William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 5: The Later Years: Part II: 1829–1834 (Second Revised Edition)

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790. W. W. to JOHN MARSHALL

  • Address: John Marshall Esqre, Hallsteads, Penrith.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • MS. Stephen Marshall MSS., Record Office, Preston.
  • Chester L. Shaver, 'Three Unpublished Wordsworth Letters', NQ ccxii (Jan. 1967), 14–18.

[In M. W.'s hand]

[late Nov. 1833]

My dear Sir,

First let me congratulate you on the marriage which has lately taken place in your family and which be assured was attended with pg 661the best good wishes of us all. What I saw of Mr Elliott1 I liked much, and I hear him highly spoken of from all quarters, so that the prospect for happiness in this union seems very favorable. Mr Thornton2 left Grasmere some time since and has no doubt reached his home, but I do not know his address further than that he lives at Clapham. I communicate with him thro' the Stamp Office.

Mr Watson3 is now in the Country; it is true that being very young he has not yet acquired a taste for the management of his Estates, besides his professional engagements will not allow him to do much in that way; as he is about to embark with a detachment of his Regt. for Corfu—he called here a few days ago and promised to call again before his departure; when, or before I will communicate to him the substance of your letter. One remark I may make at present, that tho' it is true the proposed new road would go principally thro' his Land, yet his Estate lies so high, and it is of so poor a quality of Soil, that the advantage of a new and better road would be by no means correspondent to the extent of the Property.

A few weeks ago I had a call from Wilson Innkeeper of Patterdale with a view to treat for the Broad How Estate—4 he said he expected me to ask a £1000 for it, but was not prepared to give what I asked, £1200—I supposed at the time that he was applying as an Agent; but since find that it was with the intention of building for himself. In valuing the wood, I have always regarded it more as ornamental than as stuff for the Carpenter, and its connexion with the Common-right, tho' under present management adding nothing to the rent, cannot fairly be overlooked. Indeed in the hands of any one possessed of the other Properties, or likely to become so, this point I think really important—and I always have had a wish on that account, that it should pass into the hands of one who might derive this benefit from it, and I need not say that it he were one of Your family, it would be the most agreeable to me.5 At the same pg 662time having made for so many years a pecuniary sacrifice for the sake of taste, I must seek for some return.

My sister sate up yesterday for a few hours for the first time for the last 17 days—and is rallying. We all regretted much to hear of Miss Catherine Pollards1 indisposition, and Mrs. Marshall's consequent anxiety. As to my own eyes, especially one of them, they continue in a very delicate state, tho' I hope if I have no further relapse, they may yet do well.

I will be much obliged to you if you will send to Mr. Garnett2 for me your McCullocks book on the Highlands.3

All here unite with me in affec: remembrances to yourself Mrs. M. and family, including the Ladies at Old Church4

  • and believe me ever to remain very truly      
  • yours                    
  • [signed] W Wordsworth

Did I send to you the Proposals for publishing by Sub: a British Biography from the earliest times by a Gent of the County of Durham?5 It promises to be a Work of careful research and was recommended to my notice by Mr. Southey—I have parted with the Paper and have forgotten the name of the Author but it strikes me that it would be worth your while to subscribe to it as the author cannot proceed to Press without support of that kind.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 The Revd. Henry Venn Elliott had married Julia Anne, John Marshall's sixth daughter, on 31 Oct. (see pt. i, L. 70).
Editor’s Note
2 John Thornton (see L. 780 above).
Editor’s Note
3 Richard Luther Watson of Calgarth (see L. 667 above).
Editor’s Note
4 The estate in Patterdale at the foot of Place Fell which W. W. had acquired in 1806. See MY i. 20, 67, 435.
Editor’s Note
5 John Marshall's eldest son William had owned the neighbouring Patterdale Hall estate since 1824. John Marshall replied on 28 Nov. from Headingley: 'I am desirous that we should understand one another respecting your Patterdale property. I think you purchased it some years before we went to Watermillock which was in 1810, when landed property was worth a third part more than it is now in consequence merely of the depreciation of the currency. I have had a valuation made of it by my steward, who says that £20 is a fair rent for it. The general rate at which land is at present sold is 27 years purchase, which amounts to £540 to which add £104 the value of the wood, and the whole value is £644, independent of what it will bring for the beauty of the situation. I believe that an inclosure of the common cannot be made without an act of parliament because the Patterdale people have rights upon it. I really wish to decline the purchase if Mr Wilson or any other person will give £1,000 for it, but if you should not succeed in realising your expectations, and continue your wish to dispose of it I will take it at £1,000.' (WL MSS.)
Editor’s Note
1 Jane Marshall's sister.
Editor’s Note
2 Thomas Garnett, postmaster at Penrith.
Editor’s Note
3 John MacCulloch, M.D., The Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. … Founded on a Series of Annual Journeys between … 1811 and 1821. … In Six Letters to Sir Walter Scott, Bart., 4 vols., 1824.
Editor’s Note
4 The house on the Hallsteads estate where Mrs. Marshall's sisters occasionally resided.
Editor’s Note
5 This project is unidentified.
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