Phillips, 100
Lord Kinnaird, 50 Sir F. Baring, 20
Lord Holland to William Godwin.
May 11, 1808.

Dear Sir,—£150 will be placed payable to your draft at Messrs. Coutts & Co. to-morrow.

“The Duke of Devonshire and Lord Cowper, the only persons to whom I mentioned the subject, having immediately advanced me £50 each, I thought it might be convenient to you to have the £150 without loss of time; and when the time of the pending elections is over, and my friends returned to town, I have no doubt of being able to send you the other moiety of the loan, or at any rate you shall receive in a few days ample legal security for such a sum.

“I have been studying Mr Baldwin’s books, and think them very good indeed.—Yours ever,

The Same to the Same.
May 19, 1808.

Dear Sir,—On Friday next there will be another £150 answerable to your draft at Messrs Coutts, Strand. I ought to
add that
Lord Kinnaird, to whom I ventured to mention some of the circumstances detailed in your letter, begged me to let him concur in showing you this mark of attention and respect.—Yours,

The Same to the Same.
May 21, 1808.

Dear Sir,—You do very right in letting me know the whole of the case, as, if in my power, I should have been happy to have secured the success of your undertaking; but I assure you that I have exceeded rather than fallen short of what I could do with any convenience to myself. I hope you received the letter I wrote yesterday, which will have relieved you from your embarrassment as to the mode of making out the draft.—Yours ever,


The tragedy of “Faulkener” had been at last played at Drury Lane on Dec. 16, 1807. It was received with favour, and repeated for several nights.

The delay in the representation of it, though it had been accepted so long before, arose from the vacillation of the boy Betty, then called the young Roscius, who gave himself great airs, and seems to have dealt precisely as he pleased with the management of Drury Lane Theatre. He would and he would not play the part, he studied and left it off, sent for Godwin to read it to him, accepted it, then would not fix a time to play it, and a definite arrangement for its production more than once fell through, to Godwin’s great annoyance, which in this case was certainly not unreasonable. He did not finally undertake the part, and the hero was played by Elliston. Lamb again wrote the Prologue, this time to a more successful play, and announced the fact that for the motive of the play Godwin was indebted to an incident in some of the editions of Defoe’sRoxana.” Wolcot wrote an Epilogue, but it
came too late to be spoken by
Mrs Henry Siddons, who played the Countess Orsini.

The tragedy is powerful, though disagreeable, turning on a son’s discovery that his mother has been unfaithful to his father. She is now married again, and the second husband, who had believed himself to have married a chaste woman, falls by her son’s hand. Its power preserved it from damnation, but it took no permanent hold of the stage.

Among the books already mentioned as published by Godwin in Skinner Street was the “Adventures of Ulysses,” by C. Lamb. When the MS. was placed in Godwin’s hands, he objected to some portions of it. The correspondence which ensued, treats of a matter of still daily interest to authors and publishers alike. It is one which will probably for some time remain unsettled till the happy hour, still far distant, when the literary and commercial value of a book are necessarily the same. We may be grateful that Godwin’s criticism saved us from some details sketched by Lamb’s too vivid imagination.

William Godwin to Charles Lamb.
Skinner St., March 10, 1808.

Dear Lamb,—I address you with all humility, because I know you to be tenax propositi. Hear me, I entreat you, with patience.

“It is strange with what different feelings an author and a bookseller looks at the same manuscript. I know this by experience: I was an author, I am a bookseller. The author thinks what will conduce to his honour: the bookseller what will cause his commodities to sell.

“You, or some other wise man, I have heard to say, It is children that read children’s books, when they are read, but it is
parents that choose them. The critical thought of the tradesman put itself therefore into the place of the parent, and what the parent will condemn.

“We live in squeamish days. Amid the beauties of your manuscript, of which no man can think more highly than I do, what will the squeamish say to such expressions as these,—‘devoured their limbs, yet warm and trembling, lapping the blood,’ p. 10. Or to the giant’s vomit, p. 14; or to the minute and shocking description of the extinguishing the giant’s eye in the page following. You, I daresay, have no formed plan of excluding the female sex from among your readers, and I, as a bookseller, must consider that if you have you exclude one half of the human species.

“Nothing is more easy than to modify these things if you please, and nothing, I think, is more indispensable.

“Give me, as soon as possible, your thoughts on the matter.

“I should also like a preface. Half our customers know not Homer, or know him only as you and I know the lost authors of antiquity. What can be more proper than to mention one or two of those obvious recommendations of his works, which must lead every human creature to desire a nearer acquaintance.—Believe me, ever faithfully yours,

W. Godwin.”
Charles Lamb to William Godwin.
March 11, 1808.

Dear Godwin,—The giant’s vomit was perfectly nauseous, and I am glad you pointed it out. I have removed the objection. To the other passages I can find no other objection but what you may bring to numberless passages besides, such as of Scylla snatching up the six men, etc., that is to say, they are lively images of shocking things. If you want a book, which is not occasionally to shock, you should not have thought of a tale which was so full of anthropophagi and wonders. I cannot alter these things without enervating the Book, and I will not alter them if the penalty should be that you and all the London booksellers should refuse
it. But speaking as author to author, I must say that I think the terrible in those two passages seems to me so much to preponderate over the nauseous, as to make them rather fine than disgusting. Who is to read them, I don’t know: who is it that reads
Tales of Terror and Mysteries of Udolpho? Such things sell. I only say that I will not consent to alter such passages, which I know to be some of the best in the book. As an author I say to you, an author, Touch not my work. As to a bookseller I say, Take the work such as it is, or refuse it. You are as free to refuse it as when we first talked of it. As to a friend I say, Don’t plague yourself and me with nonsensical objections. I assure you I will not alter one more word.”

Charles Lamb to William Godwin.

Dear Godwin,—I have found it for several reasons indispensable to my comfort, and to my sister’s, to have no visitors in the forenoon. If I cannot accomplish this I am determined to leave town.

“I am extremely sorry to do anything in the slightest degree that may seem offensive to you or to Mrs Godwin, but when a general rule is fixed on, you know how odious in a case of this sort it is to make exceptions; I assure you I have given up more than one friendship in stickling for this point. It would be unfair to those from whom I have parted with regret to make exceptions, which I would not do for them. Let me request you not to be offended, and to request Mrs G. not to be offended, if I beg both your compliances with this wish. Your friendship is as dear to me as that of any person on earth, and if it were not for the necessity of keeping tranquillity at home, I would not seem so unreasonable.

“If you were to see the agitation that my sister is in, between the fear of offending you and Mrs G. and the difficulty of maintaining a system which she feels we must do to live without wretchedness, you would excuse this seeming strange request, which I send with a trembling anxiety as to its reception with you, whom I would never offend. I rely on your goodness.

C. Lamb.”

The next two letters also relate to a matter which not all consider wholly decided—the respective claims of parents and masters over the time and punctual attendance of a school-boy, though there would scarcely seem room for doubt that home claims must, as a rule, give way, if discipline and regularity are to obtain in a school. The position taken by Dr Raine is one to which even Godwin, with all his love of argument, could find no satisfactory reply.

William Godwin to Dr Matthew Raine.
April 12, 1808.

Dear Sir,—I am a little shocked at a message I received from you yesterday by Clairmont.

“This message is, ‘That you were the proper judge whether my reasons from detaining him from school were sufficient.’ To this I cannot agree.

“The authority of the tutor is in my opinion derived from that of the parent, and cannot supersede it. I could never consent to lay my reasons for detaining him before you for your approbation.

