7 June 1796 (1)
William Godwin to Mary Hays, [7 June 1796, afternoon].1
Why ask me to write a review, who almost constantly refuse to write a letter? “It would be useful?” No, madam, that is no sufficient reason. I must not only do things useful, but out of various utilities select the best.
I should say, there are so many excellencies in your book, as to prove that you could do well. I should remonstrate against the servile imitation he has so glaringly practised towards two different works. I should present him with a terrific selection of the gibberish with which the work abounds; & earnestly press it upon him, that the man who would write, must write a human language, observe its proprieties, & even cultivate its delicacies.
But why should you say these things, if you do not think them?
1 MS G 0320, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 462; Clemit, Letters 1.170.