From this time Godwin became a notable figure in London society, and there was scarcely an important person in politics, on the Liberal side, in literature, art or science, who does not appear familiarly in the pages of Godwin's singular diary.
The second Mrs Godwin was energetic and painstaking, but a harsh stepmother; and it may be doubted whether the children were not worse off under her care than they would have been under Godwin's neglect.
The second novel which proceeded from Godwin's pen was called St Leon, and published in 1799.
The events of Godwin's life were few.
The last of the long series of young men who sat at Godwin's feet was Edward Lytton Bulwer, afterwards Lord Lytton, whose early romances were formed after those of Godwin, and who, in Eugene Aram, succeeded to the story as arranged, and the plan to a considerable extent sketched out, by Godwin, whose age and failing health prevented him from completing it.
Godwin's character appears in the worst light in connexion with Shelley.
Godwin's more important works are - The Inquiry concerning Political Justice, and its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness (1793); Things as they are, or the Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794); The Inquirer, a series of Essays (1797); Memoirs of the Author of the Rights of Woman (1798); St Leon, a Tale of the Sixteenth Century (1799); Antonio, a Tragedy (1800); The Life of Chaucer (1803); Fleetwood, a Novel (1805); Faulkner, a Tragedy (1807); Essay on Sepulchres (1809); Lives of Edward and John Philips, the Nephews of Milton (1815); Mandeville, a Tale of the Times of Cromwell (1817); Of Population, an answer to Malthus (1820); History of the Commonwealth (1824-1828); Cloudesley, a Novel (1830); Thoughts on Man, a series of Essays (1831); Lives of the Necromancers (1834).
Godwin's life was published in 1876 in two volumes, under the title William Godwin, his Friends and Contemporaries, by C. Kegan Paul.
The story is that the Abbot of St Augustine, Canterbury, diverted the funds by which the sea-wall protecting Earl Godwin's island was kept up, for the purpose of building Tenterden steeple, the consequence being that in 1099 an inundation took place and ."Tenterden steeple was the cause of the Goodwin Sands."