The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1838
by James Gillman
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There must come a time when the works of Coleridge will be fairly weighed against the agreeable time-killing publications of our day; works for which their frivolous authors have reaped an abundant harvest while this giant in literature gained scarcely a dwarf's portion. But Truth, though perhaps slowly, must finally prevail. Mr. Coleridge remarks, that for his own guidance he was greatly benefited by a resolve, which, in the antithetic and allowed quaintness of an adage or maxim he had been accustomed to word thus:

"until you 'understand a writer's ignorance', presume yourself 'ignorant of his understanding'."

This was for him a golden rule, and which, when he read the philosophical works of others, he applied most carefully to himself. If an unlearned individual takes up a book, and, on opening it, finds by certain characters that it is a book on Algebra, he modestly puts, it down with perhaps an equally modest observation. "I never learned the Mathematics, and am ignorant of them: they are not suited to my taste, and I do not require them." But if perchance, he should take up a philosophical work, this modesty is not exercised: though he does not comprehend it, he will not acknowledge the fact; he is piqued however, and not satisfied with a mere slighting observation, but often ends, as disappointed vanity usually does, in shallow abuse. The political, the critical, the philosophical views of Coleridge, were all grand, and from his philosophical views he never deviated; all fluctuating opinions rolled by him, not indeed unheeded, but observed with sympathy and with regret, when not founded on those permanent principles which were to benefit and give good government to man.

Coleridge, it is well known, was no adept in matters of business, and so little skilled in ephemeral literature as not to be able to profit by any weekly publication. The first edition of The Friend was published weekly, on paper with the government stamp, and that reached, as before related, its twenty-seventh number.

Such a work was not suited to his genius: in fact, no periodical which required rapid writing on slight amusing subjects, with punctuality in publication, which demanded steadiness of health, and the absence of those sedative causes arising, in part, from his benevolent heart and sensitive nature, ever would have suited him. To write like a novelist—to charm ennui—is that which is required of a modern author who expects pecuniary recompense. Although he needed such recompense, the character of his genius unfitted him for the attainment of it; and had he continued the work, the expenditure would have ended in still greater pecuniary loss. One of his last political essays is that taken from the Morning Post, of March 19, 1800, on the character of Pitt. [12] These Essays were soon forgotten, though this, at the time, was much read and admired as part of the history of the man and his political feelings. It was the effect which Buonaparte believed to have been produced by these on the public mind that tempted him to try to incarcerate Coleridge. Some time after, Otto, the French ambassador at our Court, was ready with a bribe, in the hope to obtain from Coleridge a complimentary essay to his sovereign. The offer of the bribe would have deterred him from writing any more on the subject. Had he been willing to sell himself—to write a flattering character of the great hero—to raise that hero in the estimation of Europe, he would have been amply recompensed.

In his 'Biographia Literaria,' he says,

"But I do derive a gratification from the knowledge, that my essays have contributed to introduce the practice of placing the questions and events of the day in a moral point of view, in giving dignity to particular measures by tracing their policy or impolicy to permanent principles, and an interest to principles by the application of them to individual measures. In Mr. Burke's writings, indeed, the germs of almost all political truths may be found. But I dare assume to myself the merit of having first explicitly defined and analysed the nature of Jacobinism; and that in distinguishing the jacobin from the republican, the democrat and the mere demagogue, I both rescued the word from remaining a mere term of abuse, and put on their guard many honest minds, who even in their heat of zeal against jacobinism, admitted or supported principles from which the worst part of that system may be legitimately deduced."

With this view the following Essays and Observations have been republished here,—as illustrative of his early opinions to be compared with those of his more advanced life,—to shew the injustice of his political opponents, who never seemed to have troubled themselves about principle,—and the necessary growth of intellectual power giving deeper insight, with the additional value of experience and its consequences.


From the Morning Post, March 19, 1800.

"Plutarch, in his comparative biography of Rome and Greece, has generally chosen for each pair of lives the two contemporaries who most nearly resembled each other. His work would perhaps have been more interesting, if he had adopted the contrary arrangement, and selected those rather who had attained to the possession of similar influence, or similar fame, by means, actions, and talents the most dissimilar. For power is the sole object of philosophical attention in man, as in inanimate nature; and in the one equally as in the other, we understand it more intimately, the more diverse the circumstances are with which we have observed it co-exist. In our days, the two persons who appear to have influenced the interests and actions of men the most deeply, and the most diffusively, are beyond doubt the Chief Consul of France and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and in these two are prerented to us similar situations, with the greatest dissimilitude of characters.

William Pitt was the younger son of Lord Chatham; a fact of no ordinary importance in the solution of his character, of no mean significance in the heraldry of morals and intellect. His father's rank, fame, political connections, and parental ambition, were his mould; he was cast, rather than grew.

A palpable election, a conscious predestination controlled the free agency, and transfigured the individuality of his mind; and that, which he 'might have been', was compered into that, which he 'was to be'. From his early childhood it was his father's custom to make him stand up on a chair, and declaim before a large company; by which exercise, practised so frequently, and continued for so many years, he acquired a premature and unnatural dexterity in the combination of words, which must of necessity have diverted his attention from present objects, obscured his impressions, and deadened his genuine feelings. Not the 'thing' on which he was speaking, but the praises to be gained, were present to his intuition; hence he associated all the operations of his faculties with words, and his pleasures with the surprise excited by them.

But an inconceivably large portion of human knowledge and human power is involved in the science and management of 'words'; and an education of words, though it destroys genius, will often create, and always foster, talent. The young Pitt was conspicuous far beyond his fellows, both at school and at college. He was always full grown: he had neither the promise nor the awkwardness of a growing intellect. Vanity, early satiated, formed and elevated itself into a love of power; and in losing this colloquial vanity, he lost one of the prime links that connect the individual with the species, too early for the affections, though not too early for the understanding. At college he was a severe student; his mind was founded and elemented in words and generalities, and these two formed all the superstructure. That revelry and that debauchery, which are so often fatal to the powers of intellect, would probably have been serviceable to him; they would have given him a closer communion with realities, they would have induced a greater presentness to present objects. But Mr. Pitt's conduct was correct, unimpressibly correct. His after-discipline in the special pleader's office, and at the bar, carried on the scheme of his education with unbroken uniformity. His first political connections were with the reformers; but those who accuse him of sympathising or coalescing with their intemperate or visionary plans, misunderstand his character, and are ignorant of the historical facts.

Imaginary situations in an imaginary state of things rise up in minds that possess a power and facility in combining images. Mr. Pitt's ambition was conversant with old situations in the old state of things, which furnish nothing to the imagination, though much to the wishes. In his endeavours to realise his father's plan of reform, he was probably as sincere as a being, who had derived so little knowledge from actual impressions, could be. But his sincerity had no living root of affection; while it was propped up by his love of praise and immediate power, so long it stood erect and no longer. He became a member of the Parliament, supported the popular opinions, and in a few years, by the influence of the popular party, was placed in the high and awful rank in which he now is. The fortunes of his country, we had almost said the fates of the world, were placed in his wardship—we sink in prostration before the inscrutable dispensations of Providence, when we reflect in whose wardship the fates of the world were placed!

The influencer of his country and of his species was a young man, the creature of another's predetermination, sheltered and weather-fended from all the elements of experience; a young man, whose feet had never wandered; whose very eye had never turned to the right or to the left; whose whole track had been as curveless as the motion of a fascinated reptile! It was a young man, whose heart was solitary, because he had existed always amid objects of futurity, and whose imagination too was unpopulous, because those objects of hope to which his habitual wishes had transferred, and as it were 'projected', his existence, were all familiar and long-established objects! A plant sown and reared in a hot-house, for whom the very air, that surrounded him, had been regulated by the thermometer of previous purpose; to whom the light of nature had penetrated only through glasses and covers; who had had the sun without the breeze; whom no storm had shaken; on whom no rain had pattered; on whom the dews of Heaven had not fallen! A being who had had no feelings connected with man or nature, no spontaneous impulses, no unbiassed and desultory studies, no genuine science, nothing that constitutes individuality in intellect, nothing that teaches brotherhood in affection! Such was the man—such, and so denaturalized the spirit, on whose wisdom and philanthropy the lives and living enjoyments of so many millions of human beings were made unavoidably dependent.

From this time a real enlargement of mind became almost impossible. Pre-occupations, intrigue, the undue passion and anxiety, with which all facts must be surveyed; the crowd and confusion of those facts, none of them seen, but all communicated, and by that very circumstance, and by the necessity of perpetually classifying them, transmuted into words and generalities; pride; flattery; irritation; artificial power; these, and circumstances resembling these, necessarily render the heights of office barren heights; which command indeed a vast and extensive prospect, but attract so many clouds and vapours, that most often all prospect is precluded. Still, however, Mr. Pitt's situation, however inauspicious for his real being, was favourable to his fame. He heaped period on period; persuaded himself and the nation, that extemporaneous arrangement of sentences was eloquence; and that eloquence implied wisdom.

