493. To Thomas Wedgwood Address: T. Wedgewood Esqre | Cote | Bristol MS. Wedgwood Museum, Pub. with omis. E. L. G. i. 252. Stamped: Bridgewater. Nether Stowey -- Thursday, Feb. 17. 1803 My dear Wedgewood Last night I received a four ounce parcel-Letter by the Post, ____________________ 1 Coleridge again refers to an abortive plan whereby Mackintosh was to prepare an essay incorporating Tom Wedgwood's philosophical opinions. It was this work for which Coleridge had earlier agreed to write a preface. See Letter 486. When Mackintosh sailed for India in Feb. 1804, he took with him Tom Wedgwood's manuscripts. 'The first moment after my books are placed on their shelves', he promised, 'shall be devoted to Time and Space.' Tom Wedgwood, 157-9. 2 MS. torn. See letter 494 for Coleridge's mode of travel. -932- which, Poole & I concluded, was the mistake or carelessness of the Servant, who had put the parcel, your Sister gave him, into the Post Office instead of the Coach Office. I should have been indignant, if dear Poole's Squirt of Indignation had not set me a laughing. -On opening it it contained my Letter from Gunville, & a parcel, a small one, of Bang from Purkis. I will transcribe the parts of his Letter which relate to it -- but I have been harrassed by the apprehension that you may be vexed at Purkis's having mentioned your name. 1 -- Feb. 7. 1803. Brentford. 'My dear C. I thank you for your Letter, & am happy to be the means of obliging you. Immediately on the Receipt of your's I wrote to Sir Joseph Banks (who, I verily believe, is one of the most excellent and most useful men of this Country) requesting a small Quantity of Bang, & saying that it was for the use of Mr Wedgewood. I yesterday received the parcel which I now send -- accompanied with a very kind Letter, & as part of it will be interesting to you & your Friend, I will transcribe it. "The Bang, you ask for, is the powder of the Leaves of a kind of Hemp that grows in the Hot Climates. It is prepared, and used, I believe, in all parts of the East, from Morocco to China. In Europe, it is found to act very differently on different Constitutions. Some it elevates in the extreme: others it renders torpid & scarcely observant of any evil that may befall them. In Barbary it is always taken, if it can be procured, by Criminals condemned to suffer amputations, & it is said to enable these Miserables to bear the rough operations of an unfeeling Executioner more than we Europeans can the keen knife of our most skilful Chirurgeons. This it may be necessary to have said to my friend, Mr Wedgewood, whom I respect as much as his Virtues deserve, & I know them well. I send a small quantity only, because I possess but little: if however it is found to agree, I will instantly forward the whole of my Stock, & write without delay to Barbary, from whence it came, for more." [']Sir Joseph adds in a postscript -- "It seems almost beyond a doubt, that the Nepenthe was a preparation of the Bang known to the Ancients." [']Sir J. B. has not given me any directions or hints as to the quantity of Bang to be taken at a time; but it will occur to Mr W. that it is to be taken in very small Doses, & with the utmost caution &c &c &c -- ['] Now I had better take the small parcel with me to Gunville. If I send it by the Post, besides the heavy expence, I can not rely ____________________ 1 Coleridge had authorized Purkis to use Wedgwood's name. See Letter 485. -933- on the Stowey Carriers of Letters, who are a brace of as careless & dishonest Rogues, as had ever claims on that article of the Hemp & Timber Trade, called the Gallows. -- Indeed, I verily believe that if all Stowey (Ward excepted) does not go to Hell, it will be by the supererogation of Poole's Sense & Honesty. -- Charitable! We go off early to morrow morning. I shall hear from you of course. -- Respectful Remembrances to the Family at Cote. -- We will have a fair Trial of Bang -- Do bring down some of the Hyoscyamine Pills -- & I will give a fair Trial of opium, Hensbane, & Nepenthe. Bye by the bye, I always considered Homer's account of the Nepenthe as a Banging lie. ----- God bless you, | I my dear Friend, | & S. T. Coleridge