perance were frequent: that they were more than two or three--all arising from peculiar circumstances: that they were the cause of my irregularities or late hours, that I ever chose, or even tolerated companions, because of their love of drinking--that I kept low company, in any sense in which that term is understood in the world, or that I selected for companions any but Gentlemen--men of good principles, and in general of intellectual pursuits, I deny; at least, if ever I mistook the characters of my associates, it was my inexperience and no prepossession for what was objectionable. Permit me then to protest against the charges of habitual intemperance, irregularity as a consequence of such intemperance, and love of improper society. At the same time, I must express my unfeign'd thanks for all past favours from the College, and particularly for the friendly advice and warnings of the Provost and Dean--which, I trust, will not be found utterly fruitless, tho' they fail'd of their immediate purpose.
I remain, Reverend Sirs,
With sincere respect and gratitude,
[ HARTLEY COLERIDGE.]
To an UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT.
The text of this fragment of a letter of Hartley's is taken from a copy in the handwriting of Mrs. Derwent Coleridge.
Dec. 2, 1820.
My father has been at Oxford, had an interview with Dr. Copleston, who talked in a very smooth strain, about my talents, acquirements, and dispositions, but continued to reiterate charges, which my father, and all my friends believe, and I know to be false, as to frequent intemperance etc., etc. The Dr. also defended the secret, inquisitorial manner of investigating the conduct of Probationers, which puts it in the power of any Scout or Shoe-black who may be dissatisfied with his perquisites, any inferior servant etc., etc., to ruin any man whose carelessness or occasional errors may dispose his superiors to receive ill impressions of him. As I hope for the love of all those whom I love best, I never, before I left Oxford, had any idea of the extent of the charges against me. I suspected, nay, I knew them to be exaggerated, but little