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William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt, Alan G. Hill, and Mary Moorman (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 3: The Middle Years: Part II: 1812–1820 (Second Revised Edition)

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  • MS. Lonsdale MSS., Record Office, The Castle, Carlisle. Hitherto unpublished.

  • Coleorton Hall
  • near Ashby de la Zouche
  • 23rd Janry 1818

My Lord,

Yesterday I received the enclosed (No. 1) from Mr R.1 It is decisive, and a hard bargain on his part; nor could by me be carried into effect without assistance from your Lordship. Had I been able to give security from an Annuity to the amount required, it would have been imprudent to do so, the uncertainty of my own life being considered.

But when I reflect that Mr R. is 71 years of age, and that this arrangement for my benefit, may thus be completed in a manner more easy and satisfactory to your Lordship than if the office should become vacant by the death of the present Holder; and also that if he should outlive me, the disposal of the united offices would in all probability still rest with your Lordship or your Heirs, and that the Annuity might continue to be paid out of the profits by my Successor, I am reconciled to the terms, if approved by your Lordship, though subjecting you to the obligation of becoming surety for a payment so considerable.

I shall wait your Lordship's reply before I answer Mr R's letter.

With regard to carrying this affair to a conclusion, I earnestly request that no wish on your Lordship's part to place me in this situation, may induce you to proceed, either as to the mode or the time, otherwise than as may be most agreeable to your feelings, and most suitable to your convenience.

  • With sincere gratitude        
  • and the highest respect        
  • I have the honor to be        
  • My Lord             
  • your Lordship's faithful Friend   
  • and Servant           
  • Wm Wordsworth.       

pg 416P.S. The consideration on which I expected (as stated to Mr R.) that he might deem an annuity of £350 sufficient were—'That himself or somebody else must always be on the spot (to this he allows weight and to no other) that the Coach Duties and advertisements from which he states that £180 per ann of his 600 is drawn, are subject to great fluctuations—that the rate of poundage was once 5 per cent and has been reduced to four, and may be still further reduced; and that as hath been before done, some portion of the Collection of duties now allotted to Stamp-Distributors may be assigned to others—and lastly, that his Sureties would be relieved from responsibility, and be protected from loss through misconduct of his Agents.'

All the above considerations and several other contingencies were acknowledged by Mr Parry to be of great weight, and would readily have been so by Mr R himself had he been in my place.

I send Mr R's former Letter also—for your Lordship's perusal.

I leave this place early on Tuesday morning—your Lordship will judge whether it is best to direct to me here or to Mr Cookson's Kendal, where I shall remain till Friday morning.

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Editor’s Note
1 i.e. Mr. Ramshay.
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