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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
William Godwin to Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 10 September 1801

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Polygon, Somers Town, Sept. 10, 1801.

Dear Sir,—I enclose to you the copy of an Historical Tragedy, entitled ‘Abbas, King of Persia.’ You will immediately perceive the necessity, if you should think it might be of use to your Theatre, and the justice to me on every supposition, which require the not publishing my name.

“I need not tell you, after the approbation you were pleased to express of my last piece when put into your hands, that I suffered a very severe disappointment in the total miscarriage and defeat it sustained. My first impulse, however, upon that event was to sit down and write another, in which I should carefully avoid all the errors, which contributed, with certain external causes, to decide the fate of my piece of last year. The present performance is not so complete as I could wish: it is too long, but such as it is, it will be easy to perceive whether it is radically what it ought to be; and I really want encouragement to make those lesser improvements which, with encouragement, I could effect with great expedition.

“I cheerfully commit the piece to your disposal. What I most earnestly request is, that I may not be exposed to unnecessary delays and uncertainty. After the misfortune I have sustained, I know enough of the generosity of your nature to be confident that you
would, with the utmost promptness, embrace any opportunity of indemnifying and reinstating me.

“I would not have troubled you personally on this occasion, but for the sort of dilemma into which some statements of last year from Mr Kemble have thrown me. He said that he had no concern with the reading and accepting of pieces, but that they were entirely referred to two nameless gentlemen (two men in buckram) who perused and decided. How was I to conduct myself in this case? Were these unknown gentlemen to be the depositaries of the secret I deem it necessary to preserve? I think it too much that my tragedy should come before them absolutely fatherless, as a mere waif or a stray, and to be exposed to the same inattention as, perhaps, five hundred others. I think myself entitled to the casual advantage which may arise from my being the author of one or two well known novels and other pieces, not that I desire by this means in the least to influence their judgment, but to rouse their perspicacity and excite their attention.—I am dear sir, with the highest regard, yours,

W. Godwin.”