358. To Wiftiam Godwin Address: Mr Godwin | Polygon | Sommers' Town | London MS. Lord Abinger. Pub. with omis. William Godwin, ii. 11. Postmark: 16 October 1800. Stamped: Keswick. Monday, Oct. 13, 1800 Dear Godwin I have been myself too frequently a grievous Delinquent in the article of Letter-writing to feel any inclination to reproach my friends when peradventure they have been long silent. But, this out of the question, I did not expect a speedier answer: for I had anticipated the circumstances which you assign as the causes of your delay. -- An attempt to finish a poem of mine for insertion in the second Volume of the Lyrical Ballads has thrown me so fearfully back in my bread-and-beef occupations, that I shall scarcely be able to justify myself in putting you to the expence of the few lines, which I may be able to scrawl in the present paper -- but some points in your letter interested me deeply -- & I wished to tell you so. -- First then, you know Kemble, & I do not. But my conjectural Judgements concerning his character lead me to persuade an absolute passive obedience to his opinions -- and this too, because I would leave to every man his own Trade. Your Trade has been in the present Instance, 1st to furnish a wise pleasure to your fellowbeings in general, & 2ndly to give to Mr Kemble and his associates the means of themselves delighting that part of your fellow-beings assembled in a Theatre. As to what relates to the first point, I should be sorry indeed if greater Men than Mr Kemble could induce you to alter a 'but' to a 'yet', contrary to your own convictions -above all things, an Author ought to be sincere to the public, and when William Godwin stands in the title page, it is implied, that W. G. approves that which follows. Besides, the mind & finer feelings are blunted by such obsequiousness. -- But in the Theatre it is Godwin & Co ex professo. -- I should regard it in almost the same light as if I had written a song for Haydn to compose, & Mara 1 to sing -- I know indeed what is poetry, but I do not know so ____________________ 1 Franz Joseph Haydn ( 1782-1809), the Austrian composer, and Mrs. Gertrude Elizabeth Mara ( 1749-1833), the singer. -635- well as he & she, what will suit his notes & her voice. That actors & managers are often wrong, is true; but still their Trade is their Trade, & the presumption is in favor of their being right ----- For the Press, I should wish you to be solicitously nice; because you are to exhibit before a larger & more respectable Multitude, than a Theatre presents to you, & in a new part -- that of a Poet employing his philosophic knowlege practically. If it be possible, come therefore, and let us discuss every page & every line. The Time depends, of course, on the day fixed for the representation of the Piece. -- Now for something which I would fain believe, is still more important, namely, the propriety of your future philosophical Speculations. Your second objection derived from the present Ebb of opinion will be best answered by the fact, that Mackintosh & his Followers have the Flow. This is greatly in your favor -- for mankind are at present gross reasoners -- they reason in a perpetual antithesis. Mackintosh is an oracle, & Godwin therefore a Fool. -Now it is morally impossible that Mackintosh & the Sophists of his School can retain this opinion -- you may well exclaim with Job, O that my Adversary would write a Book -- when he publishes, depend on it, it will be all over with him & then the minds of men will incline strongly in favor of those who would point out in intellectual perceptions a source of moral progressiveness. Every man in his heart is in favor of your general principles ----- A party of dough-baked Democrats of Fortune were weary of being dissevered from their Fellow Rich men -- they want to say something in defence of turning round --: Mackintosh puts that something in their mouths-and for a while they will admire & bepraise him. In a little while these men will have fallen back into the ranks from which they had stepped out / and life is too melancholy a thing to men in general for the doctrine of iinprogressiveness to remain popular. Men cannot long retain their Faith in the Heaven above the blue sky -- but a Heaven they will have -- & he who reasons best on the side of that universal Wish will be [the] most popular philosopher. -- As to your first objection, that you are no logician, let me say, that your habits are analytic; but that you have not read enough of Travels, Voyages, & Biography -- especially, of Men's Lives of themselves -- & you have too soon submitted your notions to other men's censures in conversation. A man should nurse his opinions in privacy & self-fondness for a long time -- and seek for sympathy & love, not for detection or censure --. Dismiss, my dear fellow I your theory of Collision of Ideas, & take up that of mutual Propulsions. -- I wish to write more -- to state to you a lucrative Job, which would I think be eminently serviceable to your own mind, & which you would have every opportunity of -636- doing here -- I now express a serious wish that you would come & look out for a house. Did Stuart remit you log on my account? S. T. Coleridge I would gladly write any Verses, but to a Prologue or Epilogue I am absolutely incompetent. What did you mean by -- Alfred?