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Laleham, October 21, 1822. I have not much to say in the way of news: so I will notice that part of your letter which speaks of my not employing myself on something theological. You must remember that what I am doing in Greek and Roman History is only my amusement during the single hour of the day that I can employ on any occupation of my own, namely, between nine and ten in the evening. With such limited time, it would be ridiculous to attempt any work which required much labour, and which could not be promoted by my common occupations with my pupils. The Grecian History is just one of the things I can do most easily ; my knowledge of it beforehand is pretty full, and my lectures are continually keeping the subject before my mind; so that to write about it is really my recreation ; and the Roman History is the same to me, though in a less degree. I could not name any other subject equally familiar, or which, in my present circumstances, would be practicable, and certainly if I can complete plain and popular Histories of Greece and Rome, of a moderate size, cleared of nonsense and unchristian principles, I do not think I shall be amusing myself ill: for as I now am, I could not do any thing besides my proper work that was not an amusement. For the last fortnight, during which I have had two sermons to write, I have not been able to do a word of my History; and it will be the same this week, if I write some letters which I wish to write : so that you see I am in no condition to undertake any thing of real labour. Be assured there is nothing I would so gladly do as set about a complete Ecclesiastical History; and I love to fancy myself so engaged at some future time if I live : but to begin such a thing now would be utterly desperate. The want of books alone, and my inability to consult libraries, would be a sufficient hinderance. I have read a new book lately, which is rather an event for me, Jowett's Christian Researches in the Mediterranean. You know it of course, and I doubt not like it as much as I do, which is very much indeed. It is a very wonderful and a very beautisul thing to see the efforts made on go large a scale, and with motives so pure, to diffuse all good, both temporal and spiritual ; and I suppose that the world is gradually dividing more and more into two divided parties of good and evil,—the lukewarm and the formal Christians are, I imagine, daily becoming less numerous. I am puzzled beyond measure what to think about Ireland. What good can be done permanently with a people who literally do make man's life as cheap as beasts'; and who are content to multiply in idleness and in such beggary that the first failure of a crop brings them to starvation? I would venture to say that luxury never did half so much hajm as the total indifference to comfort is doing in Ireland, by leading to a propagation of the human species in a state of brutality. I should think that no country in the world needs missionaries so much, and in none would their succces be so desperate.
X. TO J. T. COLERIDGE, ESQ.
Laleham, March 3, 1823.
Hymns. He has written a great number for most of the holidays and several of the Sundays in the year, and I believe intends to coinplete the series. I live in hopes that he will be induced to publish them; and it is my firm opinion that nothing equal to them exists in our language : the wonderful knowledge of Scripture, the purity of heart, and the richness of poetry which they exhibit, I never saw paralleled. If they are not published, it will be a great neglect of doing good. I wish you could see them; the contemplation of them would be a delightful employment for your walks between Hadlow Street and the Temple.
. Have you heard any thing more about's Roman History? I am really anxious to know what sort of a man he is, and whether he will write like a Christian or no; if he will, I have not a wish to interfere with him ; if not, I would labour very hard indeed to anticipate him, and prevent an additional disgrace from being heaped upon the historical part of our literature.
Laleham, February 22, 1824. My pupils all come up into the drawing-room a little before tea, and stay for some time, some reading, others talking, playing chess or backgammol, looking at pictures, &c.,-a great improvement if it lasts ; and if this fair beginning continues, I care not a straw for the labour of the half year, for it is not labour but vexation which hurts a
and I find my comfort depends more and more on their good and bad conduct. They are an awful charge, but still to me a very interesting one, and one which I could cheerfully pursue till my health or faculties fail me. Moreover, I have now taken up the care of the Workhouse, i. e, as far as going there once a week, to read prayers and give a sort of lecture upon some part of the Bible. I wanted to see more of the poor people, and I found that, unless I devoted a regular time to it, I should never do it, for the hunger for exercise on the part of myself and my horses, used to send me out riding as soon as my work was done ; whereas now I give up Thursday to the village, and it will be my own fault if it does not do me more good than the exercise would. You have heard I suppose of Trevenen's tour with me to Scotland. Independent of the bodily good which it did me, and which I really wanted, I have derived from it the benefit of getting rid of some prejudices, for I find myself often thinking of Edinburgh quite affectionately, so great was the kindness which we met with there, and so pleasant and friendly were most of the people with whom we became acquainted. As to the scenery, it far surpassed all my expectations: I shall never forget the effect of the setting sun on the whole line of the Grampians, covered with snow, as we saw them from the steam-boat on the Forth between Alloa and Stirling. It was so delightful also to renew my acquaintance with the English lakes, and with Wordsworth. I could lucubrate largely de omni scibili, but paper happily runs short. I am very much delighted with the aspect of the Session of Parliament, and see with hearty gratitude the real reforms and the purer spirit of government which this happy rest from war is every year I trust gradually encouraging. The West India question is thorny: but I suppose the Government may entrench upon individual property for a great national benefit, giving a fair compensation to the parties, just as is done in every Canal Bill Nay, I cannot see why the rights of the planters are more sacred than those of the old despotic kings and feudal aristocracies who were made to part with many good things which they had inherited from their ancestors Decause the original tenure was founded on wrong; and so is all slavery, all West Indian slavery at least, most certainly.
