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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 Hitherto unpublished.

  • Rydale Mount
  • April 25th 1819

My dear Lord Lowther,

Your Letter and the accompanying account of the Dinner1 were very acceptable. I should have thanked you for both, immediately, but I waited thinking something might occur in Westnd worth mentioning.—We are all very quiet; I have the satisfaction to say that the Lowther interest is greatly strengthening and consolidating itself in this neighbourhood, and elsewhere; so that unless the opposite Party are active in the East Ward (which your account of Lord Thanet's dispositions does not render probable) we may consider ourselves as gaining very considerably upon them. I cannot learn that more than eleven Blue Votes have been, or are likely to be made, about, and in Ambleside; I trust we shall shortly have upwards of 20.—It is evident from the dinner Speeches in London, that they are greatly discouraged. It is remarkable that not a word was said about the famous Association.2 Are they ashamed of the thing? Or has its Founder discovered the impolicy of his scheme?—It requires assuredly no small degree of confidence in Mr B. to talk so openly of other People's ill temper, he who managed his own so wretchedly through his exertions in Westnd.

Knowing young Graham's3 hostile dispositions, I was not chagrined to see him in open array.—His object is Cumberland. Is pg 537it not probable that he spoke on the late motion of Sir M. W. Ridley1 not without a hope of indirectly casting some disparagement on you for having filled the office of a junior Lord?—It is unparliamentary to impute discreditable motives; but I have heard enough of this Person to make me apprehend that he is not above the influence of such feelings.

I am truly glad that the Whigs are disappointed in the results of the Westminster Election, as a test of their popularity.2 But let me return a moment to the Westmorland Dinner. Much was said of Mr Hasell;3 the younger, I suppose, being the person meant. It is certainly to be regretted that two Lowthers were proposed; but that having been got over, it is to be hoped that some time will elapse before another election takes place; otherwise, you will probably agree with me, that it would look like an acknowledgement of inferiority, neither pleasant nor creditable if such a change should be made in the Persons while the principle continues the same. The county of Westnd is decidedly favorable to those measures of Government which the Lowther family have supported, and [as] long as they retain the same confidence in the Lowther family, the discerning part of the County will not complain of their influence, they will rather feel it a benefit to Westnd and to England at large.—As to young Hasell he is a very deserving Person, but could a Candidate equally eligible from this side of the County have been found, our cause would have derived much more support from such a one; in case a change is intended; which, I confess, I should be sorry for.

A word upon France—the principle of augmenting the number of Peers4 is probably good, but Europe and America will feel the pg 538selection of Persons operate as an injurious example to the latest period. It is a perfect whitewashing of vile tergiversations; again, what a reflection does it cast upon the proceedings adopted towards Ney1 and others. I pity poor Lewis. The Kendal Chronicle is delighted with these measures.

  • Ever yours most faithfully
  •                  Wm Wordsworth

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 The London Dinner of the Friends to the Independence of Westmorland was held on 13 Mar., with J. C. Curwen in the chair (see Kendal Chronicle for 20 Mar.). Brougham and William Crackanthorpe were among the speakers.
Editor’s Note
2 Brougham's Association for securing the Independence of Westmorland.
Editor’s Note
3 Right Hon. Sir James Robert Graham, 2nd Bart. (1792–1861), of Netherby. At this time Whig M.P. for Hull, he later represented Carlisle and then Cumberland, 1827–37. First Lord of the Admiralty, 1830–4, he was one of the four who prepared the first Reform Bill. He lost his seat in 1837 on going over to the Tories, but was Home Secretary under Peel in 1841.
Editor’s Note
1 Sir Matthew White Ridley, 3rd Bart. (1778–1836), of Heaton Hall, Northumberland: M.P. for Newcastle upon Tyne. On 18 Mar. he had moved a reduction in the number of junior Lords of the Admiralty, and Graham supported his proposal in the interests of economy.
Editor’s Note
3 i.e. Edward W. Hasell (1796–1872), son of Edward Hasell (1765–1825) of Dalemain, near Penrith. The latter was acknowledged leader of the Lowther party in his district, and had been mentioned as a possible candidate in the 1818 election before the adoption of both the Lowthers. In his speech at the Dinner, Graham had insinuated that they would not both be proposed again: 'They were now to have some undergrowth from the eavesdropping of Lowther Castle, some Hazle, some sapling, a hireling imposed upon the County of Westmorland as one of its Representatives.' An editorial in the Kendal Chronicle for 20 Mar. drew attention to rumours that one of the Lowthers would be withdrawing from Westmorland in order to stand for Cumberland.
Editor’s Note
4 Louis XVIII had recently decided on the creation of fifty-four new peers, which, with the recall of twenty-two more, who had been struck off the list by the ordinance of 24 July, 1815, would secure his ministers a majority in the Chamber of Peers. Some of the new peers were to be chosen from those who had distinguished themselves during the Revolution, and the Kendal Chronicle for 13 Mar. saw this as a blow to the ultra-Royalists.
Editor’s Note
1 Marshal Ney (1769–1815), the most distinguished of Napoleon's generals, had been made a peer at the first restoration of Louis XVIII; but he had renewed his allegiance to Napoleon during the Hundred Days, and after Waterloo he was arrested, court-martialled, and shot.
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