“I should, however, be exceedingly sorry to be wanting in any sort of attention or on ceremony. If the meaning of your message is, that you would wish to receive a line beforehand, requesting leave for his absence, I will cheerfully comply whenever it is possible, which is not always.—I remain, etc.,

W. Godwin.”
Dr Matthew Raine to William Godwin.
Charter House, April 12, 1808.

Dear Sir,—It may spare you and myself some trouble if, without entering into the accuracy or inaccuracy of the statement of my message by Clairmont, I should explain to you the general rule at this place, relating to attendance upon school business. A rule of this sort I have. I hold it to be indispensably necessary; and bold as the position may be, it is a rule with which I cannot
allow parental power or parental caprice to interfere. The rule is this:—That during the time for the performance of school business, no boy is allowed to be absent, except on the score of ill-health or with the leave of a master, previously had. For granting this leave I have ever been accustomed to expect, and never was refused, a sufficient reason in my own judgment, independent of the parent’s will.

“I have no wish certainly to pry into matters which do not concern me; but I must think that a scholar’s absence always concerns a master, and it materially improves the discipline of a school that the master alone should decide on the propriety of a scholar’s absence. Nor do I believe this rule to be peculiar to Charter House, but if it were, I feel so little disposition to give it up, that I should rather part with my scholar than relinquish a principle so just, and, so far as I have been concerned, so universally acknowledged. It will not be denied that the mere request of a parent for his child’s absence would occasionally be complied with; but I should strongly protest against a frequent repetition of such a request. A man must be everything in his school, or he is nothing; and that parent would seem to me to act the wisest part who should so contrive that his and the schoolmaster’s authority would never clash. If this cannot be without inconvenience in this or that case, I am still of opinion that the individual instance must bend to the general rule. I trust you will believe that I have no wish to perplex you, and that I am very far from seeking to hurt any man’s feelings. The point we differ upon may be a point of etiquette, but I have a rule; and, as the venerable Sergeant Hill said, ‘If I part with my rule I do not know where I shall find another.’

“I am, dear Sir, your very obedient servant,

Matthew Raine.”

Charles Clairmont’s letter was written during a visit which Godwin paid to Norfolk, and gives a pleasant picture of the brighter days in a home where all was not always so smooth, and the letter which follows it closes with one of
those bits of true philosophy which so often lend brightness to Godwin’s least important letters.

Charles Clairmont to William Godwin.
May 6, 1808.

Dear Sir,—Mamma has got franks for each of us to send you a letter, and hopes you will not think us too troublesome. We are all going to-morrow to Hampstead Heath to spend a whole day, and Mr and Mrs Mulready, Mr and Miss Dawe, and Mr Linnell, are all going with us. Mr Linnell and Mr Mulready will sketch part of the time, which will be very amusing, and I hope to do something in the same way, which, when you come home, you will see. I think you have had very fine weather for your journey, which is very fortunate; and we are all thinking we shall have a rainy day for Fanny’s birthday. It has been fine weather for bathing, and I have already been into Pearly’s Pool twice, which, by the by, is now Watt’s Pool, and can swim much better than last summer, and we can subscribe monthly or quarterly. But now I should wish to know something of your journey, how you find poor grandmamma. I hope she is not worse. Pray send us word whether she knows or can converse with you. We were very much baulked at finding we did not say either our history or lecture, as we had learned it so very perfect; and as you will be home to Fanny’s birthday, on the Saturday after next, we hope to say it to you on the Sunday.

“I hope that Mr Capel Lofft and his family will be well, and that he will tell you a few odd stories to tell us. William does not talk of you and when you will come back, at which I am not a little surprised.

Mr Mulready says that Linnell is the best painter he knows, and I asked him if he was as good as Wilkie, and he said that Wilkie painted better, but that Linnell had a great deal more taste; he says I have got a cleverer master than I think for. I think him very clever; as to his being the best painter in England, I cannot believe it.


“I was at Mr Mulready’s on Thursday when he told me all this, and at the same time gave me a lecture on boxing, and he says that Linnell is almost as good a boxer as himself.

“When mamma went to Mr Mulready’s to invite him, Linnell was there, and mamma, thinking it would be a civility to make him know a little more of us, asked him to be of the party, to which he answered in his bluff way, It’s too hot. Mamma then asked him to consider of it, and he said, I’m obliged to you, ma’am; I’ll go, and so it was agreed. . . .

“Farewell, dear Sir, and I still remain your ever affectionate son-in-law,

C. Clairmont.”

P.S.—As we cannot all of us expect a whole letter apiece from you, you will be so good as to send a line or two to each of us in your next letter to mamma.”

This is the last glimpse we shall have in life of old Mrs Godwin. Her good old age was passing painlessly, and soothed by all possible attentions from her eldest son and his wife.

Mrs Godwin, sen., to William Godwin.

Dear Wm.,—I’m very uncapable of writing now, but would have you loose no time waiting for the fall of Stocks, put yr. £25 out to a bank which gives 4 pr. cent., as Carrisons of Norwich, am sorry its loosing interest waiting the fall, I know the buying in or selling out ever so small a sum is 2s. 6d. brokrage, the same as one hundred. Let me know it is in in your name, and I will rest myself sattisfied that you will act a father’s part to your brother’s Josh. children for wish not to be encumber’d any further. I am next June 21 new stile 78 years of age, and find my days attended with labour and sorrow, wish to be desolv’d and be with Christ, not my will but the will of my God in Xt be done, think myself obleged to you that Joe’s son Wm. is got into the blue Coat school. I know If its in his mother’s power to unsettle him or
get him out, She is such an imprudent woman, She will; but I hope you’ll prevent it.

“I gave yr. thanks to Hullys wife for ye. Turkey the Farmers now don’t put them up to fat only give them corn in ye. yard for their own use or to sell yet will not sell them under 10d pr pound, and country carriers extortion very much I sent a brace of chickens to Joseph ye. carrier wou’d fain have had is to Norwich but at last with many words took 8d ye. London carrs. is but 1s & 1d booking will have 3 half pence if more than 8 pound all above. O this dreadful war what will become the midle sort as well as ye. poor malt 46 pr Coomb and 8d and 9d. for pork a pound, Saccages 1s veal 6½, bread 4d per lb fine flower 7s per sto I wish you coud advise Hanh. to be more frugal you can do more with her than anybody in particular her Sundays excurtions she will never be in better case till she alter that and go to a place where ye. word of God is preached but that is unfashonable We have souls and therefore are not at liberty to live as ye. bruits that have no life after this. Its a mercy yr. children have got over ye. measles so well but there is a great duty belongs to you to instruct them in the word of God in their youth for they are nateraly prone to vanity and idleness there is no need to teach them that

“Mrs H Godwin is near her time they Joine me in wishing you hapyness Natty also

“Yr. affecate. Mother


“Yr. Sister will not its likely be long before she sends or if G pleas when ye. have put out yr. money may write by post Mr Copland has sold his farm so Tim Tomson leves it next Mic”

William Godwin to Mrs Godwin.
East Dereham, May 5, 1805.

“I found my mother in bed yesterday, but to-day she rose to breakfast. There is little satisfaction in seeing her: her intellect is exceedingly slender: she understood that I was one of her children, but she would not own that she knew more than that, I mean who I was: and her continual talk was that she wished me
to be gone, for she had nothing, no provisions, nothing at all, to give me. Her speech is very imperfect; she calls everything by a name of her own, and changes it often. But she compared my watch, which she asked me by signs to take out of my pocket, with hers, though I believe she saw nothing, and showed me a letter of my sister’s, addressed to her, written about eighteen months ago, and a book in which
Joseph had written the names of all his children. . . . In the description of my mother, which I wished to make complete, I purposed to have added, that though her thoughts are imperfect, her speech, when the visible objects to which it relates are before her, is not so. She said to me at breakfast this morning: ‘Do not wait no more for me.’ She walks firmly and steadily, and drank her tea three or four times with her spoon, which she carries steadily to her mouth without losing a drop.”