His father's struggles for freedom, and his own attempts, gave him an almost unexampled popularity; and his office necessarily associated with his name all the great events that happened during his administration. There were not however wanting men who saw through this delusion: and refusing to attribute the industry, integrity, and enterprising spirit of our merchants, the agricultural improvements of our landholders, the great inventions of our manufacturers, or the valour and skilfulness of our sailors, to the merits of a minister, they have continued to decide on his character from those acts and those merits, which belong to him, and to him alone. Judging him by this standard, they have been able to discover in him no one proof or symptom of a commanding genius. They have discovered him never controlling, never creating, events, but always yielding to them with rapid change, and sheltering himself from inconsistency by perpetual indefiniteness. In the Russian war, they saw him abandoning meanly what he had planned weakly, and threatened insolently. In the debates on the Regency, they detected the laxity of his constitutional principles, and received proofs that his eloquence consisted not in the ready application of a general system to particular questions, but in the facility of arguing for or against any question by specious generalities, without reference to any system. In these debates he combined what is most dangerous in democracy with all that is most degrading in the old superstitions of monarchy; and taught an inherency of the office in the person, in order to make the office itself a nullity, and the premiership, with its accompanying majority, the sole and permanent power of the state. And now came the French Revolution. This was a new event: the old routine of reasoning, the common trade of politics, were to become obsolete. He appeared wholly unprepared for it: half favouring, half condemning, ignorant of what he favoured, and why he condemned, he neither displayed the honest enthusiasm and fixed principle of Mr. Fox, nor the intimate acquaintance with the general nature of man, and the consequent 'prescience' of Mr. Burke.

After the declaration of war, long did he continue in the common cant of office, in declamation about the Scheld and Holland, and all the vulgar causes of common contests! and when at least the immense genius of his new supporter had beat him out of these 'words' (words signifying 'places' and 'dead objects', and signifying nothing more), he adopted other words in their places, other generalities—Atheism and Jacobinism—phrases, which he learnt from Mr. Burke, but without learning the philosophical definitions and involved consequences, with which that great man accompanied those words: Since the death of Mr. Burke the forms, and the sentiments, and the tone of the French have undergone many and important changes: how, indeed, is it possible that it should be otherwise, while man is the creature of experience! But still Mr. Pitt proceeds in an endless repetition of the same 'general phrases'. This is his element: deprive him of general and abstract phrases, and you reduce him to silence; but you cannot deprive him of them. Press him to specify an 'individual' fact of advantage to be derived from a war, and he answers, Security! Call upon him to particularize a crime, and he exclaims—Jacobinism! Abstractions defined by abstractions; generalities defined by generalities! As a minister of finance he is still, as ever, the words of abstractions. Figures, custom-house reports, imports and exports, commerce and revenue—all flourishing, all splendid! Never was such a prosperous country as England under his administration! Let it be objected, that the agriculture of the country is, by the overbalance of commerce, and by various and complex causes, in such a state, that the country hangs as a pensioner for bread on its neighbours, and a bad season uniformly threatens us with famine. This (it is replied) is owing to our PROSPERITY,—all 'prosperous' nations are in great distress for food!—Still PROSPERITY, still GENERAL PHRASES, unenforced by one single image, one 'single fact' of real national amelioration; of any one comfort enjoyed, where it was not before enjoyed; of any one class of society becoming healthier, or wiser, or happier. These are 'things', these are realities, and these Mr. Pitt has neither the imagination to body forth, or the sensibility to feel for. Once, indeed, in an evil hour, intriguing for popularity, he suffered himself to be persuaded to evince a talent for the real, the individual; and he brought in his POOR BILL!! When we hear the minister's talents for finance so loudly trumpeted, we turn involuntarily to his POOR BILL—to that acknowledged abortion—that unanswerable evidence of his ignorance respecting all the fundamental relations and actions of property, and of the social union!

As his reasonings, even so is his eloquence. One character pervades his whole being: words on words, finely arranged, and so dexterously consequent, that the whole bears the semblance of argument, and still keeps awake a sense of surprise; but when all is done, nothing rememberable has been said, no one philosophical remark, no one image, not even a pointed aphorism. Not a sentence of Mr. Pitt's has ever been quoted, or formed the favourite phrase of the day, a thing unexampled in any man of equal reputation; but while he speaks, the effect varies according to the character of his auditor. The man of no talent is swallowed up in surprise; and when the speech is ended, he remembers his feelings, but nothing distinct of that which produced them: (how opposite an effect to that of nature and genius, from whose works the idea still remains, when the feeling is passed away, remains to connect itself with the other feelings, and combine with new impressions!) The mere man of talent hears him with admiration; the mere man of genius with contempt; the philosopher neither admires nor contemns, but listens to him with a deep and solemn interest, tracing in the effects of his eloquence the power of words and phrases, and that peculiar constitution of human affairs in their present state, which so eminently favours this power.

Such appears to us to be the prime minister of Great Britain, whether we consider him as a statesman or an orator. The same character betrays itself in his private life; the same coldness to realities, to images of realities, and to all whose excellence relates to reality: he has patronized no science, he has raised no man of genius from obscurity, he counts no one prime work of God among his friends. From the same source, he has no attachment to female society, no fondness for children, no perceptions of beauty in natural scenery; but he is fond of convivial indulgences, of that stimulation, which, keeping up the glow of self-importance, and the sense of internal power, gives feelings without the mediation of ideas.

These are the elements of his mind; the accidents of his fortune, the circumstances that enabled such a mind to acquire and retain such a power, would form the subject of a philosophical history, and that too of no scanty size. We can scarcely furnish the chapter of contents to a work, which would comprise subjects so important and delicate as the causes of the diffusion and intensity of secret influence; the machinery and state intrigue of marriages; the overbalance of the commercial interest; the panic of property struck by the late revolution; the short-sightedness of the careful; the carelessness of the far-sighted; and all those many and various events which have given to a decorous profession of religion, and a seemliness of private morals, such an unwonted weight in the attainment and preservation of public power. We are unable to determine whether it be more consolatory or humiliating to human nature, that so many complexities of event, situation, character, age, and country, should be necessary in order to the production of a Mr. Pitt."

On the day following the editor promised the character of Buonaparte, but the surmise of a visit from the French minister, then at our court, was sufficient to put a stop to its publication; accordingly it 'never appeared'. Coleridge was requested by the proprietor and editor to report a speech of Pitt's, which at this time was expected to be one of great eclat.

Accordingly, early in the morning off Coleridge set, carrying with him his supplies for the campaign: those who are acquainted with the gallery of the house on a press night, when a man can scarcely find elbow room, will better understand how incompetent Coleridge was for such an undertaking; he, however, started by seven in the morning, but was exhausted long before night. Mr. Pitt, for the first quarter of an hour spoke fluently, and in his usual manner, and sufficiently to give a notion of his best style; this was followed by a repetition of words, and words only; he appeared to "talk against time," as the phrase is. Coleridge fell asleep, and listened occasionally only to the speeches [13] that followed. On his return, the proprietor being anxious for the report, Coleridge informed him of the result, and finding his anxiety great, immediately 'volunteered' a speech for Mr. Pitt, which he wrote off hand, and which answered the purpose exceedingly well: it is here presented. The following day, and for days after the publication, the proprietor received complimentary letters announcing the pleasure received at the report, and wishing to know who was the reporter. The secret was, however, kept, and the real author of the speech concealed; but one day Mr. Canning calling on business, made similar inquiries, and received the same answer. Canning replied, "It does more credit to the author's head than to his memory.

[14] The honourable gentleman calls upon ministers to state the object of the war in one sentence. I can state it in one word: it is Security. I can state it in one word, though it is not to be explained but in many. The object of the war is security: security against a danger, the greatest that ever threatened this country; the greatest that ever threatened mankind; a danger the more terrible, because it is unexampled and novel. It is a danger which has more than menaced the safety and independence of all nations; it is a danger which has attacked the property and peace of all individuals; a danger which Europe has strained all its sinews to repel; and which no nation has repelled so successfully as the British; because no nation has acted so energetically, so sincerely, so uniformly on the broad basis of principle; because no other nation has perceived with equal clearness and decision the necessity, not only of combating the evil abroad, but of stifling it at home; because no nation has breasted with so firm a constancy the tide of jacobinical power; because no nation has pierced with so steadfast an eye, through the disguises of jacobinical hypocrisy; but now, it seems, we are at once to remit our zeal and our suspicion; that Jacobinism, which alarmed us under the stumbling and drunken tyranny of Robespierre; that Jacobinism, which insulted and roused us under the short-sighted ambition of the five Directors; that Jacobinism, to which we have sworn enmity through every shifting of every bloody scene, through all those abhorred mockeries which have profaned the name of liberty to all the varieties of usurpation; to this Jacobinism we are now to reconcile ourselves, because all its arts and all its energies are united under one person, the child and the champion of Jacobinism, who has been reared in its principles, who has fought its battles, who has systematised its ambition, at once the fiercest instrument of its fanaticism, and the gaudiest puppet of its folly!

The honourable gentleman has discovered, that the danger of French power and French principles is at an end, because they are concentred, and because to uniformity of design is added an unity of direction; he has discovered that all the objects of French ambition are relinquished, because France has sacrificed even the 'appearances' of freedom to the best means of realising them; in short that now, for the first time, Jacobinism is not to be dreaded, because now, for the first time, it has superadded to itself the compactness of despotism. But the honourable gentleman presses hard, and requires me to be definite and explicit. What, says he, do you mean by destroying the power of Jacobinism? Will, you persevere in the war, until you have received evidence that it is extinct in this country, extinct in France, extinct in the mind of every man? No! I am not so shamefully ignorant of the laws that regulate the soul of man. The mind once tainted with Jacobinism can never be wholly free from the taint; I know no means of purification; when it does not break out on the surface, it still lurks in the vitals; no antidote can approach the subtlety of the venom, no length of quarantine secure us against the obstinacy of the pestilence.

