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William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 6: The Later Years: Part III: 1835–1839 (Second Revised Edition)

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1205. W. W. to SIR JOHN TAYLOR COLERIDGE

  • Address: The Honble. Mr Justice Coleridge, Carlisle or elsewhere on the Circuit.
  • Postmark: 21 Feb. 1838.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • Endorsed: 1838 Febry 21st W. Wordsworth Rydal Mt.
  • MS. British Library. Hitherto unpublished.

  • Rydal Mount
  • Febry 21—38.

My dear Mr Justice Coleridge,

Your Letter, just received, was most welcome, only less so than the sight of yourself would have been. It would indeed have been a high treat could you have found time to give us a couple of Days. We will hope to be more fortunate on some future occasion. Your good news of Lady Coleridge gave pg 526Mrs W. and myself, very great pleasure, and we trust that by perseverance in the rules laid down, she will escape the recurrence of any serious attack: You will be glad to learn that Hartley1 has for many months been very regular, not having slept more than twice out of his lodgings. We see him from time to time. He is very instructive,—and agreeable also, but for a habit of contradiction, and a fondness for Hartley paradoxes.

I am not aware whether you saw Dr Arnold lately in Town. The principle has been sacrificed, and I hope it will not be long before he leaves University College (is that its name?) altogether.2

I rejoice to hear that your eyes serve you so well. I was rather in fear about them, having suffered so much and been so long disabled in that way. I have had an attack of long duration since my return from the Continent. I am now, thank God, much better.

My Daughter is now at Dover and we have much pleasure in thinking that she will soon be under your Brother Henry's3 roof, for some little time, if convenient to them.—I am glad you think the Tatham cause4 is likely to come to an end, both on account of the Parties concerned, and still more for the credit of the Law.

Your report of the unsatisfactory conduct of our Justices in the Westmorland Murder5 does not surprize me. It is the worst case, and almost the only one, as far as I know, that has occurred, in the County, for above half a century. The Prisoner has long borne a bad character, and nobody seems to doubt that he committed the crime; but it is a thousand times better he should not have been tried, than that he should have come off after trial for want of evidence. We had some years back a horrible Murder and robbery committed at Hawkshead upon a poor pg 527Woman of unsound mind, which as she had no Relatives was scarcely inquired into at all, and the Perpetrator, though the strongest suspicions fell upon a person in the neighbourhood remains unpunished to this day. Happily enough in some respects for them, people in this neighbourhood don't know how to go about the detection of such Offenders, and I have always thought that a police officer from London or Liverpool should immediately be sent for after such crim[es.]

Pray present my respects to Mr Justice Patteson,1 and kindest remembrances to Lady Coleridge in which Mrs W. unites and believe me to be, faithfully

  • Your obliged Friend          
  • Wm Wordsworth    

Why did you give yourself so much trouble about the Derbyshire Guide? It has not yet found its way hither, but surely will.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 After spending the earlier part of 1837 teaching at Sedbergh in place of his friend the Revd. Isaac Green, who had been ill, Hartley Coleridge was now back in Grasmere; and Mrs. Fleming having died, he was now lodging with the Richardsons, who occupied her house. He returned to the school a year later, in the spring of 1838, as acting headmaster, on the sudden death of Mr. Wilkinson. See Poems of Hartley Coleridge, with a Memoir of his Life by his Brother, 2 vols., 1851, i. cxiv ff.
Editor’s Note
3 Henry Nelson Coleridge.
Editor’s Note
4 For the cause of Wright versus Tatham, see L. 1066 above.
Editor’s Note
1 Sir John Taylor Coleridge's brother-in-law.
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