William Godwin's Diary


Godwin’s position as Office Keeper and Yeoman Usher of the Receipt of the Exchequer was among many sinecures abolished under the provisions of a Parliamentary Act which passed into law on this date. The Morning Chronicle reported the following day that, ‘the most ancient revenue department in the state, the Receipt of the Exchequer, with all its complicated machinery and checks – such as Auditor, Clerk of the Rolls, Tellers, Deputy Tellers, Examiners, andc., terminated last night, on the accounts of the last quarter being made up. The new establishment comes into practice this day … The Comptroller’s Department will, for the present, be carried out in the old building in New Palace yard.’

Godwin appealed to Melbourne, the new Prime Minister, for help but he only prevaricated. Ironically, Godwin’s escape only opened up when William IV threw the Whigs out of office the following month and invited Robert Peel to form a minority Tory administration. Godwin introduced himself to Peel as the author of Caleb Williams and St Leon and, in the ‘Treasury Letter’ recorded on 9 February, Peel assured Godwin that his position was safe.

See Locke, pp. 337-8 and Morning Chronicle, 11 October 1834.