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THE POSTHUMOUS WORKS
OF THOMAS DE QUINCEY
SUSPIRIA DE PROFUNDIS.
WITH OTHER ESSAYS,
CRITICAL, HISTORICAL, BIOGRAPHICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL,
IMAGINATIVE, AND HUMOROUS.
CONVERSATION AND COLERIDGE.
WITH OTHER ESSAYS.
Edited, with Introduction and Notes, from the Author's Original
ALEXANDER H. JAPP, LL.D., F.R.S.E.
LONDON : WM. HEINEMANN, 21 BEDFORD STREET, W.C.
DE QUINCEY MEMOEIALS.
BEING LETTERS AND OTHER RECORDS,
HERE FIRST PUBLISHED.
COMMUNICATIONS FEOM COLEE1DGE, THE WOEDSWOETHS,
HANNAH MOEE, PEOFESSOE WILSON, AND OTHEES.
EDITED, WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND NARRATIVE,
ALEXANDEK H. JAPP, LL.D., F.RS.E.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
[All rights reserved.]
BALt-ANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
CONTENTS OF VOL. II.
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS FROM WESTHAY, ETC. . . . i
. CHAPTER XIX.
PROFESSOR WILSON . . . - 29
LETTERS FROM SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON (" CYRIL
THORNTON ") 52
LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY 58
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY (MRS. SERLE), AND LETTERS
OF MRS, HANNAH MORE . . . /', . . 69
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER WHILE AT WESTHAY. . 90
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICHARD DE QUINCEY . . . . . , , - . 133
HENRY DE QUINCEY , , , . , , . . .144
LATER LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER . . 1 66
LETTERS OF 1836-8 177
LATER LETTERS FROM AND TO m DE QUINCE Y". . . . .183
REV. THOMAS GRINFIELD 198
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS, ETC 2OI
CHAPTER XXXI. 1
TWO LETTERS ON DE QUINCEY'S DEATH 238
I. THE "DE" IN NAMES DEFOE AND DE QUINCEY . . .245
II. MR. DE QUINCEY AND POETRY, MORE ESPECIALLY THE POETRY
OF POPE 248
III. THE SCEPTICISM OF KANT 259
IV. PROFESSOR JOHN NICHOL'S EARLY WRITINGS . . . 266
v. "DIRE NECESSITY," ETC 267
VI. EARLY DOUBTS, ETC 269
VII. REFERENCES TO LORD SLIGO'S LETTERS IN THE "CON-
CORRIGENDA ON THE MEMOIR OF DE QUINCEY . . .273
LIST OF PLATES,
THOMAS DE QUINCEY. From the drawing by James
Archer, K.S.A., in the possession of Mrs. Baird
Smith ...... Frontispiece
Mrs. DE QUINCEY (Miss Elizabeth Penson). i. Before
marriage. From a miniature in the possession
of Mrs. Cocksedge. 2. After marriage. From a
miniature in the possession of Mrs. Baird Smith To face page 90
DE QUINCEY MEMORIALS,
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS FROM WESTHAY.
"Wednesday, May 17, 1809.
" MARY has been reproaching me the whole week for
not writing to you, which is a great shame, because
your last letter was to her ; and, besides, you owe me
some three or four already. After all, I don't know
what it is she is so desirous I should impart to you,
except that there is no reason why you should not
come to us in ten days, as you say, or in one day if
you please ; but I conclude there is no reason for
repeating so old a truth, that we are always supremely
happy in the honour and pleasure, &c., &c., &c.
" I observe you always say ten days, a distance
which as regularly recedes so that it is constantly at
the same standing. We have heard of you to-day ;
that is, from your favoured friend, Miss Wordsworth,
through Mrs. Kelsall. When shall we hear anything
more of this beautiful cottage ? I can't approve of
the sitting-room being upstairs. Why did it not
open on a sloping lawn, buried in the shade of
VOL. II. A
2 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
venerable beeches, through which one should here and
there discover the lake with the western sun sinking
into it ? Here indeed would be a retreat worthy a
philosopher ! I should like to know how you will
pass your time whether you mean to bury yourself
in total seclusion, or only in an elegant retirement,
embellished with every unsophisticated pleasure. I
can tell you that you will never endure it alone for
two months. I should much like to know Miss Words-
worth, and to see what sort of a woman you admire.
I look with no small pleasure to the seeing all
the divine things in Grasmere which you mention.
I think that pleasure which I feel from beautiful
country, or from anything in country not strictly
beautiful, which I have associated, however remotely,
with my ideas of fine scenery, would have power to
rouse and delight me even at moments (if any such
there were) when every other thing would be dis-
gusting to me.
