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Full text of "Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to William Godwin"

LETTERS 



TO 



WILLIAM GODWIN, 



VOL. II. 



LETTERS 

FROM 

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY 

TO 

WILLIAM GODWIN. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 

VOL. II. 



1891. 
London : Privately Printed. 

{Not for Sale.) 



CONTENTS. 

Vol. IL 



LETTER XVIII. 

Bishopgate. 

Wednesday, 2^1 h January, i8i6 . 3 

LETTER XIX. 

Bishopgate. 

Saturday, 28M January, 1816 . . 9 

LETTER XX. 

I, Garden Court, Temple. 

Friday, i6th February, 18 16 . . 12 

LETTER XXI. 

London. 

Saturday, 17M February, i8i6 , . 15 

LETTER XXII. 

Bishopgate. 

Sunday, 18M February, 18 16 . . 16 
VOL. H. b 



vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 
LETTER XXIII. 

Bishopgate. 

Wednesday, 21 st February, 18 1 6 . 20 

LETTER XXIV. 
Bishopgate. 
Monday, 26th February, 18 16 . . 25 

LETTER XXV. 

IT,^ Norfolk St., London. 

Wednesday, 6th March, 18 16 . . 33 

LETTER XXVI. 

13, Norfolk St., London. 

Thursday, 'jth March, 181 6 . . . 37 

LETTER XXVIl. 

London. 

Saturday, ()th March, 1816 . . 41 

LETTER XXVIII. 

13, Norfolk St., London. 

Saturday ^ i6th March, 1816 . . . 44 

LETTER XXIX. 

13, Norfolk St., London. 

Thursday, 21 st March, 18 16 . . 46 

LETTER XXX. 

26, Marchmont St., London. 

Friday, 29M March, 1816 . . . 48 



CONTENTS. 


vii 




PAGE 


LETTER XXXI. 




Dover. 




Friday, ird May, 1816 . . . 


. 5» 


LETTER XXXII. 




Evian, Savoie. 




Sunday, 2^rd Jtme, 18 16 . . 


. 57 


LETTER XXXIII. 




Geneva. 




Wednesday, I'jth July, 1816 


. 62 



LETTER XXXIV. 

5, Abbey Church Yard, Bath. 
Thursday, ^rd October, 1816 . . 65 

LETTER XXXV. 

Bath. 

Saturday, 2\th November, 1816 . . 68 

LETTER XXXVI. 

Great Marlow. 

Sunday, gth March, 18 17 . . . 71 

LETTER XXXVII. 
Great Marlow. 
Sunday, 22nd March, 181 7 . . . 73 

LETTER XXXVIII. 

Great Marlow. 

Saturday, 1st December, 18 1 7 . . 76 



viii CONTENTS. 

PACE 
LETTER XXXIX, 

Great Marlow. 

Friday, "jih December, 1817 . . . 79 

LETTER XL. 

Great Marlow. 

Tuesday, nth December, 1817 . . ZS 

LETTER XLL 

Bagni Di Lucca. 

Saturday, 2^th July, i8i8 ... 92 

LETTER XLIL 

Pisa. 

Monday, ith August, 1820 ... 97 



LETTERS 



VOL. II. 



LETTERS TO 
WILLIAM GODWIN. 

LETTER XVIII. 

BiSHOPGATE, 

/anuary 2^thy i8i6. 
[Wednesday. 1 

Sir, 

Longdill told me a week ago 
that he was then going into the country 
for ten days. Relying on your in- 
formation, however, I have written to 
him, requesting that he will immediately 
see Whitton, inform him of my dis- 
satisfaction on the subject of his delay, 
and extract some satisfactory answer. 
This he was to have done ten days ago. 
At least until the result of this mea- 
sure is known to me, I am unwilling 



4 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

to excite suspicions in Longdill that I 
am in treaty for borrowing money on 
annuity. The mode of address which 
you suggest would undoubtedly appear 
unnatural to me. I might destroy L.'s 
confidence in the regularity and pru- 
dence of my conduct at a time when 
perhaps the whole success of the affair 
with my father depends on its pre- 
servation. 

Hay ward in November was profuse 
in his professions both of willingness 
and ability to procure me money on 
annuity. If I wanted ;^i,ooo he said 
that he could readily procure the sum. 
He knew at that period the uncertainty 
of the negotiations with my father. 
Perhaps he may believe that the 
chances are now multiplied against the 
probability of its accomplishment. At 
least, it appears to me, that the 
additional security which he would 
feel from your assertions that the in- 
terest was safe, may be considered 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 5 

sufficient to overbalance these con- 
tingencies. I feel unwilling, until you 
shall have urged him on this point, 
and extorted from him a declaration 
whether in the last resort he would 
refuse to serve you by negotiating the 
loan, to accede to the doubtful and 
difficult measure of obtaining the 
letters to which I have alluded, from 
Longdill. Add to which, it is very 
doubtful if they would, when procured, 
be serviceable or satisfactory. 

A Mr. Bryan[t], a Sussex Man, 
has written to me to know whether 
I would sell the reversion of a small 
estate in that county, on terms of 5 
per cent. I have replied, that I can- 
not do so, being under engagement to 
sell the whole estate to my father ; but, 
if this engagement should be annulled, I 
should be glad to listen to his proposal. 

He writes in answer, that " he could 
find me purchasers at a fair price for 
several things." He says he dines 

VOL. II. c 



6 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

every day, during term, at Anderton's 
coffee house. Fleet Street. If you 
entertain any doubt of Hayward, per- 
haps you had better see this Bryant, or 
I will do so, or write to him as ap- 
pears good to you. But I am certainly 
anxious that you should urge Hayward 
to a decisive and immediate reply. I 
will spare no pains, or any danger 
which it is not evident ruin to incur, 
but that you shall have the money in 
March. If Hayward fails, do not fear 
an ultimate failure. I am persuaded 
that my situation is now widely dif- 
ferent, and far more commanding and 
respectable than when I with difficulty 
procured money to live. 

You seem strangely to have mis- 
understood the affair in April. Cer- 
tainly I did fix on ;^i,20o as your 
contingent from the sum then raised, 
on purpose to apply ;£"2oo to my own 
demands ; which I should have been 
unable so to apply without your 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 7 

co-operation, unless indeed instead of 
;£'i,ooo I had given you only ;^'"8oo, 
which your refusal to have co-operated 
in this manner would have compelled 
me, in self defence, however reluct- 
antly, to do. I thought you under- 
stood and acquiesced in this arrange- 
ment. There is nothing remarkable 
in this foolish mistake but the 
unskilfulness or unfaithfulness of our 
interpreters, and it is well that such 
imperfect intercourse did not, as in 
many instances it might, have pro- 
duced more serious errors. 

I should come to town willingly on 
the business of this loan, when it 
appears that my presence is required. 
If Hayward eventually refuses to ne- 
gotiate it for us, then I certainly think 
some personal discussion is needed- 
I could perhaps then make clear 
to you the reasonableness of my re- 
luctance to apply to Longdill. But 
I shall leave this subject henceforth 



8 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

entirely to your own feelings. Prob- 
ably my feelings on such an oc- 
casion would not be less distressing 
than your own. So far as those feel- 
ings are concerned, I should certainly 
reluctantly entertain the idea of such 
an interview. But I would not 
sacrifice anything essential to the 
raising of this money to exempt my- 
self from the sensations, however 
painful, which could not fail to arise on 
meeting a man, who having been once 
my friend, would receive me with cold 
looks and haughty words. 

Frances and Mrs. Godwin will 
probably be glad to hear that Mary 
has safely recovered from a very 
favourable confinement, and that her 
child is well. 

P. B. Shelley. 

Addressed outside.^ 
W. Godwin, Esq., 

41 Skinner Street, 
Snotv Hill, 
Lottdon. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XIX. 

BiSHOPGATE, 

January 28M, 1816. 
{Saiurday.'] 

Sir, 

A letter which I received from Long- 
dill by yesterday's post, decides, I fear, 
the question of applying to him for the 
letters of Whitton. I will briefly re- 
capitulate the contents. It says that in 
compliance with my requests he has 
applied to Whitton. He tells me that 
W. has by no means been idle in the 
affair. My father wishes to bring the 
matter to bear, but he judges it neces- 
sary previously to ask the Lord Chan- 
cellor's advice. This I^ongdill also 
considers essential even to my interest. 
The bill to be given in is now before 

VOL. II. D 



lo LETTERS TO GODWIN, 

counsel. Longdill's expression is, that 
it will cause considerable delay. It is 
evident now that my father's intentions 
are sincere. What time the Chancery 
affair will take we cannot know. 

This much however is certain, that 
my Father desires to settle the thing, 
however awkward and long are the 
measures he takes for that settlement. 

The arrangement in the spring could 
not be completed without a Chancery 
suit, though it is certain that there is not 
the smallest ground for a similar pro- 
ceeding in the present instance. In 
all probability it is of a much simpler 
nature. I cannot obviously now procure 
Whitton's former letters. But surely 
Hayward can substantiate if he would 
take the trouble to inquire in an under- 
hand and professional manner the facts 
which I now relate. These facts I 
imagine are sufficient to satisfy him if 
he only requires such satisfaction as he 
was contented with last autumn. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. ii 

I forgot to answer one question. 
Nash's suit is nominally instituted by 
me, but really by my father, and for 
his interests and at his expense. 

