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Memoirs of William Hazlitt
Ch. II: 1791-95
William Hazlitt to William Hazlitt sen.; 6 October 1793

Chap. I 1778-1811
Ch. II: 1791-95
Ch. III 1795-98
Ch. IV 1798
Ch. V 1798
Ch. VI 1792-1803
Ch. VII 1803-05
Ch. VIII 1803-05
Ch. IX
Ch. X 1807
Ch. XI 1808
Ch. XII 1808
Ch. XII 1812
Ch. XIV 1814-15
Ch. XV 1814-17
Ch. XVI 1818
Ch. XVII 1820
Ch. XX 1821
Ch. I 1821
Ch. II 1821-22
Ch. III 1821-22
Ch. IV 1822
Ch. V 1822
Ch. VI 1822
Ch. VII 1822-23
Ch. VIII 1822
Ch. IX 1823
Ch. X 1824
Ch. XI 1825
Ch. XII 1825
Ch. XIII 1825
Ch. XIV 1825
Ch. XV 1825
Ch. XVI 1825-27
Ch. XVII 1826-28
Ch. XVIII 1829-30
Ch. XX
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Produced by CATH
“London, October 6th, 1793.
“Dear Father,

“I received your very kind letter yesterday morning. With respect to my past behaviour, I have often said, and I now assure you. that it did not proceed from any real disaffection, but merely from the nervous disorder to which, you well know, I was so much subject. This was really the case, however improbable it may appear. Nothing particular occurred from the time I wrote last, till the Saturday following. On the Wednesday before, Corrie had given me a theme. As it was not a subject suited to my genius, and from other causes, I had not written anything on it; so that I was not pleased to hear his bell on Saturday morning, which was the time for showing our themes. When I came to him, he asked me whether I had prepared my theme. I told him I had not. You should have a very good
reason indeed, sir, says he, for neglecting it. Why really, sir, says I, I could not write it. Did you never write anything, then, says he? Yes, sir, I said; I have written some things. Very well, then, go along and write your theme immediately, said he. I accordingly went away, but did not make much progress in my theme an hour after, when his bell rang for another lecture. My eyes were much swollen, and I assumed as sullen a countenance as I could, intimating that he had not treated me well. After the lecture, as I was going away, he called me back, and asked me very mildly if I had never written, anything. I answered, I had written several things. On which he desired me to let him see one of my compositions, if I had no objection. I immediately took him my ‘Essay on Laws,’ and gave it to him. When he had read it, he asked me a few questions on the subject, which I answered very satisfactorily, I believe. Well, sir, says he, I wish you’d write some more such things as this. Why, sir, said I, I intended to write several things which I have planned, but that I could not write any of them in a week, or two or three weeks. What did you intend to write? says he. Among other things, I told him that I intended to enlarge and improve the essay he had been reading. Ay, says he, I wish you would. Well, I will do it then, sir, said I. Do so, said he; take your own time now; I shall not ask you for it; only write it as soon as you can, for I shall often be thinking of it, and very desirous of it. This he repeated once or twice. On this I wished him a good morning, and came away, very well pleased with
the reception I had met. The Greek class which I have been in this week consists of two old students,
J. Mason, and myself. I think that I translate more correctly, and much better, than any of them. The other day Mason was laughing at me while I was translating a passage, on account of my way of speaking. Says Corrie to him, Mr. Mason, you should be sure you can translate yours as well as Mr. Hazlitt does his, before you laugh at your neighbours.

“I believe I am liked very well by the students, in general. I am pretty intimate with one of them, whose name is Tonson. F. Swanwick has been hitherto in a different class; but on applying to Corrie, he has been put into the same class with me. Farewell!

“I am your affectionate son,
“W. Hazlitt.”