" I think you will be pleased with our views from
Westhay, though they are certainly of a very mild
sort of beauty, and may appear tame after the
northern sublimity. If you have any dislike to the
worldly bustle of removing, I again conjure you to
come immediately, since our time is finally fixed for
leaving Clifton entirely at or rather before Mid-
summer, and cannot now be altered, because this
house is let from that period, and therefore we must
leave whether we are so disposed or not. You can
go with us to Westhay if you please, for we shall
have rooms enough finished, though the house will
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 3
be half full of workmen. How often have I told you
that c hope deferred maketh the heart sick ' ? I am
sure no mortal ever had so many prayers, adjurations,
and imprecations showered upon them in vain as
you have had. Above all things remember the
Bible, as you value your peace on earth. 1 I hope
you will bring some books with you, for we are in a
dry and barren soil, where to this hour I believe it is
the fashion to talk of nothing but ' Marmion ' and
' Cselebs.' I suppose we shall have some more of
Walter Scott's stolen goods soon. Do you know
anything of him ? or can he prosecute me for a
libellist if I say he borrows his ideas, often his words
even sometimes ? You have not told us whether you
understand Spanish. Mary has got the most stupid
master in the world, and so unlike a noble Spaniard,
he might rather pass for a low and vulgar Francese.
Have you any Italian books with you ? I can get
none, and I much wish to increase my slight ac-
quaintance with the language. People sometimes
argue with me that there is no use in learning Italian
and Spanish, because there are so few books worth
reading. You have given me a different idea ; at all
events they are so easy to learn, and I have not the
dislike that people in general have to languages.
"Do you remember that you are to teach me
German ? We hear by letters from India that my
Uncle is just made a Major, so we expect he will
come home. Eichard is still in the Baltic with
1 A Bible in chaste and superb binding for a present to be given by
Miss Brotlierton (see " Memoir," pp. 105-6).
4 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
Admiral Keats. I fear you have never written to
Miss Brotherton. Oh, if you break your promises to
the fair unknown as you do to us, you will certainly
be disgraced. I long to question you on some in-
teresting topics which in a letter you would elude,
but the truth cannot escape my penetrating eye.
Can you tell me why Foster has never brought out
the work which you said was preparing ? I suppose
it will never come now. I do not think even of
inquiring for the ' Friend/ Adieu. Your ever-
affectionate sister, JANE BE QUINCEY.
" I have heard that Miss Seward has left all her
own letters, and all those of her correspondents, for
publication I thank Heaven I was not one of
them to come out 2 vols. a year. If it is true,
what must have been the supreme vanity of the
creature ! 1
" I have been reading Miss Lee's ' Eecess,' and
was foolish enough to be interested at the time,
though, on cooler reflection, I find great fault with it
for being so full of miseries and written in such a
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" 82 Gt. Tichfield St., London."
1 Anna Seward was a well-known wiiter of the earlier part of
the century. Her works consisted of dram-is, poems, biographies :
" Louisa, a Poetical Novel," was perhaps the most popular of them.
She wrote the Life of Dr. Darwin. She was the daughter of the Rev.
Thomas Se war J, himself a poet of some repute, and editor of " Beaumont
and Fletcher." She was born in 1747, and died in 1809. Sir Walter
Scott, of whom she was the friend and correspondent, wrote a Life of
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 5
"Mr DEAR BROTHER, Enclosed I have sent you
the ground plan of Westhay, though I own I am a
little surprised at such a requisition from you a
Metaphysician and an Architect ! A monstrous in-
congruity ! I should almost as soon have thought of
sending you the newest and most approved plan for
making a Petticoat. If you really understand these
things, you will perhaps think many improvements
might be made. This is true, but all I have to say is,
that though I could fancy many plans which I should
like better, yet this is perhaps the best possible arrange-
ment for us, with our numerous requirements and the
comparatively small sum which must complete them.
Above we have seven rooms, and one in the roof; be-
hind are the coach-house, stable, and offices, intended
to be concealed by the infant trees, of which we have
planted about fifteen hundred. After all, if you were
to come to us immediately from Westmoreland, you
would think all our southern views very insipid,
though they are beautiful in their style. I am deter-
mined, if ever I come into possession of a grand castle,
which lives in my imagination only at present, it
shall be in Cumberland or Westmoreland ; but I shall
prefer the former, as being rather more removed from
the wicked haunts of men. Whenever I am in pos-
session of the talisman which is to raise it, I shall
her prefixed to her poems, and her letters were collected and published
at Edinburgh in 1811, in six volumes, under the editorship of Mr. A.
Constable, as arranged by herself. They were very carefully and
critically weeded out, however, by herself : report had magnified her
pistolary bequest, which still was large enough, in all conscience.
6 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
request you to point out to me the most beautiful
of the lakes small, rocky, and wooded to the very
edge. The name of Ullswater pleases me, if it answers
to my idea of it. You must also tell me the best
place on the sea-coast of Wales, that I may fix my
marine villa there. I never knew before this winter
that a very fine effect may be produced by the snow
covering a number of high trees, or a wood still more.
I had always execrated snow as the only thing in
nature totally foreign to every sort of beauty.
