Letters of Hartley Coleridge

By Grace Griggs Evelyn; Earl Griggs Leslie et al. | Go to book overview

LETTER II TO SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

[ September, 1820.)

Dear Father

As you desire a full statement of all my transactions with Oriel College, and of the relation in which I stand to the Fellows, I will now give you all the particulars that my memory supplies of their and my own conduct, from which you may form a judgement, how far they have been justifi'd, in the severity to which they had recourse, or in their own language were driven; and of the provocation to terms like those employ'd by Keble in his letter to John.1 I believe you will give me credit for concealing no part, even to spare your feelings much less my own. If there be any inaccuracy, due consideration should be had of the difficulty of recalling minute circumstances, some of them taking place when my attention was not directed to them, and others when confusion, grief for not being what I knew I ought in strict morals to have been, and dim anticipations of future misery made me less capable of noting down minutiae, had I even expected any need thereof. You will also, understand, that this letter is for you to form your opinion on. I do not disguise my own feeling, that I have been wrong'd, illiberally, ungentlemanly treated, but I am a prejudiced judge--speaking of men I cannot pretend ever to have loved, though I highly esteemed and revered them--who have certainly done me almost as much harm as they could--do you judge whether that harm was injury. You know I was placed, by no choice of my own, in a College not famous for sobriety or regularity, without acquaintance with the world, without introductions, and after the first term, without any to guide or caution me. It is true, William Hart [Coleridge] had introduced me to Keble and Tyler, but it is also true, that neither of them thought proper to look after me, or give me either advice or warning, which, considering the friendship professed by the former for my family, might to one unacquainted with Oxford, seem rather extraordinary. At all events, I confess I felt it so; nothing was more to my wish, than to have had some one among the superiors of the University, interested for me, whose eye might have kept me clear of folly--and the con

____________________
1
For the letter from Keble to John Taylor Coleridge see Appendix, C.

-37-

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