P. B. Shelley. 

Since I wrote the former page, I have 
discovered Longdill's letter, which I 
thought I had mislaid. I enclose it for 
you to read and if you please to use. 

Of course if you show it to Longdill 
you will use due caution about the last 
paragraph of it. 

[Addressed outside. 1 

W. Godwin, Esq.^ 
41, Skinner Street, 

Snow Hill, 

London. 



12 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XX. 

6, Garden Court, 

Temple, [London]. 

February i6th, 1816. 
[Friday. "l 

Sir, 

In the course of a few weeks I shall 
certainly leave the neighbourhood of 
London, and possibly even execute my 
design of settling in Italy. I have felt 
it necessary to decide on some such 
measure in consequence of an event 
which, I fear, will make even a more 
calamitous change in your prospects. 

It is the opinion of the lawyers that 
my father ought not to complete the 
intended affair with me and that he 
cannot arrange any other. If you do 
not feel it necessary to explain with me 
in person on this subject I can state the 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 13 

details in a letter. Such however is the 
bare fact. The impossibility of effect- 
ing anything by post obit, or sale of 
reversion, has been already adverted to 
by me. I am far from retracting any 
engagement made for your benefit, but 
I cannot refrain from suspecting under 
these new circumstances how far I am 
justified even by my sincere zeal for 
your interests in signing the deed which, 
Hayward informs me, is in progress. 
You will beheve that I am the more 
disinterested in what I say when I 
inform you that my own difficulties 
suspended by the intended settlement 
now come upon me with tenfold weight; 
so that I have every prospect of want- 
ing money for my domestic expenditure. 
I intended to have left town at 2 
o'clock to-morrow. I will not do so, 
if you wish to see me. In that latter 
case send a letter by a porter^ to 
Mr. Hogg's, of Garden Court, Temple, 
making your own appointment. 

VOL. II. E 



14 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

Yet I do not know that it is best for 
you to see me. On me it would inflict 
deep dejection. But I would not refuse 
anything which I can do, so that I may 
benefit a man whom, in spite of his 
wrongs to me, I respect and love. 

Besides I shall certainly not delay to 
depart from the haunts of men. Your 
interests may suffer from your own fas- 
tidiousness, they shall not be injured 
by my wayward hopes and disappoint- 
ments. 

I shall write to you by Sunday's post, 
if I receive no answer to this letter. 

Jane of course is with you. She is 
uninformed as to the latest and most 
decisive particulars relating to the over- 
throw of my hopes. 

P. B. Shelley. 
Friday night. 

[Addressed outside.l 

William Godwin, Esq., 
41, Skinner Street, 

Sncnv Hill. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXI. 

London. 
February i*jth, 1816.* 
[Saturday. ] 
Sir, 

I HASTEN to relieve your anxiety. I 
have seen Hayward and arranged with 
him to sign the deed at 12 o'clock next 
Monday week. In what I have said to 
him, as you will discover, I have taken 
every imaginable precaution that you 
should not be disappointed. 

P. B. S[helley]. 
Addressed outside."] 

William Godwin^ Esq., 

41, Skinner Street ^ 

Snow Hill. 



* This letter is endorsed (at the head) by Jane Clair- 
mont, as follows : — 

" The date of this letter is written in Godwin's hand- 
" writing, — most probably to remember by the date 
" when the deed would be signed. — CI. Clairmont." 



1 6 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXII. 

BiSHOPGATE. 

February i^th, i8i6. 
Sunday. 

Sir, 

You will have received my letter in 
answer to yours sent to Garden Court 
in the course of Saturday evening. 
This will entirely satisfy you as to my 
intentions about the deed. — I promised 
you further details by this post on the 
subject of the affair with my father. 
It is the opinion of the most eminent 
lawyers that my father cannot become 
a party to the projected arrangements 
without forfeiting the property devised 
by my grandfather's will. In con- 
sequence of this opinion, and for the 
purpose of ascertaining some other 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 17 

point not necessarily connected with 
my immediate interest, they recommend 
a suit in Chancery. They are desirous 
that their own opinion, however well 
founded, should be confronted with 
the Lord Chancellor's. It is moreover 
the duty of one of the Council, Mr. 
Butler, as trustee, to be extremely 
cautious in his conduct. Longdill en- 
tertains no doubt that the issue of this 
appeal will be unfavourable to my 
views. He considers indeed the ques- 
tion as already decided, and the pro- 
ceedings in Chancery, so far at least 
as they regard that part of the affair, 
entirely superfluous. 

I understand that the existence of 
two or three words in the will occasions 
this most unexpected change. The 
words are these — " For the time being " 
— the application of those words to 
the present case is explained to be, 
that in case my father should survive 
myself and my infant son, my younger 

VOL. II. F 



i8 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

brother, at the expiration of his 
minority, might require my father to 
fulfill those conditions of the will 
which he would incapacitate himself 
from fulfilling by cutting off the entail. 
It is altogether a most complex affair, 
the words of the will being equivocal 
to a singular degree. A new difficulty 
arises also from the import of my 
signature to the Deed of Disclaimer, 
as it is called, given in the presumption 
of the completion of this settlement. 
One thing alone is certain, that until 
my father's death I shall receive no 
portion of the estate. 

How does this information affect 
your prospects ? Does anything re- 
main to be done by me ? You have 
entire knowledge of my resources, my 
situation, and my disposition towards 
you ; what do you think I can do, or I 
ought to do, to set you free ? 

1 informed you that I should be in 
town on Monday week, at 12 o'clock. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 19 

to sign the deed at Hayward's. My 
letter of Friday night asserts that I 
should not be in town again before I 
left the neighbourhood ; but I did not 
foresee that the deed would not be 
ready at Hayward's, or that there 
would be so much difficulty and ex- 
pense in conveying it to Bishopgate. 

P. B. Shelley. 

To 
Mr. William Godwin, 
London. 



20 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXIIL 

BiSHOPGATE, 

Feh-uary list, i8i6. 
\}Vednesday.'\ 

Sir, 

I saw Turner yesterday who engaged 
to convey to yon by that night's post a 
reassurance on the points which he 
called on me to ascertain. I should 
have written to you myself if I had not 
returned too late from a long walk with 
Turner in which I endeavoured to make 
him understand as clearly as possible 
the present state of my affairs, and my 
dispositions towards you. I shall cer- 
tainly not leave this country, or even 
remove to a greater distance from the 
neighbourhood of London, until the 
unfavourable aspect assumed by my 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 21 

affairs shall appear to be unalterable ; 
or until all has been done by me which 
it is possible for me to do for the relief 
of yours. This was my intention from 
the moment that I first received an 
intimation of the change, 

I wrote to you for the purpose of 
giving you an opportunity of making my 
assistance as available to you as possible 
before I departed. 

When I wrote to you from London I 
certainly was more firmly persuaded 
than now of the inefficacy of any further 
attempt for the settlement of my affairs. 

You have suggested a view of the 
question that makes me pause. 

At all events I shall remain here or 
in the neighbourhood for the present 
and hold myself in readiness to do my 
utmost towards advancing you the 
money. You are perhaps aware that 
one of the chief motives which strongly 
urges me either to desert my native 
country, dear to me from many con- 

VOL. II. G 



22 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

siderations, or resort to its most 
distant and solitary regions, is the per- 
petual experience of neglect or enmity 
from almost every one but those who 
are supported by my resources. I shall 
cling perhaps during the infancy of my 
children to all the prepossessions at- 
tached to the country of my birth, 
hiding myself and Mary from that 
contempt which we so unjustly endure. 
I think therefore at present only of 
settling in Cumberland or Scotland. In 
the event, the evils that will flow to my 
children from our desolate and solitary 
situation here, point out an exile as the 
only resource to them against that 
injustice which we can easily despise. 
You will observe that the mere circum- 
stance of our departing to the North of 
England, and not immediately putting 
into effect our Italian scheme, it is 
strictly within the limits of the most 
formal intercourse that you should 
know. I might have misunderstood 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 25 

Turner, for I did not urge him to explain 
or literally repeat expressions : but it 
appeared to me from his conversation 
that you had communicated with him 
on the subject of our antient intimacy, 
and of the occasion of its close, in a 
manner that expressed a certain degree 
of interest in my future prospects. I 
determined on that account to present 
to you a real picture of my feelings in 
as much as they would influence my 
plan of residence. If this exposure 
should be indifferent to you, silence will 
afford an obvious protection against 
additionat mistake. 

P. B. Shelley. 

I expect anxiously the plan to which 
you alluded as to an infallible expedient 
for my father to adopt that he might 
settle with me. 

I confess my hopes on that subject 
are very faint. 

Hayward wrote to-day to say that 



24 LETTERS TO GODWIN, 

he had everything ready for Monday, 
twelve o'clock. I shall be punctual. 

Addressed out side. ^ 

W. Godwin^ Esq., 

41, Skinner Street, 

Snow Hill, 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 25 



LETTER XXIV. 

BiSHOPGATE. 

February 26th, 18 16. 

Monday night. 