"I have begun to learn Spanish by myself, and
though it is indeed so easy that I can almost read it
without translating, yet I am under a continual diffi-
culty from the impossibility of teaching myself the
pronunciation by any rules that can be given. And
there is no master can be got here except one who
is in reality a Frenchman. Mary has bought Gon-
salvo de Cordoba, a dictionary and grammar. I don't
believe I shall ever think, as I have heard some
people say, that it is worth learning merely for the
sake of ' Don Quixote/ which I have read lately in
English, and am never much delighted with this kind
of book. But it is an amusement to me to learn,
and I suppose there are many books which I should
like. I can't meet with any Italian Books but
Metastasio. I was in hopes I had sprung a mine of
them in opening your box to look for the copying
machine, but judge of my horror when I discovered
them to be all Greek, Latin, or German. Don't
alarm yourself ; I replaced them carefully in the tomb,
and shall never more trouble their repose. The only
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 7
exceptions were ' Decameron,' which a Gentleman
told Mary was not fit for a young Lady to read, and
a French treatise on Logic, which I have opened
several times in horror and despair. H. More has
just published ' Cselebs in Search of a Wife/ which
we have read ; very good advice to masters and
misses, but quite out of your way. I don't know
what she would think of me for learning Spanish
when I don't half understand Italian, for she hates
superficial ladies. This reminds me, though it would
be too long a history to explain the connection to
you ; but pray explain to me why Milton dares to
make Eve inferior to Adam before the fall, when we
know that they were created equal, and that her
punishment was that she should be in ' subjection to
her husband.' Allow me to observe that this is a mis-
take which only a man, proud man, could have made.
" I have been reading all Burns's works. I like
his letters extremely ; only I wish he was not quite
so wicked. As to his poetry, I meet here and there
a few stanzas which please me, but all the Scotch
pieces (and these are almost the whole) are perfectly
unintelligible to me; and even if I should take the
trouble to know the meaning of all the words, still
I should have no pleasure, I think, because it would
be ages before I could associate agreeable ideas with
such uncouth-sounding words. I have been reading
all Miss B.'s 1 plays. I could read 'De Montfort'
a thousand times, and 'Basil' is a favorite; none
of the others do I ever wish to see again. I believe
1 Joanna Baillie, born 1762, died February 23, 1851.
8 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
I have heard you mention some others of her writing
besides the series, but I do not know them. I will
not say anything about Coleridge's essay, but I am
disappointed of a groat deal of pleasure by its non-
appearance and everybody is disappointed of some-
thing ; at least the glories of criticism promised a
wide field of pleasure to many.
"This is all very stupid for you, Monsieur le
philosophe ; but if you will not furnish or inspire
me with something to say, why, you must take the
consequences. I have nofc forgotten the long letter,
in answer to my dozen and a half, which you pro-
mised about two months since, and this, I suppose,
is always the case ; the few men in the world (and
Heaven knows these are few enough !) whom one would
desire ever to hear from always make themselves
so scarce, that a letter once in a lustrum (isn't this
the word I mean ?) is all one can reasonably expect.
" I have been building and furnishing the most
enchanting cottage for you, in imagination, that you
can conceive. Seriously now, what do you mean
to do ? Only choose your spot and furnish me with
a moderate sum, and I am at your service. But
then, don't marry this is the root of all evil, I
assure you. Don't you know that you would be
deceived \ Are you not aware that it would be the
easiest thing in the world for any one who had a
mind to make you believe her an angel for a few
short months, when you would find out the melan-
choly contrary ? And then my cottage is not large
enough to accommodate a wife and a dozen small
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 9
children, who, poor things ! must all learn to live
upon air and philosophise themselves into feeling
none of the vulgar necessities of mortals. But, alas !
I fear I am preaching to the deaf adder which
refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer, charm he
never so wisely ! ! !
" I do but counsel thee to the wise resolution
which at present I have taken myself. I mean to
live and die in the woods which mine own hand hath
planted, and to please myself with mine own solitary
grandeur. I am delighted to hear you say that
Wordsworth understands gardening, and am im-
patient to know what sort of a thing is a philosophy
of gardening. I hope, as he is so well versed in
the theory, he does not despise the practice. Mary
desires me to say that she is in utter dismay about
the prospectuses, and that till they come you well
know we can get no subscriptions, for nobody will
even offer to subscribe on the mere strength of our
recommendations to a thing of which they know
not even the nature. Two or three promises only
we have had, and many people have been impatiently
awaiting the prospectuses, but you are too much of
philosophers, all of you too ethereal, not to ruin your
own interests. You will let everybody cool, and they
will not be easily roused again. Adieu. Believe me
ever your most affectionate Sister,
" JEANETTE DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" William Wordsworth's, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Kendal, Westmoreland."
io JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
" WESTHAY, Thursday Night, December 14, 1809.
