458. To Robert Southey Address: Robert Sthey Esq. | St James's Place | Kings Down | Bristol Single Sheet MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. with omis. E.L.G. i. 203. Postmark: 6 September 1802. Stamped: Keswick. Thursday, Sept. 2, 1802 Dear Southey I have received your's of 29th ult. & Sara has received Mary's -both this evening -- and we are sadly perplexed. Edith & Mary cannot have counted the rooms accurately. Exclusive of the Kitchen & Back Kitchen, there are ten rooms in the House -- two very large, two tolerably large, & six small ones. The two very large ones would of course be your parlour & mine, the two next in size your Bedroom & mine / there remain six -- the two largest & pleasantest of which must be our two Studies / of the remaining four, two will be the Maids' rooms. Supposing, we have but three Servants -- a Cook, and two Nursery-maids who must make the beds -- & I hope & believe, that these will be enough -- & suppose too, that the Infants sleep with their mothers -- yet still three maids must have two Rooms -- first, because their rooms will be small -- & secondly because Derwent will sleep with that one, who has a bed to herself -- there now are but two -- of these Mary has one, and Tom the other ---- What follows? I have not a single bed to offer to a Friend / & it will be impossible for Mr & Mrs Wordsworth, & Miss Wordsworth ever to pay us a visit -- & not only that, but when Mrs Coleridge lies in, there must be a little bed in her room for the Nurse -- / & of course for 5 or 6 weeks I must have a bed room for myself / indeed, I could not at any time do without one / for if I am in the least unwell, I am utterly sleepless unless I have a bed -859- to myself -- and a bed room too. -- There is an outhouse which I hoped to have had turned into a study for mysef -- & it would have been so large, that I might [have] occasionally slept in it wholesomely -- which I could not do in the little wing room, which will otherwise be my Study / but I find that it is impossible to have it fitted up till next year & I thought, that when I mentioned it, Jackson enumerated the costs of flooring &c, as if it would be more money than he could conveniently hazard / as it would be of no use to him, if I were to go away. At present, it is merely the brick walls, & the blue Slates above. -- I fear too, that the new House will not be finished till the middle of November / tho' Jackson has promised me to bestir himself -- This however is a trifle / the days axe so short at the close of October, that it will make but little difference your not coming till a month later / Besides, you might come / & have furnished Lodgings at Keswick, for a month / at least, either for you & Edith, & child -- or for Mary & Tom / for half of you we could certainly either find or make room for. / The former objections are more weighty. -- Mrs Coleridge will write in a day or two an exact account of the furniture, that we have -- and of what will be wanted / supposing, these objections can be done away. -- It is absolutely necessary, that I should have one spare Room always ready for Wordsworth & his Wife / and tho' Dorothy would, of course, always accompany them, yet I suppose, Mrs Lovell would give her half her Bed. It would be convenient to have a second Bedroom for myself -- but this I can easily waive / when Wordsworth was not expected, of course, I should use his Room, as I have been accustom[ed] to call it -- and when there, I shall either be well, & Mrs C. likewise, & we sleep in one room / or I can put the little lazy bed, that the Nurse will sleep in, into my Study, for the few nights, that he may be at Keswick. -- I told you that you might have half the house -- i.e. 5 rooms, besides the Kitchen / & unless we retained 5, we should be as straightened, as if we were in Lodgings -- & in case of sickness, we should [be] so thronged as to be quite miserable. -- So much for Business. Sara will write to Mary or Edith / & when you have the whole before you, you must then settle it. -- Now for the remainder. The Letter to Estlin is not the existing half, nor the 20th part, of the existing half of my Letters to the B.C. -- W. Taylor's notion that Christ was the author of the Wisdom of Solomon seems to me a silly one unless he can shew the Gospel & Epistles of John to be not only forgeries, but forgeries without any foundation in the real doctrines & tenets of Jesus. He says, that [']the Apostles often quote the Book.' God bless him!! -- why not -- 'the Book often quotes the Apostles.'? -- The Wisdom of Solomon is supposed by -860- Eichhorn 1 to have been written in the second Century by an Alexandrian Christian. -- As to the latter part, I was never more astonished in my Life, than when I read that sentence in your Letter -- 'the latter Solution is so strikingly probable that I know not how it should now first be made.' -- I should suppose, that nothing was ever older. Before I went to Germany, I spoke to Estlin of the great importance of the Miracle of the Ascension, without which the Resurrection could never be proved to be a miracle at all -- or any thing more than resuscitation / as the body was not putrefied, & as Xst was so manifestly favored both by Pilate & the Soldiers. Estlin admitted it -- but spoke of the objection as a very old one. -- Either, he said, the Ascension is true or a lie if true, it confirms the miraculous nature of the Resurrection / if a lie, what need of any ingenious hypothesis about the Resurrection / why not both Lies? -- My mind misgave me at that time, that thousands who would die rather than tell a Lie for a Lie, will tell 20 to help out what they believe to be a certain Truth / and the idea made great impression on my mind, tho' without the least suspicion that it was any thing but an old objection. In Germany, I found it the universal Solution / & at Göttingen I understood that it was publickly stated, as the probable truth, by Eichhorn / & passages from Plutarch, as well as the Passage, you refer to, in Josephus -- cited by him -- on my return home, Dr Beddoes in Biggs' Shop detailed this as a general opinion -- and lo & behold, in Herder's Von der Auferstehung, als Glauben, Geschichte & Lehre, 2 i.e. Of the Resurrection, as an Article of Faith, of History, & of Doctrine, I found the whole developed in a delightful manner -- with the curious passages in Plutarch / & a bold Laugh at those who lay'd any stress on the Ascension. -- I detailed this to you at Keswick, if I am not greatly mistaken / & I am positive, that both Davy & myself entered fully into it at your Rooms, when Northmore was there. Indeed, it would be strange, if I had never mentioned it to you -- for I believe, you would be the only one of my acquaintance to whom I have not mentioned & dwelt upon it. -I cannot believe, that W. Taylor considers this as any discovery of his own / Before the time of Grotius's de Veritate Christianâ no stress was lay'd on the judicial, law-cant kind of evidence for Christianity which has been since so much in Fashion / & Lessing very sensibly considers Grotius as the greatest Enemy that Xtianity ever had. Since his Time I cannot but think, that this hypothesis would be found in very many Authors long before ____________________ 1 J. G. Eichhorn (1752-1827), Einleitung in die apokryphischen Bücher des Alten Testaments, 1795. 2 A copy of this work, 1794, annotated by Coleridge is in the British Museum. -861- Herder or Eichhorn / neither does Herder in the book now before me lay any claim to originality -- & this Book, if I am not mistaken, W. Taylorreviewed. He certainly did, two other little tracts that usually accompany it /. I need not say that Herder (who is a sort of German Bishop) writes very slyly -- & admits the possibility of this resuscitation, as a mere natural occurrence, & the probability of it, as if nothing were lost to Xtianity by the admission. I will quote one sentence, p. 120. They held that to be a miracle which probably was no miracle; they believed that this Resurrection was effected by the omnipotence of God, when perhaps it was merely a natural resuscitation in consequence of the powerful Perfume of Nicodemus.-Plank has written a very large & most fact-full History of the Reformation. 1 -- God bless you & S. T. C. As soon as the new House is finished, the whole front of the old one will be pulled down, if it does not fall before: so we cannot have any rooms in that. An excellent Story that Eagle of Brass!