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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Charles Clairmont to Thomas Turner, [May 1811]

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
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[Ramsgate, May, 1811.]

“I think I will not pass a whole week in the country, doing nothing but sauntering about the fields. I am quite delighted with Ramsgate. There are the most beautiful fields of barley, corn, and tares that you can imagine—high cliffs, and the sea, to a person who never saw it before. In short, it is a place calculated above all others to excite my attention to that subject which my mind has of late been so intent upon. I have determined (not that I
think myself the proper person to judge, but because I think it quite necessary as the first step) to put aside the Old and New Testaments, for I can do nothing with them unless I make up my mind to believe in prophecies, hobgoblins, witches, and so forth. Do not, however, think that I am going to do as
Patrickson did, and trouble myself no more about it. I am, I assure you, very much awed by it, and consider it a subject of the greatest importance, an everlasting something to be employed about—both a recreation from labour and occupation for the most industrious moments. . . . I am afraid that the idea of a God and of a future state is so deeply rooted in me that it holds me back, keeps me from thinking freely, and that I shall never be able to get over it. I hope, after I have read some book on the subject, that my ideas will be more clear, for I shall then have some foundation to work upon, and from which I shall gradually raise for myself a magnificent palace. Mr Godwin told me why he did not choose me to read Paine’s book, which I think is all very reasonable, for it would certainly have been improper for a young thinker to read a burlesque on the subject, and I believe would rather have tended to shock me than otherwise. I shall read it, however, after the book which is promised me.”