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a notion has ever been acted on by men undoubtedly public. spirited and disinterested. A dimness of vision on the subject of duty prevailed among the servants of the public in general; and reviewers were not more clear-sighted than the rest; they thought themselves quite at liberty to make the public taste in literature subservient to their own purposes as members of a party; to choke up with rubbish and weeds the streams of Parnassus, if a political adversary might be annoyed thereby, though all parties alike had an interest in the water ;—to bring the most sweeping and frightful charges against their opponents in general terms, whether they had or had not the slightest power to verify them in particulars. Against this system the Biographia Literaria contains a strong protest, a protest to which private feeling has given a piquancy, but which in the main it has not corrupted or falsified. I regret that my Father, in exposing what he held to be wrong methods of acting on the public mind, should have been betrayed into any degree of discomposure in his own; but I feel confident, that he would not have given way to indignation on these subjects, if he had not believed his cause to be the cause of the public also; that the things of which he complained were parts of a system, the offences of which against principle it was matter of principle to point out.

I have not brought forward these grounds of complaint out of any resentment against those who showed so much against my Father, or (I say it for my own sake, not as deeming it important to others)-in any feeling of disrespect for their characters in the main. I make no doubt of their possessing all the wit, worth, and wisdom, which their friends ascribe to them, and am better pleased to think that my Father was beset and hindered on his way by lions than by assailants of a more ignoble kind. I have recurred to those grounds of complaint in justification of the language used in this work on the "present mode of conducting public jourmals," and also to justify the children of Coleridge in republishing it, aware as we are, that it will have an interest and even an importance as a voice from the grave of one whom, now that he is removed from all eyes in this world, many desire to have heard and looked upon, which it had not when the author was still strug. gling through his earthly career. Some persons will say, that

hostility which so little succeeded in its object of casting my Father's works into general contempt and oblivion, is unworthy of present regard. But there is a little anachronism in this. I is like saying, that because a few storms or an inclement season did not ruin a nascent colony, and years afterwards the colony i in a flourishing state, it was therefore of no consequence to tl. colonist and not worth mentioning in his history. The colony lives and blooms, like the baytree by the river side, while the poor worn colonist moulders in the grave. What is literary reputation now to the author of Christabel and the Lay Sermon ? Those works are read by many at this time with as much pleasure as if they had never been declared worse than waste paper by the E. Review; they could not be slain by arrows of criticism if they had any vitality of their own; if they had it not, who would wish to give them a galvanized life-the only life which some productions ever have to sustain them-a mere emanation from the hot orb of party spirit? But he who wrote those works wanted a "little here below" ere he went hence and was no more seen: he wanted a little encouragement from friends, a little fair play from adversaries, a little sympathy, and a little money. That he wanted these things was at least a grievance, whether it was most the fault of others or chiefly his own. But I think it will be granted by impartial persons, that there was some fault and deficiency on this score in others; an honest argumentative review, if ever so severe, would have done my Father's works good, had the reviewer strained every nerve to convict them of absurdity. But he was reviewed in a way not to expose his errors, but to prevent people from attending to him at all; not to make him understood, but to stamp upon him a character of hopeless unintelligibility; with an artful show of contempt, and a sort of ridicule, that might have been employed with equal success upon Plato or

7 My Father has observed, that an insignificant work was sometimes reviewed for the sake of attacking the author; on the other hand, the more important works of obnoxious authors were often absolutely unnoticed. Some of his own were never reviewed in any leading journal; but Christabel, the Lay Sermon, and the Biographia, were caught up and violently twisted into whipcord to lash him who had written them, and drive him if possible out of the temple.

upon Shakspeare. A searching criticism, even from a determined opponent, would have been to him like that excellent oil of reproof, concerning which the Psalmist says that it breaks not the head nor depresses it."

A few words in conclusion on Mr. Coleridge's "abuse of his contemporaries ;" for on this score he was assailed in the review of the Biographia, with a particular reference to his critique on Bertram; though without a syllable to show that the censures it contained were unjust, or not rather a service to his contemporaries in general. This "abuse" was not, I think, of the same nature as that which he condemned in others. It was of two or three different kinds: the first, to which belong the Letters to Fox, Letters to Fletcher, strictures on Lord Grenville, character of Pitt, sketches of Buonaparte, consists in examinations of the public conduct and published opinions of eminent men under the light of principles; not a prejudging of their acts and opinions by supposed circumstances made to cast their coloring upon the former, as stained lamps dye the radiance of the flames they inclose; but an examination of the acts and opinions themselves, and only in due subordination to the former, if at all, a notice of circumstances which may have tended to produce their peculiar character. These treatises are chiefly composed of close reasoning

8 The same method of shooting at him from a distance and declining close fight is practised even now by writers of a newer school, who dispose of him en passant, in their way to other objects of attack, by settling that he was certainly a man of some genius, and had a modicum of light to dispense, going before the torch-bearers of their party with his little fancy lamp in his hand; but that he is by no means a safe or sound writer; though where, how, and why, he is unsafe and unsound, they are far too much in a hurry to state. They seem, indeed, to consider him not only unsafe, but so dangerous, that prudence requires them to keep a good way off; as if the poor old steed, though unsound and superannuated, might still give an uncomfortable kick, if you came too close to his heels.