I WISH to God Turner's delusion had 
assumed any other shape, or that the 
painful task of destroying its flattering 
effects was reserved for some one less 
interested in your concerns than myself. 
He has entirely misapprehended the 
whole case, but I will endeavour to 
state it clearly. 

I possessed in January 181 5 a re- 
version expectant, on the death of the 
survivor of my grandfather and father, 
approaching so nearly to the nature of 
an absolute reversion, that by a few 
ceremonies I could, on these contin- 

VOL. II. H 



26 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

gencies falling, possess myself of the fee- 
simple and alienate the whole. 

My grandfather had exerted the ut- 
most power with which the law invested 
him to prevent this ultimate alienation, 
but his power terminated in my person 
and was exercised only to the restraint 
of my father. The estate of which I 
now speak is that which is the subject 
of the settlement of 1792. 

My grandfather's will was dictated 
by the same spirit which had produced 
the settlement. He desired to perpetu- 
ate a large mass of property, he therefore 
left the moiety of about ^£"2 40,000 to 
De disposed of in the following manner. 
My father was to enjoy the interest of 
It during his life. After my father's 
death I was to enjoy the interest alone, 
in like manner, conditionally, on my 
having previously deprived myself of 
the absolute power, which I now possess, 
over the settled estates of 1792 ; and so 
accept the reversion of a life annuity of 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 27 

12,000 or 14,000 per annum in exchange 
for a reversion of landed property of 
6, 7, or 8,000 a year. All was reversion. 
I was entitled, in no view of the case, to 
any immediate advantage. 

My grandfather's will limited my 
option of accepting these conditions, 
to one year from the date of his death. 
But I did not hesitate a moment to re- 
fuse them, nor,'untill Longdill informed 
me that it was my father's desire and 
interest, that I should act as I intended 
to act, did I see any necessity of mak- 
ing a secret of my resolution. I allowed 
Longdill however to manage these 
affairs in his own way, and he agreed 
with Whitton that I should refuse to 
accept my grandfather's legacy, and 
that my father should purchase of me 
my interest in the settled estates at a 
fair price. The project of this arrange- 
ment was very satisfactory to me, as I 
saw myself about to realise the very 
scheme best suited to the uncertainty 



28 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

of my health, and the peculiarity of my 
views and situation, by the sacrifice of 
that which I never intended to accept. 

I signed the deed of disclaimer for 
the purpose of making my father certain 
of my intentions, so that our operations 
need not wait for the expiration of the 
year appointed by my grandfather's 
will. If, as Turner says, I have the 
power to stand in the same situation 
with respect to my grandfather's will 
now as on the day of his death, that 
power is entirely worthless, and must as 
you see be placed out of any considera- 
tion. 

Now lawyers say that my father dares 
not buy my interest in the settled 
estates of 1792 because such an act 
might induce a forfeiture of the ad- 
ditional income he derives from con- 
curring with the intentions of the will. 

After this clear recapitulation of facts, 
with which I had imagined you to be 
fully acquainted, I entreat you not to 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 29 

adopt Turner's delusive inference that 
because " I am ready and desirous to 
fulfill my engagements, your difficulties 
are therefore at an end." 

Your letter of this morning indeed 
throws a new light on Turner's inter- 
vention, at least as I regard it. 

The mistake, the vital mistake, he has 
made appears to me by no means con- 
sistent with the legal acuteness you 
describe him to possess. I cannot help 
thinking that you transfer your first 
appreciation of his taste and his wit to 
a subject on which the very subtlety 
essential to these qualifications leads him 
astray. Or perhaps you are right in 
this judgement, and he is not enough 
interested for you, not enough your 
friend to force his attention to the point. 
If he would think or act for your or my 
interest as for his own, then possibly 
he might deserve your opinion. 

If after this explanation you continue 
to think that his suggestions would be 

VOL. II. I 



30 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

valuable I will contrive to see him 
without delay. 

But without rejecting whatever 
Turner's kindness or experience could 
afford, are there no other means of 
arriving at the same end ? You do not 
understand the state of my affairs so 
exactly as a lawyer could explain it to 
you. You believe that I, from ignor- 
ance of law and the usages of the world, 
let pass opportunities of settling with 
my father. Cannot you explain the 
exact situation in which you stand with 
me to Sir James Mackintosh? He, I 
am informed, really desires to serve 
you, but is unable. If he knew how 
much of your future comfort depends 
on your having a true conception of the 
state of my affairs, surely he would 
with pleasure enter into such explana- 
tions with me as would make him 
master of the subject. His various life 
makes his experience far more valuable 
than that of Turner, even if you should 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 31 

judge that this latter surpassed him in 
intrinsic mental worth. 

I will not add to the length of this 
letter by explaining a circumstance of 
no real moment, but which asks a 
good many words. I shall so soon see 
either Turner or some other interlocutor 
on your part. 

I trust to your kindness that you will 
forbear showing this letter to Turner. 
I have spoken my real doubts of his 
efficiency which, should an occasion 
require, I would not think to repeat 
in his presence. But he is apt to 
take offence, and I am too generally 
hated not to feel that the smallest 
kindness from an old acquaintance is 
valuable. 

P. B. Shelley. 

Feb. I'jth. 

I open this letter to mention that 
for some days I shall be quite incapable 
of active exertion. I was seized last 
night with symtoms of irritable fever, 



32 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

and my state requires rest to prevent 
serious effects. 



Addressed otitside.'\ 

William Godwin, Esq.y 

41, Skinner Street, 

Sno-iv Hill, 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 33 



LETTER XXV. 

13, Norfolk Street, 
[London.] 
March 6th, 1816. 
{Wednesday. 1 

Sir, 

The first part of your letter alludes 
to a subject in which my feelings are 
most deeply interested, and on which 
I could wish to receive an entire 
explanation. I confess that I do not 
understand how the pecuniary engage- 
ments subsisting between us in any 
degree impose restrictions on your 
conduct towards me. They did not, 
at least to your knowledge or with your 
consent, exist at the period of my return 
from France, and yet your conduct 
towards me and your daughter was then 

VOL. II. K 



34 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

precisely such as it is at present. Per- 
haps I ought to except the tone which 
you assumed in conversation with Tur- 
ner respecting me, which for anything 
that I learn from you I know not how 
favourably he may not have perverted. 
In my judgement neither I nor your 
daughter nor her offspring ought to re- 
ceive the treatment which we encounter 
on every side. It has perpetually ap- 
peared to me to have been your especial 
duty to see that so far as mankind value 
your good opinion, we were dealt justly 
by, and that a young family innocent 
and benevolent and united should not 
be confounded with prostitutes and 
seducers. My astonishment, and I will 
confess, when I have been treated with 
most harshness and cruelty by you, my 
indignation, has been extreme, that 
knowing as you do my nature, any 
considerations should have prevailed 
on you to have been thus harsh and 
cruel. I lamented also over my ruined 



LETTERS TO GODWIN^ 35 

hopes of all that your genius once 
taught me to expect from your virtue, 
when I found that for yourself your 
family and your creditors you would 
submit to that communication with 
me, which you once rejected and ab- 
horred, and which no pity for my 
poverty or sufferings, assumed willingly 
for you, could avail to extort. Do not 
talk of forgiveness again to me, for my 
blood boils in my veins and my gall 
rises against all that bears the human 
form, when I think of what I their 
benefactor and ardent lover have en- 
dured of enmity and contempt from you 
and from all mankind. 

I cannot mix the feelings to which 
you have given birth with details in 
answer to your view of my affairs. 
I can only say that I think you are too 
sanguine, but that I will do all that I 
can, not to disappoint you. I see much 
difficulty and some danger, but I am in 
no temper to overrate my own incon- 



36 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

veniences. I shall certainly remain in 
London for some days, perhaps longer, 
as affairs appear to require. Meanwhile 
oblige me by referring to the letter in 
which I mention Bryant and enclose 
me his direction as soon as possible. 
I have left his letter at Bishopgate. I 
will take an early opportunity of reply- 
ing to your letter at length, if no other 
mode of explanation suggests itself. 
[P. B. Shelley.] 

{Addressed outside.] 

W. Godwin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Street, 

Snoxu Hill. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 37 



LETTER XXVI. 

13, Norfolk Street, 
[London.] 
March Tth, 1816. 
[Thursday.'] 

Sir, 

The hopes which I had conceived 
of receiving from you the treatment 
and consideration which I esteem to be 
justly due to me, were destroyed by 
your letter dated the 5 th. The feel- 
ings occasioned by this discovery were 
so bitter and so excruciating that I am 
resolved for the future to stifle all 
those expectations which my sanguine 
temper too readily erects on the slightest 
relaxation of the contempt and the 
neglect in the midst of which I live. 
I must appear the reverse of what I 

VOL. II. L 



38 LETTERS TO GODWIN, 

really am, haughty and hard, if I am 
not to see myself and all that I love 
trampled upon and outraged. Pardon 
me, I do entreat you, if pursued by the 
conviction, that where my true character 
is most entirely known, I there meet 
with the most systematic injustice ; I 
have expressed myself with violence, 
overlook a fault caused by your own 
equivocal politeness, and I wall offend 
no more. 

We will confine our communication 
to business. 

