William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt and Mary Moorman (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 2: The Middle Years: Part I: 1806–1811 (Second Revised Edition)

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  • Address: Richard Sharp Esqre, M.P., Mark Lane, London.
  • MS. Untraced.
  • K (—). MY i. 326, p. 187.

Grasmere April 13th [1808]

My dear Sir,

Well knowing your general humanity, and the particular interest you take in this part of the country which I inhabit, I have been unable to resist an impulse to send you the enclosed Paper, giving a brief account of a most melancholy event which took place lately in our Vale, and soliciting the assistance of such persons as may be willing to do an act of kindness upon such an occasion. Let me beg of you for the sake of the children of whom you will read in this Paper, and of the pleasant remembrances which you will have in common with me, of Easedale, that part of Grasmere Vale of which the unfortunate Persons you will read of were inhabitants, that you would procure among your friends, Mr Boddington for example and Mr Philips1 (I mention these more particularly) and any other of your Friends, unknown to me, a contribution however small for the purposes specified in the Paper. I beg you to do this, as a matter to which I, who am acquainted with all the particulars of this pathetic case, and the merit of the Parties, attach no common interest. One of the pg 211orphans a little Girl is now in my service, and I shall myself take care of her.

I am sorry that I did not see you again before I left London, from which I was summoned abruptly by an alarming account of the state of Miss Hutchinson's (my Wife's Sister's) Health. She had burst a small blood vessel, and we were apprehensive of worse consequences. She is now better though far from well. I found Coleridge so unwell and out of tune, that I had not encouragement even to mention to him the breakfasting with you on the Tuesday, as we talked of.

Mrs W—, I am most happy to say, I found greatly improved in her looks; a change which I attribute to a beneficent effort of Nature in forwarding her in the family way which she is treading.—I am sorry that we are not to see you here in summer.

  • I am my dear Sharp        
  • affectionately yours      
  • W. Wordsworth.    

There are many very moving circumstances attending this case, of which my Sister will write a minute narrative; and which if we live to meet in this country again, I will read to you, as they will tend to throw much light upon the state of the moral feelings of the inhabitants of these Vales.—In the accompanying paper I have not entered into particulars, because I feared that to persons of less feeling, or taking less interest in the country than you do, it might be tedious.

Pray be so good as send the enclosed Letter to the twopenny Post.

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Editor’s Note
1 Boddington and Philips were Sharp's partners in his business as a West India merchant.
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