The Character of Pitt, which I like the least of my Father's political writings, except certain passages against the same minister in his youthful Conciones ad Populum, the general drift of which, however, he has shown to be strictly in consonance with all his later politics,-and in these passages it is the tone and language not the opinions that he would ever have wished to retract,-commences with an account of Mr. Pitt's education and its effect on the formation of his mind; "he was cast," my Father

and illustration; the censures they contain are expressed in stern and vehement, but not in coarse or bitter language; and they burst forth from a carefully constructed argument like strong keen flames from a well heaped funeral pile. If they quiver as they stream upward-those flames of censure—it is from a meditative emotion, not from the turbulence of a spirit agitated by personal or party rage. Could any specimen of " abuse" be extracted from his writings at all similar to that "true history of the Anti-Jacobin poets," referred to above, in which three men of different characters and courses of life are put into a heap and conjointly accused of every turpitude which a politician can be guilty of, the language of the E. Review respecting his "abuse of his contemporaries" would so far not be unmerited. The strictures on that Journal in this work are also pieces of reasoning, and, when cleared from a few excrescences of personal anecdote and complaint, are not unworthy of a writer who ever strove to keep principle in view. Of the Critique of Bertram I have spoken elsewhere.

The second sort of "abuse" that he dealt in, and which it were to be wished that all men would refrain from, consisted in pointed remarks, made in private respecting private things and persons. Some of these were as strictly true as they were clever and rememberable; some were just in themselves, but sounded unjust as well as unkind, when repeated unaccompanied by what should have gone along with them to take off their edge, expressed or understood by the utterer. Some, I dare say, were not wholly just; few men are wise or just at all hours; my Father had fits of satirizing with a habit of praising. I

says, "rather than grew." But this is only a subordinate part of a general survey of his character as evinced in his public conduct. There is no attempt to characterize opinions not under examination by conjectures respecting the circumstances under which they may have been formed. The Character contains also a few sentences relating to Mr. Pitt's private life; but it should be remembered that some parts of a Prime Minister's private life, or what is private life in other cases, are necessarily before the public. My Father referred to tastes and habits of Mr. Pitt which were matters of notoriety. Still that passage is a blot in the essay, and I doubt not that, though interesting as a psychological analysis, the whole Character is too unmodified and severe.

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have heard a friend of his and mine remark, that some men "talk their gall cleverly," while there are others, who will show their cleverness though at the expense of being, for the moment, ill-natured. My Father's sharp speeches were not mere improvements of gall. But I do not defend them. Psychological analysis on the living individual subject is an operation that can with difficulty be kept within the bounds of Christian justice and charity; even if we have a right to cut the pound of flesh at all, how can we be sure of cutting it exactly? But most to be blamed are they who repeat these keen sayings,-treasuring up the darts which they have not the skill to forge,-and bring them to the ears of those very persons, who are least likely to see their truth and most liable to feel their sharpness, the persons of whom they are said.

There is a third part of this subject, respecting which I refer the reader to an apology by Mr. C. himself, placed at the end of vol. i. of the Poetical Works; I mean his flights of extravagant satire, the real object of which existed nowhere but in the Limbo of wild imagination. These extravagances of his early day, though I believe his own account of them to be strictly true-indeed can see the truth of it on the face of the productions themselves, have given me great pain; not for the vials of wrath that have been poured forth on occasion of them; they were filled, Į well knew, mainly from another cistern ; but be

10 It is not my Father's rash sayings, but his conscientious and well weighed ones, his warm opposition to the "anti-national" policy, his free opinion of the philosophy of certain Northern schools,-his venturing to find fault with some of their Most Profound and Irrefragable Doctorsthat has ever excited, and still does excite, the animosity of the Northern critics against him. His politics were a reproach, his philosophy a disparagement to theirs, and the B. L. added vinegar to the bitters of the cup. What my Father said of Hume in the Lay Sermon, is styled by the E. Reviewer (who puts on the Scotch mantle for the nonce), "a mean and malignant fabrication," "a transition from cant to calumny," "a sting, the venom of which returned into his own bosoin, to exhaust itself in a bloated passage," &c. Supposing the anecdote untrue, of which the reviewer gives no proof (his calling it a fabrication of my Father's is a "gratuitous assertion on his own part), where was the deep malignity ascribing to Hume at his death a sentiment undeniably consonant with the tenor of his life? The reviewer could not deny that he "devoted his


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