Shortly after taking his degree, Hartley stood successfully for a Fellowship at Oriel College. Oriel was headed by Dr. Edward Copleston, and among its Fellows were John Keble, Richard Whately, Edward Hawkins, and Thomas Arnold. The election of Hartley was in recognition of his unusual gifts.
'You probably stared,' wrote John Keble to John Taylor Coleridge, 'I'm sure I did, when you found that we had really elected your illustrious cousin, but his examination was so superior that one could hardly make up his mind to reject him "odditatis causâ." I trust he is not yet too old to unlearn some of his manifold tricks, and he seems to have the first requisite for learning, a sense of his Imperfection.'
Hartley was not alone in his elation over his success. His father was overjoyed, and his friends in the Lake Country--the Wordsworths, Mr. Dawes, and Southey--not to mention his mother, were delighted; an account is given by Mrs. Coleridge in a letter to Poole:
'He [Hartley] therefore, went to bed on Thursday night with a full determination to sleep out the ringing of the Bells which would peal to the happiness of his rivals next day; when sitting and yawning over a late breakfast, the welcome annunciation was brought in, which he thought must be only a deceitful dream, so much was he stunned by the tidings, until the succession of fees with their "imperative faces" stamped the real thing.
'Little William Wordsworth, on his return in the evening from School told his Mother that he never saw master [Mr. Dawes] in such good humour in his life; "As soon as he got the letter about Hartley, he rose up, gave a shout, and proclaimed a holiday: the boys all huzza'd and there was such an uproar, Mother!"'
Oxford, April 19, 1819.
My dear Sir
Success has at length crown'd my literary labours, and I am fellow elect of Oriel. After five days strict examination, on Friday last the joyful tidings were announced that I was chosen. Nothing could have been more contrary to my expectation, for I was doubtful whether or not I should stand, and at last determined on it rather with the view of opening the way for a second trial, than of coming in immediately. I had two rivals for the fellowship I stood for, which was a close one--i.e. confined to Worcestershire and