" MY DEAR BEOTHEK, I have been deliberating for
some weeks whether I should write to you or leave
you to your fate as a punishment for your silence,
but my extreme clemency has at length prevailed. 1
wish very much to hear whether you will have your
box sent now. I suppose in that case we may in-
close the money for Coleridge. We do not happen
at present to have any friend in London who might
pay it is it not a shilling a number ? To be sure I
should never have guessed that Coleridge would have
had patience to carry it on so far, and to talk with
confidence of the twentieth number. I know one of
his dilatory friends who would not, though a most
interesting young man in other respects. I have not
been in the way of hearing many opinions about it
lately, but I believe all wise and sober-minded people
disliked the tale in the thirteenth number, which they
say is so unnatural. 1 One Lady I have heard of is
going to give it up, after having with difficulty held
out till now. For my part, I can't think what the
good people expected ; but I am tired of hearing
their foolish criticisms. * Coleridge deals so much in
paradox ; he is so extravagant, so incomprehensible,'
is the ceaseless cry of those who have brains enough
to make a remark at all. Those who think they have
not content themselves with not reading him ; they
own he is too deep for their humble capacities. I
conclude C. gives these latter entertaining numbers
1 The tale in the thirteenth number of The Friend was " Maria
Eleanora Schoning," and was by Coleridge himself.
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. n
to please the Ladies, poor things ! He talks, you
know, of a female correspondent who complains of
the dulness of some of the numbers. I dare say she
was compelled to write this by some stupid husband
or brother who was ashamed to confess so much on
his own account. My mother likes his Taxation
number, and wishes he would write politics chiefly. 1
Then, and not till then, shall I call him uninteresting.
I like his political papers when they come, but cer-
tainly not to the exclusion of a thousand other
" When are we to have the long-promised papers
upon English literature ? Do you know who Satyrane
was ? 2 I like his letters exceedingly. We should
be seriously obliged to you to send or order to be
sent the two copies of each of the two first numbers.
1 The Taxation number was the twelfth, and is well worthy of the
praise given to it ; but it is surprising that we do not find in these letters
any queries about or reference to the series of sonnets now so well
known on the Tyrolean patriots, &c., by Wordsworth, or the " Hymn
before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamounia," by Coleridge, which ap-
peared in the eleventh and twelfth numbers, as well as some specimens
of Rabbinical wisdom from the Mishna.
2 Satyrane was Coleridge himself. He wrote under that nom de
plume a series of letters to a lady, describing his life and experiences in
Germany. The letters are reprinted in the Biographi'a Literaria (vol. ii.
pp. 182-254) ; and in the same work (vol. i. pp. 211-12) we find him
writing : " By a gracious providence, for which I can never be suffi-
ciently grateful, the generous and munificent patronage of Mr. Josiah
and Mr. Thomas Wedgwood enabled me to finish my education in
Germany. After acquiring in tolerable sufficiency the German language
at Ratzeburg, which, with my voyage and the journey thither, I have
described in The Friend, I proceeded through Hanover to Gottingen,
where I regularly attended lectures on Physiology in the morning, and
on Natural History in the evening under Blumenbach, a name dear
to every Englishman who has studied at that University." Coleridge
was born 2ist October 1772, and died July 25, 1834.
12 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
Now, do for once in your life be a good boy, and defer
not till to-morrow that which may be done to-day.
Send these numbers, and with them a long letter
telling us all about the northern poets and their
children, and your own self and cottage. I want a
sketch of the latter. Don't you find it very solitary
sometimes, or is your friend Johnny sufficient com-
pany ? With such a dilatory being as you, can I ever
hope to see Westmoreland ? Not, at ]east, till grey
hairs are nigh and the years come in which I shall
say I have no pleasure in them.
" I have been in Bath to visit Mrs. Kelsall, who,
after spending a few days at Westhay, is returned to
Manchester. We are of opinion that she is half mad.
Westhay is very much improved since you were
here, but has turned out much more expensive than
was intended or feared. It is still in an unfurnished
state, but will be a most beautiful place in time.
Since you went we have walked so little on the down
that we had nearly forgotten your old way to Brockley,
and the other day I discovered with mortification
that some malicious and evil-intentioned person has
removed the old shoe placed by you as a landmark.
" How beautiful your birch woods must look now !
We are planting weeping birches to produce the same
effect in miniature. Have you any rose indicas ?
I shall have great pleasure in ornamenting your little
garden when I come. I should think Autumn must
be a most beautiful season to see it in to me at least,
who am an Anti-spring-ist
11 Have you any new communications to make
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 13
respecting books ? The other day we were afc Lans-
down's, and with a true scholar-like contempt of
dust, turned over all his old worm-eaten books, but
we found nothing to please us. An old Tasso, which,
being an Elzevir edition, I thought must be correct,
I found had lost a volume, and Lansdown himself,
civil and obliging as he is, has scarcely a pretension
to know one book from another. Ours are all
arranged in the book-cases, and look very well,
though, to be sure, they are a pitiful collection.
When I am rich I shall try to make it more respect-
able. I have not been tempted to open Button yet,
except a little in Geometry. Is this the most interest-
ing of the branches of Mathematics which he treats of ?
