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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229. W. W. to LORD LONSDALE

  • MS. Lonsdale MSS. Hitherto unpublished.

[late May 1826]

My Lord,

Many thanks for your Lordship's obliging attention to my recommendation of the Individual for the Excise. His name is Leonard Fleming,2 22 years of age.

I take the liberty of enclosing a Letter received six or eight weeks ago from my Friend Mr Jackson of Whitehaven.3 I think it will interest you as there are sentiments in it relating to his situation which redound greatly to his credit.—I am sorry to say that he still continues in a state of extreme debility. He fainted, when he returned from Distington, on getting out of the Chaise.

It was highly satisfactory to me to be authorized to put down the injurious Report of the Compromise.4 No Friends mistrusted the House of Lowther; but as I observed to Lord Lowther, it was humiliating and mortifying to hear such a statement so confidently made, without a sanction for flatly contradicting it.—

A supporter of B.5 in Troutbeck lately said to Captn Wilson6 pg 452that he believed along with many others, that B. had been paid for his upholding the Catholics. 'How then', said Captn W. 'can you vote for such a Man?' 'Oh', replied the Grey-coat 'It is an awful thing to turn'.—No doubt this feeling of the awfulness of turning keeps some hundreds in ranks of which they are heartily tired. B. has already hurt himself much in Westnd by his ardour in the Catholic cause, and the proposal for dispensing with the oaths at the time of voting cannot be made too public. A paper, however, has been put into circulation against the Romanists, by the Kendal Com: which strikes me as too harsh and opprobrious, and the more so, if what I was told by a respectable Person at Kendal be true; viz, that the Catholic Priest1 in that neighbourhood has not exercised over his Flock any influence injurious to the present members; but rather the contrary, being of opinion that the ascendancy of the protestant Establishment is the best bulwark for general toleration. That a Catholic Priest should be so liberal, is not very probable, but under all circumstances, in papers issued under the authority of a Committee, it is best to be strong in facts (taking care that the statements are true) and mild and temperate in language.

A professional person of Kendal who has come over to the Yellows, was reproached the other day for deserting his principles; 'How can that be', he made answer, 'my principle is to take care of my family, and I am sure I am keeping to it by changing sides'.—

Brougham, I recollect, was very ill both in body and mind, about the time of Sir S. Romilly's death,2 so much so, that he was restricted from all business and intellectual labour, by his Physicians.

We have to do with Men, who stick at nothing, but the information you give me, and all I can collect elsewhere, leads me to expect a signal triumph.

How could Sir James Graham express himself as he did at the London Meeting3 on the subject of the views of your Lordship on pg 453the representation of Cumberland? this was most reprehensibly disingenuous.

  • ever my Lord most faithfully       
  • your Lordship's much obliged Servant      
  • W. Wordsworth   

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Notes

Editor’s Note
2 i.e. in the autumn of 1818, immediately after his first contest with the Lowthers. He was now reported to be ill again (in the Carlisle Patriot for 2 June) and unable to canvass. He finally arrived in Westmorland on 15 June, making a grand entry into Kendal to open his campaign.
Editor’s Note
3 The Revd. William Jackson was about to return to Oxford as Bursar of Queen's.
Editor’s Note
3 A meeting of Brougham's supporters at the City of London Tavern on 15 May: the speakers included Sir James Graham of Netherby (see MY ii. 536), the Hon. Henry Tufton, Henry Howard of Corby, and William Crackanthorpe, W. W.'s cousin. According to the Carlisle Patriot for the 19th, Graham had stated that the origin of the contest was to be found in the ambition of the Earl of Lonsdale, who was not satisfied with the fair exercise of his influence, by returning one member, but who would be pleased with nothing less than reducing the county to the situation of a close borough, and affixing the badge of servitude on the breasts of all the freeholders. The speech was attacked in the Patriot editorial (and in the Westmorland Gazette for 20 May) on the ground that it advocated a division of the County representation for the purpose of nullifying the rights and wishes of the majority of the freeholders.
Editor’s Note
4 As early as 15 Apr. the Kendal Chronicle was reporting rumours that Col. Lowther would retire from the impending contest for Westmorland, and that Brougham would consequently be returned unopposed as the other member for the County; and the rumoured 'compromise' was mentioned again on 29 Apr. It was contradicted in the Westmorland Gazette—the Lowther paper—on 6 May. Brougham officially accepted an invitation to stand on the 3rd.
Editor’s Note
5 Brougham.
Editor’s Note
6 Capt. John Wilson, R.N. (1789–1870), of The Howe, on the Applethwaite side of the Troutbeck valley: only son of Sir John Wilson (1741–93), the Judge. His name occurs frequently in the RMVB.
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