February 16 1816: Italian Designs

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On February 16 1816, Percy Shelley writes to William Godwin to provide some news on his financial settlement. He also mentions his plans to settle in Italy. 

(London)

6 GARDEN COURT, TEMPLE [LONDON],* Friday night, February 16, 1816.

In the course of a few weeks I shall certainly leave the neighbourhood of London, and possibly even execute my design of settling in Italy. I have felt it necessary to decide on some such measure in consequence of an event which I fear will make even a more calamitous change in your prospects.

It is the opinion of the lawyers that my father ought not to complete the intended affair with me and that he cannot arrange any other. If you do not feel it necessary to explain with me in person on this subject, I can state the detail in a letter. Such, however, is the bare fact. The impossibility of effecting anything by post-obit or sale of reversion has been already adverted to by me. I am far from retracting any engagement made for your benefit, but I cannot refrain from suspecting under these new circumstances how far I am justified, even by my sincere zeal for your interests, in signing the deed which, Hay ward informs me, is in progress. You will believe that I am the more disinterested in what I say when I inform you that my own difficulties suspended by the intended settlement now come upon me with tenfold weight, so that I have every prospect of wanting money for my domestic expenditure.

I intended to have left town at two o’clock to-morrow; I will not do so, if you wish to see me. In that latter case, send a letter by a porter to Mr. Hogg’s, of Garden Court, Temple, making your own appointment.

Yet I do not know that it is best for you to see me. On me it would inflict deep dejection. But I would not refuse anything which I can do, so that I may benefit a man whom, in spite of his wrongs to me, I respect and love.

Besides I shall certainly not delay to depart from the haunts of men. Your interests may suffer from your own fastidiousness; they shall not be injured by my wayward hopes and disappointments.

I shall write to you by Sunday’s post if I receive no answer to this letter.

Jane, l of course, is with you. She is uninformed as to the latest and most decisive particulars relating to the overthrow of my hopes.

P. B. SHELLEY.

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