I have left a note at Anderton's 
coffee house appointing an interview 
with Bryant. If I have a fair offer on 
the subject of reversion, there is at 
once an end to the objections which I 
should be inclined to make to any 
other arrangement from the supposition 
of my father's setding in some manner 
on the basis of the original proposal. 

If Bryant is in earnest, I will make 
Longdill treat with him. Longdill will 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 39 

not consent to treat with him unless 
his terms approach to reasonableness. 
I do not scruple to promise you the 
advance if it can be managed thus. 

I have a vital objection to auction, 
or any enquiries among professed 
money- lenders. I should suffer more 
in my negociation with my father from 
such measures, which would probably 
be unsuccessful, than from a fair bar- 
gain which might be carried into 
effect. 

The affair with Nash has a tendency 
the opposite to that which you attribute 
to it. 

It is now in Chancery, though from 
what fund it is to be paid no one knows, 
and will infallibly be decided in my 
favour. It will be decided that he is 
to receive his capital and 5 per cent., 
and no more. This proves that the 
bond is good property, but that all 
speculations by which more than 5 per 
cent, is to be made (as no one will 



40 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

advance money withoat larger profit) 
will be annulled by the Chancellor. 

I entirely agree with you on the 
subject of raising money on annuity. 

I plainly see how necessary imme- 
diate advances are to your concerns, 
and will take care that I shall fail in 
nothing which I can do to procure 
them. 

I shall remain in town at least 
another week, that I may give every 
possible attention to this subject. My 
own concerns are decided, I fear, 
already. 

P. B. Shelley. 

[Addressed outside."] 

W. Godwin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Street, 

Snow Hill. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXVII. 

LOiNDON. 

March ^ih, i8i6. 
l^Saturday]. 

Sir, 

I have made an appointment with 
Bryant which he has not kept, probably 
because he has not called at the coffee 
house yet. I do not regret this neglect 
as I think, under the circumstances I 
am about to mention, that a negotiation 
with him would be safest postponed. 

Since Wednesday I have been daily 
expecting a message from Longdill to 
require my signature for the answer in 
Chancery. Not having heard from him 
I called this morning — the answer was 
ready. In the progress of conversation 
I asked Longdill how soon he thought 

VOL. II. M 



42 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

the question would be decided. He 
replied coldly that he supposed in a 
month or two, that he scarcely knew 
the mode which Whitton designed to 
adopt, but that it ought to be very in- 
different to me, since it would certainly 
be decided that we must not touch the 
estates. It happened at this period of 
the conversation that Whitton came in. 
His manner and tone on the subject 
were the very reverse of Longdill's. He 
blamed Longdill for having neglected 
to send for me to sign the answer 
yesterday, which delay he observed 
would prevent our cause from being 
heard on Wednesday, the day which he 
had provided. He seemed to regret 
that one day had been lost, he said that 
the production of the infant had already 
procrastinated the proceedings much to 
the displeasure of Sir Timothy. He 
expressed on my father's account the 
greatest anxiety for the approaching 
decision, and that in a manner that 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 43 

makes me hope that it is possible that 
Mr. Hart and Butler and Sir T. Romilly 
should be in the wroTig. Whitton ex- 
presses much confidence in the expec- 
tation that this decision will enable me 
and my father to divide the whole 
estates. — It is advisable under these 
circumstances to suspend all other 
negotiations. The cause must be heard 
some day next week. 

[P. B. Shelley.] 

[Addressed outside.'] 

W. Godtvin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Street. 
Snow Hill. 



44 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXVIII. 

13, Norfolk Street, 

London, 

March i6th, 18 16, 

[Saturday.'] 

Sir, 

Turner has been with you, and he 
will have informed you that I have 
been active in the endeavour to raise 
money. I have seen Dawe, and at- 
tempted by every possible inducement 
to urge him to make the advance. He 
has not refused and even has promised 
that if he can procure any money he 
would willingpy] lend it. 

I have seen Bryant also, but nothing 
can be done with him until the question 
between my father and myself is dis- 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 45 

posed of. This cause is to come on 
and to receive judgement next Tues- 
day. 

[P. B. Shelley.] 

[Addressed outside.] 

W. Godwin^ Esq. 

41, Skinner Street. 



VOL. II. 



46 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXIX. 

13. Norfolk Street, 

London. 

March 21 si, 18 16. 

[TAursday.] 

Sir, 

I have not been unemployed in at- 
tempting to raise money, though I fear 
ineffectually. I have seen Bryant 
twice, and I fear that nothing favour- 
able will result from my negotiation 
with him ; he has promised however to 
write if he should be able to do any- 
thing. My principal hope is Dawe, 
from whom I think money might be 
obtained if Turner would undertake to 
persuade him. Can you suggest any 
other means than those in which I have 
engaged ? 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 47 

The decision in Chancery is post- 
poned until to morrow (Thursday). I 
shall inform you of the event im- 
mediately. 

P. B. Shelley. 

[Addressed outside. 1 
W, Godwin^ Esq., 

41 Skinner St. J 

Snow Bill. 



48 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXX. 

[26,] Marchmont Street, 

London. 

March 2qth, 1816. 

[Friday. '\ 

Sir, 

I had a long and most painful con- 
versation with Turner last night on the 
subject of your pecuniary distress. — I 
am not, as he I fear leaves you to infer, 
unwilling to do my utmost, nor does my 
disposition in the least depend on the 
question of your demonstrating personal 
kindness to myself and Mary. — I see 
that if anything is to be done, it must 
be done instantly. You know my 
habitual, my constitutional inability to 
deal with monied men. I have no 
friend who will supply my deficien- 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 49 

cies : — none who interest themselves in 
my own much less in your concerns 
which I have, as much as one man can 
make those of another, made my own. 
Can you not yourself see these money- 
lenders? Hayward's partner was in 
Chancery yesterday when he heard my 
title to the reversion admitted to be 
excellent, and my powers over that 
which I pretend to, unimpeached. — 
Would H [ay ward] advance money on 
post obit bond or deferred annuity? 
Can you not see him ? 

I shall be absent from Town to-day, 
to-morrow, and part of the following 
day. Fanny can communicate, should 
anything important occur, with Mary 
on this subject. Her sentiments in all 
respects coincide with mine, her interest 
is perhaps greater ; her judgement, from 
what she knows of our situation, of what 
ought or can be done, is probably more 
calm and firm. — 

Chancery, as you have heard, has 

VOL. II. o 



50 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

given a doubtful and hesitating opinion. 
Whatever is to be done for me will be 
reluctantly done. 

P. B. Shelley. 

[Addressed on f side.] 

W. Godwin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Street, 
Snow Hill. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, 51 



LETTER XXXI. 

Dover. 

May 2,rdy 181 6. 

{Friday. '\ 

Sir, 

No doubt you are anxious to hear 
the state of my concerns. I wish that 
it were in my power to give you a more 
favourable view of them than such as 
I am compelled to present. The 
limited condition of my fortune is re- 
gretted by me, as I imagine you will 
know, because among other designs of 
a similar nature, I cannot at once put 
you in possession of all that would be 
sufficient for the comfort and indepen- 
dence which it is so unjust that you 
should not have already received from 
society. 



52 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

Chancery has decided that my father 
may not touch the estates. It has de- 
cided also that all the timber, worth it 
is said, ;£"6o,ooo, must be cut and sold, 
and the money paid into court to abide 
whatever equities may hereafter arise. 
This you already know from Fanny. 

All this reduces me very nearly to the 
situation I described to you in March 
so far as relates to your share in the 
question. I shall receive nothing from 
my father except in the way of charity. 
Post obit concerns are very doubtful, 
and annuity transactions are confined 
within an obvious and very narrow 
limit. 

My father is to advance me a sum to 
meet, as I have alleged, engagements 
contracted during the dependence of 
the late negociation. This sum is ex- 
tremely small, and it is swallowed up, 
almost, in such of my debts and the 
liquidation of such securities as I have 
been compelled to state in order to 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 53 

obtain the money at all. A few hun- 
dred pounds will remain ; you shall 
have jQz^o from this source in the 
course of the summer. I am to give 
a post obit security for the sum, and 
the affair at present stands that the 
deeds are to be drawn in the course of 
six weeks or two months, and that 1 am 
to return for their signature and to re- 
ceive the money. There can be no 
doubt that, if my application in other 
quarters should not be discovered by 
my father, the money will be in readi- 
ness for you by the time that Kingdom's 
discounts recur. 

I am afraid nothing can be done 
with Bryant. He promised to lend me 
;;^5oo on my mere bond) of course he 
failed, and this failure presents no good 
augury of his future performances. 
Still the negociation is open and I can- 
not but think that the only or at least 
the best chance for success would be 
your interference. Perhaps you would 

VOL. II. p 



54 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

dislike to be mistaken for my personal 
friend, which it would be necessary you 
should appear provided you acquiesce 
in this suggestion. I am confident that 
it would be a most favourable circum- 
stance. It is necessary, I must re- 
mark, that secrecy should at present 
be observed. 

Hay ward has also an affair in hand. 
He says he thinks he can get me ;£^3oo 
on post obit. 

