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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372. W. W. to LORD LONSDALE

  • Address: The Earl of Lonsdale, Cottesmore, Greatham, Grantham.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • MS. Lonsdale MSS. Hitherto unpublished.

[mid-Nov. 1828]

My Lord,

I am sorry that I cannot call to mind the Person, named to your Lordship by Mr Bolton as one he wished to have placed in the Commission of the Peace. The Purchaser of Miss Pritchard's property is named Branker.2 His Father and he, I understand, have made a considerable Fortune by sugar-refining, part of which he seems strongly inclined to throw away in improvement-making. I have barely seen his person, but by those who have dined at his Table, he is not reckoned likely to prove an acquisition. He has many Workmen about him whom he swears at, as we are told, in a disgusting manner to which they are wholly unaccustomed. I have heard also that Gin is distributed among them. I have heard from a Gentleman who dined with him a few days ago, that in his presence and Mr Hartley Coleridge's, Mr Southey's Nephew, he made a violent attack upon the sincerity of Mr Southey in his pg 660Book of the Church, a charge which Mr Coleridge repelled with becoming indignation. Your Lordship will know that I state these facts with much reluctance—but they are the best answer to the question. With all this he may be a good-natured man as it is called—but the impression here is that he is purse-proud and coarse-minded; Mr Lutwidge1 is a man of sound loyal principles, but his manners and conversation are without steadiness or gravity. He is disposed to be active, but his judgement is not equal to his good intentions. His name is Henry, if he bear any other I do not know but will learn before this letter is closed. Beyond all comparison, in my judgement, the most [suitable]2 person for the office of Magistrate for property, for temper, for knowledge of the manners and feelings of the people in this neighbourhood, in short as a practical man, is Mr Benson Harrison of Green Bank, Ambleside. I have occasionally mentioned the thing to him, but he wished first to act as Churchwarden, with a view to a further knowledge of business, and the neighbourhood. A Complaint in the Trachea has driven him for the winter to Hastings—but we learn that he is much better. Being upon the subject of the Magistracy let me mention to your Lordship—that I would rather my own name were removed from the Commission. When you did me the Honor of recommending it to be placed there,3 I had landed Estate sufficient for a qualification but it has been sold several years ago—and it strikes me there is an indelicacy under these circumstances in my name continuing.

With much pleasure I avail myself of the present opportunity to return thanks for your application to Lord Lowther in behalf of my Son, and your most friendly assurance that you will bear my wishes in mind. I am looking about for an Establishment on the Continent, where proceeding with his classical studies he might learn also German and French for two years, either with a view to a public office, or, in the last necessity, to a degree at an English University. Allow me to say, that of my other Son, I have from his Rector, and other quarters, the most pleasing accounts. He is happy in his profession, of which he promises to be a zealous and judicious member. Your Lordship will excuse my mentioning this last quality—but in no profession is it of such importance, and especially at this time, when the foundations of the Church are shaken by her own ministers. Mr Fleming4 I have not seen since pg 661his loss, he is to let me know when he would wish me to call. He must have suffered greatly being a man of strong feelings.

May I trouble you to present my kind respects to Lady Lonsdale, not forgetting Miss Thompson.1

  • I have the honour to be      
  • Your Lordship's          
  • faithful and much       
  • obliged Sernt        
  • Wm Wordsworth  

Mr Jackson tells me Mr Lutwidge's name is Henry Thomas—

Mrs W. will be obliged to Lord Lonsdale to forward the enclosed at his Lordship's convenience.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
2 Miss Letitia Pritchard (1756–1827) had owned a small farmhouse on the slopes of Loughrigg overlooking Windermere since 1793. On her death, the property was bought by James Branker, a Liverpool sugar merchant, and much enlarged into the grander mansion Croft Lodge, which still survives today. Hartley Coleridge received much kindness from Branker, and several times pays tribute to his generosity: 'In truth, he has all the generosity, all the hospitality, all the independence which should belong to a man who has made a princely fortune by his own skill and industry: and may well be forgiven, if he have not quite all the polish of a man bred up from infancy among those who had nothing to do but refine their manners … ' (Letters of Hartley Coleridge, pp. 155–6).
Editor’s Note
1 For Henry Thomas Lutwidge, see L. 180 above.
Editor’s Note
2 Word dropped out.
Editor’s Note
3 In 1819. See MY ii. 521, 532.
Editor’s Note
4 John Fleming of Rayrigg.
Editor’s Note
1 A member of Lady Lonsdale's household (d. 1844).
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