231. To George Coleridge Address: Revd G. Coleridge | Ottery St Mary MS. Lady Cave. Hithedo unpublished. Stowey near Bridgewater Feb. 8th [9] 1 1798 My dear Brother The interval, since I received your letter, has been c Rowded with events of great importance to me. On Christmas Day I received a letter from Mr Josiah Wedgewood -- of which the following is a copy -- (Note. The late Mr Wedgewood had three sons, John, a Banker, who resides at Cote House, a magnificent Seat near Bristol -- Josiah, who carries on the Pottery in Staffordshire -- and Thomas, a single man, & in no line of business) Launceston, Decembr. 28, 1797 Dear Sir My Brother Thomas, & myself had separately determined that it would be right to enable you to defer entering into an engagement, we understand you are about to form from the most urgent of motives. We therefore request, that you will accept the inclosed draft with the same simplicity, with which it is offered to you -- I remain, dear Sir sincerely your's Josiah Wedgewood. ____________________ 1 Coleridge apparently was confused over the date, for in the next letter he tells Estlin, 'I arrived at Stowey, on Friday last, by dinner time', i.e. 9 Feb. -383- The inclosed draft was for an 100£ -- After some hesitation I returned an answer, accepting it -- but on the day after I received an invitation from the Unitarian congregation at Shrewsbury to become their minister -- and having taken a week maturely to deliberate on the subject, I at last returned the draft to Mr Wedgewood in a letter, of which No. 1. is a copy. 1 -- I immediately set off for Shrewsbury -- on the eleventh of January -- arrived there the 13th -- and on the 16th I received from Josiah & Thomas Wedgewood a letter, of which No. 2 is a copy. 2 -- I returned an answer, expressing human & manly feelings of gratitude, & accepted the offer. -- I of course addressed a letter to the society, declining the office, & explaining my motives -- but did not leave Shrewsbury till Monday 29th of Jan. -- I received a very complimentary & affectionate letter from the Society, expressing their regret for their own loss, but approving my motives -- & they requested that I would publish the six sermons, which I had preached to them -- / which I declined, having preached them extempore, & consequently, not able to appreciate their real merits -- -- I stayed a week at Cote House, & have just returned home. Disembarrassed from pecuniary anxieties yet unshackled by any regular profession, with powerful motives, and, I trust, no less powerful propensities to honorable effort, I indulge the hope, that at some future period I shall have given some proof, that as the intentions of the Wedgewoods were eminently pure, so the action itself was not unbeneficent. We received pain from hearing of the sickness which you have had -- We hope, it is past, and that you have no other toils than that of the school. -- God be praised, both Mrs Coleridge & my child enjoy, & have enjoyed, compleat health. -- As to my Tragedy, the story is briefly this -- Last year in the spring Sheridan wrote to me thro' Bowles (the poet) requesting me in very pressing & complimentary language to write a Tragedy -- he promised me his assistance in adapting it for the stage, & that he would bring it on with every possible advantage. -- I knew the man's character too well, to suffer myself to be inflated by hopehowever I set myself in good earnest about it, finished the piece in a much better style than I had supposed myself capable of doing, & transmitted it to Sheridan, in October -- From that time to this I have received no answer from him, altho' I have written to him -- & the only intelligence, I have received, was from Linley, Sheridan's brother in law, who told me that Sheridan spoke to him in extravagant terms of it's merits. -- In all probability, Mrs ____________________ 1 See Letter 217. 2 See headnote to Letter 222 for the Wedgwoods' letter. -384- Sheridan has made thread-papers with it. -- It has not given me one pang: for some who know Sheridan intimately, had prepared me to expect it. -- Give my love to Mrs G. Coleridge -- & to my Brothers -- & my Duty to my Mother. -- I intreat my Brother James's acceptance of the accompanying prints -- I am told, they are great likenesses, and as he is a musical man, may perhaps be interesting to him. -They were payed to me by a bankrupt bookseller, in commutation for some money which he owed me Your affectionate & grateful Brother, S. T. Coleridge