Those who are now telling us, that all danger from revolutionary principles is now passed by, are yet endeavouring to call up again the very arguments which they used at the commencement of the war, in the youth and rampancy of Jacobinism; and repeat the same language, with which they then attempted to lull the nation into security, combined with the same acts of popular irritation. They are telling us, that ministers disregard peace; that they are prodigal of blood; insensible to the miseries, and enemies to the liberties of mankind; that the extinction of Jacobinism is their pretext, but that personal ambition is their motive; and that we have squandered two hundred millions on an object, unattainable were it desirable, and were it not unattainable, yet still to be deprecated. Sir, will men be governed by mere words without application? This country, Sir, will not. It knows that to this war it owes its prosperity, its constitution, whatever is fair or useful in public or domestic life, the majesty of her laws, the freedom of her worship, and the sacredness of our firesides. For these it has spent two hundred millions, for these it would spend two hundred millions more; and, should it be necessary, Sir, I doubt not that I could find those two hundred millions, and still preserve her resources unimpaired. The only way to make it not necessary is to avail ourselves of the hearty co-operation of our allies, and to secure and invigorate that co-operation by the firmness and vigour of our own conduct. The honourable gentleman then comes back upon me, and presses me upon the supposed dissonance between our views and those of our allies. But surely there may allowably exist in the minds of different men different means of arriving at the same security. This difference may, without breaking the ties of effective union, exist even in this house; how much more then in different kingdoms? The Emperor of Russia may have announced the restoration of monarchy, as exclusively his object. This is not considered as the ultimate object by this country, but as the best means and most reliable pledge of a higher object, viz. our own security, and that of Europe; but we do not confine ourselves to this, as the only possible means.

From this shade of difference we are required to infer the impossibility of cordial co-operation! But here the honourable gentleman falls into a strange contradiction. He affirms the restoration of monarchy an unjust object of the war, and refuses expressly and repeatedly to vote a single farthing on such a ground; and yet the supposed secession of Russia from the allied powers, the secession of that government, whose 'exclusive' object is the restoration of monarchy, is adduced by him as another and equal ground for his refusal. Had the Emperor of Russia persevered in directing his utmost forces to the attainment of that object, to which Austria will not pledge herself, and which the honourable gentleman considers as an unjust object, then the honourable gentleman would have been satisfied. But I will not press too hard on the honourable gentleman, or lay an undue weight on an inadvertence. I will deal most fairly with him if I did believe, which I do not, that Austria saw no advantages in the restoration of monarchy, yet still I would avail myself of her efforts, without changing my own object. Should the security of Britain and Europe result from the exertions of Austria, or be aided by her influence, I should think it my duty to advise his Majesty to lend the Emperor every financial assistance, however those exertions and that influence might spring from principles not in unison with our own.

If the honourable gentleman will tell me, that the object of Austria is to regain the Netherlands, and to reconquer all she may leave lost in Germany and Italy, so far from feeling this as a cause of distress, I feel it a ground of consolation, as giving us the strongest assurance of his sincerity, added to that right which we possess of believing Austria sincere, from our experience that Austria, above all, must know the insecurity of peace with Jacobins. This, Sir, would be a ground of consolation and confident hope; and though we should go farther than the Emperor of Germany, and stop short of Russia, still, however, we should all travel in the same road. Yet even were less justifiable objects to animate our ally, were ambition her inspiring motive, yet even on that ground I contend that her arms and victories would conduce to our security. If it tend to strip France of territory and influence, the aggrandisement of Austria is elevated by comparison into a blessing devoutly to be wished! The aggrandisement of Austria, founded on the ruins of Jacobinism, I contend, Sir, to be a truly British object. But, Sir, the honourable gentleman says, he thinks the war neither just nor necessary, and calls upon me, without the qualifying reservations and circuitous distinctions of a special pleader; in short, without BUTS or IFS, to state the real object; and affirms that in spite of these buts and ifs, the restoration of monarchy in France is the real and sole object of ministers, and that all else contained in the official notes are unmeaning words and distinctions fallacious, and perhaps meant to deceive. Is it, Sir, to be treated as a fallacious distinction, that the restoration of monarchy is not my sole or ultimate object; that my ultimate object is security, that I think no pledge for that security so unequivocal as the restoration of monarchy, and no means so natural and so effectual? 'but' if you can present any other mode, that mode I will adopt. I am unwilling to accept an inadequate security; but the nature of the security which it may be our interest to demand, must depend on the relative and comparative dangers of continuing the war, or concluding a peace. And 'if' the danger of the war should be greater than that of a peace, and 'if' you can shew to me that there is no chance of diminishing Jacobinism by the war, and 'if' you can evince that we are exhausting our means more than our enemies are exhausting theirs, then I am ready to conclude a peace without the restoration of monarchy.

These are the 'ifs' and the 'buts', which I shall continue to introduce, not the insidious and confounding subtleties of special pleading, but the just and necessary distinctions of intelligible prudence; I am conscious of sincere and honest intentions in the use of them, and I desire to be tried by no other than God and my country. But are we not weakening ourselves? Let any man calmly, and with the mind of an Englishman, look round on the state of our manufactures, our commerce, on all that forms and feeds the sources of national wealth, and to that man I can confidently leave the following questions to be answered. From the negotiations at Lisle to the present moment has England or France weakened itself in the greater degree? Whether, at the end of this campaign, France is not more likely to suffer the feebleness ensuing on exhausted finance than England?

If Jacobinism, enthroned in Buonaparte, should resist both the pressure of foreign attack, and its own inherent tendencies to self-destruction, whether it must not derive such power of resistance from the use of such revolutionary and convulsive efforts, as involve, and almost imply a consequent state of feebleness? And whether therefore, if any unexpected reverse of fortune should make it expedient or necessary for us to compromise with Jacobinism, it would not be better for us to compromise with it at the end of the campaign, than at present? And by parity of reasoning, whether it be not true (even on the supposition that Jacobinism is not to be routed, disarmed, and fettered); yet, that even on this supposition, the longer we defer a peace, the safer that peace will be!

Sir, we have been told that Jacobinism is extinct, or at least dying. We have been asked too, what we mean by Jacobinism? Sir, to employ arguments solely to the purposes of popular irritation is a branch of Jacobinism? It is with pain, Sir, that I have heard arguments manifestly of this tendency, and having heard them, I hear with redoubled suspicion of the assertions, that Jacobinism is extinct. By what softer name shall we characterise the attempts to connect the war by false facts and false reasoning with accidental scarcity? By what softer name shall we characterise appeals to the people on a subject which touches their feelings, and precludes their reasoning? It is this, Sir, which makes me say, that those whose eyes are now open to the horrors and absurdities of Jacobinism are nevertheless still influenced by their early partiality to it. A somewhat of the 'feeling' lurks behind, even when all the 'principle' has been sincerely abjured. If this be the case with mere spectators, who have but sympathised in the distance, and have caught disease only by 'looking on', how much more must this hold good of the actors? And with what increased caution and jealousy ought we not to listen to the affirmation, that Jacobinism is obsolete even in France? The honourable gentleman next charges me with an unbeseeming haughtiness of tone, in deeming that the House had pledged itself to the present measure by their late vote for the continuance of the war. This is not accurate. I did not deem the House pledged: I only assigned reasons of 'probability', that having voted for the continuance of war, they would deem themselves inconsistent if they refused assent to those measures by which the objects of the war were most likely to be realised. My argument was, not that the House had pledged itself to this measure directly, but only as far as they must perceive it to be a means of bringing the war to that conclusion to which they have pledged themselves: for unless gendemen will tell me, that though they cannot prevent votes in favour of the war, they will yet endeavour to palsy the arm of the country in the conduct of it; and though they cannot stifle the vast majority of suffrages to the plan, they will yet endeavour to way-lay it in its execution; unless the gentlemen will tell me so themselves, I will not impute it to them. (Here Mr. Pitt made a short reply to some observations of Mr. Bouverie in the early part of the debate, and then proceeded.) It was said of himself and friends (and often said) by a gentleman who does not now commonly honour us with his presence here, 'We are the minority who represent the opinions of the country.' In my opinion a state of universal suffrage, formal or virtual, in which, nevertheless, the few represent the many, is a true picture of Jacobinism. But, however this may be, if smallness of number is to become a mark and pledge of genuine representation, that gentleman's friends must acquire the representative character in a continual progression; for the party has been constantly decreasing in number, and both here and out of this House, they are at present fewer than they ever were before. But they vote for peace, and the people wish for peace; and therefore they represent the opinions of the people. The people wish for peace—so do I! But for what peace? Not for a peace that is made to-day and will be broken to-morrow! Not for a peace that is more insecure and hazardous than war. Why did I wish for peace at Lisle? Because war was then more hazardous than peace; because it was necessary to give to the people a palpable proof of the necessity of the war, in order to their cordial concurrence with that system of finance, without which the war could not be successfully carried on; because our allies were then but imperfectly lessoned by experience; and finally, because the state of parties then in France was less Jacobinical than at any time since that era. But will it follow that I was then insincere in negotiating for peace, when peace was less insecure, and war more hazardous; because now with decreased advantages of peace, and increased means of war, I advise against a peace? As to the other arguments, it is of less consequence to insist upon them, because the opposition implied in them holds not against this measure in particular, but against the general principle of carrying on the war with vigour. Much has been said of the defection of Russia, and every attempt made to deduce from this circumstance so misnamed causes of despair or diminished hope. It is true that Russia has withdrawn herself from confident co-operation with Austria, but she has not withdrawn herself from concert with this country. Has it never occurred, that France, compelled to make head against armies pressing on the whole of her frontiers, will be weakened and distracted in her efforts, by a moveable maritime force? What may be the ultimate extent of the Russian forces engaged in this diversion, we cannot be expected to know, cut off as we are from the continent, by the season and the weather. If the Russians, acting in maritime diversion on the coast of France, and increased by our own forces, should draw the French forces from Switzerland and Italy, it does not follow that the Russians may be greatly, and perhaps equally useful to the objects of the campaign, although they will cease to act on the eastern side of France. I do not pretend to know precisely the number and state of the French armies, but reason only on probabilities; and chiefly with the view of solving the honourable gentleman's difficulty, how the Russians can be useful, if not on the continent. It is unnecessary to occupy the time and attention of the House with a serious answer to objections, which it is indeed difficult to repeat with the same gravity with which they were originally stated.