Neither Bryant nor Hayward know 
that I have left England, and as I must 
in all probability, nay certainty, return 
in a few weeks to sign the deeds if the 
people should agree, or at least to get 
the money from my father, I thought it 
might relax their exertions to know 
that I was abroad. I informed them 
that I was gone for a fortnight or three 
weeks into the country. I have not 
even disengaged my lodgings in March- 
mont-street. 

The motives which determined me 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 55 

to leave England and which I stated to 
you in a former letter, have continued 
since that period to press on me with 
accumulated force. 

Continually detained in a situation 
where what I esteem a prejudice does 
not permit me to live on equal terms 
with my fellow-beings, I resolved to 
commit myself by a decided step, 
Therefore I take Mary to Geneva, 
where I shall devise some plan of 
settlement, and only leave her to return 
to London and exclusively devote my- 
self to business. 

I leave England, I know not, per- 
haps for ever. I return, alone, to see 
no friend, to do no office of friendship, 
to engage in nothing that can soothe 
the sentiments of regret, almost like 
remorse, which, under such circum- 
stances, every one feels who quits his 
native land. I respect you, I think 
well of you, better perhaps than of any 
other person whom England contains. 



56 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

You were the philosopher who first 
awakened, and who still as a philo- 
sopher to a very great degree regulates, 
my understanding. It is unfortunate 
for me that the part of your character 
which is least excellent should have 
been met by convictions of what was 
right to do. But I have been too 
indignant ; I have been unjust to you ; 
forgive me ; burn those letters which 
contain the records of my violence, 
and believe that however what you 
erroneously call fame and honour 
separate us, I shall always feel towards 
you as the most affectionate of friends. 
P. B. Shelley. 

Address — Poste Restante^ Geneva. 

I have written in gi-eat haste ex- 
pecting every moment to hear that the 
Pacquet sails. 

[Addressed outside. ] 

— Godwin^ Esq.^ 

41, Skiimer Street, 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWLV. S7 



LETTER XXXII. 

EviAN, Savoie. 

yune 2Srd, i8l6. 
[Sundajy.] 

Sir, 

Your letter reached me the moment 
before I got off on a little tour on tlie 
borders of this lake. I write this reply 
from the first hot town I arrive at. 

You know that we are not on those 
intimate terms as to permit that I should 
have minutely explained to you the 
motives which determined my departure, 
or that if explained you would have 
judged them with the judgement of a 
friend. I can easily imagine that you 
were disgusted by it. But I have ever 
been most unwillingly the cause of 

VOL. II. Q 



58 LETTERS TO GODWIN, 

disquiet to you, meaning you all possible 
good. 

I entirely approve of your seeing 
Bryant, and I think if no unappreciated 
circumstance renders the farm in 
question more valuable than he states, 
that the terms his client offers are un- 
usually favourable. But I think, if you 
undertake the business, you ought to 
ascertain this. The property need not 
actually be valued, as the expense of 
valuation is proportionally immense, 
but a clearer conception of its value 
than the purchaser's assertion or even 
the rental affords might, I should con- 
ceive, be obtained by one so clear-sighted 
and experienced in these affairs as 
yourself. But perhaps I am unjust to 
you to suppose that you would not in 
all these respects consider my property 
as your own. 

There is a copy of the settlement, as 
I imagine, at Jew King's, which he 
said he would sell for ten pounds. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 59 

Enclosed is a note which, as probably 
it is inconvenient to you to pay this 
sum, directs my bankers to give as 
much to Mr. Martin. I have put this 
name supposing that you would not like 
your own to be stated. 

I dare say that you can get the settle- 
ment for five pounds, if, as I strongly 
believe, it is yet in King's possession. 
If it is not, I can think of no other 
resource than Longdill, from whom I 
conceive that a copy might be obtained 
on the ground of your having on a 
former occasion lent me a copy and my 
not having returned it, and his having 
collected all the copies belonging to me 
and the person to whom this copy 
belongs having a right to it. You 
remember that you borrowed what I 
now speak of from a law student, that 
you lent it to me, and that it never was 
returned. In the present state of the 
negociation with Bryant the utmost care 
must be taken that no circumstance 



60 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

relating to it transpires. I hope that 
you were impressed with the necessity 
of secrecy on this point Nothing but 
my persuation that you will act as if you 
were, engages my consent to the 
negotiation. 

May I request if you obtain the settle- 
ment that you will cause a copy to be 
made and keep it for me. 

The style of this letter I fear will 
appear to you unusual. The truth is 
that I feel the unbounded difficulty of 
making myself understood on the com- 
monest topic, and I am obliged to adopt 
for that purpose a cold and stiff set of 
phrases. No person can feel deeper 
interest for another, or venerate their 
character and talents more sincerely, or 
regret more incessantly their own im- 
potent loneliness, than I for you and 
yours. 

Remember me kindly to Fanny, both 
for her own and for her sister's sake. 
P. B. Shelley. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 6i 

Address still Geneva. I shall have 
returned in a few days from this date. 

[Addressed outside. ] 

William Godzvin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Sti'eet, 

Snow Hillf 

London. 
Angleterre. 



VOL. II. 



62 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXXIII. 

Geneva. 

July \*jth, 1816. 

\Wednesday.'\ 

Sir, 

I write by this post to Mr. Hume, 
giving the authority which you request. 
Before this letter arrives you will how- 
ever have received another from me 
affording a solution of the questions 
contained in your last, and rendering 
that request superfluous. The delay 
which has occurred in writing to Mr. 
Hume and to you arose simply from 
my expecting by every post an ac- 
knowledgment of the letters to which I 
allude. I need not again assert that 
I think Mr. Turner neither a good man 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 63 

nor a good judge of men. He acted 
in your affairs with duplicity, and ac- 
cused me indirectly of the dupHcity 
which he was conscious attached to his 
own conduct. 

Mr. Turner was in the instance which 
you state, and will be in every instance, 
deceived in his judgement of me, for no 
other reason than because he suspects 
me to be like himself. 

I recommend to you caution in ascer- 
taining the value of the estates before 
you allow the deeds to be drawn, as, of 
course, although the business is nomin- 
ally confided to Mr. Hume, you are 
really the agent. 

I suppose it will be necessary to dis^ 
patch the deeds hither for signature ; a 
power of attorney, I fear, would not 
suffice. However that may be, let us 
choose first the easiest and the quickest, 
next, the securest plan. I shall not 
remain longer at Geneva than aftairs 
require, and hope to have the earliest 



64 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

and minutest intelligence from you on 
a question so important to us both. 
Percy B. Shelley. 

[Addressed outside.'\ 

W. Godwin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Street, 

Snow Hill, 

London, 
Angleterre, 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 65 



LETTER X X X I \'. 

5, Abbey Church Yard, 
Bath. 
October yd, 1816. 
{Thursday. \ 
Sir, 

I am exceedingly sorry to disappoint 
you again. I cannot send you ;£'3oo 
because I have not ;£3oo to send. I 
enclose within a few pounds, the wreck 
of my late negociation with my father. 

In truth, I see no hope of my attaining 
speedily to such a situation of affairs as 
should enable me to discharge my 
engagements towards you. My father's 
main design, in all the transactions 
which I have had with him, has gone 
to tie me up from all such irregular 
applications of my fortune. In this he 

VOL. II. s 



66 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

might have failed had he not been 
seconded by Longdill, and between 
them both I have been encompassed 
with such toils as were impossible to be 
evaded. When I look back I do not 
see what else I could have done than 
submit. What is called firmness would 
have, I sincerely believe, left me in total 
poverty. 

In the present instance I expected 
to have saved 5 or ;£^6oo ; 300 of which, 
as I informed you, were devoted to you. 
I have saved only 248, my father having 
made an indispensable condition that 
all my debts should be paid. 

I do not think that anything can be 
done with Bryant. Turner, had he 
chosen, might have managed the affair 
with Dawe. That nothing is more 
evident than that this person has some 
malignant passions which he seeks to 
gratify at my expense and at yours — 
I do not indeed know what can be 
done, except through private confidence. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 67 

Shall I conclude this unwelcome letter 
by assuring you of the continuance of 
those dispositions concerning your 
welfare which I have so often expressed ? 
Shall I say that I am ready to co- 
operate in whatever plan may be devised 
for your benefit ? 

P. B. Shelley. 

\^Addr€ssed outside. ] 

William Godzvin, Esq., 

41, Skinner Street ^ 
Snow Hill, 

London. 



\ 



68 LETTERS TO GODWIN, 



LETTER XXXV. 

[5, Abbey Church Yard,] 

Bath. 

November 2\th, 1816. 

{Saturday. '\ 

Sir, 

I lament exceedingly that you sup- 
pose it possible, or even esteem it right, 
that I should submit to such a proposal 
as Dawe's. I lament that you could 
even permit me to accede to such an 
imposture. You will therefore be dis- 
appointed at my refusal — you will think 
me insensible, unjust, insincere. I 
regret that I must inspire you with such 
feelings, but I am persuaded that it is 
my duty not to submit to terms of so 
exorbitant a nature. 

The conclusion of your letter adds 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 69 

to the reluctance of my refusal, but it 
does not render it the less firm. 

I enclose a letter to Hume written 
principally for the purpose of being 
shown to Dawe. Possibly he will 
change his tone when he finds his 
tricks ineffectual. For nothing is more 
evident than that all he says are the 
excuses and subterfuges of a money 
broker. 