William Godwin to Mrs Godwin.
Troston, May 8, 1808.

“My last letter was addressed to you from Dereham, the scene of the death and burial of Cowper. I was there on Thursday, taking shelter from the intense heat of the mid-day sun. I have suffered indeed (I wish we had another word less solemn than suffered to express these petty misfortunes) more than you can imagine, from the warmth of the season. The skin of the greater part of my face is completely peeled off, and my nose and nether lip are adorned with small protuberances, as a sort of fungus which Phoebus has raised from the richness of the soil.

“In the evening of Thursday I proceeded once more to Bradenham, where I felt no temptation to stay, and of consequence set off the next morning for Thetford. My brother conveyed me twelve miles out of the twenty, which separates his habitation from that town, and I walked the rest, having arrived there at three o’clock on Friday. I had written from Dereham to Mr Lofft, but was uncertain when my letter would reach him, and therefore only said I should sleep on Friday at Thetford, leaving to his mercy when he would appear there to release me. I might
have staid a day and a half longer at Bradenham, and this would have been economy. But though I tasked my resolution to bear the squalidness of the good people there, I assure you I felt it high time to get away after my breakfast of Friday. I had a serious motive for my journey into Norfolk, but one view that made me consider it with pleasure was that I contemplated in it a means of renewing my youth and recruiting my spirits. I sought, therefore, a little for indulgence and not altogether for penance. . . . Friday evening and Saturday morning were, if possible, hotter than the preceding days. Saturday (having just taken a slice of cold beef and a glass of brandy and water) I set off at half after four in the afternoon, on foot, for Troston: the distance seven miles. The evening was favourable, the extreme heat was gone, and the weather was apparently changing. When I had walked four miles and a half, and had already turned into an obscure cross road, I saw a handsome carriage advancing in the opposite direction. I gazed attentively upon it, and soon found that it contained Mr Capel Lofft. He, good man, had only received my letter at four o’clock, and, having gobbled up his dinner, set off in an immense hurry, in his list slippers, to meet me. . . .

Mr Lofft put into my hands your letter of Friday, the perusal of which quite revived my soul: it is so considerate, so provident, so encouraging! The bill of the Br. had begun to spread its raven wings over my head. I hope you will not have failed to write again on Monday, as you seem to promise. I will then remain at peace. . . . I shall be very happy to receive the children’s letters. Give my love to them all, and a kiss to William, whom you do not mention. I will endeavour, as you say, to keep up my spirits. I can bear prosperity, and I know I can bear adversity. The dreadful thing to endure is those uncertain moments, which seem to be the fall from one to the other, which call for exertions, and exhibit faint gleams of hope amidst the terrible tempest that gathers round.”

In 1807-8 the Diaries not unfrequently record “Deliquium” day after day, and even “Deliquiaduo.” A natural
feeling of anxiety about his health drew from
Godwin the following letter to Dr Ash. His old habit of self-analysis is now applied with the same unimpassioned minuteness to his bodily aliments as once it had been to his mental constitution. It is an interesting evidence of his calmness and power over himself that these attacks were in no degree allowed to interfere with his daily occupations, about which he went as usual, even when it might appear that a fit might reasonably be expected.

It would seem, however, that the attacks were cataleptic rather than simple fainting fits.

William Godwin to Dr Ash.
May 21, 1808.

Sir,—Upon reflection I deem it most advisable to trouble you with the leading particulars of my case in writing; as now, in the fifty-third year of my age, I am desirous of arriving, if possible, at a clear view of the affair, and the safest and most judicious way of treating it.

“As this complaint has attacked me at many different periods of my life, I am inclined to suppose that it has a deep root in my frame, and that it may most usefully be explained by historical deduction.

“Its first appearance was in the twenty-eighth year of my age; the fits continued to visit me for some weeks and then disappeared. They did not return till 1800, after an interval of seventeen years.

“In 1792 I had an attack of vertigo, accompanied with extreme costiveness, the only time at which I have experienced that symptom in an excessive degree.

“In 1795 I first became subject to fits of sleepiness in an afternoon, which have never since left me, and occasionally seize me even in company.

“In 1800 and 1803 my old disorder revisited me; the attacks were preceded by a minute’s notice, and each fit (of perfect insen-
sibility) lasted about a minute. Air was of no service to repel a fit, but hartshorn smelled to, or a draught of hartshorn and water, seemed to drive them off, particularly in the last days of an attack. If seized standing, I have fallen on the ground, and I have repeatedly had the fits in bed.

“It should be observed, that when first attacked in 1783, it was difficult to have been of more temperate habits than I was, seldom tasting wine or spirituous liquors. Since that time I have never been intemperate; but for the last twenty years have indulged in the moderate regular use of both, not more than three or four glasses of wine in a day.

“All these three attacks were in the midst of a hot summer; in every instance each single fit seemed to find me and leave me in perfect health. . . . The approach of the fit is not painful, but is rather entitled to the name of pleasure, a gentle fading away of the senses; nor is the recovery painful, unless I am teazed in it by persons about me. . . . I am, etc.,

W. Godwin.”

On March 23, 1809, Holcroft died, aged 63. He had been in failing health for some time, but the end came rapidly at last. Of all Godwin’s friends he was perhaps the one who had loved him and known him best; their differences, though many, had never been deep. Each had been associated with the other in the deepest joys and sorrows that had come to their lives. When Holcroft was dying, Godwin was the friend he most desired to see, and though too weak for conversation, he pressed Godwin’s hand to his heart with the words, “My dear, dear friend.”

Hazlitt undertook to compile Holcroft’s life and edit his letters, and the work appeared in the following January. During its composition the following correspondence took place. Godwin’s views had altered, since he himself had thought it right to print the letters which had passed between Gilbert Imlay and Mary Wollstonecraft.

W. Hazlitt to William Godwin.

Dear Sir,—I am forced to trouble you with the following questions, which I shall be much obliged to you to answer as well as you can.

“1. At what time H[olcroft] lived with Granville Sharpe? whether before or after he turned actor? and whether the scene described in “Alwyn,” as the occasion by Holkirk (i.e., himself in the subsequent part) went on the stage, really took place between Sharpe and Holcroft? I mean the one when Seddon discovers his appearance at a sporting club, in the character of Macbeth.

“What was the maiden name of Mrs Sparks?

The Same to the Same.

“I received yours of the 2d yesterday. As to the attack upon Murray, I have hit at him several times, and whenever there is a question of a blunder, ‘his name is not far off.’ Perhaps it would look like jealousy to make a formal set at him. Besides I am already noted by the reviewers for want of liberality, and an undisciplined moral sense. . . . I was, if you will allow me to say so, rather hurt to find you lay so much stress upon the matter as you do in your last sentence; for assuredly the works of William Godwin do not stand in need of those of E. Baldwin for vouchers and supporters. The latter (let them be as good as they will) are but the dust in the balance compared with the former. Coleridge talks out of the Revelations of somebody’s ‘new name from heaven;’ for my own part, if I were you, I should not wish for any but my old one.

“I am, dear sir, very faithfully and affectionately yours,

W. Hazlitt.

“I send this in a parcel, because it will arrive a day sooner than by the post. Will you send me down a copy of the grammar when you write again, by the same conveyance? As for the postage of the proof sheets, it will not be more, nor so much, as the extra expense of correcting in the printing, occasioned by blurred paper in the author. It may therefore be set off.”

Draft of letter from William Godwin to Mrs Holcroft.

Dear Madam,—You ask my feelings respecting the manuscript life of Mr Holcroft. When your note reached me, I had no feelings on the subject worth communicating. The two or three slight criticisms that suggested themselves to me I mentioned to Mr Hazlitt, and he promised to attend to them. The narrative which Mr Holcroft dictated in the last weeks of his existence impressed me with the strongest feelings of admiration, and the life appeared a very decent composition, with a few excellent passages, sufficiently fitted on the whole for the purpose for which it was intended.

