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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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  • Address: The Lord Viscount Lowther, Lowther Castle.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • MS. Lonsdale MSS., Record Office, The Castle, Carlisle.
  • K (—). MY ii. 610, p. 827 (—).

  • Rydale Mount
  • October 6th 1818

My dear Lord Lowther,

I have to thank you for yours of the 28th Septbr yesterday, also I had the pleasure of receiving the letter to Sir Wm Scott in reply to B's to Sir S.R.3 The St Bee's case is treated at length; and in such manner that Extracts might, I think, be advantageously inserted in the Westnd Gazette—the other Paper having already laid before its readers the Charges upon this subject.4 As I have said before, I pg 489do not think it politic to put accusations and charges in the way of those of our Friends who might never otherwise have heard of them merely because one is able to shew that they are either groundless or the facts grossly misrepresented; but unfortunately our Adversaries take care to disperse among the Yellows such numbers of the Kendal Chronicle, as they hope will best answer their purpose. At least such is their practise in respect to this neighbourhood; for I have ascertained, that the Paper containing that infamous letter signed, Birch,1 has been sent to different persons of the Lowther Party.—This is a vile course. Two rules we ought to lay down; never to retort by attacking private character; and never to notice the particulars of a personal calumny; or any allegation of a personal nature proceeding from an anonymous quarter. We ought to content ourselves with protesting in the strongest terms against the practise, and pointing it out to indignation and contempt. What the Editor of the Gazette said in his last number upon this subject was not quite what I wished and we agreed upon,2 but I hope it would do no harm.—There appear to be two weak points in the St Bees case; 1st a Trustee is Tenant of a Trust Estate; and 2ndly, a benefit might be derived from the Lease, by the power it gives of excluding others, though it might not be for the interest of the Party to work in the ground, himself. I mean to go over to Lowther shortly, when I shall probably see Dr Satterthwaite—in the meanwhile, use may be made of the Letter to Sir Wm Scott, and I shall take it to De Quincey, today.—

pg 490As to the enlarging of my District1 in which you are so good as to take interest, it is of no consequence, except in connection with the age of Mr Ramshay and the precarious state of his health. Should his death take place, and the enlargement not be made then, it would be unpleasant that it should happen afterwards at the expense of his Successor, unless he entered upon his office prepared for such a diminution of his prospects.—

I have lately had some disagreeable correspondence with the Board of Stamps, upon a representation from the Treasury respecting certain arrears in my Account,—unavoidable from the nature of our Currency, which, about Penrith and Appleby, particularly, consists almost exclusively of Scotch Notes for which no Banker will give Bills at less than six weeks or two months Rate. This I have frequently explained to the Commissioners; and have been much plagued about it; for the case admits of no remedy; for they cannot be unreasonable as to expect that I should be the loser by discounting these Bills.

  • Ever Faithfully yours      
  • W. Wordsworth   

Mr Gee was highly gratified with his Sport, and his reception at Lowther Castle.—He is gone to try his fortune again, at Ravenstondale, taking with him Mr Monkhouse, a Relation of Mrs Wordsworth, and a particular friend of mine. Mr Monkhouse will be here, I hope, when you come. I have seen a good deal lately of Mr Stanley2 of Ponsonby; he improves upon familiar acquaintance.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3 A Letter to the Right Hon. Sir William Scott &c. &c., in answer to Mr Brougham's Letter to Sir Samuel Romilly, upon the Abuse of Charities, and Ministerial Patronage in the Appointments under the Late Act, dated 1 Oct. 1818. Sir William Scott, Lord Stowell (1745–1836), ecclesiastical lawyer, judge, and friend of Dr. Johnson, was M.P. for Oxford University, 1801–21.
Editor’s Note
4 An editorial in the Kendal Chronicle for 26 Sept. accused Lord Lonsdale of retaining at a ridiculously low rent certain coal-mining rights at St. Bees which Sir James Lowther, in his capacity as Trustee, had granted to himself in 1742. It was alleged that Lord Lonsdale was being abetted in this dubious transaction by his fellow Trustees, who were mostly clergymen—like John Fleming and Dr. Satterthwaite—holding livings in his gift. In his editorial for 10 Oct., De Quincey promised to review the Letter to Sir William Scott the following week; but instead he published a sharp attack on the Kendal Chronicle.
Editor’s Note
2 In his editorial for 3 Oct., De Quincey had deplored Birch's campaign of abuse. 'It may be expected … that the Lowther party will not descend from their present vantage ground to an arena of this sort, in which the Brougham party are likely to have a natural superiority, and in which we know they have the advantage of practice and veteran experience. If the Lowther party on their side once relax their austerity of forbearance on this point, and shew a disposition to entertain charges such as those of Birch, even for the purpose (laudable under other circumstances) of finally repelling them,—there is an end at once to the grandeur of a high constitutional contest pursued upon constitutional principles. The struggle will thenceforward present a field of petty malice and jacobinical rancor: all the old women in the county, of scandalous research, will be summoned to evacuate the contents of their memories: juvenile delinquences will be disinterred from the archives of nurses and pedagogues: and the character of the contest and the deportment of the combatants will drive all men of sense and dignity from the field.' De Quincey concluded his remarks somewhat abruptly through shortage of space. His distance from the printing-office in Kendal was already proving inconvenient.
Editor’s Note
1 See L. 462 above. North Cumberland was eventually added to W. W.'s district in 1831.
Editor’s Note
2 Edward Stanley (1790–1863) of Dalegarth and Ponsonby Hall: M.P. for West Cumberland, 1832–52.
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