You will observe from the rough 
calculation in my letter to H. that he 
asks very nearly 25 per cent., and that 
I should throw away not ;^iooo, but 
;^2,8oo. 

The principles which pronounce on 
the injustice of my hereditary rights, are 
such, as rightly Hmited and understood, 
are far dearer to me than life. 

But these principles teach me to set 
a high value on the power with which 
their violation may one day intrust me. 
They instruct me to be more, not less, 
cautious in alienating it. 

VOL. II. T 



70 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

Indeed it would be no inconsiderable 
evil if such a remorseless, mean-spirited 
wretch as Dawe were to be presented 
with ;£'2,8oo ! 

My refusal is therefore firm. — But 
depend on it that what could be done in 
1 8 14 could be done, and that on even 
better terms, now. Do not despair. 
Even Dawe may retract and relent, or 
some one be found less exorbitant. I 
applied about a fortnight since to a 
quarter from which I had formerly ob- 
tained a supply, but have not received 
an answer. 

The letters have arrived so late to- 
day, that I am obliged to write in haste 
if I would reply by return of post. 

[P. B. Shelley.] 

[Addressed ouiside.~[ 

W. Godwin^ Esq., 

41, Skinner Streety 
Sno7v Hill, 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXXVI. 

[Great Marlow.] 

March ^th, 1817. 
[Sunday.'] 

My dear Godwin, 

I wish you knew me better than to 
be vexed or disappointed at anything I 
do. Either circumstances of petty 
difficulty and embarrassment find some 
peculiar attraction in me, or I have a 
fainter power of repulsion with regard 
to them. Certain it is that nothing 
gives me serener and more pure 
pleasure than your society, and that if 
in breaking an engagement with you I 
have forced an exercise of your philo- 
sophy upon you, I have in my own 
person incurred a penalty which mine 
has not yet taught me to alleviate. 



72 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

We are immersed in all kind of con- 
fusion here. Mary said you meant to 
come hither soon enough to see the 
leaves come out. Which leaves did 
you mean, for the wild-briar buds are 
already unfolded? And what of 
Mandeville, and how will he bear to be 
transplanted here? All my people, 
little Willy not excepted, desire their 
kindest love to you. I beg to unite in 
kind remembrances to Mrs. Godwin, 
whose health is I hope improved. 

Yours, 

P. B. Shelley. 

To 

Mr. William Godwin, 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 73 



LETTER XXXVII. 

[Great Marlow.] 

March 22nd, 18 17. 
[Sunday. '\ 

My dear Godwin, 

Marshall's proposal is one in which, 
however reluctantly, I must refuse to 
engage * It is that I should grant bills 
to the amount of his debts, which are 
to expire in thirty months. This is a 
situation in which it might become me 
to place myself for the sake of some 
very dear friend, or some person who 
might have an irresistible public claim, 
but which, if it were only in the pos- 
sible arrival of such emergencies, I feel 
that with respect to Marshall I am 

* Godwin's old friend and companion, James Mar- 
shall, on whose behalf in 1816 Godwin had drawn up 
an appeal for assistance to his friends. 

VOL. II. U 



74 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

bound to avoid. Do not infer that I 
deny him to have just claims on my 
assistance, which, if I were in posses- 
sion of my paternal estate, I should 
hasten to fulfil. 

It was spring when I wrote to you, 
and winter when your answer arrived. 
But the frost is very transitory ; every 
bud is ready to burst into leaf. It is a 
nice distinction you make between the 
development and the complete expan- 
sion of the leaves. The oak and the 
chesnut, the latest and the earliest 
parents of foliage, would afford you a 
still subtler subdivision, which would 
enable you to defer the visit, from 
which we expect so much delight, for 
six weeks. I hope we shall really see 
you before that time, and that you will 
allow the chesnut, or any other impar- 
tial tree, as he stands in the foreground, 
to be considered as a virtual represen- 
tation of the rest. 

Will is quite well, and very beautiful. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 75 

Mary unites with me in presenting her 
kind remembrances to Mrs. Godwin; 
and begs most affectionate love to you. 
Yours, 

P. B. Shelley. 

Have you read Meltncourt? It 
would entertain you. Will you be 
kind enough to pay Newbery, the 
newsman, for me? I enclose the 
cheque. 

To 

Mr. William Godwin, 

London.' 



76 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XXXVIII. 

Great Marlow. 

December isi, 1817. 
[Safurday.] 

My dear Godwin, 

Mandeville has arrived this evening. 
Mary is now reading it ; and I am like 
a man on the brink of a precipice, or 
a ship whose sails are all to wind for 
the storm. What do you mean by 
saying that you shall be in a state of 
unusual disquiet for the next two 
weeks ? Is it money or literary affairs ? 
I am extremely sorry to hear that Ireson 
has put you off. I am to the last de- 
gree serious and earnest in the affair, 
and I can place no trust but in 
Evans. I have written to Longdill as 
enclosed. My health has suffered 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 77 

somewhat of a relapse since I saw you, 
attended with pulmonary symptoms. 
I do not found much hope on physi- 
cians; their judgments are all dis- 
similar, and their prescriptions alike 
ineffectual. I shall, at all events, quit 
this damp situation as soon as an 
opportunity offers, and I am strongly 
impelled to doubt whether Italy might 
not decide in my frame the contest 
between disease and youth in favour 
of life. The precariousness arising 
out of these considerations makes me 
earnest that something should be done, 
and speedily, with Evans. I shall 
then be free, whatever I ought to do. 
Until then I consider myself bound to 
you. Adieu. 

Most affectionately yours, 

P. B. S[helley.] 

To 
Mr. William Godwin^ 

London, 
VOL. II. X 



7d> LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

My best respects to Mrs. Godwin. 
Does she think of paying us a visit ? 

Clare bids me say that the enclosed 
thing is a measure, and that she sends 
her love to her mother. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 79 



LETTER XXXIX. 

Marlow. 

December ith^ 1817. 
^Friday.'l 

My dear Godwin, 

To begin with the subject of most 
immediate interest : close with Richard- 
son ; and when I say this, what relief 
should I not feel from a thousand 
distressing emotions, if I could believe 
that he was in earnest in his offer ! I 
have not heard from Longdill, though 
I wish earnestly for information. 

My health has been materially worse. 
My feelings at intervals are of a deadly 
and torpid kind, or awakened to a 
state of such unnatural and keen 
excitement that, only to instance the 
organ of sight, I find the very blades of 



8o LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

grass and the boughs of distant trees 
present themselves to me with micro- 
scopical distinctness. Towards evening 
I sink into a state of lethargy and in- 
animation, and often remain for hours 
on the sofa, between sleep and waking, 
a prey to the most painful irritability of 
thought. Such, with little intermission, 
is my condition. The hours devoted 
to study are selected with vigilant 
caution from among these periods of 
endurance. It is not for this that I 
think of travelling to Italy, even if I 
knew that Italy would relieve me. But 
I have experienced a decisive pulmonary 
attack; and although at present it 
has passed away without any very 
considerable vestige of its existence, 
yet this symptom sufficiently shows the 
true nature of my disease to be con- 
sumption. It is to my advantage that 
this malady is in its nature slow, and, 
if one is sufficiently alive to its advances, 
is susceptible of cure from a warm 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 8r 

climate. In the event of its assuming 
any decided shape, it would be my 
duty to go to Italy without delay ; and 
it is only when that measure becomes 
an indispensable duty that, contrary to 
both Mary's feelings and to mine, as 
they regard you, I shall go to Italy. I 
need not remind you (besides the mere 
pain endured by the survivors) of the 
train of evil consequences which my 
death would .cause to ensue. I am 
thus circumstantial and explicit, because 
you seem to have misunderstood me. 
It is not health, but life, that I should 
seek in Italy ; and that, not for my own 
sake— I feel that I am capable of 
trampling on all such weakness — but 
for the sake of those to whom my life 
may be a source of happiness, utility, 
security, and honour, and to some of 
whom my death might be all that is the 
reverse. 

I ought to say I cannot persevere in 
the meat diet. What you say of 

VOL. II. Y 



82 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

Malthus fills me, as far as my intellect 
is concerned, with life and strength. I 
believe that I have a most anxious 
desire that the time should quickly 
come that, even so far as you are 
personally concerned, you should be 
tranquil and independent. But when 
I consider the intellectual lustre with 
which you clothe this world, and how 
much the last generation of mankind 
may be benefited by that light flowing 
forth without the intervention of one 
shadow, I am elevated above all 
thoughts which tend to you or myself 
as an individual, and become, by 
sympathy, part of those distant and 
innumerable minds to whom your 
writings must be present. 

