323. To John Prior Estlin Address: Revd. J. P. Estlin | St Michael's Hill | Bristol Single MS. Bristol Central Lib. Pub. E. L. G. i. 135. Postmark: 1 March 1800. Saturday, March 1st [ 1800] My very dear Friend When I received your letter -- some three minutes ago -- I turned to my Guide des Voyageurs En Europe to know where Marburg was -- I guess it to be Marburg in the Dishoprich of Padderbourn ____________________ 1 Published Annual Anthology, 1800. 2 The SPECTRE band, his MESSMATES bold, Sunk in the yawning ocean! While to the mast, he lash'd him fast, And brav'd the storm's conunotion! The winter MOON upon the sand A silvery carpet made, And mark'd the sailor reach the land -- And mark'd his MURDERER wash his hand, Where the green billows play'd! The Haunted Beach, stanza 6. -576- between Frankfort & Cassel -- If so, I have not been within 40 miles at least of it, having never been many miles below Cassel -- At all events, the name of the person, you mention, is wholly unknown to me -- I once knew a Miss Bouclerc in Devonshire.----As to myself, I am fagging -- & am delivering to the Press some plays of Schiller's---- / I shall soon however slide away from this place, & devote myself to works of more importance. -- I have seen Mr & Mrs Barbauld 1 two or three times -- once at their own House -admirable people! -- Dr Disney's Sons, at all events, the younger, with his Shirt collar half way up his cheek, gave me no high idea of the propriety of Unitarian Dissenters sending their Sons to Established & Idolatrous Universities -- / It may be very true, tha[t] at Hackney they learnt, too many of them, Infidelity -- the Tutors, the whole plan of Education, the place itself, were all wrong -- but many will return to the Good Cause, in which alone plain practical Reason can find footing -- at Cambridge & Oxford they will not learn Infidelity perhaps, or perhaps they may -- for now 'tis common enough even there, to my certain knowlege -but one thing they will learn -- Indifference to all Religions but the Religion of the Gentleman -- Gentlemanliness will be the word -- / & bring with it a deep Contempt for those Dissenters among whom they were born. -- We Dissenters (for I am proud of the Distinction) have somewhat of a simple & scholarly formality, perhaps: God forbid, we should wholly lose it --! but with th[e] young men at Oxford & Cambridge'the Gentleman[' is] the all-implying Word of Honor -- a thing more blasting to real Virtue, real Utility, real Standing forth for the Truth in Christ, than all the Whoredoms & Impurities which this Gentlemanliness does most generally bring with it.----My dear Friend! -- in the crowded heartless Party at Dr Disney's O! how I did think of your Sunday Suppers -- their light uncumbrous Simplicity, the heartiness of manner, the literary Christianness of Conversation -- Dr Disney himself I respect, highly respect -- in the Pulpit he is an Apostle / but there -- there it stops. -- My best & overflowing Love to Mrs Estlin / kisses & love to your Children -- Sara is better -- Hartley rampant -- Heaven bless you & your affectionate Friend S. T. Coleridge Mrs Coleridge begs to be remembered to you & dear Mrs Estlin 'with all, all, all my Heart' -- There you have her own Words. -- P.S. Nothing is more common than for conscious Infidels to ____________________ 1 Mrs. Anna Letitia Barbauld ( 1743-1825), poet and miscellaneous writer whom Coleridge had met in Bristol in the summer of 1797. -577- go into the Church -- Conscious Arians or Socinians swarm in it -So much for the Morals of Oxford & Cambridge. -- With their too early reasonings, and logic-cuttings, & reading Hume & such like Trash, the young Dissenters are prone to Infidelity -- but do you know any Instance of such an Infidel accepting an office that implied the belief of Christianity? -- It cannot be said, that this is owing to our Preferments being so much smaller: for the majority are but Curates in the Established Church, or on small Livings -- & not so well off as George Burnet was, or Sam. Reed would have been / but thus is it, my dear Friend! -- The Education, which Dissenters receive among Dissenters, generates Conscientiousness & a scrupulous Turn / will this be gained at the Wine Parties at Cambridge? -- The truth is, Dr Disney himself sees only with too much pleasure this Gentlemanliness --. I say thus much, my dear Friend! because I once heard you speak in Commendation of that which I am now deprecating. -- P.S. The more I see of Mrs Barbauld the more I admire her -- that wonderful Propriety of Mind! -- She has great acuteness, very great -- yet how steadily she keeps it within the bounds of practical Reason. This I almost envy as well as admire -- My own Subtleties too often lead me into strange (tho' God be praised) transient Out-of-the-waynesses. Oft like a winged 1 Spider, I am entangled in a new Spun web -- but never fear for me, 'tis but the flutter of my wings -- & off I am again!---- The little man so full of great affections -- you cannot love him better than I. --