“I had not then seen the diary part, this was detained from me till yesterday, I believe by accident. This part is a violation of the terms originally settled with Mr Hazlitt. The book, it was agreed, should consist of life, and a selection of letters. I knew of the existence of this diary, but had not read it; and had not the least imagination that it was ever to be printed. When Mr Hazlitt told me he had inserted the greater part of it, I did not immediately set up my judgment, who had not read it, against his, who had.

“I have now examined it, and consider it (as a publication) with the strongest feelings of disapprobation. It is one thing for a man to write a journal, and another for that journal to be given to the public. I am sure Mr Holcroft would never have consented to this. I have always entertained the highest antipathy to this violation of the confidence between man and man, that every idle word, every thoughtless jest I make at another’s expense, shall be carried home by the hearer, put in writing, and afterwards printed. This part will cause fifty persons at least, who lived on friendly terms with Mr Holcroft, to execrate his memory. It will make you many bitter enemies, who will rejoice in your ruin, and be transported to see you sunk in the last distress. Many parts are actionable.

“I will give you instances of each sort. There is a story of one Marriott, an attorney, whom Mr Holcroft never saw; that is, no
doubt, actionable, if the man is living.
Mr Dealtry, an intimate friend of Dr Parr, is introduced, saying that the Doctor could not spell. There is probably an eternal breach between them, and how occasioned? By the circumstance of a thoughtless joke, uttered with no evil intention, being caught up by the hearer, and afterwards sent to the press. Two or three detestable stories (lies, I can swear) are told of Mrs Siddons; and Miss Smith, the actress, is quoted as the authority; that is, Miss Smith, as other people do, who are desirous of amusing their company, told these stories as she heard them, borne out with a sort of saw, ‘You have them as cheap as I.’ The first meeting of Emma Smith and Mr Holcroft occurs, and he sets her down, and Mr Hazlitt prints her, as a young woman of no talents; I believe Mr Holcroft altered his opinion on that subject. A tale is introduced about the private transactions and affairs of Mrs Wollstonecraft and Mr Imlay; what right have the publishers of this book to rake up and drag in that subject? For myself, I can fairly say that if I had known that every time I dined with or called upon Mr Holcroft, I was to be recorded in a quarto book, well printed, and with an ornamental frontispiece, in the ridiculous way of coming in to go out again fifty times, I would not on that penalty have called upon or dined with him at all. In short, the publication of the whole of this part of the book answers no other purpose than to gratify the malignity of mankind, to draw out to view the privacies of firesides, and to pamper the bad passions of the idle and worthless with tittletattle, and tales of scandal.

“I would have gone to Mr Nicholson immediately on the subject, had he not by a letter of the most odious and groundless insinuations rendered that, at least for the present, impossible. By what I here write, therefore, I beg leave to enter my protest on the subject, and so to discharge my conscience. I will be no part or party to such a publication.

The chief literary work of the year 1809 was the “Lives of Edward and John Philips, nephews and pupils of Milton.” In a letter to his daughter, which will hereafter be quoted,
Godwin says plainly that this work was no real part of himself, and though it has considerable merit as a painstaking Biography, would not at all occupy our time but for one circumstance. This is, that Godwin was the first English writer since the year 1612 who gave any lengthy and appreciative notice of the Don Quixote of Cervantes.

This is all the more remarkable since the first translation and the best—if we except that of the Italian by Franciosini in 1612—was that by Thomas Shelton. Smollett’s so-called translation was made, as is well known, from the French, and gives but a slender idea of the great original. Neither Addison, or Steele, or Swift, or Johnson, make any use of the great Spaniard, except Pope, who, however, does not quote in his well-known epigram the Don Quixote of Cervantes, but the pseudo-Quixote of Cervantes’ malignant enemy, Avellaneda, and Pope probably did not know the difference. Beaumont and Fletcher, however, used him pretty well. So did Fielding—the first in the “Knight of the Burning Pestle,” the second in his “Don Quixote in England,” while Tom D’Urfey misused him shamefully. But no great Englishman appears to have appreciated the aims of Cervantes, and therefore not one ever exhibited him in his service as a humorist, a satirist, a moralist, artist, and traveller. It is almost certain therefore that the grand book was all but unknown. Among those who helped to defame the “Don Quixote in England” was John Philips. Perhaps he was the very first to suggest the indelicacy which has clung to its memory.

It was left to Godwin,—who was the first to maintain, with vigour and keen insight, that George Chapman’s translation of Homer was one of the greatest treasures the English language could boast,—it was left him to tell Englishmen that the Don Quixote was a—


“distinguished monument of genius and literature among the moderns.” (Lives of Edward and John Philips, cap. x., p. 240.)

Philipstranslation of the Don Quixote is a work of great power and spirit. But, alas it is the power and spirit of John Philips, and placed at an immeasurable distance from the character and style of Cervantes (p. 253).

“But the greatest blot of the translation is the filthy and ribald obscenity with which it abounds. The sweet story of Dorothea, told with such indescribable delicacy by Cervantes, is made the occasion of introducing a horrible idea (p. 254).

“One of the finest passages in this incomparable monument of Spanish literature and genius is the defence delivered by Marcella. The simplicity, the delicacy, and the frankness of her reasonings, are altogether irresistible. The venerableness of the style, the rich and easy eloquence with which it steals on the soul, are such as no modern language can equal. John Philips has interlarded this speech with his usual obscenity, at the same time carefully omitting every trace of the sacred and solemn chastity that characterises it” (p. 255).


Thus Godwin was not only the first English writer who was able to declare the truth regarding the sweetness and beauty of the grand Spanish novel. He was the first to defend it from the disgraceful uses to which it had been put by hack writers and money-grubbing booksellers, who, not being able to steal the purse of Cervantes, thus proceeded to filch from him his good name.

Old Mrs Godwin died at Dalling, on Sunday, August 13, 1809, and was buried on the following Friday. Godwin’s account of the funeral shows an unusual amount of outward tenderness in one who was generally so sternly repressive of his feelings. He went back in thought once more to the day when he had knelt at his mother’s side, and believed as she believed.

William Godwin to Mrs Godwin.
Bradenham, Aug. 21, 1809.

“My last letter was not finished when the company began to assemble for the funeral. This was a very long scene, filling many hours. Our procession was certainly near three miles, from Dalling to the burying-ground. Mr Sykes, the dissenting minister, rode foremost; next followed six bearers on foot, then the hearse, and next after that myself as chief mourner on horseback, and the line was closed with four or five open chaises, containing my brothers and other relations and friends, chiefly of Hull’s wife’s family. Mourning coaches had first been thought of, but this scheme I think was better. Certainly, if procession is to be thought of, that is the most impressive when the persons of those who form it are completely exposed to view. We set out from the house at one o’clock, and did not get back to the house till five. My brothers went and dined at Mrs Raven’s (Hull’s mother-in-law), but I preferred returning home, and being alone. That night I slept in the chamber you used, and where my mother’s corpse had reposed the night before. . . . I have had strange feelings, arising from the present occasion. I was brought up in great tenderness, and though my mind was proud to independence, I was never led to much independence of feeling. While my mother lived, I always felt to a certain degree as if I had somebody who was my superior, and who exercised a mysterious protection over me. I belonged to something—I hung to something—there is nothing that has so much reverence and religion in it as affection to parents. The knot is now severed, and I am, for the first time, at more than fifty years of age, alone. You shall now be my mother; you have in many instances been my protector and my guide, and I fondly trust will be more so, as I shall come to stand more in need of assistance.”