It was affirmed, gravely affirmed, that L12,000,000 would be wanted for corn! I should be happy, if, in the present scarcity, corn could be procured from any, and all parts of the world, to one-third of that amount. It will not be by such arguments as these, that the country will be induced to cease a war for security, in order to procure corn for subsistence. I do object, that there is unfairness both in these arguments in themselves, and in the spirit which produces them. The war is now reviled as unjust and unnecessary; and in order to prove it so, appeals are made to circumstances of accidental scarcity from the visitation of the seasons. The fallacy of these reasonings is equal to their mischief. It is not true that you could procure corn more easily if peace were to be made to-morrow. If this war be unjust, it ought to be stopped on its own account; but if it be indeed a war of principle and of necessity, it were useless and abject to relinquish it from terrors like these. As well might a fortress, sure of being put to the sword, surrender for want of provision. But that man, Sir, does not act wisely, if, feeling like a good citizen, he use these arguments which favour the enemy. God forbid, that an opposition in opinion among ourselves should make us forget the high and absolute duty of opposition to the enemies of our country. Sir, in the present times, it is more than ever the bounden duty of every wise and good man to use more than ordinary caution in abstaining from all arguments that appeal to passions, not facts; above all, from arguments that tend to excite popular irritation on a subject and on an occasion, on which the people can with difficulty be reasoned with, but are irritated most easily. To speak incautiously on such subjects, is an offence of no venial order; but deliberately and wilfully to connect the words, war and scarcity, were infamous, a treachery to our country, and in a peculiar degree cruel to those whom alone it can delude, the lower uneducated classes. I will not enlarge upon that subject, but retire with a firm conviction that no new facts have occurred which can have altered the opinion of this House on the necessity of the war, or the suitableness of similar measures to the present to the effectual carrying of it on, and that the opinion of the House will not be altered but by experience and the evidence of facts."

The following paragraph is extracted from private memoranda, and was intended for publication ten years afterwards, in the Courier Newspaper, in which he wrote a series of Essays to Judge Fletcher, which were at that time acknowledged by the most able judges to be prophetic. But it must be remembered he never wrote for party purposes. His views were grounded on Platonic principles keeping the balance of the powers, and throwing his weight into the scale that needed assistance.


"Every brutal mob, assembled on some drunken St. Monday of faction, is 'the People' forsooth, and now each leprous ragamuffin, like a circle in geometry, is at once one and all, and calls his own brutal self 'us the People.' And who are the friends of the People? Not those who would wish to elevate each of them, or at least, the child who is to take his place in the flux of life and death, into something worthy of esteem, and capable of freedom, but those who flatter and infuriate them as they do. A contradiction in the very thought. For if really they are good and wise, virtuous and well-informed, how weak must be the motives of discontent to a truly moral being!—but if the contrary, and the motives for discontent proportionally strong, how without guilt and absurdity appeal to them as judges and arbiters! He alone is entitled to a share in the government of all, who has learnt to govern himself—there is but one possible ground of a right to freedom, viz. to understand and revere its duties."

As specimens of his political writings I select the following, and leave party men to criticise them—Coleridge being of no party, but guided, as will sufficiently appear to those who have read his works with attention, solely by philosophical principles, from which he never swerved. Nor did he desire the praise of men, merely because they were in power; still less that of the multitude. For this reason, I repeat, these fragments are given, as illustrative of Coleridge's political views, and to shew how easily the harmony of the constitutional balance may be disturbed by party zeal. His opinions were often misunderstood even sometimes by kindly-disposed individuals, when 'theirs' were not founded on certain data, because their principles were not derived from permanent sources. The doctrine of expediency was one he highly censured, and it had existed long enough to prove to him that it was worthless. What one set of well-intentioned men may effect, and which for a time may have produced good, another set of men by the same doctrine, 'i.e.' of expediency may effect, and then produce incalculable mischief, and, therefore, Coleridge thought there was neither guide nor safety, but in the permanent and uncontrovertible truths of the sacred writings, so that the extent of this utility will depend on faith in these truths, and with these truths, his name must 'live or perish'. But some part of Coleridge's writings requiring too much effort of thought to be at once thoroughly understood, may therefore have been found distasteful, and consequently have exposed his name to ridicule, in some cases even to contempt; but the application Coleridge has made of these truths to the duties and various circumstances of life will surely be found an inestimable blessing. They were truly his rock of support, and formed the basis of the building he was endeavouring to raise.

In the year 1807, he wrote those weekly Essays of the Friend, which were published about this time, and thus gave to the world some of his rich intellectual stores. The following letter, which he addressed to Mr. Cottle, will shew the progress of his mind from Socinian to Trinitarian belief at that period of his life:

"Bristol, 1807.


To pursue our last conversation. Christians expect no outward or sensible miracles from prayer. Its effects, and its fruitions are spiritual, and accompanied, says that true Divine, Archbishop Leighton, 'not by reasons and arguments but by an inexpressible kind of evidence, which they only know who have it.'

To this I would add, that even those who, like me I fear, have not attained it, may yet presume it. First, because reason itself, or rather mere human nature, in any dispassionate moment, feels the necessity of religion, but if this be not true there is no religion, no religation, or binding over again; nothing added to reason, and therefore Socinianism (misnamed Unitarianism) is not only not Christianity, it is not even 'religion', it does not religate; does not bind anew. The first outward and sensible result of prayer, is, a penitent resolution, joined with a consciousness of weakness in effecting it, yea even a dread, too well grounded, lest by breaking and falsifying it, the soul should add guilt to guilt; by the very means it has taken to escape from guilt; so pitiable is the state of unregenerate man.

Are you familiar with Leighton's Works? He resigned his archbishoprick, and retired to voluntary poverty on account of the persecution of the Presbyterians, saying, 'I should not dare to introduce Christianity itself with such cruelties, how much less for a surplice, and the name of a bishop.' If there could be an intermediate space between inspired, and uninspired writings, that space would be occupied by Leighton. No show of learning, no appearance, or ostentatious display of eloquence; and yet both may be shown in him, conspicuously and holily. There is in him something that must be felt, even as the scriptures must be felt. [15]

You ask me my views of the 'Trinity'. I accept the doctrine, not as deduced from human reason, in its grovelling capacity for comprehending spiritual things, but as the clear revelation of Scripture. But perhaps it may be said, the 'Socinians' do not admit this doctrine as being taught in the Bible. I know enough of their shifts and quibbles, with their dexterity at explaining away all they dislike, (and that is not a little) but though beguiled once by them, I happily, for my own peace of mind, escaped from their sophistries, and now, hesitate not to affirm, that Socinians would lose all character for honesty, if they were to explain their neighbour's will with the same latitude of interpretation, which they do the Scriptures.

I have in my head some floating ideas on the 'Logos', which I hope, hereafter, to mould into a consistent form; but it is a gross perversion of the truth, in 'Socinians', to declare that we believe in 'Three Gods', and they know it to be false. They might, with equal justice, affirm that we believe in 'three suns'. The meanest peasant, who has acquired the first rudiments of Christianity, would shrink back from a thought so monstrous. Still the Trinity has its difficulties. It would be strange if otherwise. A 'Revelation' that revealed nothing, not within the grasp of human reason!—no religation, no binding over again, as before said: but these difficulties are shadows, contrasted with the substantive, and insurmountable obstacles with which they contend who admit the 'Divine authority of Scripture', with the 'superlative excellence of Christ', and yet undertake to prove that these Scriptures teach, and that Christ taught, his own 'pure humanity!'

If Jesus Christ was merely a Man,—if he was not God as well as Man, be it considered, he could not have been even a 'good man'. There is no medium. The SAVIOUR 'in that case' was absolutely 'a deceiver!' one, transcendently 'unrighteous!' in advancing pretensions to miracles, by the 'Finger of God,' which he never performed; and by asserting claims, (as a man) in the most aggravated sense, blasphemous!

These consequences, Socinians, to be consistent, must allow, and which impious arrogation of Divinity in Christ, (according to their faith,) as well as his false assumption of a community of 'glory' with the Father, 'before the world was,' even they will be necessitated to admit, completely exonerated the Jews, according to their law, in crucifying one, who 'being a man,' 'made himself God!' But, in the Christian, rather than in the 'Socinian', or 'Pharisaic' view, all these objections vanish, and harmony succeeds to inexplicable confusion. If Socinians hesitate in ascribing 'unrighteousness' to Christ, the inevitable result of their principles, they tremble, as well they might, at their avowed creed, and virtually renounce what they profess to uphold.

The Trinity, as Bishop Leighton has well remarked, is, 'a doctrine of faith, not of demonstration,' except in a 'moral' sense. If the New Testament declare it, not in an insulated passage, but through the whole breadth of its pages, rendering, with any other admission, the Book, which is the Christian's anchor-hold of hope, dark and contradictory, then it is not to be rejected, but on a penalty that reduces to an atom, all the sufferings this earth can inflict.