If it is, I am afraid my head is as unmathematical
as ifc is unmetaphysical and unmetapolitical, to use
C.'s learned and, I suppose, original term. A strange
infatuation to have no exclusive taste for these
sublime subjects ! One would have expected better
things from the sister of a Philosopher. Nevertheless
I read C/s papers with more attention and interest
than, I dare say, half his friends ; and I do mean to
try what I can do with Hutton.
" Mary sends her love. She is going to put into
the Lottery, and intends to have the twenty thou-
sand ; in that case you will hear more of us. Is
your avaricious design of growing rich by the same
means gone off? I have made particular enquiries
on the subject, but the general opinion seems to be
that there is not any of the foul play which we
suspected. I am still rather incredulous.
i 4 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
" I conclude you have heard by this time from
Kichard that he is at Plymouth, expected to sail
soon, and made master's mate, which is a higher
sort of midshipman. Henry is going to spend three
weeks with us. He is much improved lately, and
reads Homer. Henry Leeves is just arrived from
Oxford, and Mr. Elsdale is expected for the holidays.
We have very little intercourse with this accom-
plished family. The Bridgers have been staying
with us, and we are going to them for a week. The
Mores never fail to enquire ' de vos nouvelles,' par-
ticularly Sally, who calls you ( the sweet young
man, Dr. Kantian/ With the Boaks too you are
a great favorite ; but don't be vain of these perish-
able honours ; if you don't return soon your dearest
freundins may perhaps forget you. Do you re-
member Sally More's prophecy that you would be
a bishop, if you pleased ? I wish you would please
to be something which would raise you above the
vulgar wants of this wicked world a counsellor, for
instance. You will come to this at last ; at least so
prophesies your ever-affectionate Sister,
" JANE DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Kendal, Westmoreland."
" WESTHAT, Friday, May 3, 1811.
"My DEAR BROTHER, I suppose you are quite
amazed that you hear nothing of us and our intended
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 15
proceedings, and perhaps conclude that we have for-
gotten Grasmere and its attractions and its inha-
bitants, I was going to add, but I recollect I ought
to comprehend these under the second head; but
you are mistaken, for Mary says we think of them
all day and dream of them all night. Change all into
every and I will swear to the assertion. Yet, alas !
this letter is not to fix the day for our departure,
as it ought to do, but simply to regret that this is
impossible, for our evil genius, in the form of Mr.
Searth (Lord Darlington's agent), has arisen to tor-
ment us. This man is to settle a dispute which you
may remember concerning Lord D.'s claim to a part
of our land, but, instead of coming in May, as he
promised, he has announced the beginning of June
for his appearance ; and my mother thinks she
cannot stir till she has seen him. I will not attempt
to describe to you what consternation ; yea, what
indignation ; yea, finally, what calm despair was
produced by these arrangements. You will perceive
that by them not only is our patience tried must
cruelly, and 'hope deferred,' we are told, ' maketh
the heart sick,' but also we are thrown upon the
hottest or the most rainy, and therefore, at any
rate, the most disagreeable season of the year. At
the same time neither Mary nor myself could
patronise any plan for deferring our journey later
than necessity requires, as a fine autumn, though
the loveliest of all lovely things, is very uncertain.
" So much for our grievances. Do write and
console us say whether you are prepared to receive
16 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
us when we do come, and whether you think we can
scale your mountains in a July morning. We did
talk of staying in Manchester first, but now this
must be left till we return, a delightful contrast
to Grasmere and its environs.
" Pray, what do you sanguine politicians say to
the evacuation of Portugal ? I know you have laid
aside your philosophic indifference on this subject,
and therefore I may venture to ask the question ;
and do not you think Lord Wellington a great
soldier ? I never used to like him, but if his friends
in the House of Commons do not exaggerate his
merits, I cannot but think there is something very
heroic in bis disdaining to clear himself from the
many aspersions and insinuations thrown out against
him at home, and in the unwearied perseverance
with which he follows up his own plans, which appear
equally well conceived and well executed. Happily,
however, he needs not my tribute of approbation, for
most people seem to concur in acknowledging his merit
now that he is fortunate, and perhaps is sufficiently
rewarded in contemplating the effect of his exertions. 1
" I expect to become a very able politician under
1 And so, for a long period after Wellington's achievements were
considerable, discussions arose about his powers and merits. It would
seem that, though an aristocrat, he had to fight his way step by step,
and in one of his own private papers declares that he was not favoured
for a very long period either by the War Office or the Horse Guards ;
and that, even after he was distinguished, was cumbered by what they
pleased to call a second-in- command, which he declares that he could
not understand. It is characteristic of him that he declined or even
disdained to clear himself from many aspersions and insinuations
thrown out against him.
JANE DE QUINCETS LETTERS. 17
your tuition this summer, especially as I conclude
you and your friends are generally agreed on im-
portant points ; otherwise, according to an expression
of an acquaintance of yours in this part of the world,
I may chance to be thrown all abroad.
" Letters from Richard lately announce that he
has sailed in the Princess Caroline in the expedition
for the Baltic. I cannot conceive what employment
they can find for so large a fleet in that quarter.
