Granted the manor to Ilbert de Laci, of whom the Saxon tenant Godwin was holding as underlord at the time of the Domesday Survey.
But the speculation was unsuccessful, and for many years Godwin struggled with constant pecuniary difficulties, for which more than one subscription was raised by the leaders of the Liberal party and by literary men.
For forty-eight years, beginning in 1788, and continuing to the very end of his life, Godwin kept a record of every day, of the work he did, the books he read, the friends he saw.
The most remarkable of these was Percy Bysshe Shelley, who in the glowing dawn of his genius turned to Godwin as his teacher and guide.
So logical and uncompromising a thinker as Godwin could not go far in the discussion of abstract questions without exciting the most lively opposition in matters of detailed opinion.
In 1797, the intervening years having been spent in strenuous literary labour, Godwin married Mary Wollstonecraft (see Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft).
His early correspondence with Shelley, which began in 1811, is remarkable for its genuine good sense and kindness; but when Shelley carried out the principles of the author of Political Justice in eloping with Mary Godwin, Godwin assumed a hostile attitude that would have been unjustifiable in a man of ordinary views, and was ridiculous in the light of his professions.
Of more importance than these, or than the Royal Magazine (1759-1771) was the Monthly Magazine (1796-1843), with which Priestley and Godwin were originally connected.
Hence, while Godwin thoroughly approved of the philosophic schemes of the precursors of the Revolution, he was as far removed as Burke himself from agreeing with the way in which they were carried out.
The father died young, and never inspired love or much regret in his son; but in spite of wide differences of opinion, tender affection always subsisted between William Godwin and his mother, until her death at an advanced age.