I meant to have written to you about 
Mandeville^ solely ; but I was so irritable 
and weak that I could not write, 
although I thought I had much to say. 
I have read Mandeville^ but I must read 
it again soon, for the interest is of that 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 83 

irresistible and overwhelming kind, 
that the mind in its influence is like a 
cloud borne on by an impetuous wind — 
like one breathlessly carried forward, 
who has no time to pause, or observe 
the causes of his career. I think the 
power of Mandeville is inferior to 
nothing you have done ; and, were it 
not for the character of Falkland, no 
instance in which you have exerted that 
power of creation which you possess 
beyond all contemporary writers, might 
compare with it. Falkland is still 
alone ; power is, in Falkland, not, as in 
Mandeville^ tumult hurried onward by 
the tempest, but tranquillity standing 
unshaken amid its fiercest rage. But 
Caleb Williams never shakes the deepest 
soul like Mandeville. It must be said 
of the latter, you rule with a rod of 
iron. The picture is never bright ; and 
we wonder whence you drew the dark- 
ness with which its shades are deepened, 
until the epithet of tenfold might 



84 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

almost cease to be a metaphor. The 
noun smorfia,* touches some cord 
within us with such a cold and jarring 
power that I started, and for some time 
could scarce believe but that I was 
Mandeville, and that this hideous grin 
was stamped upon my own face. In 
style and strength of expression, 
Mandeville is wonderfully great, and the 
energy and the sweetness of the senti- 
ments scarcely to be equalled. Clifford's 
character, as mere beauty, is a divine 
and soothing contrast; and I do not 
think — if, perhaps, I except (and I 
know not if I ought to do so) the speech 
of Agathon in the Symposium of Plato — 
that there ever was produced a moral 
discourse more characteristic of all that 
is admirable and lovely in human 
nature — more lovely and admirable in 
itself — than that of Henrietta to Man- 
deville, as he is recovering from 
madness. Shall I say that, when I 

* An Italian word, signifying ''grimace." 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 85 

discovered that she was pleading all 
this time sweetly for her lover, and 
when at last she weakly abandoned 
poor Mandeville, I felt an involuntary 
and, perhaps, an unreasonable pang ? 
Adieu ! 

Always most affectionately yours, 

P. B. Shelley. 
To 
Mr. William Godwin, 

London. 



VOL. II. 



86 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XL. 

Great Mar low. 

December nth, 1817. 
{luesday.^ 

My Dear Godwin, 

If I had believed it possible you 
should send any part of my letter to the 
Chronicle I should have expressed more 
fully my sentiments of Mandeville and 
of the author ; as it is, I cannot but be 
glad that you should think any opinion 
of mine relating to your book worthy 
of being presented to the public. The 
effect of your favourable consideration 
of my powers, as they relate to the 
judgment of the degree and kind of 
approbation due to the intellectual 
executions of others, has emboldened 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 87 

me to write, not a volume, but a more 
copious statement of my feelings as 
they were excited by Ma?tdeville. This 
I have sent to tht Examiner. If Hunt 
does not insert it, I will send it to you 
for your own reading, though it was so 
written as to be more interesting to the 
public than to yourself. 

I have read and considered all that 
you say about my general powers, and 
the particular instance of the poem in 
which I have attempted to develop 
them. Nothing can be more satisfactory 
to me than the interest which your 
admonitions express ; but I think you 
are mistaken in some points in regard 
to the peculiar nature of my powers, 
whatever be their amount. I listened 
with deference and self-suspicion to 
your censures of Laon and Cythna, 
but the productions of mine which you 
commend hold a very low place in my 
own esteem, and this reassured me in 
some degree at least. The poem was 



88 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

produced by a series of thoughts which 
filled my mind with unbounded and 
sustained enthusiasm. I felt the pre- 
cariousness of my life, and I resolved 
in this book to leave some records of 
myself. Much of what the volume 
contains was written with the same 
feeling — as real though not so prophetic 
— as the communications of a dying 
man. I never presumed indeed to 
consider it anything approaching to 
faultless, but when I considered con- 
temporary productions of the same 
apparent pretensions, I will own that I 
was filled with confidence. I felt that 
it was in many respects a genuine 
picture of my own mind. I felt that 
the sentiments were true, not assumed. 
And in this have I long believed that 
my power consists — in sympathy, and 
that part of the imagination which 
relates to sympathy and contemplation. 
I am formed, if for anything not in 
common with the herd of mankind, to 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 89 

apprehend minute and remote distinc- 
tions of feeling, whether relative to 
external nature or the living beings 
which surround us, and to communicate 
the conceptions which result from 
considering either the moral or the 
material universe as a whole. Of 
course I believe these faculties, which 
perhaps comprehend all that is sublime 
in man, to exist very imperfectly in my 
own mind, But when you advert to 
my Chancery paper (a cold, forced, 
unimpassioned insignificant piece of 
cramped and cautious argument) and 
to the little scrap about Mandeville^ 
which expressed my feelings indeed, 
but cost scarcely two minutes' thought 
to express, as specimens of my powers 
more favourable than that which grew, 
as it were, from the " agony and bloody 
sweat " of intellectual travail, surely I 
must feel that in some manner either 
1 am mistaken in believing that I have 

VOL. II. A A 



90 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

any talent at all, or you in the selection 
of the specimens of it. Yet, after all, 
I cannot but be conscious, in much of 
what I write, of an absence of that 
tranquility which is the attribute and 
accompaniment of power. This feeling 
alone would make your most kind and 
wise admonitions on the subject of 
the economy of intellectual force valu- 
able to me ; and if I live, or if I see 
any trust in coming years, doubt not 
that I shall do something, whatever 
it may be, which a serious and earnest 
estimate of ray powers will suggest 
to me, and which will be in every 
respect accommodated to their utmost 
limits. 

This dry and frosty weather fills me 
with health and spirits ; I wish I could 
believe that it would last. Shall we 
now see you soon ? Why could you not 
for a day or two at least leave town ? 
Mrs. Godwin, too; how is she? and 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 91 

does she not mean to take embargo off 
her own person ? 

Mary unites with me in best love. 
My dear Godwin, 

Most affectionately yours, 

P. B. S. 
To 
Mr. William Godwin^ 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 



LETTER XLI. 

Bagni di Lucca. 

Jtdy 2Sth, 1818. 
{Saturday. "[ 

My Dear Godwin, 

We have, as yet, seen nothing of 
Italy which marks it to us as the habi- 
tation of departed greatness. The 
serene sky, the magnificent scenery, 
the dehghtful productions of the 
chmate, are known to us, indeed, as 
the same with those which the ancients 
enjoyed. But Rome and Naples — 
even Florence, — are yet to see ; and, 
if we were to write you at present a 
history of our impressions, it would 
give you no idea that we lived in 
Italy. 

I am exceedingly delighted with the 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 93 

plan you propose of a book, illustrating 
the character of our calumniated Re- 
publicans. It is precisely the subject 
for Mary ; and I imagine that, but for 
the fear of being excited to refer to 
books not within her reach, she would 
attempt to begin it here, and order the 
works you notice. I am unfortunately 
little skilled in English history, and the 
interest which it excites in me is so 
feeble, that I find it a duty to attain 
merely to that general knowledge of it 
which is indispensable. 

Mary has just finished Ariosto with 
me, and, indeed, has attained a very 
competent knowledge of Italian. She 
is now reading Livy. I have been 
constantly occupied in literature, but 
have written little — except some trans 
lations from Plato ; in which I exer- 
cised myself, in the despair of pro- 
ducing anything original. The Sym- 
posium of Plato seems to me one 
of the most valuable pieces of all 

VOL. II. B B 



94 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

antiquity ; whether we consider the 
intrinsic merit of the composition, or 
the light which it throws on the inmost 
state of manners and opinions among 
the ancient Greeks. I have occupied 
myself in translating this, and it has 
excited me to attempt an Essay upon 
the cause of some differences in senti- 
ment between the Ancients and 
Moderns, with respect to the subject 
of the dialogue. 

Two things give us pleasure in your 
last letters. The resumption of 
Malthus, * and the favourable turn of 
the general election. If Ministers do 
not find some means, totally inconceiv- 
able to me, of plunging the nation in 
war, do you imagine that they can sub- 
sist ? Peace is all that a country, in 
the present state of England, seems to 
require to afford it tranquillity and 
leisure for attempting some remedy, 

* I.e., of Godwin's Answer to Malthus on popula- 
tion. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 95 

not to the universal evils of all consti- 
tuted society, but to the peculiar 
system of misrule under which those 
evils have been exasperated now. I 
wish that I had health or spirits that 
would enable me to enter into public 
affairs, or that I could find words to 
express all that I feel and know. 

The modern Italians seem a miser- 
able people, without sensibility, or 
imagination, or understanding. Their 
outside is polished, and an intercourse 
with them seems to proceed with much 
facility, though it ends in nothing, 
and produces nothing. The women 
are particularly empty, and, though 
possessed of the same kind of super, 
ficial grace, are devoid of every culti- 
vation and refinement. They have a 
ball at the Casino here every Sunday, 
which we attend— but neither Mary 
nor Claire dance. I do not know 
whether they refrain from philosophy 
or protestantism. 



96 LETTERS TO GODWhW 

I hear that poor Mary's book [Frank- 
enstein] is attacked most violently in the 
Quarterly Review. We have heard 
some praise of it ; and, among others, 
an article of Walter Scott's in Black- 
wood^ s Magazine. 

If you should have anything to send 
us — and, I assure you, anything re- 
lating to England is interesting to us — 
commit it to the care of Oilier the 
bookseller, or P[eacock] ; they send me 
a parcel every quarter. 

