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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
William Godwin to John Knowles, 28 September 1826

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Sep. 28, 1826.

Dear Sir,—I am sorry to say that my recollections of Mr Fuseli are very imperfect. You knew much more of him in his latter years, and therefore, I doubt not, can recollect much more. I seldom saw him but in company, and consequently know much less of his systems of thinking and his habits. . . . The most remarkable thing that comes to my mind I had from my first wife, whom, by the way, I should wish, if you please, to be very slightly mentioned, or not at all. She told me that when he first came to England, his two deities were Homer and Rousseau. No other authors were worthy to be named with them. Homer retained his place to the last, but Rousseau, who was once placed on an equal column, was obliged, I suspect, afterwards to descend to a lower pedestal.

“You know, no doubt, his strange book on the character and writings of Rousseau, wild, scarcely English, and scarcely common-sense, yet with some striking things interspersed.

“He was the most frankly ingenuous and conceited man I ever knew. He could not bear to be eclipsed or put in the back-ground for a moment. He scorned to be less than highest. He was an excellent hater; he hated a dull fellow, as men of wit and talents naturally do; and he hated a brilliant man, because he could not bear a brother near the throne. He once dined at my house with Curran, Grattan, and two or three men of that stamp; and retiring suddenly to the drawing-room, told Mrs Godwin that he could not think why he was invited to meet such wretched company.” . . .