Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

with him without having occasionally seen him, sometimes in abstraction, but of late more frequently in eagerness of conversation, eating fruit, or bread, or whatever else was before, utterly unconscious of what he was doing, or repeatedly filling his glass from the Water-bottle (for his friends were so well aware of this, that they either recalled his attention to what he was doing, or putting the Water by him silently, counted the times, in order to impress him afterwards with the unbecomingness and even danger, of these fits of

[Breaks off thus.]


J
Letter from DR. COPLESTON, addressed to S. T. COLERIDGE, Cross Inn, Cornmarket, Oxford, enclosing a memorandum of the charges against Hartley and the action of the Oriel authorities.

Oriel College, Oct. 15, 1820.

Sir

After the conversation of this morning it is almost needless for me to state how much I respect the feelings which you expressed during our interview and how anxious I am to lighten the load of this affliction which presses upon your mind, as far as I can consistently with the plain duties of my station. The enclosed Memorandum [cf. B] which I made for my private use (and in case of my inability to attend the College Meeting at Michaelmas for the use of the College) explains so particularly the grounds of our proceeding, that it is not necessary to enter upon the painful task of describing your Son's case. But as it seems that exaggerated and even false reports have been spread of the nature of his offences, I declare most solemnly that I never heard the charge of licentious conduct with women laid against him, nor the slightest suspicion of that kind expressed.

I also say that although frequent intemperance during his probationary year was alledged, and the College were satisfied of the truth of the charge, yet it never occurred to my mind, nor do I believe that any of the Fellows entertained the opinion that he was addicted to solitary drinking, which as you justly observe, is commonly included under the imputation of 'sottishness.'

I will not lose this opportunity of declaring that in my opinion he possesses very amiable qualities, and that his abilities and attainments promise fair to place him in most respectable and useful stations, provided his conduct in future should be correct, and his choice of companions prudent. He will always have my best wishes, and my endeavours to serve him, wherever it can be done without a compromise of duty.

I remain Sir with great respect
Your Most Obedt. Servant
E. COPLESTON

-316-

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