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William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt and Alan G. Hill (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 4: The Later Years: Part I: 1821–1828 (Second Revised Edition)

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pg 604336. W. W. to FRANCIS MEREWETHER

  • Address: The Revd F. Merewether, Rectory, Coleorton, Ashby de la Zouch.
  • [In M. W.'s hand]
  • Postmark: 5 May.
  • Stamp: Cambridge.
  • MS. Cornell.
  • LY i. 299 (—).

  • [Cambridge]
  • May 5th [1828]

My dear Sir,

My Brother who is now closeted with the Proctor, has begged of me to answer a Letter of yours, received this morning. Be assured I should undertake this office with great1 reluctance (knowing how much more satisfactory a reply from himself would and ought to be) could I not honestly affirm that his time is occupied from morning to Night.—In fact since my coming here I have never seen him scarcely but at meals, and not a moment has his mind been2 at liberty. He has had his Accounts to make up as Vice chancellor, the University has been disorderly, three men having been recently expelled, and his Icon, is going rapidly through the Press.3—You will excuse me then, for not scrupling to comply with his request.—He says, that as a prudential measure, the Letter4 had better not be published, with your name, at least. Your Diocesan5 is obviously committed upon the question, prominently so indeed, and in consequence he might be less disposed to serve you.—This you would disregard and it would be right, he says, to do so, if you have it as a burthen upon your conscience, but it is his opinion that you alone can decide this point; and he repeats upon this occasion the same judgement that he gave before. Personal prudence is against it; and the rest must be determined by your own mind———

I hope you will not consider it impertin[ence] in me; if upon the supposition that you cannot be at ease without communic[ating] your thoughts upon this important subject, you take a middle course; and publish them anonymously through the best channel for spread- pg 605ing them that you have access to—. I have said 'if your mind cannot be at ease', because it is obvious the measure is not to be prevented by any thing you or any body else can write or do—Upon the importance of the question, in the abstract, there can be but one opinion, but as the course of things cannot be stopped, nor what is done recalled, does not this diminish the urgency for its being treated at the present moment; and would not a more dispassionate hearing be given to sound argument hereafter?———

When you see John tell him we go on the 10th to London, proposing to stay till the end of month; when, or before, his Mother will certainly join him.

Be so good as to say also, that I can not see any necessity for his Aunt taking the journey at present; and I have endeavoured to dissuade her from it; thinking it better that she should defer her journey to the Autumn, as his Mother will be with [?],1 as will probably his Sister and myself, who will follow if we do not accompany his Mother to Whitwick—I remain, my dear Sir, with kindest remembrances, from all here, to Mrs Merewether and yourself—very faithfully yours

W. Wordsworth

Pray give my regards to Mr Drummond.2

[M. W. writes]

My dear Mrs M,

I am tempted to appropriate this blank space of your husband's letter to thank you for your kindness to John, and to express the pleasure I promise to myself in the prospect of seeing you so soon—which (whether my Sister goes to Whitwick, or, according to her Brother's recommendation defers her visit till the autumn) I trust will not be later than the end of the month. I pray that we may find Mr M. better than late letters have reported of him, and that you and the young ones are well. If the coach from Leicester does not pass you every day pray desire John to mention it, and unless he writes in time for his letter to reach Cambridge on or before Saturday tell him to direct to us 12 Bryanston St. Portman Sq.3 We have had much pleasure in finding Dr W. greatly improved in health, tho' harrassed by business. The young men are every thing their Father could wish, and so affectionate to us as to render our pg 606stay at Cambridge quite delightful. If Lady B. and Mrs Willes have arrived at the Hall pray give my best remembrances to them. Very sincerely yours,

M. Wordsworth

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 Written greatly.
Editor’s Note
2 Written being.
Editor’s Note
3 i.e. C. W.'s answer to the various objections put forward to his original pamphlet. See L. 151 above.
Editor’s Note
4 Merewether was apparently proposing to publish a pamphlet against the recent repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts: in the end he seems to have abandoned the plan, probably as a result of W. W.'s advice in this letter.
Editor’s Note
5 i.e. Dr. John Kaye, the Bishop of Lincoln, who had supported the repeal in a speech on the Report stage of the Bill in the House of Lords on 25 Apr., on the ground that it threatened none of the spiritual doctrines or prerogatives of the Church of England, and who finally voted in favour of it.
Editor’s Note
1 MS. obscure.
Editor’s Note
2 Mr. Merewether's new curate, the Revd. Robert Drummond (1804–83), a grandson of the 4th Duke of Atholl, who until recently had been at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was vicar of Feering, Essex, 1829–66.
Editor’s Note
3 E.Q.'s London residence.
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