XII. TO W. W. HULL, ESQ.
Laleham, September 30, 1824. . I am now working at German in good earnest, and have got a master who comes down here to me once a week. I have read a good deal of Julius Hare’s friend Niebuhr, and have found it abundantly overpay the labour of learning a new language, to say nothing of some other very valuable German books with which I am becoming acquainted, all preparatory to my Roman History. I am going to set to work at the « Coke upon Littleton" of Roman law,—to make myself acquainted, if possible, with tenure of property ; and I think I shall apply to you for the loan of some of your books touching the civil law, and specially Justinian's Institutes. As my knowledge increases, I only get a clearer insight into my ignorance; and this excites me to do my best to remove it before I descend to the Avernus of the press. But I am twice the inan for labour that I have been lately, for the last year or two, because the pupils, I thank God, are going on well ; I have at this moment the pleasure of seeing three of them sitting at the round table in the drawingroom, all busily engaged about their themes ; and the general good effect of their sitting with us all the evening is really very surprising.
TO REV. JOHN TUCKER.
Laleham, April 5, 1825. I am getting pretty well to understand the history of the Roman kings, and to be ready to commence writing. One of my most useful books is dear old Tottle's (Aristotle's) Politics ; which give one so full a notion of the state of society and opinions in old times, that by their aid one can pick out the wheat from the chaff in Livy with great success. Mr. Penrose has lately mentioned a work by a Mr. Cooper, in which he applies the prophecies in the eleventh chapter of Daniel to Bonaparte.-Have you read the work yoarself? My own notion is, that people try to make out from prophecy too much of a detailed history, and thus I have never seen a single commentator who has not perverted the truth of history to make it fit the prophecy. I think that, with the exception of those prophecies which relate to our Lord, the objecct of prophecy is rather to delineate principles and states of opinion which shall come, than external events. I grant that Daniel seems to furnish an exception, and I do not know how Mr. Cooper has done his work; but in general, commentaries or expositions of the prophecies give me a painful sense of unfairness in their authors, in straining the facts to agree with the imagined prediction of them. Have you seen Cobbett’s“ History of the Protestant Reformation," which he is publishing monthly in threepenny numbers? It is a queer compound of wickedness and ignorance with strong sense and the mention of divers truths which have been too much disguised or kept in the back-ground, but which ought to be generally known. Its object is 10 represent the Reformation in England as a great national evil, accomplished by all kinds of robbery and cruelty, and tending to the impoverishment and misery of the poor, and to the introduction of a careless clergy and a spirit of ignorance and covetousness amongst every body. It made me groan while reading it, to think that the real history and effects of the Refor. mation are so little known, and the evils of the worldly policy of Somerset’s and Elizabeth's government so little appreciated. As it is, Cobbett's book can do nothing but harm, so bad is its spirit, and so evident its unfairness.
