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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. XI. 1798
Thomas Wedgwood to William Godwin, 6 January 1798

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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Penzance, Jan. 6, 1798.

“It is hardly necessary for me to inform you that the contents of your letter were highly agreeable to me. You are almost the only person whose judgment is valuable to me on speculative points, and on that account I feel continually the necessity of your sanction. On the subject of friendship, no person ought to think with so much charity of others or to speak with greater diffidence than myself. I was not satisfied with the propriety of my last letter, though, as it has happily led to an explanation agreeable to both of us, I cannot now repent of it. Perhaps I am incapable of friendship—my habits and disposition are certainly so unfavourable as to require a concurrence of fortunate circumstances for its birth and support. ‘Sickness,’ says Johnson, ‘makes scoundrels of us all,’ it impairs and destroys sympathy. But feebleness of constitution and spirits is not the only obstacle; I have to contend with a timidity of disposition which has long
harassed me inconceivably, and which in a thousand ways is obstructive to the growth of an entire and affectionate intimacy. . . .