We have had very dismal weather here for the last
week, which is unlucky ; for Mrs. Church and her two
children are staying with us, and town people have
scarcely an idea of the country being good for any-
thing except in a sunshiny day.
" Mary and I returned lately from Clifton, where
we have been staying at different houses nearly two
months, and this period, with that which has elapsed,
makes it three months since we have been alone for
one day ; otherwise I should have written sooner.
And now I take to myself some shame for sending an
epistle three hundred miles which has so little in it ;
but I beg you to remember that it is written -in a
moment of all others the least calculated for sharpen-
ing the wits ; namely, between the utter extinction
and the faint revival of hope.
" My Mother desires her love, and bids me say we
will come as soon as we can. Mary exists in the
same hope. I told them just now, with a sigh, that
it was this very day (4th May) on which in your last
letter you hoped to see us drinking tea in your
cottage. Alack ! that ever it should be otherwise.
VOL. II. B
i8 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
I must say, however, that we are beginning to look
very beautiful in our spring dress ; the Elms and
most of the trees, except Oaks, are quite in leaf,
and everything is rejoicing in the rain we have had.
Westhay is improving every day, and our friends
here say that it is most unsentimental to leave it
just the first summer it is finished, but we are deaf
to their kind admonitions.
" I mean while I am with you to read all the
books in your library during the intervals of my
climbing all the mountains ; but my mother still
talks of a month, and I fear we cannot do half what
we wish in that time. I have no news to send you
from our part, except that Mr. Cotterell and J. Pratt
have both got livings ; that Mr. C. has married Miss
Boak, and J. P. is to lead off the other sister in a few
months ; so that we are likely to have a clear field.
Your worthy friend Mr. Leeves is well, and is our
great friend also. His brother, I believe, is gone to
be a private tutor in some family. We are to have
a neighbour shortly in that beautiful field just above
us an East India Colonel (Mackenzie).
" Adieu ! I trust the next thing you hear of
me will be how I am charmed with the ride from
Winandermere to Grasmere. Pray write to my
Mother, and believe me yours very affection-
ately, JANE DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
JANE DE QUINCETS LETTERS. 19
" ARDWICK, 26th July 1811.
"My DEAR BROTHER, Any man but yourself
would Lave a right to wonder at our dilatory pro-
ceedings, but you must consider us only as returning
one of the many practical lessons which you in former
times have bestowed upon us. I assure you, how-
ever, that we are all longing to be at Grasmere ; to
explain why we are not there I must travel back to
Westhay. Two days before the one fixed for our
departure Mary had been with Mrs. Hannah More
to Brockley, and in alighting from the Barouche
box of the carriage she fell and cut her face. This
delayed us a week. However, it was healed and re-
covered its looks, and Mary grew impatient to set
out, although she had by no means recovered her
strength or the complete shock which she had re-
ceived. My mother acceded, but unhappily the
consequences of three days' jolting in hack chaises
to an already exhausted frame has been a violent
bilious attack, which has confined her to the house
almost since we came here, which was last Wednesday
" Our intention was to have set off next Wednesday
for Grasmere, but you will see the impossibility of
this, or indeed of speaking with any certainty on the
subject. We have Dr. Jarrold attending, and he
gives us hope of a speedy recovery, but we do not
know the exact degree of reliance to be placed on
his promises. At present she is too weak to bear
the slightest exertion. My mother says we will not
fail to write again and give you the notice you
20 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
desire ; as soon as she sees any probability of our
coming, she means to dispatch a box containing
some books of yours, and tracts, &c., for your
" I am very assiduously renewing my acquaintance
with the town of Manchester. I think it possible I
may never see it again, and I am determined not to
be guilty of forgetting the land of my nativity any
more. We think it very much improved, and really,
on the whole, it is not so vile a place as I imagined.
Mr. Kel sail's house at least is airily situated, and
one may discover from it something in the similitude
of green trees and grass. A slight quarrel I have
with the inhabitants for all looking alike ; one meets
five hundred men in the course of a walk with
scarcely, it seems to me, a shade of variety in the
expression of their faces, but each appears to be
struck off in the same mould with his neighbour.
Lavater would find very little subject of speculation
here. We have been finding out all our old friends.
Mr. Hall, surprising to say, gave us a most cordial
reception, and appears entirely to have forgotten
that we have been any other than the best friends
in the world. The young men are grown out of all
recollection ; Eupel especially is a most singular-
looking creature ; he is going to be tutor to two
of the Duke of Beaufort's grandsons. We have
been to see also the Belchers, Mrs. Wilkinson, for-
merly Miss Eason, and several more whom you don't
"We expect Mr. and Mrs. Elsdale from Wrington
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 21
to-morrow to enjoy the remainder of the summer
in Long Milgate. I know not why I should write
any more, seeing that I hope so soon to be with you.
