or been credited by you--a point which none but yourselves can pretend to know, and concerning which no man has a right to question you--and therefore I do not protest against the measure at all--'I admit its Justice and throw myself on your Mercy.'
But as a pressing act of the duty towards my afflicted Parents and at the dictate of my own conscience I enter the above deliberate Protest, independently of the fact or question of my non- election as Fellow of Oriel, against charges calculated to injure me in' addition to my non-election, and far more permanently, and to a far more aweful extent and degree; and if in the pursuit of this end I have in any word or sentence transgressed the limits of mere self-defence, I disclaim the same--and subscribe [myself]
[ HARTLEY COLERIDGE.]
To the REVEREND THE PROVOST AND FELLOWS OF ORIEL COLLEGE.
This letter, which was composed by Hartley with the preceding one before him, was presented by Coleridge to Dr. Copleston at their meeting in London.
[Between Oct. 15 and 19, 1820.]
The time approaching for the confirmation of probationary fellows, when the reasons for my meditated rejection, will doubtless be taken into consideration, I hold it my duty to signify to you, how far I plead guilty to the charges alleged against me--and in what sense I acquiesce in the justice of my exclusion. In the first place then, I would not be understood to interfere, in the slightest degree, with your right of judgement, much less to retract any confessions heretofore made, while I was ignorant of the nature and extent of the evidence on which you were proceeding. So far, therefore, as you deem certain instances of intemperance committed casually--without previous prospect of being so overtaken, and never amounting to a loss of self-command or recollection, together with omission of College duties, and neglect to cultivate the acquaintance and friendship of those into whose society I had been admitted; so far as these facts are the ground of your decision, I have nothing to object to it: it lies in your own bosoms; but that the instances of intem-