Let the grand question be determined; Is, or is not the Bible 'inspired?' No one Book has ever been subjected to so rigid an investigation as the Bible, by minds the most capacious, and, in the result, which has so triumphantly repelled all the assaults of Infidels. In the extensive intercourse which I have had with this class of men, I have seen their prejudices surpassed only by their ignorance. This I found conspicuously the case in Dr. D. (Vol. i. p. 167) the prince of their fraternity. Without, therefore, stopping to contend on what all dispassionate men must deem, undebatable ground, I may assume inspiration as admitted; and, equally so, that it would be an insult to man's understanding to suppose any other Revelation from God than the Christian Scriptures. If these Scriptures, impregnable in their strength; sustained in their pretensions by undeniable prophecies and miracles; and by the experience of the 'inner man', in all ages, as well as by a concatenation of arguments, all bearing upon one point, and extending, with miraculous consistency, through a series of fifteen hundred years; if all this combined proof does not establish their validity, nothing can be proved under the sun; but the world and man must be abandoned, with all its consequences to one universal scepticism! Under such sanctions, therefore, if these Scriptures, as a fundamental truth, 'do' inculcate the doctrine of the 'Trinity;' however surpassing human comprehension; then I say, we are bound to admit it on the strength of 'moral demonstration'.

The supreme Governor of the world, and the Father of our spirits, has seen fit to disclose to us, much of his will, and the whole of his natural and moral perfections. In some instances he has given his 'word' only, and demanded our 'faith'; while, on other momentous subjects, instead of bestowing a full revelation; like the 'Via Lactea', he has furnished a glimpse only, through either the medium of inspiration, or by the exercise of those rational faculties with which he has endowed us. I consider the Trinity as substantially resting on the first proposition, yet deriving support from the last.

I recollect when I stood on the summit of Etna, and darted my gaze down the crater; the immediate vicinity was discernible, till, lower down, obscurity gradually terminated in total darkness. Such figures exemplify many truths revealed in the Bible. We pursue them, until, from the imperfection of our faculties, we are lost in impenetrable night. All truths, however, that are essential to faith, 'honestly' interpreted; all that are important to human conduct, under every diversity of circumstance, are manifest as a blazing star. The promises also of felicity to the righteous, in the future world, though the precise nature of that felicity may not be defined, are illustrated by every image that can swell the imagination: while the misery of the 'lost', in its unutterable intensity, though the language that describes it is all necessarily figurative, is there exhibited as resulting chiefly, if not wholly, from the withdrawment of the 'light of God's countenance', and a banishment from his 'presence!'—best comprehended in this world, by reflecting on the desolations which would instantly follow the loss of the sun's vivifying and universally diffused 'warmth'.

You, or rather 'all', should remember, that some truths, from their nature, surpass the scope of man's limited powers, and stand as the criteria of 'faith', determining, by their rejection, or admission, who among the sons of men can confide in the veracity of heaven. Those more ethereal truths, of which the Trinity is conspicuously the chief, without being circumstantially explained, may be faintly illustrated by material objects.—The eye of man cannot discern the satellites of Jupiter, nor become sensible of the multitudinous stars, the rays of which have never reached our planet, and, consequently, garnish not the canopy of night; yet, are they the less 'real', because their existence lies beyond man's unassisted gaze? The tube of the philosopher, and the 'celestial telescope',—the unclouded visions of heaven, will confirm the one class of truths, and irradiate the other.

The 'Trinity' is a subject on which analogical reasoning may advantageously be admitted, as furnishing, at least, a glimpse of light, and with this, for the present, we must be satisfied. Infinite Wisdom deemed clearer manifestations inexpedient; and is man to dictate to his Maker? I may further remark, that where we cannot behold a desirable object distinctly, we must take the best view we can; and I think you, and every candid and inquiring mind, may derive assistance from such reflections as the following.

Notwithstanding the arguments of Spinosa, and Descartes, and other advocates of the 'Material system', (or, in more appropriate language, the 'Atheistical system!') it is admitted by all men not prejudiced, not biassed by sceptical prepossessions, that 'mind' is distinct from 'matter'. The mind of man, however, is involved in inscrutable darkness, (as the profoundest metaphysicians well know) and is to be estimated, (if at all) alone, by an inductive process; that is, by its 'effects'. Without entering on the question, whether an extremely circumscribed portion of the mental process, surpassing instinct, may, or may not, be extended to quadrupeds, it is universally acknowledged, that the mind of man, alone, regulates all the voluntary actions of his corporeal frame. Mind, therefore, may be regarded as a distinct genus, in the scale ascending above brutes, and including the whole of intellectual existences; advancing from 'thought', (that mysterious thing!) in its lowest form, through all the gradations of sentient and rational beings, till it arrives at a Bacon, a Newton, and then, when unincumbered by matter, extending its illimitable sway through Seraph and Archangel, till we are lost in the GREAT INFINITE!

Is it not deserving of notice, as an especial subject of meditation, that our 'limbs', in all they do, or can accomplish, implicitly obey the dictation of the 'mind'? that this operating power, whatever its name, under certain limitations, exercises a sovereign dominion, not only over our limbs, but over all our intellectual pursuits? The mind of every man is evidently the moving force, which alike regulates all his limbs and actions; and in which example, we find a strong illustration of the subordinate nature of mere 'matter'. That alone which gives direction to the organic parts of our nature, is wholly 'mind'; and one mind, if placed over a thousand limbs, could, with undiminished ease, control and regulate the whole.

This idea is advanced on the supposition, that 'one mind' could command an unlimited direction over any given number of 'limbs', provided they were all connected by 'joint' and 'sinew'. But suppose, through some occult and inconceivable means, these limbs were dis-associated, as to all material connexion; suppose, for instance, one mind, with unlimited authority, governed the operations of 'two' separate persons, would not this, substantially, be only 'one person', seeing the directing principle was one? If the truth, here contended for, be admitted, that 'two persons', governed by 'one mind', is incontestably 'one person'; the same conclusion would be arrived at, and the proposition equally be justified, which affirmed that, 'three', or, otherwise, 'four' persons, owning also necessary and essential subjection to 'one mind', would only be so many diversities, or modifications of that 'one mind', and therefore the component parts, virtually collapsing into 'one whole', the person would be 'one'. Let any man ask himself, whose understanding can both reason, and become the depository of truth, whether, if 'one mind' thus regulated, with absolute authority, 'three', or, otherwise, 'four' persons, with all their congeries of material parts, would not these parts, inert in themselves, when subjected to one predominant mind, be, in the most logical sense, 'one person'? Are ligament and exterior combination indispensable pre-requisites to the sovereign influence of mind over mind? or mind over matter? [16]

But perhaps it may be said, we have no instance of one mind governing more than one body. This may be, but the argument remains the same. With a proud spirit, that forgets its own contracted range of thought, and circumscribed knowledge, who is to limit the sway of Omnipotence? or, presumptuously to deny the possibility of 'that' Being, who called light out of darkness, so to exalt the dominion of 'one mind', as to give it absolute sway over other dependent minds, or (indifferently) over detached, or combined portions of organized matter? But if this superinduced quality be conferable on any order of created beings, it is blasphemy to limit the power of GOD, and to deny 'his' capacity to transfuse 'his own' Spirit, when, and to whom he will.

This reasoning may now be applied in illustration of the Trinity. We are too much in the habit of viewing our Saviour Jesus Christ, through the medium of his body. 'A body was prepared for him,' but this body was mere matter; as insensible in itself, as every human frame when deserted by the soul. If therefore the Spirit that was in Christ, was the Spirit of the Father: if no thought, no vibration, no spiritual communication, or miraculous display, existed in, or proceeded from Christ, not immediately and consubstantially identified with JEHOVAH, the Great First cause; if all these operating principles were thus derived, in consistency alone with the conjoint divine attributes; of this Spirit of the Father ruled and reigned in Christ as his own manifestation, then, in the strictest sense, Christ exhibited 'the God-head bodily,' and was undeniably ''one' with the Father;' confirmatory of the Saviour's words; 'Of myself,' (my body) 'I can do nothing, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.'

But though I speak of the body, as inert in itself, and necessarily allied to matter, yet this declaration must not be understood as militating against the Christian doctrine of the 'resurrection of the body'. In its grosser form, the thought is not to be admitted, for, 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,' but, that the body, without losing its consciousness, and individuality, may be subjected, by the illimitable power of Omnipotence, to a sublimating process, so as to be rendered compatible with spiritual association, is not opposed to reason, in its severe abstract exercises, while in attestation of this 'exhilarating belief', there are many remote analogies in nature exemplifying the same truth, while it is in the strictest accordance with that final dispensation, which must, as Christians, regulate all our speculations. I proceed now to say, that:

If the postulate be thus admitted, that one mind influencing two bodies, would only involve a diversity of operations, but in reality be one in essence; or otherwise, (as an hypothetical argument, illustrative of truth) if one preeminent mind, or spiritual subsistence, unconnected with matter, possessed an undivided and sovereign dominion over two or more disembodied minds, so as to become the exclusive source of all their subtlest volitions and exercises, the 'unity', however complex the modus of its manifestation, would be fully established; and this principle extends to DEITY itself, and shows the true sense, as I conceive, in which Christ and the Father are one.

In continuation of this reasoning, if God who is light, the Sun of the Moral World, should in his union of Infinite Wisdom, Power, and Goodness, and from all Eternity, have ordained that an emanation from himself (for aught we know, an essential emanation, as light is inseparable from the luminary of day) should not only have existed in his Son, in the fulness of time to be united to a mortal body, but that a like emanation from himself (also perhaps essential) should have constituted the Holy Spirit, who, without losing his ubiquity, was more especially sent to this lower earth, 'by' the SON, 'at' the impulse of the Father, then, in the most comprehensive sense, God, and his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are ONE. 'Three Persons in one God,' and thus form the true Trinity in Unity.

