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No. 48, College-Street, composedly smoking his pipe, and lost in profound musings on his divine Susquehannah!
Wishing to gratify my two young friends (and their ladies elect) with a pleasant excursion, I invited them to accompany me, in a visit to the Wye, including Piercefield and Tintern Abbey; objects new to us all. It so happened, the day we were to set off, was that immediately following the woeful disappointment! but here, all was punctuality. It was calculated that the proposed objects might be accomplished in two days, so as not to interfere with the Friday evening's lecture, which Mr. Southey had now wisely determined to deliver himself.
"After dinner an unpleasant altercation occurred between the two Pantisocratians! Mr. Southey, whose regular habits scarcely rendered it a virtue in him never to fail in an engagement, expressed to Mr. Coleridge his deep feelings of regret that his audience should have been disappointed on the preceding evening; reminding him that unless he had determined punctually to fulfil his voluntary engagement, he ought not to have entered upon it. Mr. Coleridge thought the delay of the lecture of little or no consequence. This excited a remonstrance, which produced a reply. At first I interfered with a few conciliatory words, which were unavailing; and these two friends, about to exhibit to the world a glorious example of the effects of concord and sound principles, with an exemption from all the selfish and unsocial passions, fell, alas! into the common lot of humanity, and, in so doing, must have demonstrated, even to themselves, the rope of sand to which they had confided their destinies.
"A little cessation in the storm afforded me the opportunity of stepping forward, and remarking, that the wisest way was to forget the past, and to remember only the pleasant objects before us. In this opinion the ladies concurred, when placing a hand of one of the dissentients in that of the other, the hearty salutation went round, and, with our accustomed spirits, we prepared once more for Piercefield and the Abbey."
"In the spirit of impartiality, it now devolves on me to state a temporary misunderstanding between the two Pantisocratians themselves, in the autumn of 1795. It is difficult to assign any other reason for the wild scheme of Pantisocracy, than the inexperience of youth, acting on sanguine imaginations. At its first announcement, every reflecting mind saw that the plan, in its nature, and in the agents who were to carry it into effect, was obnoxious to insurmountable objections; but the individuals with whom the design originated, were young, ardent, and enthusiastic, and at that time entertained views of society erroneous in themselves, and which experience only could correct. The fullest conviction was entertained by their friends, that, as reason established itself in their minds, the delusion would vanish; and that they themselves would soon smile at extravagances which none but their own ingenious order of minds could have devised: but when the dissension occurred, before noticed, at Chepstow, Mr. Southey must have had conviction flash on his mind, that the habits of himself and his friend were so essentially opposed, as to render harmony and success impossible.
"Mr. Southey now addressed a temperate letter to Mr. Coleridge, stating that circumstances and his own views had so altered, as to render it necessary in him candidly to state, that he must abandon Pantisocracy, and the whole scheme of colonizing in America.
"On the receipt of Mr. Southey's letter, a tumult and re-action were excited in Mr. Coleridge's spirit, that filled the whole circle of their mutual friends with grief and dismay. This unexpected effect, perhaps, may be ascribed to the consciousness, first seriously awakened in Mr. Coleridge's mind, of the erroneous principles on which all his calculations had been founded. He perceived at length (it may be) that he had been pursuing a phantom; and the conviction must have been associated with self-upbraidings. Charges of desertion' flew thick around; of a want of principle;' of dishonourable retraction, in a compact the most solemn and binding.'
"Mr. Southey acted with the strictest honour and propriety, and in such a way as any wise man, under such circumstances, would have acted. The great surprise with their friends was, that the crisis should not earlier have occurred.
"Mr. Southey, a day or two after this unhappy difference, set off on his Spanish and Portuguese expedition. On his return to Bristol, in the next year, as the whole misunderstanding between himself and Mr. Coleridge was the effect of transient feeling, that extended not to the heart, on their meeting, an easy reconciliation was effected."