But few outside events broke the even tenor of Godwin’s life during the next few years, nor was there any important change in his domestic circumstances. Charles Clairmont
left the Charter House and, through the intervention of
Mr Fairley, an umbrella maker in Edinburgh, who had interested himself in Godwin’s business, the lad was received as a clerk in Constable’s publishing house for a period of two years. There, says Mr Thomas Constable in his “Memoirs” of his father, “Charles Clairmont gave perfect satisfaction.” After the expiration of the time for which he was bound apprentice, Mr Constable wished to keep him in his service, but he returned to London at the urgent wish of his mother and step-father to aid in the Skinner Street business. After the break-up of the Skinner Street household, he went abroad, obtained the post of tutor to the Austrian Imperial family, and resided till his death in Germany, where he had married.

Several letters from Godwin to Constable are to be found in the “Memoirs” of the latter, in reference to Charles Clairmont, and on other business matters, but the remarks which accompany those letters are based on imperfect knowledge of facts. The letters are not in themselves of much interest.

Godwin’s relations with his stepson were, on the whole, pleasant. Charles Clairmont treated him with great deference, always addressing him as “Mr Godwin,” never as father, though Mrs Godwin was called mamma by her step-daughters; but the boy was clever and painstaking, and interest in his intellectual development stood to Godwin in the place of any warmer feeling.

Though he lived in Godwin’s house, and habitually saw the prophet unveiled, Charles Clairmont had not been insensible to the charm which, still as of old, attracted to Godwin in his study above the small shop in Skinner Street, not only those who had known him long, and
valued him for past associations, but young enthusiastic lads, just entering into life.

The domestic letters during the year 1811, concluding with Charles Clairmont’s start for his new home, give a pleasanter picture of his home circle than we shall ever find again. Money difficulties were pressing at times, but there was greater affection at home. Mary was away from home, and Fanny’s pliant, even temper enabled her to live more easily than did her sister with Mrs Godwin; and Jane Clairmont was also absent.

William Godwin to Mrs Godwin [who was at Ramsgate]
May 18, 1811.

My Dearest Love,—Saturday was my great and terrible day, and I was compelled to look about me, to see how it could be provided for. I had less than £20 remaining in my drawer. I sent Joseph to Lambert and Macmillan: no answer from either: Lambert not at home. Bradley then undertook the expedition to Mercu and Jabart: he preferred Friday to Saturday: I therefore desired him to take Lambert on the way. This time I was successful: the good creature sent me £100, and at six in the evening Macmillan sent me £50, having, as you remember, brought me the other £50 on Tuesday last. This was something, but as there is no sweet without its sour, about the same time came a note from Hume desiring he might have £40 on Monday.

“After dinner Fanny told me she was sure she had seen Mr and Miss Lamb walking arm-in-arm at a distance in the street. I could not be easy till I had ascertained the truth of this intelligence, and I hastened to the Temple. It was so: they were not at home; gone to the play: but their Jane told me that her mistress came home on Tuesday the 7th of May. Lamb returned my visit at breakfast this morning. To return to business.

“I began to cast about how I was to comply with Hume’s request. I was still short for my bills—£30 and £40 are
£70. I had, however,
Place’s bill in my possession, but who was to discount it? I thought perhaps Toulmin would do it, I looked upon my list of discounters. By some oversight I had omitted to put the name to the discounter of one of Hume’s bills. I thought by studying my journal I should be able to find it. I was unsuccessful. In the midst of this, however, my eye caught a bill of £140 of Place, that fell due next Friday. I had carefully put this out of my mind in the midst of the embarrassments of the present week, and had wholly forgotten it. Perhaps I never felt a more terrible sensation in my life, than when it thus returned to me. Lambert’s and Macmillan’s money had made me cheerful: I walked erect in my little sally to the Temple: I flung about my arms. with the air of a man who felt himself heart-whole. The moment I saw the £140 I felt a cold swelling in the inside of my throat—a sensation I am subject to in terrible situations—and my head ached in the most discomfortable manner. I had just been puzzling how I could discount the £100 I had by me: what was I to do with £140 beside? If Turner had not come in just then, I think I should have gone mad; as it was, the morsel of meat I put in my mouth at supper stuck in my throat. My ultimate determination was, that I had no resource but to write to Norwich.

“This morning, however, the first thing I did was to send a note to Place, to state the circumstances, and to ask whether he must have the money to a day. He immediately came to me by way of answer, and told me he could wait till the 30th: a glorious reprieve!

“. . . . The post of to-day brought me £100 upon the house of Baring. It comes from the great American manager, with directions for me to furnish books, according to certain rules he lays down, at the rate of £100 per annum—this £100 being the earnest for the first year. His letter is a very kind one: I daresay he takes this step with a view to serve me in a certain degree: at any rate never did windfall come more opportunely. I need not tell you that Theobald or anybody will discount a bill, when accepted, on the house of Baring. . . .


“. . . . Take care of yourself. Remember that you have gone to the place where you are in search of repose. The money and the time will be worse than thrown away if this is not the purchase. . . . . Tell Mary that, in spite of unfavourable appearances, I have still faith that she will become a wise and, what is more, a good and a happy woman. . . . . I have just been into the next room to ask the children if they have any messages. They are both anxious to hear from you. Jane says she hopes you stuck on the Goodwin sands, and that the sailors frightened you a little.

Extract from Letter from William Godwin to Mrs Godwin.
May 20, 1811.

“——Charles comes to you to-morrow. I hope this will not displease you. But I set my heart and soul on his learning no idle habits. I could almost wish that he had not a day’s holiday between the two schools: the Charter House concludes at eleven o’clock to-morrow, and I believe it would poison all my tranquillity to see him wasting three days to no earthly purpose that I can conceive, being the precise difference between Tuesday and Friday. I have been with him to Tate’s to-day, and half over the town, among Jews and Christians, to ascertain precisely Tate’s character and his competence for what he undertakes. It strikes me that (if we can get on) our tranquillity depends more upon Charles than upon any human creature. I hope, but I tremble while I hope. I watch all his motions, and live in his looks.

“Give a thousand loves to William and Mary. By the way, you do not insert in your letter a single message from either, which I regard as a portentous and criminal omission in each.”

From the Same to the Same.
May 24, 1811.

“——I send Charles’s book agreeably to his desire: I want to win his heart; whether I shall succeed or no I know not. He said he could read with particular satisfaction to himself on the
sea-shore, and I wish him to be indulged. I know from reflection as well as experience, that a book read when it is desired is worth fifty of a book forced on the reader, without regard to seasons and occasions. The very choice of the book is taken out of my hands:
T. T. undertook to procure for him Paine’sAge of Reason:’ this I objected to. It is written in a vein of banter and impudence, and though I do not wish the young man to be the slave of the religion of his country, there are few things I hate more than a young man, with his little bit of knowledge, setting up to turn up his nose, and elevate his eyebrows, and make his sorry joke at everything the wisest and best men England ever produced have treated with veneration. Therefore I preferred a work by Anthony Collins, the friend of Locke, written with sobriety and learning, to the broad grins of Thomas Paine. Do not, I entreat you, grudge 1s. 6d., the price, I am told, of the carriage of this parcel, to the gratifying the inclination of your son in this most important era of his life. . . . . Observe, I totally object to Mary’s reading in Charles’s book. I think it much too early for him, but I have been driven, so far as he is concerned, from the standing of my own judgment by the improper conduct of T. T.”

From the Same to the Same.
May 30, 1811.

“I am delighted with the cheerfulness that pervades your letter of yesterday. Fanny conducts herself delightfully, and I am what you call comfortable. But I cannot look with the sanguine temper I could wish on the prospect before us. N’importe!
“’Tis not in mortals to command success:
But we’ll do more—we’ll deserve it.’
No effort, no invention of mine shall be left untried. I will never give in, while I have strength to wield a pen or tell a tale. . . .

