214. To Robert Southey Address: Mr Southey | No. 23 | East Street | Red Lion Square | London MS. Lord Latymer, Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 251 n. Postmark: 8 December 1797. Stamped: Bristol. Thursday Morning [ 7 December 1797] I am sorry, Southey! very sorry that I wrote or published those Sonnets 1 -- but 'sorry' would be a tame word to express my feelings, ____________________ 1 Coleridge refers to his Nehemiah Higginbottom sonnets, the second of which, To Simplicity, Southey assumed to be in ridicule of himself. This sonnet brought Southey's animosity into the open, and Lamb, to whom Coleridge also wrote that it 'was not composed with reference to Southey', vehemently rejected the denial: 'It was a lie too gross for the grossest ignorance to believe.' -358- if I had written them with the motives which you have attributed to me. -- I have not been in the habit of treating our separation with levity -- nor ever since the first moment thought of it without deep emotion -- and how you could apply to yourself a Sonnet written to ridicule infantine simplicity, vulgar colloquialisms, and lady-like Friendships -- I have no conception. Neither I believe could a passage in your writings have suggested to me or any man the notion of your 'plaining plaintively'. 1 I am sorry that I wrote them; because I am sorry to perceive a disposition in you to believe evil of me, and a disposition to teach others to believe Evil -- of which your remark to Charles Lloyd was a painful instance. 2 -- I say this to you; because I shall say it to no other being.-I feel myself wounded: and write ae[cordingly] -- I believe in my letter to Lloyd I forgot to mention that the Editor of [the] Morning Post is called Stuart 3 -- and that he is the Brother in law of Mackintosh 4 -- Your's sincerely S. T. Coleridge No 19 Sale Street, Lincoln's Inn, London, Novr 17th, 1797. Sir In common with every man of taste & feeling I have long been an admirer of your genius, but it was not till my late visit to Mr Wedgewood's that I felt an interest In your Character almost equal to my admiration of your ____________________ 1 To Simplicity, line 11, 'Now of my false friend plaining plaintively.' 2 Although Lloyd had left the Coleridges in the spring of 1797 with no ill feelings and seems to have been on friendly terms when he visited Stowey in Sept. 1797 (see Letter 207), by 11 Nov. he had written a novel, Edmund Oliver, the hero of which resembles Coleridge in personal appearance and undergoes experiences in love, in the army, and in the use of opium not unlike Coleridge's. Southey, whose quarrel with Coleridge of 1795 was only superficially healed, probably provided material for Lloyd's novel -- a justifiable inference, since Lloyd was living with Southey during its composition and since Southey had himself planned a novel by the same name in 1796. Coleridge apparently did not learn of Edmund Oliver until its appearance in Apr. 1798 (see Letter 248). 3 Daniel Stuart ( 1766-1846) had purchased the Morning Post in 1795. An astute journalist, he raised that paper into prominence. Later he was equally successful with the Courier. Stuart was soon to be on the most intimate terms with Coleridge, whose contributions to the Morning Post began on 7 Dec 1797. 4 James Mackintosh ( 1765-1882), philosopher, politician, and historian, in 1789 married Daniel Stuart's sister, who died eight years later. In Apr. 1798 Mackintosh married Catherine Allen, a sister of Mrs. John and Mrs. J osiah Wedgwood. Coleridge seems never to have been drawn to Mackintosh and came to speak of him with an asperity which may have arisen from Mackintosh's unfavourable estimate of Wordsworth as a poet. See Letter 402. Among the papers of Lord Latymer, however, there is a letter from Mackintosh to Coleridge, in which it is proposed that Coleridge contribute to the Morning Post. Mackintosh may have influenced the Wedgwoods in their determination to offer financial assistance to Coleridge. -359-