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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1270. W. W. to H. C. R.

  • Endorsed: July or Augt 1838. Mr Wordsworth, Copyright bill.
  • MS. Dr. Williams's Library.
  • Morley, i. 368.

[early Aug. 1838]

My dear Friend,

I sit down to write a little more at leisure, though I have nothing to say that will interest you.—My ramble in Northumberland and Durham was agreeable in many respects; though if pg 627it had not been an undertaking of duty I would rather have remained at Home.—I am now fixed I hope till late next spring. Heartily do I wish your expedition1 may prove pleasant—your Party however will prove too numerous for bye plans unless you divide—

I see Brougham has brought into the house the Lords a New Copy-right Bill2—what are its merits? I fear it will prove a milk and water business. He talks about the privy-council—what the deuce can those Stupes know about the merit of works of Imagination—are the judges likely to be better than Jeffrey or B—himself, and yet one of them so late as 22—had the folly to write in the E. Review, that my productions were despicable without thought, without feeling taste or judgement etc etc See Edin. Review. Novr 1822—3

Now for a little business—pray see Mr Turner about our Carriage4—What can be the reason that no Purchaser offers, the season being already so far advanced. It must be eating its head off—Can the gentleman of whom we bought it do nothing for us among his Friends; or would it not be better to take anything pg 628we can get? But I submit the affair to your judgement altogether.

You would find the breaking up of the miscellaneous sonnets into classes, I think, impra[c]ticable. I thought a good deal about upon1 your suggestion, but gave up the Idea. for example there are some 5 or 6 of a political character—these could not be incorporated with the political series; which begins in 1802; when Bonaparte was made Consul for life and ends with his over throw. Others are local sonnets, yet too few for a separate class; nor could they be intermixed with Itinerary ones, others religious, yet could not go among the Ec[c]lesiastical, nor are they numerous enough for a separate class—and so on (what an abominable pen! I have tried 50 times to mend it and only made it worse and worse.—

The Chapelets2 have been received by my friends in France; and given them great pleasure; many thanks for the trouble you took upon the occasion. My son John is now at Havre; gone thither to join his Brother-in-Law Mr Stanley Curwen, being driven from home by the derangement of his nerves, consequent upon the Typhus fever that attacked him last Winter. These are injuries which Clergymen are exposed to, and which the Country never thinks about—he caught the Malady while visiting one of his Parishioners who was suffering under it.—We have had a sad summer for cold and rain, but at present the weather is fine. Pray write before you go abroad—With a thousand good wishes I remain very affectionately your friend

W Wordsworth   

Love from all. My poor dear Sister much alone. Our House is enlivened by a charming little fellow my grandson.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 H. C. R. was to set out on a tour of Normandy and Brittany on 28 Aug. in the company of Southey, his son Cuthbert, Humphrey Senhouse, John Kenyon, and his friend Captain Jones, R. N. The party broke up in Paris on 9 Oct., when the Southeys returned to England: H. C. R. remained there with Kenyon until the end of the month (see HCR ii. 552–7). For Southey's journal of this tour, see Journals of a Residence in Portugal 1800–1 and a Visit to France 1838, ed. Adolfo Cabral, 1961.
Editor’s Note
2 Introduced on 27 July, it proposed that arrangements similar to those for patents should be adopted. Brougham's object was to enable authors, or their assignees, by application to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, to obtain an extension of time when their terms of copyright were about to expire. But the proposal was bound to lapse with the end of the Parliamentary session, as Talfourd explained in a letter to W. W. on 19 Aug.: 'I believe it to be intended by Lord Brougham for the purpose—1st to secure to himself any credit there may be in legislating upon the question; 2ndly To secure to himself a power of deciding on the claims of Authors, as a member of the body he purposes to empower; 3rdly To disarm the advocates of the larger measure of their most efficient, though not their best arguments … by representing that his proposition would meet them.' And he promised to frustrate Brougham's scheme by reintroducing his own measure on the first day of the next session. (Cornell MSS.)
Editor’s Note
4 The carriage used during their Continental tour the previous year was still unsold. They had bought it from Mr. Turner of Long Acre.
Editor’s Note
1 Written thus.
Editor’s Note
2 Presents for the Baudouins.
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