William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt and Alan G. Hill (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 4: The Later Years: Part I: 1821–1828 (Second Revised Edition)

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225. W. W. to LORD LONSDALE

  • Address: The Earl of Lonsdale, Charles St., Berkley Sq, London.
  • Postmark: 16 May 1826.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • MS. Lonsdale MSS. Hitherto unpublished.

[c. 15 May 1826]

My Lord,

The Persons who have applied in behalf of Fleming Coward1 are all respectable Yeomen, Freeholders, and Friends, nor am I aware of any objection to their recommendation being attended to.—

I will take this opportunity of mentioning that there is in Rydal a family of the name of Fleming who begged me some time ago to solicit Lord Lowther's endeavours to procure a situation for one of their Sons in the Excise; as the family are very respectable, have been staunch Friends, and have three Votes, I replied that I pg 446certainly would name the thing to Lord Lowther on the first opportunity, adding at the same time that there were so many persons applying for such situations, that they must not he sanguine in their expectations of success. Lord Lowther need not notice this till he comes into Westnd.

Sincerely do I congratulate your Lordship on the favorable aspect of things.1

In this neighbourhood, I mean, in Ambleside, Rydal, Loughrigg, and the two Langdales, 144 Votes have been reported to the Kendal Committee; of these there are only 14 decidedly of the Blue Party and of those who hang back and may possibly vote for them, there cannot be at the utmost more than 16 additional Votes, which will leave 114 either decidedly for us, or persons formerly of the Blue party, who will not vote at all.—If the change that has taken place in favor of the present members, be at all correspondent, as we have reason to think it is, in other parts of the County, to what has occurred here, Mr B.2 has not a shadow of chance, unless his new created outlying Voters greatly exceed those of our side.—The truth in this matter may be ascertained I suppose by reference to the Land Tax, and the Registers of Annuities.—Lord Lowther has been told that 40 new Votes had been made in Ambleside: almost entirely for the Blue Party. I have inquired most carefully; nothing like it can be true. If the Informant meant that the Freeholds lay in or about Ambleside, he is utterly mistaken; no such change of property has there taken place, if he meant that the Voters were living in Ambleside he is equally so—nor are there any Persons in Ambleside attached to the Blue Party of sufficient Property to have made such a number of Votes by Annuity or otherwise, provided they could have found persons at a distance whom they could trust.

The falling off from the Blue Party is easily accounted for, among the Resident Freeholders. 1st Their enthusiasm was too violent, and founded upon too many illusions to last—and as it abated and these illusions vanished common sense, and the natural ties of interest resumed their power; not merely of downright self interest, pg 447but ordinary social connections and obligations.—

2ndly. the inability of the Party to pay their debts.

3rdly. the Catholic Question which both as a cause and a pretext has hurt Mr B. in no small degree; several also in the upper classes of his adherents, do not much relish that sort of Education of which he is a Patron,1 viz; Education without Religion, which they regard as Education in hostility to it or contempt of it; nor do they much approve of pushing on the scientific instruction of Mechanics etc etc. And lastly, it would be unpardonable to omit, a confidence from experience in the characters of the present members, and a reliance on the political discretion of the House of Lowther.—

Your Friends, my Lord, therefore cannot but anticipate a triumphant discomfiture of the opposite Party, if they venture, which some think not very likely, to come to the Poll. As an Interest, in Property, habit, station, the Yellows are immeasurably superior; as a Cause, they have equally the advantage or rather still more so, notwithstanding the Vaunts of their Opponents; for the Yellows are contending against a set of men whose aim is to form a precedent for altering the character of County Elections, by taking the decision from the genuine Freeholders, and placing it in the hands of the lowest of the Community, in conjunction with Voters from a distance, who know nothing about the County nor care any thing for it. Whatever be the issue, the real natural Freeholders will ever have grounds for this Charge against Mr B. and his supporters; for if the Yellow Party had not resorted to the same expedient of creating Votes, and fought their enemies with their own Weapons, they must have had a Representative forced upon them.

With sincere pleasure, I learned from Lady Beaumont, that Lady Lonsdale was perfectly recovered from the severe indisposition under which she had been suffering. I heard nothing of it till long after—Have the goodness to present my congratulations to her Ladyship, in whose health everyone must be interested who has the happiness of knowing her; and believe me my Lord

  • most faithfully your        
  • Lordship's much obliged Servant,     
  • Wm Wordsworth  

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 He became principal coast officer at Workington for the Customs House at Whitehaven.
Editor’s Note
1 In Westmorland. Henry Brougham, still M.P. for Winchelsea, was proposing to contest the county representation in the forthcoming general election for the third and last time. On 20 Apr. Lord Lowther had written: 'It is confidently stated that Lord Thanet will not spend any money, but it is added that some of Brougham's friends have said, that he himself is so insane on the subject of Westmorland, that he will spend all the money he has gained in his profession in opposition. I have no apprehension upon this, he will think twice before he embarks in it himself, and it is an assertion to encourage subscriptions in his own behalf.' (WL MSS.)
Editor’s Note
2 Brougham.
Editor’s Note
1 For Brougham's work for the London University, see L. 180 above. He had also put himself at the head of the movement for Mechanics Institutes, which were set up in Kendal, Carlisle, and Whitehaven in 1825, and he was already planning the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which was inaugurated in the autumn of 1826.
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