203. To John Chubb Address: Mr John Chubb | Bridgewater MS. Mr. John B. Chubb. Pub. E.L.G. i. 82. Stamped: Bridgewater. [ 20 August 1797] Dear Sir I write to you on the subject of Thelwall. He has found by experience, that neither his own health or that of his Wife & children can be preserved in London; and were it otherwise, yet his income is inadequate to maintain him there. He is therefore ____________________ 1 On his arrival at Stowey, Coleridge found Richard Reynell there on a visit. Reynell's letter to his sister also describes Coleridge's journey from Bristol: 'On my arrival at Stowey and at Mr. Coleridge's house I found he was from home, having set out for Bristol to see Mrs. Barbauld a few days before. . . . He returned on Saturday evening after a walk of about 40 miles in one day apparently not much fatigued.' 2 See A. J. Eagleston, "Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the Spy" , Coleridge, ed. by Edmund Blunden and E. L. Griggs, 1984, pp. 73-87; George W. Meyer, "Wordsworth and the Spy Hunt", American Scholar, Winter 1950-1, pp. 50-56; Thomas Poole, i.285-43; and Biog. Lit., ch. x. -341- under the necessity of fixing his residence in the Country. But by his particular exertions in the propagation of those principles, which we hold sacred & of the highest importance, he has become, as you well know, particularly unpopular, thro' every part of the kingdom -- in every part of the kingdom therefore some odium, & inconvenience must be incurred by those, who should be instrumental in procuring him a cottage there -- but are Truth & Liberty of so little importance that we owe no sacrifices to them? And because with talents very great, & disinterest[ed]ness undoubted, he has evinced himself, in activity & courage, superior to any other patriot, must his country for this be made a wilderness of waters to him? ---- There are many reasons for his preferring this to any other part of the kingdom / he will here find the society of men equal to himself in talents, & probably superior in acquired knowlege -- of men, who differ from each other very widely in many very important opinions, yet unite in the one great duty of unbounded tolerance. -- If the day of darkness & tempest should come, it is most probable, that the influence of T. would be very great on the lower classes -- it may therefore prove of no mean utility to the cause of Truth & Humanity, that he had spent some years in a society, where his natural impetuosity had been disciplined into patience, and salutary scepticism, and the slow energies of a calculating spirit. ---- But who shall get him a cottage here? I have no power -- & T. Poole is precluded from it by the dreadful state of his poor Mother's health, & by his connection with the Benefit Club 1 -- the utilities of which he estimates very high, & these, he thinks, would be materially affected by any activity in favor of T. -- Besides, has he not already taken his share of odium --? has he not already almost alienated, certainly very much cooled, the affections of some of his relations, by his exertions on my account? -- And why should one man do all? ---- But it must be left to every man's private mind to determine, whether or no his particular circumstances do or do not justify him in keeping aloof from all interference in such subjects. ---- J. T. is now at Swansea, and expects an answer from me respecting the possibility of his settling here -- he requested me to write to you -- I have done it -- & you will be so kind (if in your power, to day) to give me one or two lines, briefly informing me whether or no your particular circumstances enable you to exert ____________________ 1 This club is referred to by a government agent reporting to the Home Office on 16 Aug. He speaks of 'the inhabitants of Alfoxton House' as a Sett of violent Democrats', alludes to the activities of both Coleridge and Thelwall, and finds Poole 'the more dangerous from his having established . . . what He stiles The Poor Man's Club. A. J. Eagleston, op. cit. 82-83. -342- yourself in taking a cottage for him -- any where 5 or 6 miles round Stowey. -- He means to live in perfect retirement -- neither taking pupils or any thing else ---- / It is painful to ask that of a person which he may find it equally distressing to grant or deny -- / But I do not ask any thing; but simply lay before you the calculations on one side of the subject -- / Your own mind will immediately suggest those on the other side -- / & I doubt not, you will decide according [to] the preponderance ---- Believe me with respect &c S. T. Coleridge