Jump to Content
Jump to chapter

William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt and Mary Moorman (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 2: The Middle Years: Part I: 1806–1811 (Second Revised Edition)

Find Location in text

Main Text


  • Address: The Revd. Francis Wrangham, Hunmanby, near Bridlington, Yorkshire.
  • MS. Henry Huntington Library.
  • K (—). MY i. 430, p. 429.

Grasmere, March 27th [1811]

My dear Wrangham,

Your last Letter which I have left so long unanswered, found me in a distressed state of mind with one of my children lying nearly as I thought at the point of death.2 It recovered however after some time. This put me off answering your Letter, when otherwise I might have done my duty; and then my procrastinating habits interfered, making bad far worse. As to Coleridge, there is no accounting for his apparent neglect of any body, except in the common way in which I have accounted for my own apparent neglect of you. He left this Country in October for London where he has since resided, and I have never heard from him since, though I have heard several times of him.3 It is said, he is looking well.—I should certainly have answered your Letter immediately had I known any thing of the Mr W [?] whom you enquire after. But I do not mix with the Gentry of this neighbourhood, and therefore never saw him. I have heard him spoken of as an excellent Musician, and this is all the knowledge I have of him. You return to the Catholic Question. I am decidedly of opinion that no further concessions should be made. The Catholic Emancipation is a mere pretext of ambitious and discontented men. Are you prepared for the next step, a Catholic Established Church?—I confess I dread the thought. As to the Bible Society;4 my view of the subject is as pg 473follows. 1st distributing Bibles is a good thing; 2ndly more Bibles will be distributed in consequence of the existence of the Bible Society; therefore so far as that goes the existence of the Bible Society is good;—But 3dly as to the indirect benefits expected from it, in producing a golden age of unanimity among Christians, all that I think fume and emptiness, nay far worse; so deeply am I persuaded that discord and artifice, and pride and ambition would be fostered by such an approximation and unnatural alliance of sects that I am inclined to think the evil thus produced would do more than outweigh the good done by dispersing the Bibles. I think the last 50 or 60 Pages of my Brother's pamphlet1 merit the serious consideration of all persons of the established Church who have connected themselves with Sectaries for this purpose.

The Montagus were down here in the autumn; neither of them looking very well. M. has put himself I think upon too abstemious a regimen. He is, (as you know no doubt) advancing rapidly in his profession. Algernon is at school at Ambleside, and Alfred is to come in summer. You see what a hand I write, and therefore will not wonder that I am slow to put my friends to the trouble of decyphering it; especially when the matter is of so little value. Entreating your pardon for my long delay in answering your last, let me conclude with assuring you that I remain with

  • great truth your affectionate Friend   
  • W. Wordsworth.  

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2 Presumably W. W. is referring to Catharine's 'seizure' in April of the previous year (1810).
Editor’s Note
3 The Wordsworths as yet knew little of Coleridge's resentment against W. W. over the remarks to Montagu. See L. 223, and above p. 450, n.
Editor’s Note
4 The British and Foreign Bible Society, founded in 1804 on interdenominational lines.
Editor’s Note
1 Reasons for declining to become a Subscriber to the British and Foreign Bible Society, etc. London 1810.
logo-footer Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out