“I went last night to the Haymarket to see a new two-act piece, called ‘Trial by Jury.’ But my chief entertainment arose from two persons in the next box to me. They had for sometime the whole box to themselves, and sat in the front row—a man and, as
it seemed, his daughter. The man was sixty, a long, lank, colourless face, with deep furrows and half-shut eyes, something, I thought, between primitive simplicity and cunning. His face was overshadowed on all sides with thick, bushy, lank, dark-brown hair. He was precisely such a figure as they would make up on the stage for a saint; indeed he seemed escaped from the stage, and seated for a joke in the side box. His dress was like that of a farmer in Westmoreland, and under his arm he had all night a chapeau de bras. The daughter was thirty, dressed like the daughter of a substantial farmer, where, as
Lamb describes it, they have twelve long miles to the nearest church—nothing could be more unfashionable. She looked a great deal about her, stared me and others full in the face, burst into roars of laughter at the jokes on the stage. I looked often on these very singular neighbours. I had difficulty to confine my observations within the bounds of decorum. Once or twice I said to myself, Is it possible this should be a man to lend me money? At last I could no longer sit still, but went out of the box to ask the box-keeper who he was. Earl Stanhope—I said to myself; this box-keeper dares not attempt to hoax me. I went and examined the box book—Earl Stanhope.

Fanny is quite ferocious and impassioned against the journey to Margate. Her motive is a kind one. She says, This cook is very silly, but very willing; you cannot imagine how many things I have to do. She adds, Mamma talks of going to Ramsgate in the autumn; why cannot I go then?”

Charles Clairmont to T. Turner.
[Ramsgate, May, 1811.]

“I think I will not pass a whole week in the country, doing nothing but sauntering about the fields. I am quite delighted with Ramsgate. There are the most beautiful fields of barley, corn, and tares that you can imagine—high cliffs, and the sea, to a person who never saw it before. In short, it is a place calculated above all others to excite my attention to that subject which my mind has of late been so intent upon. I have determined (not that I
think myself the proper person to judge, but because I think it quite necessary as the first step) to put aside the Old and New Testaments, for I can do nothing with them unless I make up my mind to believe in prophecies, hobgoblins, witches, and so forth. Do not, however, think that I am going to do as
Patrickson did, and trouble myself no more about it. I am, I assure you, very much awed by it, and consider it a subject of the greatest importance, an everlasting something to be employed about—both a recreation from labour and occupation for the most industrious moments. . . . I am afraid that the idea of a God and of a future state is so deeply rooted in me that it holds me back, keeps me from thinking freely, and that I shall never be able to get over it. I hope, after I have read some book on the subject, that my ideas will be more clear, for I shall then have some foundation to work upon, and from which I shall gradually raise for myself a magnificent palace. Mr Godwin told me why he did not choose me to read Paine’s book, which I think is all very reasonable, for it would certainly have been improper for a young thinker to read a burlesque on the subject, and I believe would rather have tended to shock me than otherwise. I shall read it, however, after the book which is promised me.”

Mrs Godwin to William Godwin.
Aug. 14, 1811.

“I know not what the state of your mind is at this moment, but mine will be that to which 10,000 daggers are mild, till I hear you accept the reconciliation I now send to offer. Perhaps I was irrational; but it is not a trifling wound to my heart to see myself put by, and thought of as a burden that the law will not let you be free from, because in the hardest struggle that ever fell to the lot of woman, I have lost my youth and beauty before the natural time. However, I will try to reconcile myself to what I have long foreseen.

“I repeat that I send to offer reconciliation, and the greatest favour you can do me is to meet me this evening as well as you
can, that strangers may know nothing of my sorrows. . . . Answer by a line whether you will come to Baker St., and if we shall be friends.

M. G.”
The Same to the Same.
Aug. 30, 1811.

“Your dear balmy letter, brought stump-a-stump upstairs at ½-past 9, has set my heart at ease. . . . I almost doubt if you can read this scrawl. My neck aches, my head aches. We are at a cleaning upstairs. Charles smiled in a most heavenly manner at your kiss and a half. Fanny stood quite still; Jane capered. She looks very poorly, but her spirits are good. Jane and Willy have been reading in the Temple Gardens, and brought the umbrella from Lamb’s. God bless you.

M. J. G.

“I write from the shop, so the children are not by to send love.”

William Godwin to Mrs Godwin.
Chichester, Aug. 31, 1811.

“My Best Love, . . .—I have passed few pleasanter days in my life than I passed yesterday. After some debate with myself, and finding that there was no means of public conveyance, I resolved to walk to Felpham (between seven and eight miles). The weather was very hot (the ‘literary hermit’ [Hayley] insisted on receiving me at noon), yet, to my astonishment, I was not at all fatigued. The literary hermit I dismiss in one word.—I do not like him. His wife, however, seems a pleasant, unaffected, animated girl (he swears he himself is only sixty-five); and his house is quite a toy. He has erected a turret on the top, with a corridor over that, for the sake of the prospect, and to this corridor he climbs at least once every day by a ladder, which can only be descended by crawling backwards, and which, being on the top of the house in the open air, looked to me frightful, but I escaped without breaking either my neck or my leg. Pictures, drawings, splendid books, and splendid bindings adorn every room in the house,
everything that cannot be consumed or worn out. He does not go out of his little domain, prison in that sense, I should call it, four times in a year, and he told me he made it a rule never to invite anybody to dinner. His
bookseller (with whom I have been negociating) tells me he was in the habit of dining with him every Sunday, but with a Chichester shopkeeper he could dispense with display. Thus he has everything for the eye, and nothing for the heart. Damn him.

“I say this in the sobriety of my deliberate judgment, and without a spice of resentment, for the moment I quitted his babyhouse my happiness began. I went to Bognor, I inhaled the lifegiving breezes of the sea, which I think, were I expiring with the imbecility of old age, would make me young again. Bognor is a sweet place. Why is it so? Merely because it is on the open beach of the sea, and is scattered over with neat little houses for the opulent, built for the purposes of health and recreation. Sarah Pink, the generous landlady of the hotel, gave me that dinner. which the frozen-hearted Hayley refused. . . . She completed all her other kindnesses by refusing me a chaise to bring me back to Chichester last night, so that I was compelled to spend till eleven at night—the beautiful, serene, moonlight evening of one of the most beautiful days I ever saw, on the open shore, and only quitted the beach to repair to my bed. . . . I have got my pencil-case. It was in the coat pocket where Betsey swore it was not. . . . Ever and ever yours,

W. Godwin.”
The Same to the Same.
Newport, I. Of Wight, Sep. 2.

“I have not passed a pleasant day since I left Bognor till today. Portsmouth is detestable, and Ryde to me insipid. Dr Stoddart showed me a pretty park, and a pretty garden, and two pretty villas, dearly looked upon by gaping strangers, but this to me is nothing. I except, however, the voyage from Portsmouth to Ryde, six miles in length, and one hour in duration. This was delicious. But to-day I am this moment come from Carisbrooke Castle, a beautiful ruin in the first place, and in the second, the
prison in which
Charles I. was imprisoned for some months, and from which, with a short interval, he was conducted to his trial. They show a window through which he is said to have attempted his escape. I have just passed by the school-house where he is said to have met the Commissioners of Parliament, and made his last experiment for re-ascending the throne. There a monarch was arraigned, and now a school boy. It is with great regret that I refrain from risking a visit to the schoolmaster, and trying to make him talk over old times, and show me old walls. . . . The whole of this letter has been written in coffee rooms, where it is difficult to preserve the thread of narrative, but impossible to write sentiment. From Southampton I will endeavour to mix both; but I cannot help wishing briefly to put down my feelings in situations which I have just visited, and which I suppose certainly I shall never visit again.—Ever and ever yours,

W. Godwin.”
Guildford, Sep. 5, 1811.

“Be assured, as I think I said in a letter of last week, that I admire you not less than I love you. We are both of us, depend upon it, persons of no common stamp, and we should accustom ourselves perpetually so to regard each other, and to persuade ourselves, without hesitation, without jealousy, and with undoubted confidence, that we are so regarded by each other. God bless you! Good night.

