378. To Humphry Davy Address: Mr Davy | Pneumatic Institution | Hot Wells | Bristol Single MS. Royal Institution. Pub. Letters, i. 345. Postmark: 6 February 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Tuesday, Feb. 8. 1801 My dear Davy I can scarcely reconcile it to my Conscience to make you pay postage for another Letter. O what a fine Unveiling of modern Politics it would be, if there were published a minute Detail of all the sums received by Government from the Post Establishment, and of all the outlets, in which the sums so received, flowed out again -- and on the other hand all the domestic affections that had been stifled, all the intellectual progress that would have been, but is not, on account of this heavy Tax, &c &c ---- The Letters of a nation ought to be payed for, as an article of national expence. ---- Well -- but I did not take up this paper to flourish away in splenetic Politics. ---- A Gentleman resident here, his name Calvert, 1 an idle, goodhearted, and ingenious man, has a great desire to commence fellow-student with me & Wordsworth in Chemistry. -- He is an intimate friend of Wordsworth's -- & he has proposed to Wordsworth to take a house which he ( Calvert) has nearly built, called Windy Brow, in a delicious situation, scarce half a mile from Grieta Hall, the residence of S. T. Coleridge Esq. / and so for him (Calvert) to live with them, i.e. Wordsworth & his Sister. -- In this case he means to build a little Laboratory &c. -- Wordsworth has not quite decided, but is strongly inclined to adopt the scheme, because he and his Sister have before lived with Calvert on the same footing, and are much attached to him; because my Health is so precarious, and so much injured by Wet, and his health too is, like ____________________ 1 William Calvert, whose brother, Raisley Calvert, had left a legacy to Wordsworth. -670- little potatoes, no great things, and therefore Grasmere (18 miles from Keswick) is too great a distance for us to enjoy each other's Society without inconvenience as much as it would be profitable for us both; & likewise because he feels it more & more necessary for him to have some intellectual pursuit less closely connected with deep passion, than Poetry, & is of course desirous too not to be so wholly ignorant of knowleges so exceedingly important --. However whether Wordsworth come or no, Calvert & I have determined to begin & go on. Calvert is a man of sense, and some originality / and is besides what is well called a handy man. He is a good practical mechanic &c -- and is desirous to lay out any sum of money that may be necessary. You know how long, how ardently I have wished to initiate myself in Chemical science -both for it's own sake, and in no small degree likewise, my beloved friend! -- that I may be able to sympathize with all, that you do and think. -- Sympathize blindly with it all I do even now, God knows! from the very middle of my heart's heart -- ; but I would fain sympathize with you in the Light of Knowlege. -- This opportunity therefore is exceedingly precious to me -- as on my own account I could not afford any the least additional expence, having been already by long & successive Illnesses thrown behind hand so much, that for the next 4 or five months, I fear, let me work as hard as I can, I shall not be able to do what my heart within me burns to do -- that is, concenter my free mind to the affinities of the Feelings with Words & Ideas under the title of 'Concerning Poetry & the nature of the Pleasures derived from it.' ---- I have faith, that I do understand this subject / and I am sure, that if I write what I ought to do on it, the Work would supersede all the Books of Metaphysics hitherto written / and all the Books of Morals too. -- To whom shall a young man utter his Pride, if not to a young man whom he loves? ---- I beg you therefore, my dear Davy! to write to me a long Letter when you are at leisure, informing me I What Books it will be well for Mr Calvert to purchase. 2. Directions for a convenient little Laboratory -- and 3rdly -- to what amount the apparatus would run in expence, and whether or no you would be so good as to superintend it's making at Bristol. -- Fourthly, give me your advice how to begin ---- and fifthly & lastly & mostly do send a drop of hope to my parched Tongue, that you will, if you can, come & visit me in the Spring. -- Indeed, indeed, you ought to see this Country, this divine Country -- and then the Joy you would send into me! The Shape of this paper will convince you with what eagerness I began this Letter -- I really did not see that it was not a Sheet. I have been thinking vigorously during my Illness -- so that I -671- cannot say, that my long long wakeful nights have been an lost to me. The subject of my meditations ha[s] been the Relations of Thoughts to Things, in the language of Hume, of Ideas to Impressions: I may be truly described in the words of Descartes. I have been 'res cogitans, id est, dubitans, affirmans, negans, p[auca] intelligens, multa ignorans, volens, nolens, imaginans etia[m,] et sentiens 1 -- ' & I please myself with believing, that [you] will receive no small pleasure from the result of [my] broodings, altho' I expect in you (in some points) [a] determined opponent -but I say of my mind, in this respect, 'Manet imperterritus ille Hostem magnanimum opperiens, et mole suâ stat.' 2 Every poor fellow has his proud hour sometimes -- & this, I suppose, is mine. -- I am better in every respect than I was; but am still very feeble. The Weather has been woefully against me for the last fortnight, it having rained here almost incessantly -- I take large quantities of Bark, but the effect is (to express myself with the dignity of Science) X = 0 0 0 0 0 0 0: and I shall not gather strength or t[hat] suffusion of bloom which belongs to my healthy state, till I can walk out. God bless you, my dear Davy! & your ever affectionate Friend, S. T. Coleridge. P.S. An electrical machine & a number of little nick nacks connected with it Mr Calvert has. ---- Write.