I have been solacing my impatience with a view
which I have found of G-rasmere Church ; another
comfort is that we have certainly avoided the least
agreeable part of the summer and missed no very
delightful weather. Mary and all the party send
their lov r e. Believe me ever your affectionate
" JANE DE QUINCE Y.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasinere, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
" 28 RICHMOND TERRACE, CLIFTON,
"March 26, 1812.
DEAR BROTHER, It may be as well to tell
you before I begin to write that my sole intention
in doing so at this moment is to ascertain a matter
of fact, and therefore you will do well not to ex-
pect to be greatly amused. Indeed, however much
I might be disposed to exert my wonderful powers,
it would at present be a vain attempt, as I am placed
in the midst of a confusion of voices compared to
which Babel would be a calm retreat.
" To proceed to business. My mother having
heard through Eichard that you are really agitating
a remove to town, a sudden thought has started into
her mind : ' What does he mean to do with Mary
Dawson ? ' Perhaps you think of taking her with
22 JANE DE QUINCETS LETTERS,
you, or you may mean to keep her still at Grasmere ;
or, alas ! still more probably, this agitated remove
may never take place ; but the most distant hope
of importing southwards a genius so rare in these
parts is not to be despised by us. She promised,
if ever she left you, to come to us, but, in such a
case, might expect the first advances to be on our
"We are now at Clifton visiting the Kempes :
we shall stay about a week, and if it is not too much
to ask from mortal man, we should be very glad to
know how the matter stands on the aforesaid sub-
jects, as we are going to hire servants. This request
will appear more modest if you count up the number
of months which have elapsed since we heard of you,
except indirectly. Your case affords a melancholy
example of the degree of moral turpitude which,
by continued habit, a man may learn to contemplate
with composure. I can't help laughing in my heart
to think of the believing sailor who has absolutely
resolved to stay in London in the Ignis Fatuus
hope of seeing you. He may wait long enough, I
"We have been reading Pasley, and are much
delighted. He seems to have a surprisingly clear
and comprehensive view of his subject, which, were
it a less general concern than it is, must be made
interesting by so much talent; nevertheless, though
on the whole we agreed with him, several things
struck us both as contradictory. At first he is in
the depth of despair, seems to think nothing can
JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 23
save us but measures which we certainly shall be
far from pursuing, and even these would be very
risky. In the latter part his spirits seem to rise
with the consideration of his subject, and all things,
even the conquest of the world, seem to be nothing
more than putting one's gloves on. Perhaps a
second reading might have reconciled these seeming
contrarieties. I should have supposed that you
would not approve the high opinions he seems to
entertain of Buonaparte's abilities. 1
" It just occurs to me to remind you of a piece of
advice which you have often given me with respect
to books Why, say you, don't you buy books in-
stead of hiring them ? Now, I paid fifteen shillings
to a Bristol library for six months three are elapsed,
and I find I have read twenty-one vols. How many
books, my good friend, could I have bought for
73. 6d. ? and in the meantime I must have vegetated
without any. Adieu. My mother will fill this paper.
My love to all my friends. Ever your very affec-
tionate JANE DE QUINCEY.
"We talk much of our enchanting walks in
Westmoreland. I have always a strange feeling
come across me when I think of Ulls water and
twenty other places which take turns in my affec-
tions. My mother and I have rung every possible
change upon the possible alterations which can have
occurred in Grasmere ; pray explain. I believe I
have written exquisite nonsense, but I am indeed
1 See footnote in re Pasley's book.
24 JANE DE QUINCEYS LETTERS.
quite bewildered with noise. Henry Leeves is here,
just been to Oxford to take his Master's degree, and
now very ill of a fever. He desires to be remembered
to you. Mr. Elsdale has lost his election to the
school here by a very small majority, and with great
credit to himself- it is a great disappointment to
" My dear Thomas, I have managed my acc ts of
your Uncle's money so badly that I am obliged to
go to everybody for help, and to you to tell me, if
you can, what money you have ever had from your
Uncle as a present through me or Mr. Kelsall. I do
not expect to find any effectual clue in my applica-
tion to you towards the clearing my acc ts , but I shall
be obliged to you for a direct reply, Yrs affect ly ,
" E. Q.
"Tnos. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near AmLleside, Westmoreland."
, Thursday, Dec. 17, 1812.
" MY DEAR BROTHEE, By this day's post Mary
has dispatched a letter to you at Grasmere, the
strain of which 'is to this effect; namely, to beg
that you will exert your influence wherever it may
lie for Henry Leeves, in a way which I will tell you.
You remember he had a cough when you were at
home, which has hung upon him for some months,
DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 25
but was treated with little attention as a thing
which his family ignorantly supposed of small conse-
quence. Some unfavourable symptoms which appeared
latterly, however, induced them to go with him to
Clifton to consult Dr. Craufurd, who thinks every-
thing depends upon his going abroad immediately, to
escape wintering at home. Fortunately he has met
with a friend who is Captain of a Sloop, and has offered
to take him out with him directly to the Bermudas.