My health is, I think, better, and, I 
imagine, continues to improve ; but I 
still have busy thoughts and dispiriting 
cares, which I would shake off — and it 

is now summer. A thousand good 

wishes to yourself and your under- 
takings. 

Ever most affectionately yours, 

P. B. S[helley]. 

To 
Mr. William Godwin, 

London. 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 97 



LETTER XLIL 

Pisa. 

August -jtk^ 1820. 

\Monday.\ 

Sir, 

The purport of this letter is to 
inform you that I cannot comply with 
the request contained in yours dated 
July 2ist, and that you ought not to 
depend upon me for any further pecu- 
niary assistance at the present moment. 
— My affairs are in a state of the most 
complicated embarassment : added to 
which I am surrounded by circum- 
stances in which any diminution of my 
very limited resources might involve 
me in personal peril. I fear that you 
and I are not on such terms as to 
justify me in exposing to you the actual 
state of my delicate and emergent 
situation which the most sacred con- 

VOL. II. c c 



98 LETTERS TO GODWIN, 

siderations imperiously require me to 
conceal from Mary ; be it sufficient, 
without entering into the subject now 
present to my mind, to state the ques- 
tion in such a manner that any entire 
stranger who should chance to peruse 
this letter might without reference to 
these circumstances perceive that I am 
justified in withholding my assent to 
your request. I cannot comply, but it 
will be an additional consolation to me 
to have shown that I ought not. 

I have given you within a {q\^ years 
the amount of a considerable fortune, 
and have destituted myself, for the 
purpose of realising it, of nearly four 
times the amount. Except for the 
good will which this transaction seems 
to have produced between you and me, 
this money, for any advantage it ever 
conferred on you, might as well have 
been thrown into the sea. Had I kept in 
my own hands this j^ 4,000 or ^5,000 
and administered it in trust for your 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 99 

permanent advantage, I should have 
been indeed your benefactor. The 
error however was greater in the man 
of mature age, extensive experience, and 
penetrating intellect, than in the crude 
and impetuous boy. Such an error is 
seldom committed twice. 

You tell me that I promised to give 
yo^ £i^^^ out of my income of 
the present year. Never, certainly. 
How is it possible that you should 
assert such a mistake ? I might have 
said that I could, or that I would if I 
thought it necessary. I might have 
been so foolish as to say this ; but I 
must have been mad to have promised 
what you alledge. Thus much at once 
on the subject of promises. I never 
but in one instance promised anything 
unconditionally. And the conditions 
were, first that I should be able to per- 
form my engagement ; and secondly, 
that the great sacrifices at which alone 
it could ever be performed by me 



/ 



loo LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

should be made available to some 
adequate and decisive advantage to 
result to you ; such for instance as 
the compromise of the suit now- 
pending. Had Mr. Gisborn advanced 
the money, according to the terms 
proposed by me, its application to this 
purpose alone would have been secured. 
In October, 1819, you wrote to say 
that the verdict of a jury had been 
obtained against you for something 
between ;£"6oo and ;£2ooo : and that 
if you had ^500 you believed that you 
could compromise the claim founded 
upon that verdict. My first impulse 
was — that I would do every thing that 
I could to serve you ; as much as that 
I certainly expressed under a belief of 
the emergency of your situation. But 
in fact I could do nothing. A year 
passes over, and after this decision in a 
court of common law, the affair remains 
stationary. Nothing is more unlikely 
than that, if your opponents can show 



LETTERS TO GODWIN, loi 

a legal claim to this ever-increasing sum, 
they will compromise that claim for a 
fourth of the whole amount which has 
accrued. Nothing is more absurd than 
to pay the sum in question, if they 
cannot show this legal claim, with a 
reserve of a liability for the entire sum 
to those claimants in whose favour the 
property may be finally adjudged. 
The affair seems to me a mass of 
improbabilities and absurdities. You 
still urge the request of ^500. You 
would take anything in the shape of it 
that would compel me to make the 
great sacrifices (if indeed 7iow it be not 
impossible) of paying it from my income, 
without — you must allow me to say — a 
due regard to the proportion borne by 
your accommodation to my immediate 
loss or even your own ultimate advan- 
tage. If you had bills on my income 
for the sum, how would you procure 
money on them ? My credit, except 
among those friends from whom I 

VOL. II. D D 



I02 LETTERS TO GODWIN, 

never will ask a pecuniary favor, cer- 
tainly would not suffice to raise it, and 
your own name is worth as little or less 
in the money market. That my bills 
would tell for something, I do not 
doubt. And when you had procured 
this money — this ;^4oo— what would 
be done with it? What is become of 
the ;£ioo already advanced by Horace 
Smith ? Put your hand upon your 
heart, and tell me where it is. In a 
letter written after your receipt of this 
sum you state with the most circum- 
locutory force of expression, and as if 
you were anxious to leave yourself no 
outlet for escape, that you have never 
received a single farthing. This of 
course was only meant for immediate 
effect ; and not for the purpose of 
ultimately leading into error, and is 
only a part of that system you pursue 
of sacrificing all interests to the present 
one. Suppose after this I were to in- 
volve myself in the chance of destruc- 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 103 

tion, to defraud my creditors of what is 
justly theirs, to withhold their due from 
those to whom I am the only source 
of happiness and misery, and send you 
these bills. The weakness and wicked- 
ness of my conduct would admit of 
some palliation if the money they pro- 
duced were reserved for the attempt at 
compromise and re-transmitted to me 
the moment that attempt, as it must, 
should fail. Sir Philip Sidney when 
dying, and consumed with thirst, gave 
the helmet of water which was brought 
to him to the wounded soldier who stood 
beside him. It would not have been 
generosity but folly had he poured it on 
the ground, as you would that I should 
the wrecks of my once prosperous 
fortune. 

So much for the benefit which you 
would derive from my concession of 
your request. The evils — exclusive of 
that circumstance which makes con- 
cession absolutely impossible— were to 



I04 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

me immense. I have creditors whose 
claims amount nearly to ^"2,000 : some 
of whom are exceedingly importunate ; 
others suffering perhaps more than you 
suffer, from the delays which my im- 
poverished condition and limited in- 
come have compelled me to assign ; 
others threatening to institute a legal 
process against me, which, not to speak 
of the ruinous expense connected with 
it, would expose my name to an 
obloquy from which you must excuse 
me if I endeavour to preserve it. 
Amongst these creditors is the annui- 
tant from whom I procured money to 
meet Hogan's claim on you, at 25 per 
cent, and the interest on which you 
pledged yourself, but have neglected, to 
pay. To all, or any one of these 
objects the excess of my income over 
my expenditure is most justly due. 

In case any such reverse as bank- 
ruptcy happening to yourself, a circum- 
stance which sometimes surprises the 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 105 

most prosperous concern, and infinitely 
probable in an embarrassed business 
conducted by a person wholly ignorant 
of trade, how would you regret my folly 
in not having been now severely just ? 
If you are sincere with me on this 
subject, why, instead of seeking to 
plunge one person already half ruined 
for your sake into deeper ruin, do you 
not procure the ;£4oo by your own active 
powers ? A person of your extraor- 
dinary accomplishments might easily 
obtain from the booksellers, for the 
promise of a novel, a sum exceeding 
this amount. Your answer to Malthus 
would sell at least for ;^4oo. Half the 
care and thought bestowed upon this 
honorable exertion of the highest 
faculties of our nature would have 
rewarded you more largely than depen- 
dence on a person whose precarious 
situation and ruined fortunes make 
that dependance a curse to both. 
Mary is now giving suck to her 

VOL. II. E E 



io6 LETTERS TO GODWIN. 

infant, in whose life, after the frightful 
ev^ents of the last two years, her own 
seems wholly to be bound up. Your 
letters from their style and spirit (such 
is your erroneous notion of taste) never 
fail to produce an apalling effect on 
her frame. On one occasion agita 
tion of mind produced through her a 
disorder in the child, similar to that 
which destroyed our little girl two years 
ago. The disorder was prolonged by 
the alarm which it occasioned, until 
by the utmost efforts of medical skill 
and care it was restored to health. On 
that occasion Mary at my request 
authorised me to intercept such letters 
or information as I might judge likely 
to disturb her mind. That discretion 
I have exercised with the letter to 
which this is a reply. The correspond- 
ence therefore rests between you and 
me, if you should consider any further 
discussion of a similar nature with that 
in which you have lately been engaged 



LETTERS TO GODWIN. 107 

with Mary necessary, after the full 
explanation which I have given of my 
views, and the unalterable decision 
which I have pronounced. Nor must 
the correspondence with your daughter 
on a similar subject be renewed. It 
was even wholly improper, and might 
lead to serious imputations against both 
herself and you, which it is important 
for her honour as well as for yours that 
I should not only repel but prevent. 
She has not, nor ought she to have, the 
disposal of money ; if she had, poor 
thing, she would give it all to you. 

Such a father (I mean a man of such 
high genius) can be at no loss to find 
subjects on which to address such a 
daughter. Do not let me be thought 
to dictate, but I can only convey to 
her such letters as are consistent with 
her peace to read, such as you once 
proposed to write, containing .... 

The remainder of this letter is missing.] 



Privately Printed : 1891.