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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
William Godwin to Mary Jane Godwin, 31 August 1819

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
Aug. 31, 1819.

. . . “I never was so deep in anything as I am now in Malthus, and it is curious to see how my spirits fluctuate accordingly. When I engage in a calculation, I cannot pursue it for an hour without being sick to the lowest ebb. I told you in my last that I have employed William and Rosser. I wrote to Booth for a calculation early on Tuesday last, entreating him to let me have it by the first post on Wednesday, that I might not be prevented from getting on. As usual, I heard nothing of him on Wednesday, nor till Thursday dinner, when he dropped in to my mutton. I was, therefore, miserable. On Friday I made an important discovery and I was happy. The weather has since changed, and you know how that affects me. I was nervous and peevish on Saturday to a degree that almost alarmed me. On Sunday I was in heaven. I think I
shall make a chapter expressly on the geometrical ratio that will delight my friends and astonish the foe. To-day I woke as usual between five and six, and my mind necessarily turned on my work. It was so fruitful that I felt compelled to come down stairs for pen and ink, which I made use of in bed. I invented what I believe are two fine passages, and minuted them down. But the consequence is, there my day’s work ends. I rose in a little fever.

“I did not intend to tell you all this, and I am afraid of your not reading it in the spirit of sympathy. But this way of life is my destination, and I must pursue it. I think it will preserve my faculties and lengthen my existence. But if it does exactly the contrary, I care not. What matters what becomes of this miserable carcase, if I can live for ever in true usefulness? And this must be the case in the present instance: for whatever becomes of my individual book, if I am right the system of Malthus can never rise again, and the world is delivered for ever from this accursed apology in favour of vice and misery, of hard-heartedness and oppression.

“Why, to borrow your own words, do I talk so much of myself? Because I have nothing else to think about?”