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movement given to the many. I see your novels advertised to-day. Could you ask Mr Hazlitt to review them in the Edinburgh Review. He is a very original thinker, and notwithstanding some singularities which appear to me faults, a very powerful writer. I say this, though I know he is no panegyrist of mine. His critique might serve all our purposes, and would, I doubt not, promote the interests of literature also.
“I shall receive the two books with much thankfulness, for, after much research, I have not yet traced the accounts of Kirke and Jefferies to the original witnesses.
“Can you tell me whether L'Estrange continued the 'Observator' during James II.'s reign?
“I am sorry to hear of Mrs Godwin's illness. Lady Mackintosh begs her kindest remembrances, and I am most truly yours,
In 1824 Mrs Shelley submitted to her father the MS. of a tragedy on which his opinion was unfavourable. The letter has in great degree lost value now, except one sentence of keen, far-reaching criticism, and another paragraph which shows that his own dramatic disappointments rankled still.
William Godwin to Mrs Shelley.
“ Feb. 27, 1824. ".... Is it not strange that so many people admire and relish Shakespeare, and that nobody writes, or even attempts to write like him? To read your specimens I should suppose that you had read no tragedies but such as have been written since the date of your birth. Your personages are mere abstractions, the lines and points of a Mathematical Diagram, and not men and women. If A crosses B, and C falls upon D, who can weep for that? ...
“For myself, I am almost glad that you have not (if you have not) a dramatic talent. How many mortifications and heart-aches would that entail on you. Managers to be consulted, players to be humoured, the best pieces that were ever written negatived and returned on the author's hands. If these are all got over, then you have to encounter the caprice of a noisy, insolent, and vulgar-minded audience, whose senseless non-fiat shall in a moment turn the labour of a year into nothing."
IN the four years, 1824-28, Godwin published his “History of the Commonwealth of England.” Once more his interest in his work had overpowered the paralysis of energy which so often attends the mere writing for bread, and the book produced is vigorous, able, and, on the whole, wonderfully correct. Subsequent historians have had access to documents which Godwin never saw, but in the last volume, wholly devoted to Cromwell's life, he has given a portrait of that great man which deserves to stand by the side of that which Mr Carlyle has painted for the world. No one before him had so fathomed the character of that extraordinary man, who, as his historian says, having had to struggle against all parties, religious and political, which divided England, succeeded in subduing them all, while he raised the power of the nation to a degree unknown before his day.
It was the last of his greater works. The “Thoughts on Man," published in 1830, were essays already lying by him, and written during many previous years, and which required but slight revision. They contain his mature convictions on religion and philosophy, but, like his posthumous volume edited for his representatives in 1870, the difficulties discussed are not our difficulties, still less are the solutions our solutions.
+ His last two novels, "Cloudesley” and “Deloraine," and "The Lives of the Necromancers,” call for slight mention. The great beauty of the English in which they are written is their chief merit, but they have no special interest now.
When engaged in the “History of the Commonwealth,” the applied to Sir Walter Scott for information on some points of Cromwell's rule in Scotland, and received the following valuable letter :
Sir Walter Scott to William Godwin.
“EDINBURGH, Nov. 22, 1824. “Dear Sir, I did not answer your letter of the 20th August, being prevented by something at the moment, and intending to do so whenever I should come to Edinburgh, for in the country I had little opportunity of procuring the information you wanted. I came here only on the 15th of this month, and since that time we have been visited by a succession of the most tremendous fires with which this city has ever been afflicted. A very large portion of the Old Town of Edinburgh, the dwelling of our ancestors, is at present a heap of ruins. Everybody was obliged to turn out; the young to work, the old to give countenance and advice, and to secure temporary refuge and support to upwards of 200 families turned naked in many instances into the street : and I had my share of labour and anxiety. We are now, I thank God, in quiet again. Our princely library (that of the Advocates'), worth commercially at least half a million, but in reality invaluable as containing such a mass of matter to be found nowhere else, escaped with the utmost difficulty, and in consequence only of the most strenuous exertions. This will, I am sure, be an apology for my not writing sooner what I now have to say.
“ Your letters are a little vague in respect to the precise nature of the information you require. In Thurlow's state papers you will find an accurate list of the Council of State by which Cromwell governed Scotland. But his well-disciplined army under Monk was the real force of his government, and they were exer
cised, as they would have termed it, by more than one insurrection, particularly that made first by Glencairn and afterwards by General Middleton, and by the constant though useless harassing man@uvres of the cavaliers and discontented Scottish, forming a kind of guerillas termed mosstroopers, who seem to have existed in all the wilder districts, and to have carried on a war rather of a harassing than an effectual character. A person named Nichol kept a large and copious diary of the events of the period, which I caused to be transcribed some years since. The transcriber, I am sorry to say, was rather careless, in fact, a person to whom I had given the book more out of consideration to his wants than to his competence. If this transcript could be useful to you, I will with pleasure give you the use of it, begging only you will take care of it. It is voluminous and contains much trash (as diaries usually do,) but there are some curious articles of information which occur nowhere else. Some of the Diurnals of the Day also contain curious minutiæ, but these you have in the Museum more complete than we. I picked up some weeks ago a contemporary account of the battles of Kilsyth and Philiphaugh. I am particularly interested in the last, as the scene lies near my abode and my own ancestor was engaged in it—at that time a keen covenanter. I am thinking of publishing, or rather printing, a few copies of these tracts, and, if you wish it, I will send you one. Brodie's Diary has also some interest, though stuffed with fanatical trumpery. The Lord, as he expresses himself, at length intimated to this staunch Presbyterian that he should, in conformity to the views of Providence for our Scottish Israel, embrace the cause of the Independent Cromwell, and he became one of our judges. His diary is very rare, but I have a copy, and could cause any extracts to be made which you want. I am not aware that our records could add much to the mass of information contained in Thurloe's collection, where there are many letters on the state of the country. The haughty and stubborn character of the Scottish people looked back on the period of Cromwell's domination with anger and humiliation, and they seem to have observed a sullen silence about its particular events. There is no period respecting which