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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2501. Robert Southey to George Coleridge, 14 November 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. 14 Nov. 1814

My dear Sir

Your letter of the 10th. which I have this evening received offers so fair a prospect of a desirable establishment for Hartley, that it is not necessary for me to say any thing respecting the two former plans which were proposed. Nothing can be more satisfactory than the present arrangement seems. The only inconvenience is that of leaving College during the Vacations, & this we shall find means of obviating. Your opinion respecting the time of his entering & his intermediate studies is perfectly judicious, & shall of course be followed. No youth can promise better, & I have well-founded hopes that he will do honour to his name.

Concerning his father I have heard that he is writing a book against Unitarianism; [1]  & that a considerable portion of the manuscript has been seen, which is better proof that he is in earnest about it, than the fact that the Printer [2]  has laid in paper for the work. You may perhaps have seen in the Courier, at long intervals from each other, a few letters to Judge Fletcher, under the signature of an Irish Protestant. [3]  These letters are certainly his. Impossible as it is to depend upon him, I never lose wholly give up the hope that in some fit of exertion he may produce something worthy of the powers with which he has been gifted, – powers which considering their variety as well as their extent, exceed those of any person whom it has ever been my fortune to meet with. – I do not mean to extenuate his total disregard of all duties, – but it must be some consolation to you to know that those persons who have been most intimately connected with him during the last twenty years, who best know his conduct & have most reason cause to deplore & to condemn it, retain for him thro all a degree of affection which it is not easy to express.

I need not say that Mrs S. Coleridge is sincerely thankful for your brotherly kindness. She unites with me & Mrs Southey in kind regards to all your family

Believe me my dear Sir

with the sincerest esteem

faithfully yours

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ The Reverend George Coleridge/ Warden House/ Ottery St Mary/ near Honiton/ Devonshire
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: Novr 14th 1823- Frm Mr. Southey, [written over an earlier endorsement] Letters about Hartley Coleridge
Seal: [partial] Red wax; ‘S’ surrounded by motto
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin
Unpublished. BACK

[1] This is possibly connected to the magnum opus Coleridge announced to Daniel Stuart on 12 September 1814: ‘my most important Work, which is printing at Bristol, two of my friends having taken upon them the risk ... The Title is: Christianity the one true Philosophy - or 5 Treatises on the Logos, or communicative Intelligence, Natural, Human, and Divine’, E. L. Griggs, Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 6 vols (Oxford, 1956–1971), III, p. 533 and n 2. BACK

[2] John Matthew Gutch, Bristol printer. In 1817 he was closely involved in the publication of Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria. BACK

[3] The letters ‘To Mr. Justice Fletcher’ appeared in the Courier between 20 September and 10 December 1814. They were written in response to The Charge of Judge Fletcher to the Grand Jury of the County of Wexford, at the Summer Assizes, August 5, 1814 (1814), by William Fletcher (d. 1823), Fourth Justice of Common Pleas in Ireland. Fletcher had strongly criticised the Courier’s account of affairs in Ireland and in particular accused them of inventing an attack on him by a mob. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013