To suppose that more than ONE Independent Power, or Governing mind exists in the whole universe, is absolute Polytheism, against which the denunciations of all the Jewish, and Christian Canonical books were directed. And if there be but ONE directing MIND, that Mind is GOD!—operating, however, in Three Persons, according to the direct and uniform declarations of that inspiration which 'brought life and immortality to light.' Yet this divine doctrine of the Trinity is to be received, not because it is, or can be clear to finite apprehension, but, (in reiteration of the argument) because the Scriptures, in their unsophisticated interpretation expressly state it. The Trinity, therefore, from its important aspects, and Biblical prominence, is the grand article of faith, and the foundation of the whole Christian system.

Who can say, as Christ [17] and the Holy Ghost proceeded from, and are still one with the Father, and as all the disciples of Christ derive their fulness from him, and, in spirit, are inviolately united to him as a branch is to the vine, who can say, but that, in one view, what was once mysteriously separated, may, as mysteriously, be recombined, and, (without interfering with the everlasting Trinity, and the individuality of the spiritual and seraphic orders) the Son, at the consummation of all things, deliver up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, and God, in some peculiar, and infinitely sublime sense, become All 'in' All!

God love you,


Those who are acquainted with Mr. Coleridge's maturer view of the doctrine of the Trinity, will not need to be informed that this letter does not convey his later conviction in regard to this awful mystery, and will know that his philosophic meditations rested essentially in the same faith that dictated the Article of the Church of England on this subject.

Mr. De Quincey has made several mistatements in a memoir on Mr. Coleridge, which he wrote in Tait's Magazine; but it may be only fair first to quote a few interesting remarks, with which he begins:

"In the summer season of 1807 I first saw this illustrious man, the largest and most spacious intellect in my judgment that has ever yet existed amongst men. My knowledge of his works as a most original genius began about the year 1799."

A little before that time, Wordsworth published the "Lyrical Ballads," in which was the Ancient Mariner of Coleridge, and to which Mr. De Quincey attributes the unfolding of his own mind; this confession is by no means humiliating, for many persons of the highest reputation have made similar acknowledgments, and some there are still living who have the courage and integrity to do so now.

"I found (says this gentleman) that Professor Wilson, as well as myself, saw in these poems 'the ray of a new morning;'—and to these names may be added that of the celebrated Sir Walter Scott."

The admiration of Mr. De Quincey was so great that inquiring where Coleridge was to be found, and learning that he was in Malta, he contemplated an immediate visit to that island, but the fear of a French prison reconciled him to remaining in England. When on a visit in 1807 (to a relation), at the Hot Wells, he learnt that Coleridge was staying with a friend not far from Bristol. This friend was Mr. Poole of Nether Stowey, and thither he bent his steps. In this house Mr. De Quincey spent two days, and gives, from his own knowledge, a sketch of Mr. Poole's person and character very descriptive of the original. Coleridge often remarked that he was the best "ideal for a useful member of parliament he ever knew;"

"a plain dressed man leading a bachelor life," as Mr. De Quincey observes, "in a rustic old fashioned house, amply furnished with modern luxuries, and a good library. Mr. Poole had travelled extensively, and had so entirely dedicated himself to his humble fellow countrymen, who resided in his neighbourhood, that for many miles round he was the general arbiter of their disputes, the guide and counsellor of their daily life; besides being appointed executor and guardian to his children by every third man who died in or about the town of Nether Stowey."

Such in few words was the individual whom Coleridge, in his social hours and in the full warmth of friendship, would most eloquently and feelingly describe. [19]

Mr. De Quincey having been informed that Coleridge was at Bridgewater, left Nether Stowey for that place, in search of him. The meeting and the description recall him forcibly to the minds of those who twenty years after were so intimately acquainted with him:

"In Bridgewater I noticed a gateway, standing under which was a man corresponding to the description given me of Coleridge whom I shall presently describe. In height he seemed to be five feet eight inches, (he was in reality about an inch and a half taller,) though in the latter part of life, from a lateral curvature in the spine, he shortened gradually from two to three inches. His person was broad and full, and tended even to corpulence; his complexion was fair, though not what painters technically style fair, because it was associated with black hair; his eyes were large and soft in their expression, and it was by the peculiar appearance of haze or dreaminess which mixed with their light that I recognized my object. This was Coleridge; I examined him steadily for a moment or more, and it struck me he neither saw myself, nor any other object in the street. He was in a deep reverie; for I had dismounted, made two or three trifling arrangements at the inn door, and advanced close to him, before he seemed apparently conscious of my presence. The sound of my voice announcing my name first awoke him; he started, and for a moment seemed at a loss to understand my purpose, or his own situation, for he repeated rapidly a number of words which had no relation to either of us; very likely trying a metre, or making verse, a frequent practice of his, and of Mr. Wordsworth's. There was no mauvaise haute in his manner, but simple perplexity, and an apparent difficulty in recovering his position amongst daylight realities. This little scene over, he received me with a kindness of manner so marked, that it might be called gracious. The hospitable family, with whom he was domesticated, were distinguished for their amiable manners, and enlightened understandings; they were descendants from Chubb, the philosophic writer, and bore the same name. For Coleridge they all testified deep affection and esteem, sentiments which the whole town of Bridgewater seemed to share, for in the evening, when the heat of the day had declined, I walked out with him; and rarely, perhaps never, have I seen a person so much interrupted in one hour's space as Coleridge on this occasion, by the courteous attentions of young and old." [20]

This appears so faithful a portraiture of Coleridge that it is impossible to read it without once more beholding him as in a mirror. Continuing his description, he speaks again of his extreme courtesy, and of his easy and gentlemanly manner of receiving strangers. A friend of mine seldom speaks of the past in connexion with Coleridge's name, but he reminds me of a visit he once made to me during my absence at the sea shore, and of the courteous grace he displayed in doing the honours of the house.

In every thing wherein the comfort or happiness of others were concerned, Coleridge ever evinced how entirely he could devote himself to those he loved or who might require his sympathy:

His own fair countenance, his kingly forehead, His tender smiles, love's day-dawn on his lips— The sense, the spirit, and the light divine, At the same moment in his steadfast eye Were virtue's native crest, the innocent soul's Unconscious meek self-heraldry—to man Genial, and pleasant to his guardian angel! He suffered, nor complained; though oft with tears He mourned the oppression of his helpless brethren; Yea with a deeper and yet holier grief Mourned for th' oppressor; but this In sabbath hours—a solemn grief, Most like a cloud at sunset, Was but the veil of purest meditation, Pierced through and saturate with the intellectual rays It softened.

'Literary Remains', vol. i. 277.

These were characteristic beauties, that shone forth in Coleridge, and were deeply felt by all who were attached to him.

With regard to the charge made by Mr. De Quincey, of Coleridge's so borrowing the property of other writers as to be guilty of 'petty larceny'; with equal justice might we accuse the bee which flies from flower to flower in quest of food, and which, by means of the instinct bestowed upon it by the all-wise Creator, extracts its nourishment from the field and the garden, but 'digests' and 'elaborates' it by its own 'native' powers.

Coleridge 'began' the use of opium from bodily pain (rheumatism), and for the same reason 'continued' it, till he had acquired a habit too difficult under his own management to control. To him it was the thorn in the flesh, which will be seen in the following notes

"I have never loved evil for its own sake: no! nor ever sought pleasure for its own sake, but only as the means of escaping from pains that coiled around my mental powers, as a serpent around the body and wings of an eagle! My sole sensuality was 'not' to be in pain."

'Note from Pocket Book, "The History of my own mind for my own improvement," Dec. 23, 1804.'

"I wrote a few stanzas [21] three and twenty years ago, soon after my eyes had been opened to the true nature of the habit into which I had been ignorantly deluded by the seeming magic effects of opium, in the sudden removal of a supposed rheumatic affection, attended with swellings in my knees, and palpitations of the heart, and pains all over me, by which I had been bed-ridden for nearly six months. Unhappily, among my neighbour's and landlord's books were a large parcel of medical reviews and magazines. I had always a fondness (a common case, but most mischievous turn with reading men who are at all dyspeptic) for dabbling in medical writings; and in one of these reviews I met a case, which I fancied very like my own, in which a cure had been effected by the Kendal Black Drop. In an evil hour I procured it:—it worked miracles—the swellings disappeared, the pains vanished; I was all alive, and all around me being as ignorant as myself, nothing could exceed my triumph. I talked of nothing else, prescribed the newly-discovered panacea for all complaints, and carried a bottle about with me, not to lose any opportunity of administering 'instant relief and speedy cure' to all complainers, stranger or friend, gentle or simple. Need I say that my own apparent convalescence was of no long continuance; but what then?—the remedy was at hand and infallible. Alas! it is with a bitter smile, a laugh of gall and bitterness, that I recall this period of unsuspecting delusion, and how I first became aware of the Maelstrom, the fatal whirlpool, to which I was drawing just when the current was already beyond my strength to stem. The state of my mind is truly portrayed in the following effusion, for God knows! that from that moment I was the victim of pain and terror, nor had I at any time taken the flattering poison as a stimulus, or for any craving after pleasurable sensations. I needed none; and oh! with what unutterable sorrow did I read the 'Confessions of an Opium-eater,' in which the writer with morbid vanity, makes a boast of what was my misfortune, for he had been faithfully and with an agony of zeal warned of the gulf, and yet wilfully struck into the current!—Heaven be merciful to him!"

'April, 1826'.

