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phlets; one, Conciones ad Populum, or Addresses to the People ; and, A Protest against certain Bills (then pending) for Suppressing Seditious Meetings. To further their scheme of emigration, the three poets married three sisters of the name of Fricker: however, the project was abandoned ; Southey quietly settled himself as law-student in Gray's Inn; and Coleridge and his wife went to reside at Nether Stowey; where he first became acquainted with Wordsworth.
When Coleridge married Miss Sarah Fricker, he was without a profession, or means adequate to support a wife and family. To procure this, and diffuse the political principles then held by him and his friends, he was persuaded, while residing at Nether Stowey, in 1796, to start a magazine. Of this ill-judged and ruinous speculation, he has given an amusing account in his Literary Life. “ Toward the close of the first year from the time, that, in an inauspicious hour, I left the friendly cloisters, and the happy grove of quiet, ever honoured Jesus College, Cambridge, I was persuaded by sundry philanthropists and anti-polemists to set on foot a periodical work, entitled The Watchman, that (according to the general motto of the work) all might know the truth, and that the truth might make us free! In order to exempt it from the stamp-tax, and likewise to contribute as little as possible to the supposed guilt of a war against freedom, it was to be published on every eighth day, thirty-two pages, large octavo, closely printed, and price only FOURPence. Accordingly, with a flaming prospectus, “Knowledge is Power,' &c. to try the state of the political atmosphere, and so forth, I set off on a tour to the north, from Bristol to Sheffield, for the purpose of procuring customers ; preaching by the way in most of the great towns, as a hireless volunteer, in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might be seen on me. For I was at that time, and long after, though a Trinitarian (i. e. ad norman Platonis) in philosophy, yet a zealous Unitarian in religion ; more accurately, I was a Psilanthropist, one of those who believe our Lord to have been the real son of Joseph, and who lay the main stress on the resurrection rather than on the crucifixion. O! never can I remember those days with either shame or regret. For I was most sincere, most disinterested! My opinions were indeed, in many, and most important points, erroneous; but my heart was single. Wealth, rank, life itself then seemed cheap to me, compared with the interests of (what I believed to be) the truth, and the will of my Maker. I cannot even accuse myself of having been actuated by vanity; for in the expansion of my enthusiasm I did not think of myself at all.
“My campaign commenced at Birmingham; and my first attack was on a rigid Calvinist, a tallow-chandler by trade. He was a tall, dingy man, in whom length was so predominant over breadth, that he might almost have been borrowed for a foundry poker. O, that face! a face xar? Eppaoi! I have it before me at this moment. The lank, black, twine-like hair, pingui-nitescent, cut in a strait line above the black stubble of his thin gunpowder eye-brows, that looked like a scorched after-math from a last week's shaving. His coat collar behind in perfect unison, both of colour and lustre, with the coarse, yet glib cordage, that I suppose he called his hair, and which with a bend inward at the nape of the neck, (the only approach to flexure in his whole figure) slunk in behind his waistcoat; while the countenance lank, dark, very hard, and with strong perpendicular furrows, gave me a dim notion of some one looking at me through a used
gridiron, all soot, grease, and iron! But he was one of the thorough-bred, a true lover of liberty, and (I was informed) had proved to the satisfaction of many, that Mr. Pitt was one of the horns of the second beast in the Revelations, that spoke like a dragon. A person, to whom one of my letters of recommendation had been addressed, was my introducer. It was a new event in my life, my first stroke in the new business I had undertaken of an author, yea, and of an author trading on his own account. My companion, after some imperfect sentences and a multitude of hums and haas, abandoned the cause to his client; and I commenced an harangue of half an hour to Phileleutheros, the tallow-chandler, varying my notes through the whole gamut of eloquence from the ratiocinative to the declamatory, and in the latter, from the pathetic to the indignant. I argued, I described, I promised, I prophesied; and beginning with the captivity of nations, I ended with the near approach of the millenium ; finishing the whole with some of my own verses, describing that glorious state out of the The Religious Musings :
Spring up on freshen’d wings, ambrosial gales ! “ My taper man of lights listened with perseverant and praise-worthy patience, though (as I was afterwards told, on complaining of certain gales that were not altogether ambrosial) it was a melting day with him. “And what, Sir, (he said after a short pause) might the cost be ?' • Only four-pence (O! how I felt the anti-climax, and abysmal bathos of that four-pence), only four-pence, Sir, each number, to be published on every eighth day.' • That comes to a deal of money at the end of the year. And how much did you say there was to be for the money ?' • Thirty-two pages, Sir! large octavo, closely printed.' * Thirty and two pages ? Bless me, except what I does in a family way on the Sabbath, that's more than I ever reads, Sir! all the year round. I am as great a one, as any man in Brummagem, Sir! for liberty and truth and all them sort of things, but as to this (no offence, I hope, Sir ) I must beg to be excused !!
“ So ended my first canvass : from causes that I shall presently mention; I made but one other application in person. This took place at Manchester, to a stately and opulent wholesale dealer in cottons. He took my letter of introduction, and having perused it, measured me from head to foot, and again from foot to head, and then asked if I had any bill or invoice of the thing. I presented my prospectus to him. He rapidly skimmed and hummed over the first side, and still more rapidly the second and concluding page; crushed it within his fingers and the palm of his hand; he most deliberately and significantly rubbed and smoothed one part against the other; and lastly, putting it into his pocket, turned his back on me with an over-run with these articles !' and so, without another syllable, retired to his counting-house. And I can truly say, to my unspeakable amusement.
“This, I have said, was my second and last attempt. On returning, baffled from the first, in which I had vainly essayed to repeat the miracle of Orpheus with the Brummagem patriot, I dined with the tradesman who had introduced me to him. After dinner he importuned me to smoke a pipe with him and two or three illuminati of the same rank. I objected, both because I was engaged
to spend the evening with a minister and his friends, and because I had never smoked except once or twice in my life-time, and then it was herb tobacco mixed with Oronooko. On the assurance, however, that the tobacco was equally mild, and seeing it was of a yellow colour, (not forgetting the lamentable difficulty I have always experienced, in saying No! and in abstaining from what the people about me were doing) I took half a pipe, filling the lower half of the bowl with salt. I was soon, however, compelled to resign it, in consequence of a giddiness and distressful feeling in my eyes, which as I had drunk but a single glass of ale, must, I knew, have been the effect of the tobacco. Soon after, deeming myself recovered, I sallied forth to my engagement, but the walk and the fresh air brought on all the symptoms again, and I scarcely entered the minister's drawing-room, and opened a small packet of letters, which he had received from Bristol for me, ere I sunk back on the sofa in a state of swoon rather than of sleep. Fortunately I had just found time enough to inform him of the confused state of my feelings, and of the occasion. For here and thus I lay, my face like a wall that is white-washed, deathly pale, and with cold drops of perspiration running down it from my forehead, while, one after another, there dropt in the different gentlemen, who had been invited to meet and spend the evening with me, to the number of from fifteen to twenty. As the poison of tobacco acts but for a short time, I at length awoke from insensibility, and looked round on the party, my eyes dazzled by the candles which had been lighted in the interim. By way of relieving my embarrassment one of the gentlemen began the conversation, with 'Have you seen a paper to day, Mr. Coleridge?' 'Sir! (I replied, rubbing my eyes) I am far from convinced, that a Christian is permitted to