9 APRIL 1836, Page 7


[From the Morning chronicle.] Our obituary contains the death of the celebrated William Godwin, in the eighty-first year of his age. Mr. Godwin was neatly fifty years before the public as a writer. His celebrated work on Political Justice attracted more attention, perhaps, than any publication of the time. The author possessed one of the finest requisites of a great writer—he addressed himself to his reader in an earnest and impressive manner. Whatever may be thought of Mr. Godwin's philosophy, it will be universally admitted that he presented it in a most attractive form. Malthus' celebrated work on Population, which first appeared in one octavo, was written for the express purpose of refuting the ideas of human perfectibility advocated by Mr. Godwin, by showing, that from the tendency of population to increase beyond food, vice was a necessary part of the economy of the world. All the errors of the book of Malthus may be traced, we think, to its controversial origin,

Mr. Godwin attempted most walks of literature, and in several he excelled. As an essayist, his Enquirer will always give him a claim to a high place. Ills observations on style, pursued through several essays, are peculiarly serviceable to the young. He also attempted tragedy, but we believe his only effort was not successful.

As a novelist, Caleb Williams will always entitle him to the first rank. Who ever took up that interesting work without being glued to it till the close ? Mr. Godwin having been a warm admirer of the French Revolution, suffered not a little from the obloquy cast on all who shared his views. When Sir James Mackintosh delivered his Lincoln's Inn Lectures, Mr. Godwin was one of his hearers ; and we believe he was not a little surprised to find that no small portion of the labours of Sir James was devoted to the refutation of the heresies of his former associate. Having entered into business as a bookseller, Mr. Godwin wrote a number of works on Education, which were published under the name of Baldwin (the disguise being necessary from the obloquy to which we have alluded), and obtained very extensive circulation. Mr. Godwin retained his health and faculties till within a short time of his death. Ile was a successful author of novels when turned of seventy years of age. He was rather under the middle size, compactly built ; and we have always understood, was, during his whole life, almost a stranger to disease. The small place under the Government, which he received during the Grey Administration, was considered a well-deserved reward.

Mr. Godwin was, we believe, the last of the Revolutionary school of writers of any note.