William Godwin's Diary


Trial for Damages 1819-02-02 Briefs delivered 1819-03-01 Special 1819-03-02 Trial in ejectment 1819-10-18 Nonsuit in Ejectment 1821-10-24 Hawkins, nonsuit 1821-12-08 Trial in Ejectment 1822-04-16 Judgment signed 1822-04-30 Trial for Damages 1822-12-23 Trial for Use and Occupation 1825-02-22

A Mr Read, Godwin’s landlord for 41 Skinner Street, sued for damages arising from unpaid rent: Godwin had paid only two quarters’ rent in 1807, after which the ownership of the building became unclear, and it was not until August 1817 that Read established his title to the building and began to press Godwin for unpaid rent. The verdict on this case, and on the case for repossession on 2 March 1819, are unknown, but Godwin remained at Skinner Street until 4 May 1822. The final trial for ejectment was on 16 April 1822, and the judgment was signed and further leave for appeal denied on 30 April 1822. Godwin had to leave the premises, but Read also took out a writ to impound Godwin’s property to the value of £135 to cover his legal costs. The family moved, having provided stock to the value of the writ. The bookshop re-opened in the Strand. Read, however, continued to pursue Godwin for the arrears of the rent on Skinner Street and was awarded damages against Godwin in December 1822. A final settlement between Read and Godwin was agreed in November 1823, but Godwin was unable to pay the second instalment and a final trial arising from the arrangement in February 1825 pushed Godwin into bankruptcy, bringing to its end the bookshop and the Juvenile Library.

See Locke, pp. 297-312, for the fullest biographical treatment of this aspect of Godwin’s affairs..