"Oh! (will a vain imagination whisper) that in the outset of life I could have 'felt' as well as known the consequences of sin and error before their tyranny had commenced! Though, compared with the average of my fellow men, not a sinful man, yet I feel enough to be assured that few indeed are there who might not from their sins or sinful infirmities gain a tongue of flame, wherewith to warn men of the deadly poison of all, even the least offence. Of all divines, Luther felt most deeply the terrors of the LAW; and for that reason, the unutterable goodness and love of the dispensation of grace!—To be one with God the Father—an awful thought beyond all utterance of the awe which it inspires, but by no means wild or mystical. On the contrary, all our experience moves in this direction. In reason, in science, who shall set bounds to the possible progress of man, as long as he is no longer in himself, but in the truth and power of truth. The moment that disease reduces himself to himself, the sage who was able to weigh the planets, and foresee their movements centuries and millenniums to come, trembles in his ignorance of the next five minutes, whether it shall be pain and terror, or relief and respite, and in spirit falls on his knees and prays. Prayer is the mediation, or rather the effort to connect the misery of self with the blessedness of God; and its voice is—Mercy! mercy! for Christ's sake, in whom thou hast opened out the fountain of mercy to sinful man. It is a sore evil to be, and not in God; but it is a still more dreadful evil and misery to will to be other than in God; and yet in every act, in which the gratification of the sensual life is the 'ultimate end', is the manifestation of such a will. Imagine a——, first in his noblest hours, in the laboratory or the observatory—an unfolder and discoverer—and then on a sick bed, from the consequences of his own indiscretions. Place both states of the same man, that of the spirit and that of the self-seeking self, clearly and in detail before your mind:—if you can do this, you need no more."

'January 7, 1830'.

"There is a passage in the Samson Agonistes, in which Milton is supposed on sufficient grounds to have referred to himself, that in which the chorus speaks of strictly temperate man 'causelessly suffering' the pains and penances of inordinate days. O! what would I not give to be able to utter with truth this complaint! O! if he had or rather if he 'could' have presented to himself truly and vividly the aggravation of those pains, which the conscience of their having originated in errors and weaknesses of his own. I do not say that he would not have complained of his sufferings, for who can be in those most trying sufferances of miserable sensations and not complain of them, but his groans for the pain would have been blended with thanksgivings to the sanctifying Spirit. Even under the direful yoke of the necessity of daily poisoning by narcotics it is somewhat less horrible, through the knowledge that it was not from any craving for pleasurable animal excitement, but from pain, delusion, error, of the worst ignorance, medical sciolism, and when (alas! too late the plea of error was removed from my eyes,) from terror and utter perplexity and infirmity;—sinful infirmity, indeed, but yet not a wilful sinfulness that I brought my neck under it. Oh, may the God to whom I look for mercy through Christ, show mercy on the author of the 'Confessions of an Opium Eater,' if, as I have too strong reason to believe, his book has been the occasion of seducing others into this withering vice through wantonness. From this aggravation I have, I humbly trust, been free, as far as acts of my free will and intention are concerned; even to the author of that work I pleaded with flowing tears, and with an agony of forewarning. He utterly denied it, but I fear that I had even then to 'deter' perhaps not to forewarn. My own contrasted feelings soon after I saw the Maelstrom to which the current was absorbing me, are written in one of my paper books." [22]

'Jan. 7, 1830'.

Having referred to the accusations of plagiarism brought against Coleridge, it will not, I trust, be deemed inappropriate, to introduce from the British Magazine, No. 37, the concluding part of a critique ably written by the Rev. Julius Hare, who has selected with great discrimination several passages from the "Friend," which must come home to the heart of every good man, and this I feel the more impelled to do, as it is a moral lesson to biographers—perhaps to us all:

"An inquisitiveness into the minutest circumstances and casual sayings of eminent contemporaries is indeed quite natural: but so are all our follies: and the more natural they are the more caution should we exert in guarding against them. To scribble trifles, even on the perishable glass of an inn window, is the mark of an idler: but to engrave them on the marble monument sacred to the memory of the departed great, is something worse than idleness. The spirit of genuine biography is in nothing more conspicuous than in the firmness with which it withstands the cravings of worthless curiosity, as distinguished from the thirst after useful knowledge. For in the first place, such anecdotes as derive their whole and sole interest from the great name of the person concerning whom they are related, and neither illustrate his general character nor his particular actions, would scarcely have been noticed or remembered, except by men of weak minds. It is not unlikely, therefore, that they were misapprehended at the time; and it is most probable that they have been related as incorrectly, as they were noticed injudiciously. Nor are the consequences of such garrulous biography merely negative. For as insignificant stories can derive no real respectability from the eminence of the person who happens to be the subject of them, but rather an additional deformity of disproportion, they are apt to have their insipidity seasoned by the same bad passions that accompany the habit of gossiping in general: and the misapprehensions of weak men, meeting with the misinterpretations of malignant men, have not seldom formed the ground work of the most grievous calamities. In the second place, those trifles are subversive of the great end of biography, which is to fix the attention and to interest the feelings of men on those qualities and actions which have made a particular life worthy of being recorded. It is no doubt the duty of an honest biographer to portray the prominent imperfections as well as excellencies of his hero. But I am at a loss to conceive how this can be deemed an excuse for heaping together a multitude of particulars, which can prove nothing of any man, that might not be safely taken for granted of all men. In the present age—emphatically the age of personality—there are more than ordinary motives for withholding all encouragement from the mania of busying ourselves with the names of others, which is still more alarming as a symptom, than it is troublesome as a disease. The reader must be still less acquainted with contemporary literature than myself, if he needs me to inform him that there are men who, trading in the silliest anecdotes, in unprovoked abuse and senseless eulogy, think themselves nevertheless employed both worthily and honourably if only all this be done in good set terms, and from the press, and of public characters,—a class which has increased so rapidly of late, that it becomes difficult to discover what characters are to be considered as private. Alas! if these wretched misusers of language and the means of giving wings to thought, and of multiplying the presence of an individual mind, had ever known how great a thing the possession of any one simple truth is, and how mean a thing a mere fact is, except as seen in the light of some comprehensive truth—if they had but once experienced the unborrowed complacency, the inward independence, the homebred strength, with which every clear conception of the reason is accompanied,—they would shrink from their own pages as at the remembrance of a crime.—For a crime it is (and the man who hesitates in pronouncing it such, must be ignorant of what mankind owe to books, what he himself owes to them in spite of his ignorance) thus to introduce the spirit of vulgar scandal, and personal inquietude into the closet and the library, environing with evil passions the very sanctuaries to which we should flee for refuge from them. For to what do these publications appeal, whether they present themselves as biography or as anonymous criticism, but to the same feelings which the scandal bearers, and time-killers of ordinary life seem to gratify in themselves and their listeners; and both the authors and admirers of such publications, in what respect are they less truants and deserters from their own hearts, and from their appointed task of understanding and amending them, than the most garrulous female chronicler of the goings-on of yesterday in the families of her neighbours and townsfolk?

'As to my own attempt to record the life and character of the late Sir Alexander Ball, I consider myself deterred from all circumstances not pertaining to his conduct or character as a public functionary, that involve the names of the living for good or for evil. Whatever facts and incidents I relate of a private nature must, for the most part, concern Sir Alexander Ball exclusively, and as an insulated individual. But I needed not this restraint. It will be enough for me, as I write, to recollect the form and character of Sir Alexander Ball himself, to represent to my own feelings the inward contempt with which he would have abstracted his mind from worthless anecdotes and petty personalities; a contempt rising into indignation if ever an illustrious name were used as a thread to string them upon. If this recollection be my Socratic Demon, to warn and to check me, I shall, on the other hand, derive encouragement from the remembrance of the tender patience, the sweet gentleness, with which he was wont to tolerate the tediousness of well meaning men; and the inexhaustible attention, the unfeigned interest, with which he would listen for hours, when the conversation appealed to reason, and like the bee, made honey, while it murmured.'

I have transcribed this passage from the original edition of the Friend, No. 21, and not from the reprint, where it stands in vol. ii. pp. 303-307; because in the latter, the last paragraph, in itself a beautiful one, and to our present purpose particularly appropriate, is left out. For if Coleridge could imagine 'the inward contempt with which Sir Alexander Ball would have abstracted his mind from worthless anecdotes and petty personalities,—a contempt rising into indignation, if ever an illustrious name was used as a thread to string them on,' well may those who knew Coleridge conceive the grief, the grief and pity, he would have felt, at seeing eminent powers and knowledge employed in ministering to the wretched love of gossip—retailing paltry anecdotes in dispraise of others, intermingled with outflowings of self-praise—and creeping into the secret chambers of great men's houses to filch out materials for tattle—at seeing great powers wasting and debasing themselves in such an ignoble task—above all, at seeing that the person who thus wasted and debased them was a scholar, and a philosopher whose talents he admired, with whom he had lived familiarly, and whom he had honoured with his friendship."[23]

There is one part of Coleridge's character not to be passed by, although so overlaid by his genius as rarely to be noticed, namely, his love of humour and of wit, of which be possessed so large a share. As punsters, his dear friend Lamb and himself were inimitable. Lamb's puns had oftener more effect, from the impediment in his speech their force seemed to be increased by the pause of stuttering, and to shoot forth like an arrow from a strong bow—but being never poisoned nor envenomed, they left no pain behind. Coleridge was more humorous than witty in making puns—and in repartee, he was, according to modern phraseology, "smart and clever." Staying a few days with two friends at a farm-house, they agreed to visit a race-course in the neighbourhood. The farmer brought from his stud a horse low in stature, and still lower in flesh—a bridle corresponding in respectability of appearance, with a saddle equally suitable—stirrups once bright, but now deeply discoloured by rust. All this was the contrivance of the farmer, and prudently intended for his safety. He had heard previously of Coleridge's want of skill in riding, and had therefore provided him with a beast not likely to throw him. On this Rosinante the poet mounted, in his accustomed dress, namely, a black coat, black breeches, with black silk stockings and shoes. His friends being trusted with more active steeds, soon outstripped him. Jogging on leisurely he was met by a long-nosed knowing-looking man, attired in a 'sporting' dress, and an excellent equestrian. Seeing this whimsical horseman in shoes, he writhed, as Coleridge observed, his lithe proboscis, and thus accosted him:

Pray, sir, did you meet a tailor along the road?"