W. Godwin.”
William Godwin to Mr Fairley.
Skinner St., Oct. 5, 1811.

Dear Fairley,—Would you have any objections to call on my part on Mr Constable the bookseller, to inquire of him personally the answer to a letter I addressed to him last week, on the subject of which I feel the greatest impatience? This letter, if you think you want one, may serve you as a passport.

“The purpose of my letter above mentioned, was to solicit Mr Constable to receive into his house for a short time, as the best possible introduction to the world of business, Charles Clairmont, the son of Mrs Godwin. . . . I gave my young man a high char-
acter in my letter to Mr Constable for prepossessing manners, and a diligent and accommodating temper. I observed that I had kept him for six years at the Charter House, one of our most celebrated schools, not without proportionable profit, and that he has once been several months under one of our most celebrated arithmeticians. You may think how interesting it is to us, at our time of life, and with our infirmities, to look forward to introducing into our concern a short time hence, a young man perfectly accomplished, who has been initiated in one of the first houses, and whose interests would, by the circumstance of his relationship, be almost necessarily coincident with our own. . . . Believe me, etc.,

W. Godwin.”
From the Same to the Same.
Oct. 15, 1811.

Dear Fairley,—I have received a second letter from Constable, and the affair of Charles Clairmont is closed agreeably to our wishes. He will be with you in the first week of November. Will you accept him for a friend, and endeavour to keep the lyre of his mind in tune? He is going 400 miles from his home, and the connections of his youth. I rely much on you to endeavour to bend his pliant years to sobriety, to honour and to good. . . . The only question between us and Constable was the period of his absence. Constable proposed four years; this appeared to us an eternity. But Constable has appeared willing, in that and everything else, to accommodate himself in the handsomest manner to our desires. . . . Mrs Godwin says what I have above written about Charles is too poetical, and that you will be apprehensive that it means that I wish him to live with you. Nothing can be further from my thoughts. I think his living expressly and solely under the direction of Mr Constable essential to the purpose for which he goes, and all I desire from you is the offices of friendship on his behalf.—Yours, etc.,

W. Godwin.”
From the Same to the Same.
Skinner St., Nov. 3, 1811.

Dear Fairley,—With this letter in his hand, presents himself before you a poor, forlorn, sea-sick minstrel, worn out with toils and watching, and scarcely able to open his eyes—an unhappy vagrant, now sent for the first time from the parental roof, and cast on the ocean of the world—whom we, to whom the care of the said vagrant appertains, cast with all confidence upon the professed kindness of Archibald Constable, and the kind friendship of John Fairley. Impart to him the charities of your hospital roof; give him a basin of water to refresh his skin; give him a dish of tea to moisten his burning lips, and accommodate him with an elbow-chair, where he may slumber for an hour or so unfuddled and unturmoiled by the rocking of the elements. . . . Mr Constable’s proposition is, that he will pay to the youth for his services a salary of £15 per annum, and that if we add £30 to that, the whole will be sufficient for his subsistence, upon the same footing as the other young men whom Mr Constable is in the habit of receiving. . . .

“Where art thou, my friend, my genius, my philosopher, the cultivator of Beaufort?—Your entire friend,

W. Godwin.”

The attraction which Godwin’s society always possessed for young men has often been noticed, nor did it decrease as years passed on. Two young men were drawn to him in the year 1811, fired with zeal for intellectual pursuits and desiring help from Godwin. They were different in their circumstances, but were both unhappy, and both died young. The first was a lad named Patrickson, the second Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Patrickson had determined to go to College in spite of hindrances from want of means, and from the opposition of his family, who wished that he should enter into trade; and to this end he asked Godwin’s influence to gain for him
certain exhibitions in the gift of various city companies. Such an ambition was one which appealed to Godwin’s sympathy, and, finding that Patrickson’s own home-life was thoroughly unhappy, without any hope of improvement, he did his best, and with success, to collect means to send the lad as sizar to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. This was done, in the first place, by subscription among friends, (
Basil Montagu, Dr Raine, Master of Charter House, and others); it was hoped that the exhibitions might come afterwards.

All Godwin’s correspondence with Patrickson shows him in his most wise, amiable, and attractive mood. Some extracts from his letters may follow:—

William Godwin to P. Patrickson.
Skinner Street, London, Dec. 18, 1810.

“. . . . You will inevitably meet with some young men whose academical pursuits are a lien and burthensome to them; they will tempt you to dissipation, and the only security you can have against infection is a severe frugality of your time, and, in subordination to that, of your money: count your hours; be not prone to pity yourself, and say, Well, for this day I have done enough for my strength. Give me a sketch of what acquaintance you make, and how you spend your time.

“Let me have, as soon as possible, the proper certificates and documents, to enable me to apply to the city companies for their exhibitions. I foresee we shall have considerable difficulty in meeting the expenses of the university, let us be as frugal and active as we will. I have heard of college exhibitions by which somehow or other the receiver is ultimately out of pocket: you will, of course, be on your guard against such.

“I have been told of 300 books or volumes of which your father made you a present, previous to your going to Cambridge. I think I should have heard of this from you. Having undertaken the superintendence of your affairs, I had a right to be acquainted with all
their advantages and disadvantages. This is the only instance which has occurred to me of your practising any sort of concealment.

“I enclose two pounds as a small supplement to your finances. If you have any necessary demands against you, more than I am aware of, you must not scruple to let me know.”

The Same to the Same.
Skinner Street, London, June 20, 1811.

“ . . . . I wish the letters I receive from you were, as somebody calls it, a thought less dry. I wish you would tell me something of your feelings, your reflections, and your meditations. It is impossible, at your age, and under your peculiar circumstances, but that some other abstractions should pass through your mind besides the abstractions of the mathematics. Tell me how far you are gratified with the occupations and impressions of a college life. Tell me how much and in what respects you regard the present, with pleasure or pain. Tell me how much and in what respects you regard the future—I mean that scene of life upon which you are to enter hereafter, with ardent hope or with unimpassioned indifference. Tell me what you love and what you hate. At present you lock up your reflections in your own breast, with the same niggardliness that a miser locks up his treasure, and communicate with no one the wealth of your bosom, or at least impart no shred of the wealth to me. King Solomon, the great Jewish philosopher, says, ‘The heart knoweth his own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not with his joy.’ I wish I could prevail upon you not to make me altogether this stranger.

“It is of great advantage to a human being in this way to open himself. It takes away the savageness of our nature; it smooths down the ruggedness of our intellectual surface, and makes man the confederate and coadjutor of man. It also tends, in the most eminent degree, to expand and mature the best faculties of the human mind. It is scarcely possible for a man to reason well, or understand his own heart, upon a subject which he has not copiously and minutely unfolded, either by speech or in writing.

“All happiness attend you.—Your true friend,

William Godwin.

Mr Blackall’s [the College Tutor] bill is £9, 6s. 11½d; Lady Day quarter. It seems a most generous action on his part to have given you the £5 you mention; and generosity in this case is, I suppose, the index of a thing more to be prized—esteem.”

Letters running through the three next years show constant affection and aid on Godwin’s part, ever increasing morbid moroseness on that of poor Patrickson. He felt his poverty keenly, and the want of a home, on which two subsequent extracts throw some light. He dignified the petty annoyances, which the free outspoken habits of companions scarce more than boys brought upon him, with the name of persecution, those who were not his chosen friends—he chose but few—were called by him his enemies. Soon his brooding mind created words as spoken by passers-by, and the ill-defined boundary was passed which divides extreme sensitiveness from madness.