"It was mentioned that Mr. Southey was the first to abandon the scheme of American colonization; and that, in confirmation, towards the conclusion of 1795, CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 67. 3 F
he accompanied his uncle, the Rev. Herbert Hill (Chaplain to the English factory at Lisbon) through some parts of Spain and Portugal; of which occurrence, Mr. Southey's entertaining Letters' from those countries are the result; bearing testimony to his rapid accumulation of facts, and the accuracy of his observations on persons and things. Mr. Southey having sent me a letter from Corunna, and another from Lisbon, I shall here (with his permission) gratify the reader by presenting them for his perusal. (The following are the chief passages):
"Corunna, Dec. 15th, 1795. "Indeed, my dear friend, it is strange that you are reading a letter from me at this time, and not an account of our shipwreck. We left Falmouth on Tuesday mid-day; the wind was fair till the next night, so fair that we were within twelve hours' sail of Corunna; it then turned round, blew a tempest, and continued so till the middle of Saturday. Our dead lights were up fifty hours, and I was in momentary expectation of death. You know what a situation this is. I forgot my sickness, and though I thought much of the next world, thought more of those at Bristol, who would daily expect letters; daily be disappointed, and at last learn from the newspapers that the Lauzarotte had never been heard of.
"Of all things it is most difficult to understand the optimism of this difference of language; the very beasts of the country do not understand English. Say 'poor fellow' to a dog, and he will probably bite you; the cat will come if you call her Meeth-tha,' but puss' is an outlandish phrase she has not been accustomed to. Last night I went to supper to the fleas, and an excellent supper they made; and the cats serenaded me with their execrable Spanish: to lie all night in Bowling-Green Lane (a rough road near Tintern, which he thus ironically named), would be to enjoy the luxury of soft and smooth lying.
"At sight of land a general shaving took place; no subject could be better for Bunbury, than a packet cabin taken at such a moment. For me, I am as yet whiskered, for I would not venture to shave on board, and have had no razor on shore till this evening. Custom-house officers are more troublesome here than in England, I have however got every thing at last. You may form some idea of the weather we endured; thirty fowls over head were drowned; the ducks got loose, and ran with a party of half-naked Dutchmen into our cabin: 'twas a precious place, eight men lying on a shelf much like a coffin.
"The bookseller's shop was a great comfort; the Consul here has paid me particular attentions, and I am to pass to-morrow morning with him, when he will give me some directions concerning Spanish literature. He knows the chief literary men in England, and did know Brissot and Petion. Good night, they are going to supper. Oh, their foul oils and wines.
Tuesday morning.—I have heard of hearts as hard as rocks, and stones, and adamants, but if ever I write upon a hard heart, my simile shall be as inflexible as a bed in a Spanish Posada; we had beef steaks for supper last night, and a sad libel upon beef steaks they were. I wish you could see our room; a bed in an open recess, one just moved from the other corner. Raynsford packing his trunk; Maber shaving himself; tables and chairs; looking-glass hung even too high for a Patagonian, the four evangelists, &c., the floor beyond all filth, most filthy. "Adieu. "ROBERT SOUTHEY."
"Lisbon, February 1st, 1796. "Certainly I shall hear from Mr. Cottle, by the first packet,' said I.-Now I say, Probably I may hear by the next,' so does experience abate the sanguine expectations of man. What, could you not write one letter? and here am I writing not only to all my friends in Bristol, but to all in England. Indeed I should have been vexed, but that the packet brought a letter from Edith, and the pleasure that gave me allowed no feeling of vexation. What of Joan ?' Mr. Coates tells me it gains upon the public, but authors seldom hear the plain truth. I am anxious that it should reach a second edition, that I may write a new preface, and enlarge the last book. I shall omit all in the second book which Coleridge wrote.
"Bristol deserves panegyric instead of satire. I know of no mercantile place so literary. Here I am spending my mornings so pleasantly, as books, only books, can make them, and sitting at evening the silent spectator of card playing and dancing. The English here unite the spirit of commerce, with the frivolous amusements of high life. One of them who plays every night (Sundays are not excepted here) will tell you how closely he attends to profit. I never pay a porter for bringing a burthen till the next day (says he), for while the fellow feels his back ache with the weight, he charges high; but when he comes the
next day the feeling is gone, and he asks only half the money.' And the author of this philosophical scheme is worth 200,000 pounds!!
"This is a comfortless place, and the only pleasure I find in it is in looking to my departure. Three years ago I might have found a friend, Count Leopold Berchtold. This man (foster brother of the Emperor Joseph) is one of those rare characters who spend their lives in doing good. It is his custom in every country he visits, to publish books in its language, on some subject of practical utility; these he gives away. I have now lying before me the two which he printed in Lisbon; the one is an Essay on the means of preserving life, in the various dangers to which men are daily exposed. The other an Essay on extending the limits of benevolence, not only towards men, but towards animals. His age was about twenty-five; his person and his manners the most polished. My uncle saw more of him than any one, for he used his library; and this was the only house he called at; he was only seen at dinner, the rest of the day was constantly given to study. They who lived in the same house with him believed him to be the wandering Jew. He spoke all the European languages, had written in all, and was master of the Arabic. From thence he went to Cadiz, and thence to Barbary; no more is known of him.
