506. To Robert Southey Address: Mr Southey | St James's Place | Kingsdown | Bristol MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. Letters, i. 422. Postmark: 2 July 1808. Stamped: Keswick. Wednesday -- Keswick. [ 29 June 1803] My dear Southey You have had much illness as well as I, but I thank God for you, you have never been equally diseased in voluntary power with me. I knew a Lady, who was seized with a sort of asthma, which she knew would be instantly relieved by a dose of Ether -- she had the full use of her Limbs -- & was not an arm's length from the Bell -yet could not command voluntary power sufficient to pull it -- & might have died but for the accidental Coming-in of her Daughter. -- From facts such as these the doctrines of Materialism, & mechanical necessity have been deduced; & it is some small argument against the Truth of these Doctrines, that I have perhaps had a more various experience, a more intuitive knowlege, of such facts than most men ----- yet do not believe these Doctrines. -- My health is middling. If this hot weather continue, I hope to go on endurably -- and O! for peace! -- for I forebode a miserable Winter in this country. Indeed, I am rather inclined to determine on wintering in Madeira, rather than staying at home. -- I have inclosed 10£ for Mrs Fricker. Tell her, that I wish it were in my power to increase this poor half-year's Mite; but ill-health keeps me poor. ----- Della is with us: & seems likely to recover. -- I have not seen the Edingburgh Review -- the truth is, that Edingburgh is a place of literary Gossip -- & even I have had my portion of Puff there -- & of course, my portion of Hatred & Envy. -- One man puffs me up -- he has seen & talked with me -- another hears him, goes & reads my poems, written when almost a boy -- & candidly & logically hates me, because he does not admire my poems in the proportion in which one of his acquaintances had admired me. -- It is difficult to say whether these Reviewers do you harm or good. -- You read me at Bristol a very interesting piece of Casuistry from Father Somebody, the Author, I believe, of the Theatro Critico, respecting a double Infant -- If you do not immediately want it, or if my using it in a book of Logic, with proper acknowlegement, will not interfere with your use of it -- I should be extremely obliged to you, if you would send it me without delay. -- I rejoice to hear of the Progress of your History. The only Thing, I dread, is the -953- division of the Europaean & Colonial History --. In style, you have only to beware of short, biblical, & pointed Periods. Your general Style is delightfully natural & yet striking. You may expect certain Explosions in the Morning Post, Coleridge versus Fox -- in about a week. It grieved me to hear (for I have a sort of affection for the man) from Sharp, that Fox had not read my two Letters; 1 but had heard of them, & that they were mine -- & had expressed himself more wounded by the circumstance than any thing that had happened since Burke's Business. Sharp told this to Wordsworth -- & told Wordsworth, that he had been so affected by Fox's manner, that he himself had declined reading the two Letters -- Yet Sharp himself thinks my opinions right & true: but Fox is not to be attacked -- & why? Because he is an amiable man -- & not by me -- because he had thought highly of me -- &c &c -- O Christ I this is a pretty age in the article, "Morality"! -- When I cease to love Truth best of all things; & Liberty, the next best; may I cease to live -- nay, it is my creed, that I should thereby cease to live / for as far as any thing can be called probable in a subject so dark, it seems most probable to me, that our Immortality is to be a work of our own Hands. -- All the children are well -- & I love to hear Bella talk of Margaret. Love to Edith -- & to Mary. God bless you, | & S. T. Coleridge I have received great delight & instruction from Scotus Erigena. He is clearly the modern founder of the School of Pantheism -indeed he expressly defines the divine Nature, as quae fit et facit, et creat et creatur -- & repeatedly declares Creation to be manifestation -- the Epiphany of Philosophers. ----- The eloquence with which he writes, astonished me, but he had read more Greek than Latin -- and was a Platonist rather than an Aristotelean. -- There is a good deal of omne meus oculus in the notion of the dark Ages, 2 &c, taken intensively -- in extension it might be true --. They had Wells; we are flooded, ancle-high -- & what comes of it but grass rank or rotten? Our age eats from that Poison-tree of Knowlege, yclept, Too much and too little. -- Have you read Paley's last Book? 3 Have you it to review? -- I could make a dashing Review of it. -- ____________________ 1 Except for Coleridge's two Letters to Charles James Fox of 4 and 9 Nov. 1802, no further contributions concerning Fox have been identified. 2 ' Coleridge says there has never been a single line of common-sense written about the dark ages. He was speaking of the knowledge and philosophy of that period; and I believe his assertion is true in a more extensive sense.' Southey to Rickman, Southey Letters, i. 228. 3 William Paley, Natural Theology; or Evidence of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature, 1802. -954-