2404. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 18 April 1814

2404. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 18 April 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. April 18. 1814.

My dear Cottle

I ought to have slept upon your letter before I answered it. [1]  In thinking over the subject, – for you may be sure it was not in my power to get rid of the thought, – the exceeding probability occurred to me, that Cs children [2]  will be dependent upon chance & charity for their education, & all that xxxx depends upon it. Even now Hartley is losing time, xxxx in twelvemonths xxxxx he ought to be at the University. That his father will make an exertion to send him there is not impossible, – that he will continue those exertions to support him there no person who knows him can for a moment imagine. Here then is an cris emergency full in view, & at no long distance, upon which it may, – & I believe must be necessary to solicit the aid of C’s. friends: – & for this emergency I think their aid should be reserved. – When you talk in your circular of his producing great things if his mind were relieved by the certainty of a present income, you suffered your feelings to overpower your memory. – C. had that income for many years, [3] & when xxx this express xxxxxxxx xxx it was given him it was given him expressly that he might have leisure for literary productions; – & to hold out the expectation that he would perform the same conditions if xx a like contract were renewed, – xxxxx be is what experience will not warrant.

With regard to the boys, the good is certain & permanent. You will probably write to Poole upon this subject. In that case state to him distinctly what my opinion is: – that C. should return home, raising a supply for the present exigencies of his wife & children by lecturing at Birmingham & Liverpool. And that <then> [4]  if there <be a> necessity, as I must say I fear & expect that there will be (arising wholly & solely from his own xxx most culpable habits of sloth & self-indulgence) of calling upon his friends to do that, which he can do & ought to do, for his children, – the humiliating solicitation ought to be reserved for that emergency. X [5] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ Mr Cottle/ Brunswick Square/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 81; 213
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), pp. 378–379 [in part]. BACK

[1] Cottle had written to Southey on 14 April 1814 soliciting his support for his plan to raise an annuity of £100 for Coleridge via subscription. For Cottle’s letter see Lynda Pratt, ‘The “sad habits” of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Unpublished Letters from Joseph Cottle to Robert Southey, 1813–1817’, Review of English Studies, 55 (2004), 78–80. Southey had replied on 17 April 1814, Letter 2403. He had rejected Cottle’s subscription plan and suggested instead that Coleridge return to Keswick and work to support his family. BACK

[3] i.e. the annuity from Thomas Wedgwood and Josiah Wedgwood II (1769–1843) of £150, which they gave to Coleridge in 1798. Josiah stopped paying his half of the money in 1812. BACK

[4] ‘that’ deleted and ‘<then>‘ inserted in another hand, probably Cottle’s. BACK

[5] Cottle inserts note: ‘A few Friends (including myself,) subscribed xxx <Ten> Guineas a year to send Hartley Coleridge to Oxford, and while he remained there.’ BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)