"We felt a smart earthquake the morning after our arrival here. These shocks alarm the Portuguese dreadfully; and indeed it is the most terrifying sensation you can conceive. One man jumped out of bed and ran down to the stable, to ride off almost naked as he was. Another, more considerately put out his candle, because I know (said he) the fire does more harm than the earthquake.' The ruins of the great earthquake are not yet removed entirely.
"The city is a curious place a straggling plan; built on the most uneven ground, with heaps of ruins in the middle, and large open places. The streets filthy beyond all English ideas of filth, for they throw every thing into the streets, and nothing is removed. Dead animals annoy you at every corner; and such is the indolence and nastiness of the Portuguese, that I verily believe they would let each other rot, in the same manner, if the priests did not get something by burying them. Some of the friars are vowed to wear their clothes without changing for a year; and this is a comfort to them: you will not wonder, therefore, that I always keep to the windward of these reverend perfumers.
The streets are very agreeable in wet weather. If you walk under the houses, you are drenched by the water-spouts. If you attempt the middle, there is a river. If you would go between both, there is a dunghill. The rains here are very violent, and the streams in the streets, on a declivity, so rapid as to throw down men; and sometimes to overset carriages. A woman was drowned, some years ago, in one of the most frequented streets of Lisbon.
"Lisbon is plagued with a very small species of red ant, that swarm over every thing in the house. Their remedy for this is to send for the priest, and exorcise them. The drain from the new convent opens into the middle of the street. An English pigsty is cleaner than the metropolis of Portugal.
To-night I shall see the procession of Our Lord of the Passion.' This image is a very celebrated one, and with great reason, for one night he knocked at the door of St. Roque's church, and there they would not admit him. After this he walked to the other end of the town, to the church of St. Grace, and there they took him in : but a dispute now arose between the two churches, to which the image belonged; whether to the church which he first chose, or the church that first chose him. The matter was compromised. One church has him, and the other fetches him for their processions, and he sleeps with the latter the night preceding. The better mode for deciding it, had been to place the gentleman between both, and let him walk to which he liked best. What think you of this story being believed in 1796 !!!
"The power of the Inquisition still exists, though they never exercise it, and thus the Jews save their bacon. Fifty years ago it was the greatest delight of the Portuguese to see a Jew burnt. Geddes, the then chaplain, was present at one of these detestable Auto da Fe's. He says, The transports expressed by all ages, and both sexes, whilst the miserable sufferers were shrieking and begging mercy for God's sake, formed a scene more horrible than any out of hell!' He adds, that 'this barbarity is not their national character, for no people sympathize so much at the execution of a criminal; but it is the damnable nature of their religion, and the most diabolical spirit of their priests; their celibacy deprives them of the affections of men, and their creed gives them the ferocity of devils.' Geddes saw one man gagged, because, immediately he came out of the Inquisition gates, he looked up at the sun, whose light for many years had never visited him, and ex
claimed, How is it possible for men who behold that glorious. orb, to worship any being but Him who created it!' My blood runs cold when I pass that accursed building; and though they do not exercise their power, it is a reproach to human nature that the building should exist.
"The climate here is delightful, and the air so clear, that when the moon is young I can often distinguish the whole circle, thus: O. You and Robert may look for this some fine night, but I do not remember ever to have observed it in England. The stars appear more brilliant here, but I often look up at the Pleiades, and remember how much happier I was when I saw them in Bristol. Fare you well. Let me know that my friends remember me.
