419. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | N. Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset Single sheet MS. British Museum. Hitherto unpublished. Postmark: 8 November 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Saturday Night, Nov. [October] 81. 1801 My dear Poole I received both letters, inclosing the 252 compleat -- (N.B. Each letter charged only single -- whereas all your single letters have been charged double) -- If I can, I leave this place on Saturday next, go straight forward to London, in which place I shall settle all my literary concerns with advice for my future health, &c -- My stay [t]here will certainly not exceed ten days -- and from thence I proceed in the Bridgewater Mail for Bridgewater & you. -- I purpose ____________________ 1 Henry Addington ( 1757-1844), later first Viscount Sidmouth, was at this time First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Under his government England made peace with France in 1802. -771- staying with you, & Mr Wedgewood, & Mr Pinny, & [at] Ottery till the last days of March / less than two months I shall assuredly not stay with you. Now for the words -- if I can --. My health & personal appearance is much improved; but on Wednesday in stepping over a fence I had a Thorn run into my leg, some inch & a half from the Ancle close by the tendo Achilles -- I have reason to fear that it has broke in -- an incision has been made to no purpose -- but the wound keeps open, & a suppuration is forming -& when formed, it may bring forth the lurker. I have suffered great agony -- I am more than lame -- for I cannot without torture move my leg from a super-horizontal position. Whether I exaggerate illness or no, remains to be proved; but this I will venture to say for myself, that there is scarcely a Woman in the Island that can endure Pain more quietly than I -- tho' the Present is scarcely an Instance -- for I have had such valuable Lights thrown upon me, with regard to the exceedingly interesting & obscure subject of Pain, in consequence' of this accident, that I am quite in spirits about it. O! how I watched myself while the Lancet was at my Leg! -- Vivat Metaphysic! And now, my dearest Poole I for a word or two respecting your very interesting piece of News. You will not suspect me, I know, of being warped by my dislike of old Symes, & my abhorrence of his moral dispositions --: I do not fear that you will suspect me of this -- all I fear is, lest you should suspect that long, & solitary Broodings over the elements of Thought have diseased my notions of those moral Relations which result from the great aggregates of Life, the Father, the Husband, the Clergyman, the Brother, the Citizen. -- Do not, I intreat you, think this of me. My opinions in Ethics are, if any thing, more austere than they ever were -- but really, ignorant as I am of all the minor facts, & judging only from the facts which you have adduced, I can not see that Bradley has committed any error at all -- or has done any thing which I would not have done in his place. A lewd Boy & a wanton Girl mutually seduce each other; but the Boy is willing to repair the evil, & to marry the Girl. If he do not, the Girl is hunted by Infamy, & perhaps hunted by it into the Toils of Guilt & habitual Depravity. This Girl is Bradley's Sister-in-law. -- Old Symes who at first was 'a madman in fury,' & whose fury has now 'settled into a deep malignant rage' -- old Symes -- i.e. a Man-shaped animal capable of 'a deep malignant Rage' & known to be so by every one that knew any thing of him -- he surely was not a man to apply to, unless Bradley wished to do so as a substitute for necromancy to save himself the trouble of calling up a Devil from Hell to trumpet & blast abroad the infamy of his Sister -- I should say, to make it infamy by his trumpetings. -- You must know that Symes never -772- would have consented to the marriage -- & Bradley knew it -- & if, Poole! you do not know that the young man did his duty in marrying the young woman, all I can say is that my moral system is more austere than your's -- and I am sure that in this case your system is founded on Prudence of Men, & not on the Gospel of Christ. -- Bradley saw that whatever Hubbub might at first be created, all would die away -- Husband & Wife are Husband & Wife -- and warmth of constitution is often connected with many excellent moral dispositions -- the affair may have prevented her from being a Whore -- & no doubt has prevented him from being, as the Stowey youths of his acquaintance all were, Whoremongers deep-died! 1. . . As to the clandestineness, &c &c -- they were only steps of prudence -- if it were right to do the thing, it certainly could not be wrong to do it in the only way in which it could be done without uproar & desecration. I see no moral wrong in the clandestineness whatever -- if I saw Bradley, & you had not convinced us [by] the adduction of new facts that I am in the wrong, I should give him my right hand, & say, You have acted, Sir! as a man, & a Christian -- . -- I will write again on the [day] I leave this place. Most affect. -- S.T.C. -- P.S. You will see, I take it for granted that the Girl is with child. --