"A tailor?" answered Coleridge; "yes!"

"Do you see, sir! he rode just such a horse as you ride! and for all the world was just like you!"

"Oh! oh!" answered Coleridge, "I did meet a person answering such a description, who told me he had dropped his goose, that if I rode a little farther I should find it; and I guess by the arch-fellow's looks, he must have meant you."

"Caught a tartar!" replied the man, and suddenly spurring his horse, left him to pursue his road. At length Coleridge reached the race-course, when threading his way through the crowd, he arrived at the spot of attraction to which all were hastening. Here he confronted a barouche and four, filled with smart ladies and attendant gentlemen. In it was also seated a baronet of sporting celebrity, steward of the course, and member of the House of Commons, well known as having been bought and sold in several parliaments. The baronet eyed the figure of Coleridge as he slowly passed the door of the barouche, and thus accosted him:

"A pretty piece of blood, sir, you have there?"

"Yes!" answered Coleridge.

"Rare paces, I have no doubt, sir!"

"Yes," said Coleridge he brought me here a matter of four miles an hour."

He was at no loss to perceive the honourable member's drift, who wished to shew off before the ladies: so he quietly waited the opportunity of a suitable reply.

"What a fore-hand he has!" continued Nimrod, "how finely he carries his tail! Bridle and saddle well suited! and appropriately appointed!"

"Yes," said Coleridge.

"Will you sell him?" asked the sporting baronet.

"Yes!" was the answer, "if I can have my price."

"Name your price, then, putting the rider into the bargain!"

This was too pointed to be passed over by a simple answer, and Coleridge was ready.

"My price for the 'horse, sir', if I sell him, is 'one hundred' guineas,—as to the 'rider', never having been in parliament, and never intending to go, 'his' price is not yet fixed."

The baronet sat down more suddenly than he had risen—the ladies began to titter—while Coleridge quietly left him to his chagrin, and them to the enjoyment of their mirth.

We are now arrived at that period of Coleridge's life, in which it may be said, he received his first great warning of approaching danger. But it will be necessary to review his previous state of health. From childhood he discovered strong symptoms of a feeble stomach. As observed in the account of his school experience, when compelled to turn over the shoes in the shoe closet, exhausted by the fatigue, and overpowered by the scent, he suffered so much, that in after years the very remembrance almost made him shudder. Then his frequent bathing in the New River was an imprudence so injurious in its consequences, as to place him for nearly twelve months in the sick ward in the hospital of the school, with rheumatism connected with jaundice. These, to a youthful constitution, were matters of so serious a nature, as to explain to those acquainted with disease the origin and cause of his subsequent bodily sufferings. His sensitiveness was consequent on these, and so was his frequent incapability of continuous sedentary employment—an employment requiring far stronger health in an individual whose intellectual powers were ever at work. When overwhelmed at College, by that irresistible alarm and despondency which caused him to leave it, and to enlist as a soldier in the army, he continued in such a state of bodily ailment as to be deprived of the power of stooping, so that 'Cumberback',—a thing unheard of before,—was compelled to depute another to perform this part of his duty. On his voyage to Malta, he had complained of suffering from shortness of breath; and on returning to his residence at the Lakes, his difficulty of breathing and his rheumatism increased to a great degree. About the year 1809, ascending Skiddaw with his younger son, he was suddenly seized in the chest, and so overpowered as to attract the notice of the child. After the relation of these circumstances to some medical friend, he was advised by him not to bathe in the sea. The love, however, which he had from a boy, for going into the water, he retained till a late period of life. Strongly impressed with this feeling, he seems to have written the poem, entitled "On Revisiting the Sea Shore:"

"Dissuading spake the mild physician, Those briny waves for thee are death, But my soul fulfilled her mission, And lo! I breathe untroubled breath." [24]

In the year 1810, he left the Lakes, in company with Mr. Basil Montagu, whose affectionate regard for Mr. Coleridge, though manifested upon every occasion, was more particularly shown in seasons of difficulty and affliction. By Coleridge, Mr. Montagu's friendship was deeply felt,—and his gentle manners and unremitted kindness had the most soothing effect upon the sensitive and grateful mind of Coleridge. He remained for some time at Mr. Montagu's house. He afterwards resided at Hammersmith, with an amiable and common friend of his and Mr. Southey's,—Mr. Morgan, with whom they had formed an intimacy in Bristol. Whilst here he delivered a course of lectures at the London Philosophical Society. The prospectus was as follows:

"Mr. Coleridge will commence, on Monday, November 18, 1811, a Course of Lectures on Shakspeare and Milton, in illustration of the principles of poetry, and their application, as grounds of criticism, to the most popular works of later English Poets, those of the living included. After an introductory lecture on False Criticism (especially in poetry), and on its causes; two thirds of the remaining course will be assigned,

1st, to a philosophical analysis, and explanation of all the principal 'characters' of our great dramatist, as Othello, Falstaff, Richard the Third, Iago, Hamlet, &c.; and

2nd, to a critical 'comparison' of Shakspeare, in respect of diction, imagery, management of the passions, judgment in the construction of his dramas, in short, of all that belongs to him as a poet, and as a dramatic poet, with his contemporaries or immediate successors, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, Massinger, &c. in the endeavour to determine what of Shakspeare's merits and defects are common to him, with other writers of the same age, and what remain peculiar to his own genius.

The course will extend to fifteen lectures, which will be given on Monday and Thursday evenings successively."

Mr. Coleridge afterwards delivered another course of lectures at the Royal Institution. Dr. Dibdin, one of his auditors, gives the following account of the lecturer: [25]

"It was during my constant and familiar intercourse with Sir T. Bernard, while 'The Director' was going on, that I met the celebrated Mr. Coleridge—himself a lecturer. He was not a 'constant' lecturer—not in constant harness like others for the business of the day. Indisposition was generally preying upon him, [26] and habitual indolence would now and then frustrate the performance of his own better wishes. I once came from Kensington in a snow-storm, to hear him lecture upon Shakspeare. I might have sat as wisely and more comfortably by my own fire-side—for no Coleridge appeared. And this I think occurred more than once at the Royal Institution. I shall never forget the effect his conversation made upon me at the first meeting. It struck me as something not only quite out of the ordinary course of things, but as an intellectual exhibition altogether matchless. The viands were unusually costly, and the banquet was at once rich and varied; but there seemed to be no dish like Coleridge's conversation to feed upon—and no information so varied and so instructive as his own. The orator rolled himself up, as it were, in his chair, and gave the most unrestrained indulgence to his speech, and how fraught with acuteness and originality was that speech, and in what copious and eloquent periods did it flow! The auditors seemed to be rapt in wonder and delight, as one conversation, more profound or clothed in more forcible language than another, fell from his tongue. A great part of the subject discussed at the first time of my meeting Mr. Coleridge, was the connexion between Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. The speaker had been secretary to Sir Alexander Ball, governor of Malta—and a copious field was here afforded for the exercise of his colloquial eloquence. For nearly two hours he spoke with unhesitating and uninterrupted fluency. As I retired homewards (to Kensington), I thought a second Johnson had visited the earth, to make wise the sons of men; and regretted that I could not exercise the powers of a second Boswell, to record the wisdom and the eloquence which had that evening flowed from the orator's lips. It haunted me as I retired to rest. It drove away slumber: or if I lapsed into sleep, there was Coleridge—his snuffbox, and his 'kerchief before my eyes!—his mildly beaming looks—his occasionally deep tone of voice—and the excited features of his physiognomy.—The manner of Coleridge was rather emphatic than dogmatic, and thus he was generally and satisfactorily listened to. It might be said of Coleridge, as Cowper has so happily said of Sir Philip Sidney, that he was 'the warbler of poetic prose.'

There was always 'this' characteristic feature in his multifarious conversation—it was delicate, reverend, and courteous. The chastest ear could drink in no startling sound; the most serious believer never had his bosom ruffled by one sceptical or reckless assertion. Coleridge was eminently simple in his manner. Thinking and speaking were his delight; and he would sometimes seem, during the more fervid movements of discourse, to be abstracted from all and every thing around and about him, and to be basking in the sunny warmth of his own radiant imagination."

The manuscript of 'The Remorse' was sent to Mr. Sheridan, who did not even acknowledge the receipt of the letter which accompanied the drama; he however observed to a friend, that he had received a play from Coleridge, but that there was one extraordinary line in the Cave Scene, 'drip, drip'—which he could not understand: "in short," said he, "it is all dripping." This was the only notice he took of the play; but the comment was at length repeated to the author, through the medium of a third party. The theatre falling afterwards into the hands of Lord Byron and Mr. Whitbread, his Lordship sent for Coleridge, was very kind to his brother poet, and requested that the play might be represented: this desire was complied with, and it received his support. Although Mr. Whitbread [27] did not give it the advantage of a single new scene, yet the popularity of the play was such, that the principal actor, who had performed in it with great success, made choice of it for his benefit-night, and it brought an overflowing house. [28]

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