XIV. TO REV. GEORGE CORNISH.
Florence, July 15, 1825. I wish I could tell you something about the people,—but how is it possible travelling at the rate that we are obliged to do? We see, of course, the very worst specimens-innkeepers, postillions, and beggars ; and one is thus in danger of getting an unfavourable impression of the inhabitants in spite of one's judgment. A matter of more serious thought, and on which I am vainly trying to procure information, is the condition of the lower orders. I have long had a suspicion that Cobbett's complaints of the degradation and sufferings of the poor in England contained much truth, though uttered by him in the worst possible spirit. It is certain that the peasantry here are much more generally proprietors of their own land than with us; and I should believe them to be much more independent and in easier circumstances. This is, I believe, the grand reason why so many of the attempts at revolution have failed in these countries. A revolution would benefit the lawyers, the savans, the merchants, bankers, and shopkeepers, but I do not see what the labouring classes would gain by it. For them the work has been done already, in the destruction of the feudal tyranny of the nobility and great men; and, in my opinion, this blessing is enough to compensate the evils of the French Revolution ; for the good endures, while the effects of the massacres and devastations are fast passing away. It is my delight every where to see the feudal castles in ruins, never, I trust, to be rebuilt or reoccupied ; and in this respect the watchword “Guerre aux châteaux, Paix aux Chaumières,” was prophetic of the actual result of the French Revolution. I am sure that we have too much of the oligarchical spirit in England, both in church and state ; and I think that those one-eyed men, the political economists, encourage this by their language about national wealth, &c. Toutefois, there is much good in the oligarchical spirit as it exists in England.
TO REV, J. TUCKER.
Laleham, August 22, 1825. I got no books of any consequence, nor did I learn any thing except that general notion of the climate, scenery, and manners of the country, which can only be gained by actual observation. We crossed the Tiber a little beyond Perugia, where it was a most miserable ditch with hardly water enough to turn a mill; indeed most of the streams which flow from the Apennines were altogether dried up, and the dry and thirsty appearance of every thing was truly oriental. The flowers were a great delight to me, and it was very beautiful to see the hedges full of the pomegrante in full flower; the bright scarlet blossom is so exceedingly ornamental, to say nothing of one's associations with the fruit. What we call the Spanish broom of our gardens is the common wild broom of the Apennines, but I do not think it so beautiful as our own. The fig trees were most luxuriant, but not more so than in the Isle of Wight, and I got tired of the continual occurrence of fruit trees, chiefly olives, instead of large forest trees. The vale of Florence looks quite poor and dull in comparison of our rich valleys, from the total want of timber, and in Florence itself there is not a tree. How miserably inferior to Oxford is Florence altogether, bot withinh and as seen from a distance ; in short, I never was so disappointed in any place in my life. My favourite towns were Genoa, Milan and Verona. The situation of the latter just at the foot of the Alps, and almost encircled, like Durham, by a full and rapid river, the Adige, was very delightful. Tell me any news you can think of, remembering that two months in the summer are a gap in my knowledge, as I never saw a single newspaper during my absence. Specially send me a full account of yourself and sisters, and the Kebles if you know aught of them. How pure and beautiful was J. Keble's article on Sacred Poetry in the Quarterly, and how glad am I that he was prevailed on to write it. It seemed to me to sanctify in a manner the whole Number. Mine on the early Roman History was slightly altered by Coleridge here and there, so that I am not quite responsible for all of it.
XVI. TO THE REV, G. CORNISH.
Lalebam, October 18, 1825. I have also seen some sermons preached before the University of Cambridge, by a Mr. Rose, directed against the German Theologians, in the advertisement to which he attacks my article in the Quarterly with great vehemence.
He is apparently a good man, and his book is likely, I think, to do good ; but it does grieve me to find persons of his stamp quarrelling with their friends, when there are more than enough of enemies in the world for every Christian to strive against. I met five Englishmen at the public table at our inn at Milan, who gave me great matter for cogitation. One was a clergyman, and just returned from Egypt; the rest were young men, i. e. between twenty-five and thirty, and apparently of no profession. I may safely say, that since I was an under-graduate, I never heard any conversation so profligate as that which they all indulged in, the clergyman particularly ; indeed, it was not merely gross, but avowed principles of wickedness, such as I do not remember ever to have heard in Oxford. But what struck me most was, that with this sensuality there was united some intellectual activity, -they were not ignorant, but seemed bent on gaining a great variety of solid information from their travels. Now this union of vice and intellectual power and knowledge seems to me rather a sign of the age, and if it goes on, it threatens to produce one of the most fearful forms of Antichrist which has yet appeared. I am sure that the great prevalence of travelling fosters this spirit, not that men learn mischief from the French or Italians, but because they are removed from the check of public opinion, and are, in fact, self-constituted outlaws, neither belonging to the