232. To John Prior Estlin Address: Revd J. P. Estlin IVS. Bristol Central Lib. Pub. Letters to Estlin, 59. Tuesday night -- [ 18 February 1798] My dear Friend If you have never been a slave to the superstition of impulses, you will marvel to hear that I arrived at Stowey, on Friday last, by dinner time. -- I left Mr Wedgewood's on Thursday evening, just time enough to keep an engagement, I had made, to sup with a Mr Williams of Nottingham, at the White Lion. -- There I slept -awoke at 5 in the morning, and was haunted by a strange notion that there was something of great importance that demanded my immediate presence at Stowey. I dressed myself, and walked out to dissipate the folly -- but the Bridgewater Coach rattling by, & the Coachman asking me if I would get in -- I took it for an omen -- the superstitious feeling recurred -- and in I went -- came home, & found -- my wife & child in very good health! -- However, as I must necessarily be in Bristol, in a few weeks, I the less regret my strange & abrupt departure. T. Poole informs me that there is a letter for me at your house -if so, be so kind as to send it to Mr Cottle's for me. -- T. Wedgewood did not speak a word to me about the circumstance -- only that I should hear from him. So I know nothing relating to myself so far, which you do not know. Have you given over the thoughts of editing Butler's analogy 1 with notes? -- If the Unitarian Society would publish it in their tracts, I would willingly & immediately Undertake it with youadding a disquisition on Hume's system of Causation -- or rather of non-causation. This is the pillar, & confessedly, the sole pillar, ____________________ 1 Joseph Butler Analogy first appeared in 1736. -385- of modern Atheism -- if we could clearly & manifestly detect the sophisms of this system, I think, that Butler's Analogy aided by well-placed notes would answer irresistably all the objections to Christianity founded on a priori reasonings -- & these are the only reasonings that infidels use even with plausibility. -- I have sent you Payne's Letter to Erskine 1 -- it was sent to me privately by the Editor of the Morning Post -- for they do not venture to publish it. -- There are some ludicrous blunders -- exemp.grati -- This erudite Philosopher mistakes Moses's Autograph for the publication of the Law -- & asserts that the Law was not known till Hilkiah (Chronicles, Ch. 34.) pretended to have found it -- Mr Ireland 2 pretended to have found a copy of Lear in Shakspere's own hand -ergo -- we have proof that the Tragedy was not composed by Shakespere, & never heard of till the 87th year of the reign of George the third! -- / . -- Erudite Logician! -- / There is annexed a Sermon in defence of Deity with one or two good remarks in it -but the proof is very idle, & the definition of Deity -- i.e. a being whose power is equal to his will -- in all probability applies equally to a Maggot. There is however one argument against the Bible quite new -- 'I (the said Thomas Payne) could write a better book myself' -- & therefore it cannot be the word of God --. Now unless we suppose Mr Payne mistaken (which is hard to suppose on a subject where he must be so impartial a judge, i.e. his own genius) this argument is quite unanswerable!! I mentioned the unitarian Society, because I propose to myself no pecuniary profit, but could not sustain, on the other hand any pecuniary loss. My kind love to Mrs Estlin -- & believe me | with gratitude, esteem, & fervent affection | ever, ever your's S. T. Coleridge