309. To Thomas Wedgwood Address: Thomas Wedgewood Esq. | Cornwallis House | Clifton | Bristol Single MS. Wedgwood Museum. Pub. with omis. Tom Wedgwood, 74. Postmark: 2 January 1800. No / 21, Buckingham Street, Strand. My dear Sir I am sitting by a fire in a rug great Coat. Your Room is doubtless to a greater degree air-tight than mine; or your notion of Tartarus would veer round to the Groenlanders' creed. It is most barbarously cold: and you, I fear, can shield yourself from it only by perpetual imprisonment. If any place in the southern Climates were in a state of real quiet & likely to continue so, should you feel no inclination to migrate? -- Poor Southey, from over great Industry, as I suspect, the Industry too of solitary Composition, has reduced himself to a terrible state of weakness -- & is determined to leave this Country as soon as he has finished the Poem on which he is now employed. 'Tis a melancholy thing -- so young a man & one whose Life has ever been so simple and self-denying! -- O for Peace & the South of France. -- I could almost too wish for a Bourbon King if it were only that Sieyes & Buonaparte might finish their career in the old orthodox way of Hanging. -- Thank God, I have my Health perfectly & I am working hard -- yet the present state of human affairs presses on me for days together, so as to deprive me of all my chearfulness. It is probable, that a man's private & personal connections & interests ought to be uppermost in his daily & hourly Thoughts, & that the dedication of much hope & fear to subjects which are perhaps disproportionate to our faculties & powers, is a disease. But I have had this disease so long, & my early Education was so undomestic, that I know not how to get rid of it; or even to wish to get rid of it. Life were so fiat a thing without Enthusiasm -- that if for a moment it leave me, I have a sort of stomach-sensation attached to all my Thoughts, like those which succeed to the pleasurable operation of a dose of Opium. Now I make up my mind to a sort of heroism in believing the progressiveness of all nature, during the present melancholy state of Humanity -- & on this subject I am now writing / and no work, on which I ever employed myself, makes me so happy while I am writing. -- I shall remain in London till April -- the expences of my last year made it necessary for me to exert my industry; and many other good ends are answered at the same time. Where I next settle, I -558- shall continue; & that must be in a state of retirement & rustication. It is therefore good for me to have a run of society -- & that various, & consisting of marked characters! -- Likewise by being obliged to write without much elaboration I shall greatly improve myself in naturalness & facility of style / & the particular subjects on which I write for money, are nearly connected with my future schemes. -- My mornings I give to compilations, which I am sure cannot be wholly useless -- & for which by the beginning of April I shall have earned nearly an 150£ -- my evenings to the Theatres -as I am to conduct a sort of Dramaturgy, a series of Essays on the Drama, both it's general principles, and likewise in reference to the present State of the English Theatres. This I shall publish in the Morning Post 1 -- the attendance on the Theatres costs me nothing, & Stuart, the Editor, covers my expences in London. Two mornings & one whole day I dedicate to the Essay on the possible Progressiveness of Man & on the principles of Population. -- In April I return to my greater work -- the Life of Lessing. -- My German Chests are arrived; but I have them not yet -- but expect them from Stowey daily ----- when they come, I shall send a little pacquet down to you --. To pay my Wife's travelling expences & al[so] my first expences in London I borrowed 25£ from my friend Purkis, for which I gave him an order on your Brother, York Street, dating it Jan. 5, 1800. 2 -- Will you be so kind as to mention this to him -- He will be kind enough to excuse my having done this without having previously written; but I have every reason to believe, that I shall have no occasion to draw again till the year 1801 -- & I believe, that as I now [stand], I have not anticipated beyond the year; if I have wholly anticipated that. -- I shall write to Jos. tomorrow for certain. -- I have seen a good deal of Godwin who has just published a novel. 3 I like him for thinking so well of Davy. He talks of him every where as the most extraordinary human Being, he had ever met with. I cannot say that: for I know one whom I feel to be the superior --; but I never met so extraordinary a young man. -- I have likewise dined with Horne Tooke. He is a clear-headed old man, as every man needs must be who attends to the real import of words; but there is a sort of charletannery [sic] in his manner that did not please me. He makes such a mystery & difficulty out of plain & palpable Things -- and never tells you any thing without first exciting & detaining your Curiosity. But it were a bad Heart ____________________ 1 For contributions recently identified see P.M.L.A., June 1954, p. 681. 2 See Letters826 and 329. 3 Godwin St. Leon, a Tate of the 16th Century, was published in 1799. -559- that could not pardon worse faults than these Author of the Epea Pteroenta. ----- Believe me, my dear Sir! with much affection your's S. T. C.