W. J. B. Owen and Jane Worthington Smyser (eds), The Prose Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 3

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I[Letter to The Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle, 31 January 1818, p. 3, col. 1.]


To the Editor.


Editor’s Note2It is reported that certain of the Freeholders who had promised their 3support to the present Members for this County, now that a Canvass 4has commenced for another Individual, are inclined to split their votes 5in his favour. But this practice, I trust, will scarcely prevail in a 6country so celebrated for the intellectual discernment of its Inhabitants 7as Westmorland; and for their frank, warm, decisive, and generous 8attachment to their Friends, and to the Cause which they espouse. 9Here are two Parties, not merely of different, but of opposite political 10principles;—what inconsistency, then, would those persons be involved 11in, what absurdity would they fall into, who, by dividing their suffrages 12lend their support, as they imagine, to both. Such conduct, if it were 13equally advantageous to both Parties, would be of no use to either.

14But it is not so; and if any one vote in this manner, from a notion 15that he is acting judiciously and impartially, a moment's reflection will 16show, first, that impartiality in a case of this sort, where the principles, 17as has been observed above, are opposite, reflects no honour upon his 18judgement; and next, that by so doing he would not be acting im-19partially, but directly the reverse; as he would favour the new Candi-20date, who stands single in opposition to the two present Members 21whose interests are the same, in the proportion, of two to one. I say 22pg 195nothing of the merits of their respective principles, it is enough that 23those principles are diametrically opposed to each other, and I am 24anxious for the credit of my Countrymen. I am desirous they should 25retain their ancient character for good sense, and for cordial, honest, 26unreserved attachment to the persons whom they regard, and to the 27side which they take.—Men who divide themselves between two 28parties, run great risk of forfeiting the esteem of both. The present 29state of things would indeed render indecisive conduct of great im-30portance to the new Candidate, but, though he will be glad of such 31assistance, he will not be proud of it; and as to the present Members, Editor’s Note32he who is not entirely with them, is against them.

33A Friend to Consistency.    

34Westmorland, Jan. 30, 1818.

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Editor’s Note
2–5. It is reported … favour.] A manifesto of Brougham's London Committee dated 5 January 1818, and printed in Kendal Chronicle, 10 Jan. 1818, says that the Committee's 'Thanks are especially due to those, who, bending under the influence of the Lowther Family, have yet declared their intention of either remaining neuter, or of dividing their Votes between the contending Parties.' Brougham's candidature was announced by his London Committee on 10 January (Chronicle, 17 Jan. 1818). The Chronicle for 31 January, which contains Wordsworth's letter, also gives a very favourable account of the entrance of James Brougham into Kendal, and adds that 'Mr. Brougham's Committee have been canvassing Kendal for the last three days. The result … is far beyond the most sanguine expectations of their party.' On 31 January 1818 Wordsworth comments that this account shows 'The bias of [the editor's] mind sufficiently' (M.Y. ii. 420).
Editor’s Note
32. he who … against them.] Matt. 12: 30.
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