William Godwin's Diary


Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin appears infrequently in the Diary, being noted when something out of the domestic run occurs. According to Marshall (p. 294), Godwin was advised to send her for sea air in the spring of 1811, which may account for the month at Margate she had with Mary Jane Godwin. Marshall also notes that, in part due to tensions with her step-mother, she was sent to the family of William Baxter in Dundee with whom she stayed for two years. Muriel Spark’s biography has it that she left on 7 June 1812 and returned in May 1814. However, it seems clear that this was not an uninterrupted period of two years. On 10 November 1812 Mary and Christie Baxter breakfast and on 8 December 1812, for example, Godwin notes that he dines at Lamb’s with Mary Jane Godwin, Amelia Curran, Mary and CB (Christie Baxter). Mary continues to appear in the Diary until the summer of 1813 and Godwin also notes her departure with Christie Baxter on 3 June 1813.