William Godwin to P. Patrickson.
Skinner Street, Feb. 4. 1812.

Dear Patrickson,—I take the earliest opportunity to answer your letter, because it requires an answer. I am shocked with the passage in it, where you say you will write to your mother, and tell her you do not wish to hear from her any more.

“Surely a mother is a thing of more worth than this. The being that watched over you indefatigably in infancy, that had a thousand anxieties for you, and that reared you with care, and perhaps with difficulty, is not to be so treated. Your mother is a wrong-headed, not an abandoned woman. This is the great difference, at least with few exceptions, between one human creature and another. We all of us endeavour to square our actions by our conscience, or our conscience by our actions: we examine what we do by the rule, and pronounce sentence of acquittal or approbation on ourselves: but some of us are in error, and some enlightened. You and I, who are of course among the enlightened, should pity those
that are less fortunate than ourselves, and not abhor them: even an erroneous conscience, by which he who bears it in his bosom tries and examines his actions, is still a thing to be respected.

“I think that you should write to your mother as little as possible, and perhaps for the present ask no favours of her. . . . But to go out of your way to insult her is horrible. . . .

“The ties between one human creature and another are so few in number, and so scanty, as society is at present constituted, that I would not wantonly break any of those that nature has made, and least of all that to a mother. Human creatures are left so much alone, hardly sufficiently aided in the giddiness of youth, and the infirmities of age, that I am sure it is not the part of a wise or a good man to increase this crying evil under the sun. I still hope the time will come when you shall relieve the sorrows of a mother, and when she shall look up to her son with pride and with pleasure. . . .—Your sincere friend,

W. Godwin.”
William Godwin to P. Patrickson.
April 1, 1812.

“I perceive that you set up the present state of your understanding as the criterion of reason and justice, and have no notion that anything can be right which you do not understand, or, in other words, that any other person can see, or that you may hereafter see, what at present you do not. This tone of mind is a perfect leveller, and a leveller of the worst sort, bringing down to your own standard everything that may happen to be above you, but certainly not equally anxious about raising those that may happen to be below you.

“The opposite tone of mind cannot be designated by any name more properly than that of the religious feeling. It is the feeling which pious men cultivate towards the Author of the world. It consists in the acknowledgement that there may be something right which we do not comprehend, and something good that we do not perfectly see to be such. It is built upon a sober and perfect conviction of our weakness, our ignorance, and the errors to which we are perpetually liable. It therefore cherishes in us
sentiments of honour, admiration, and affection, for those whom we apprehend to be in any way wiser and better than ourselves. I do not very distinctly see how love can grow up in the mind, or there can be anything exquisitely amiable in the character, where the religious feeling, in this explanation of the term, is wanting. This feeling, however, is perfectly consistent with the highest and purest notions of erectness and independence: nay, it strengthens and corrects them, because it converts what was before a cold decision of the judgment into a noble and generous sentiment.”

The Same to the Same.
July 10, 1812.

“You do not care if the result of what you do shall be to show the worst side of yourself to those you have intercourse with. This is very wrong. I know many persons in the world who, like you, are afraid that frankness, if they practised it, would become cant, or something similar to cant. It is true that he is the son of an opulent father, and therefore may say to me in the words of Hamlet,
“‘But what revenue can I hope from thee?’
A full heart, however, scorns the difference between riches and poverty, and will not whisper itself to hold its tongue, and not vent its emotions, because it has no revenue.”

The Same to the Same.
Jan. 4, 1813.

“My objection to your coming is on a point of prudence, and I earnestly entreat you, as you have any regard for your future peace and prosperity, to weigh well what I am going to say. Poverty, I assure you, is a very wretched thing. The prayer of Agur in the Bible is excellent, ‘Give me neither poverty nor riches, lest I be full and deny Thee, and say, who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.’ I should not of course express the reasons of my wish in my own behalf, or in behalf of any one in whom I was interested, in so
pious and religious a manner; but my sense would be nearly the same. Riches corrupt the morals and harden the heart, and poverty breaks the spirit and courage of a man, plants his pillow with perpetual thorns, and makes it all but impossible for him to be honest, virtuous, and honourable.”

P. Patrickson to William Godwin.
Cambridge, July 27, 1814.

“Upon my return to this place I found my persecutors more active than they were before I left it. On that account I have determined to confine myself to my lodgings during the day. I take my walks before seven o’clock in the morning, and after dusk in the evening. However, I don’t entirely escape them by staying at home. Many times a day I hear people passing my window say to one another, ‘Mr Patrickson, that came to college upon a subscription, lives there.’ Sometimes this information causes a laugh; among working men commonly anger. They often cry, ‘A damn’d barber’s clerk: I wish he had to work as hard as me!’ This expression ‘barber’s clerk,’ which seems to be an indefinite term of contempt, has, I suppose, been the occasion of some persons, not versed in slang, taking up the idea that I’m the son of a barber. . . .”

William Godwin to P. Patrickson.
July 30, 1814.

. . . ” I am so exceedingly pressed at this moment, that I must request you to be contented with £2, and must endeavour to send you a further supply on this day week. . . . I am sorry you still allow yourself to be so plagued by the people you dignify with the name of your enemies. They ought to be regarded no more than if you were ‘hush’d with buzzing night-flies to your slumber.’ What harm do they do you? None: but seize upon a sickly part of your nature, which your better nature would bid be well, whenever you thought proper to call on him. Will they hinder your promotion? Will they cause you to be thought a profligate or a
fool? Will they, if you are called to the bar, hinder you from having clients, or prevent the judge from paying proper attention to the solidity of your arguments? I am sure a little reading in
Seneca, the philosopher, would set you right in this pitiable wrong. You will outlive, and rise superior to all this, and will then wonder that you could suffer yourself to be disturbed by it.—Your sincere friend,

W. Godwin.”

On August 8th, Patrickson dined with Godwin in London, and on the next day returned to Cambridge. Immediately on his arrival he wrote the following letter to Godwin:—

P. Patrickson to William Godwin.

. . . ” My spirits have for some time been subject to fits of extreme depression, in which I have invariably felt myself compelled to put an end to my existence. I leave this letter to account to you for my conduct, in the event of my obeying one of these. I have endeavoured to the utmost of my power to combat these fits of low spirits, but my efforts have been in vain. Nothing, I believe, could relieve me but change of scene and agreeable company: and you know it is at present quite out of my power to try the effect of either. . . . I know not whether to ascribe it to an unhappy natural disposition, or to the joyless life that I have led, marked only with misfortune and misery, wanting the cheering kindness of friends and relations, and unenlivened by the amusements and pleasures which other young men have enjoyed in passing through the same stages of existence. But I certainly have not the same perceptions of enjoyment that others have: from the earliest of my recollections, life has been a thing of no value to me, and I have been accustomed in times of sorrow to envy even the ground I trod on, for its insensibility to the evils that vexed and tormented me. . . . My past expectations have been so continually disappointed, that I am unable to place any dependence upon what at present appears favourable in my future prospects. Indeed, the more I think of the future, the more I am inclined to
despair: I believe I can never enjoy any kind of happiness or comfort until I shall have some kind of respectable settlement in life, and to obtain this requires exertions which, broken-spirited and broken-hearted as I am, are perfectly impracticable.”

Mrs Godwin has noted on the letter, from which the last extract is taken, that it was soon followed by a note from the College Tutor, informing Mr Godwin that Patrickson had shot himself on the following day, Aug. 10th. No record of the event is to be found in the College books, but the “Bedmaker,” who attended the unfortunate young man, died only a few years ago, and the event is still remembered as a tradition at Emmanuel.