Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

or that people would always act or approve in real life what they laugh at upon the stage. But Lamb always took things by the better handle. A severer moralist might conclude from the indifference or positive pleasure with which we read and behold the representations of sin, that we have little abhorrence of sin apart from its painful consequences--here and hereafter. Besides, Lamb's defence of Congreve is like my dear father's defence of the attack on Copenhagen1-- unavailable to the doer, however available for the deed. It was the defence which Congreve himself set up against Collier. He stoutly maintains his pious purpose, in a manner that might have suggested Byron's

'If any one pronounce the tale not moral, I tell him--if a clergyman--he lies.'

Believe me, sir, Your obliged, H. COLERIDGE.


LETTER 70 To JOHN TAYLOR COLERIDGE, London.

Ambleside. May 12, 1840.

Dear Sir John

Our correspondence has been so intermittent and unfrequent, and my sense of your mighty importance in the state which has appointed you to the highest duty (one excepted) that a subject can hold, is so strong, that it is not without hesitation, fear--I might almost say--reluctance--that I now address you. I appear in fact in the character of an M.P. who has a petition to present--in the prayer of which he has a friendly and collateral interest, but the import and result whereof he must be content to leave 'to the wisdom of the house.'

I understand that a vacancy has lately occurred in the list of commissioners of bankruptcy--which is in your power to supply--and that Robert Temple of York, Barrister is an applicant. As he is a particular friend of mine, to whom I am obliged for kindness, originating, I believe, in affectionate esteem; as I hold him to be a thoroughly honest man, and in the best sense of the word, a Gentleman--and I know him to be a not unintelligent admirer of my father ὁ Μακαρίτης--and as I myself love him with a friendly love, I can sincerely

____________________
1
Cf. The Friend, Section I, Essay 10.

-237-

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