The above notices of such a man as Southey may be found interesting; nor will they be without practical value if they shall lead young persons of ardent imagination to beware of romantic projects and vagrant habits of life, and early to betake themselves to a settled calling. What were Mr. Southey's religious opinions in his younger days we cannot ascertain. We shall rejoice, if, when an authentic memoir of his life is published, it shall appear that in after years he both clearly understood and felt practically the infinite value of the Gospel, as "the power of God unto salvation." The cloud that shaded his latter days precluded all intercourse with him on this or any other subject. Though a prosperous man, and as much loved as lauded, he had not found the world to be a home or rest. In a letter which we received from him in 1835, adverting to his "Pilgrimage to Waterloo," written twenty years before, he mentions the loss of two of his children, whose names will be familiar to those who recollect that affecting effusion of a father's heart. He also lost his beloved wife; though his latter years were supported by a second partner, a daughter of the venerable Canon Bowles, the poet, who devoted herself to his comfort, and watched over him with affectionate anxiety when his mind had sunk beneath its long-sustained labours. We will copy, with a slight omission, the letter to which we have alluded :—
"Keswick, 2nd Sept. 1835.
"Dear Sir,-I am much obliged to you for your [naming a little volume of verses, chiefly of a domestic character]. They have only been long enough in my possession for me to glance at their contents in cutting open the leaves; but I see enough to perceive that the book will be often in my hands.
"That family picture which pleased you in 1815-which it was hoped would please such as you-is to me the most mournful of all my poems. The studious boy,' who welcomed his father's return so joyfully, was laid in his grave before the book was published; and my sweet Isabel' was laid beside him in the fourteenth year of her age. It pleased God to give me another son after all likelihood of such an event had ceased. He is now sixteen; and by God's mercy promises to be all that I could wish him. But I know too feelingly the instability of human life and human happiness, not to possess the blessings which are still left me, in fear.
"If any opportunity offers in which I can give your little volume that sort of shove which poetry, however light its bulk, requires in these days to set it in motion, I will not let it pass.
Farewell, Dear Sir, and believe me your's
very truly, "ROBERT SOUTHEY."
SIR T. BROWNE'S DESIGNATION OF AMERICA AS THE FIFTH
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
I REMEMBER once reading, I forget where, that the celebrated Sir Thomas Browne, the author of "Religio Medici," and "Vulgar Errors," in a paper or treatise upon "Prophecy concerning future nations," expressed his conviction that America would be the seat of the Fifth Empire. There are many extraordinary things in the writings of that highly gifted, though paradoxical, writer, whom Dr. Johnson has ably defended against the charge of infidelity, concluding, from an examination of his life and writings, that "Browne was a zealous adherent to the faith of Christ he lived in obedience to his laws, and died in confidence in his mercy.' He was born in 1605, and died in 1682.
In my nook I have not access to this writer's miscellaneous publications; but perhaps some of your correspondents who have that advantage would transcribe what he says of America. I see no reason to come to his conclusion; but such a conjecture, penned two centuries ago, when European colonization in America extended only to a few rude settlements, is rather remarkable. Some American writers strenuously vindicate their share in the prophetic writings; especially as being, they allege, the "land overshadowing with wings," addressed in the eighteenth chapter of Isaiah. The parallel (see the passage) is not unapt; but it is far short of the weight of evidence which refers the prophecy to Great Britain. There is, however, no room for unholy jealousy; for doubtless both are enjoined to carry the Gospel to "the people scattered and peeled" of the seed of Abraham.
C. C. C.
ON THE INTERCESSION OF ARCHBISHOP LAUD.
For the Christian Observer.
THE REV. Mr. Morris having preached a sermon before the University of Oxford, in which he broached the notion that Archbishop Laud (sympathising with his disciples, the Tractarians) may be interceding before the throne of God for the Church of England, (of course that it may be unprotestantised,) the Vice-Chancellor, it seems, sent for the discourse, but dropped further proceeding upon Mr. Morris's subscribing the Twenty-second of the Anglican Articles in its plain grammatical sense. This he might well do, seeing that the notion that Laud is a tutelary intercessor for England, does not necessarily imply that he ought to be adored or invoked in that capacity. Not, however, that even if invocation or adoration had been vindicated, there would have been much difficulty, with such hair-splittings of words, and perversions of meaning, as characterise Tract 90, in getting under or over the Twentysecond Article, or the whole Thirty-nine. The changes might have been rung upon praying for departed saints, that they may be delivered from purgatory and enter heaven; praying to them, that they may pray for us; their interceding for us, either with, or without, our praying to them; with the threefold subtle Romish distinction of Invocation: first, latria, due only to God; secondly, hyperdulia, due to the Virgin Mary; and thirdly, dulia, due to all whom the Pope has canonized-or his rivals the Tractarians, who have devised a service for St. Ken, and have invested St. Laud with the office of tutelary intercessor for England.