He has got an introduction to the secretary of the
governor of this island, but is ordered not to remain
long on shore, but to proceed from one place to
another in a more southernly direction. The result
then is, that if you can procure from any of your
friends letters to Portugal, Spain, Malta, Sicily, or,
in short, any place in that direction, his course being
quite uncertain, you will excite much gratitude in
the family, who are in the utmost affliction at the
possibility of losing this favourite, to which possi-
bility they have only now opened their eyes. We
thought that Southey would oblige you in this
way, and perhaps Coleridge to Malta, If you are in
London you may know others who have connections
in some of these places. Need I add that whatever
you do must be speedy, as Captain Kennedy is quite
uncertain how soon his ship may receive sailing
orders, but expects it very soon. To interest your-
self you would only need to witness the distress of
the family at this unlooked-for destruction of their
prospects. Any letter must be sent under cover to
us, as Henry Leeves is at Clifton. I shall be dis-
26 JANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
mayed if you do not receive this. We have just had
a disquisition on the great want of principle evinced
in a man leaving home without the shadow of a
direction where one may find him. Unless you are
altered in this respect, we think you would hardly
find in your heart to leave London while every day
brings such interesting news from Eussia ; you will
surely wait the illuminations for the capture of that
varlet, as our paper designates him, though I begin
to fear, alas ! that he will take care of his individual
person whatever becomes of his army, which, I think,
can hardly escape. Surely such a brilliant campaign
in so short a space of time is scarcely recorded in
" I expect to be in London about the latter end of
January. I want to know whether I am likely to
find you where and how ? and if I should have
occasion to remain a day or two in London, can I be
taken in at your lodgings ? The plan of my journey
is not yet adjusted, for Henry, on whom I depended
as an escort to town, writes word that an unforeseen
circumstance (which is couched in mystery and dark-
ness) detains him in Oxford this whole vacation.
He has sent down a magnificent engraving of the
High St., Oxford, with its college, handsomely
framed ! ! !
" If you pass through Liverpool you will find
Eichard at No. i Leece St., Eenshaw St. I fancy he
means to take up his abode there, to the astonishment
of his country neighbours.
" Colonel Mackenzie has lost one of his children
DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS. 27
since you left us, with water in the head ; be is in
too much sorrow now to be reproached for his pros-
ing politics about the Kussians, but Mr. Boak we do
not spare. Beally one can't help feeling sorry for the
French soldiers, who are guiltless of either pleasure
or profit in this expedition. If we can hardly bear
the intense cold here, what must it be in those frozen
regions almost without clothes !
" We are very busy in the prosecution of Dr.
Bell's plan in our school, which improves as fast as
we can expect, though we find great difficulty in its
organisation from the beginning, simple as it appears
to be, but we have all of us everything to learn
and a great deal to unlearn. My mother received
Southey's book. We lent it immediately to H.
Leeves^, so have not read it. We dined last week at
the Addingtons', who are, on the whole, pleasanter
people than the generality of this neighbourhood. I
hope the young heir will exert himself for Henry
Leeves, who is his particular friend. We are trying
in other quarters, but our principal dependence is on
you ; so, pray, do not fail us. Let us know the par-
ticulars of your health. I hope these hard frosts
have prevented a recurrence of your indisposition, as
I hear that effect ascribed to them in maladies of
various descriptions. No news of the Fortescues
since you left us. They all hate writing, or I should
suppose them ill. I hope the agonies of uncertainty
in which the direction of this letter is conceived will
be an instructive lesson to your feelings not again to
leave us in such perplexing ignorance. If this fail
28 yANE DE QUINCEY'S LETTERS.
to affect you, add the consideration of my benumbed
fingers in a cold room turning over the letters of the
last five years to find where Great Tichfield Street
resides, or even if there be any Great Tichfield St.
All send kind love. Pray write immediately, I
conjure you by whatever consideration is most likely
to affect a heart so often flinty in this respect.
Yours very affectionately,
"JANE QUINCE Y."
THE friendship of De Quincey and Professor Wilson
was of such a remarkably close and constant char-
acter bore, we may almost say, such a Damon-and-
Pythias-like aspect that, though much has been
written of their connection, the utter beauty of it
has not probably been even yet fully realised. They
were of very different types, but each could make
allowances for and sympathise with and appreciate
the other. Wilson, with his buoyant vivacity, found
much to love in his friend, perhaps on the law of
contrast rather than affinity, and never changed
though he had certainly much to put up with in
the erratic and unpractical character of the Opium-
Eater ; but De Quincey, in an intellectual sense,
had so much to confer ; his conversations and letters
were so stimulating and suggestive to Wilson, that
Wilson on many knotty points to the end found
him the one man to whom he could make appeal for
advice, suggestion, and aid. And even in their money-
matters and " accommodations," which, as was only
to be expected, went ajee, and through De Quincey's
unbusiness-like ways, Wilson, when this was the
3 o PROFESSOR WILSON.
case, shows the utmost consideration, and is ready
to make the most affectionate brotherly excuses for
his friend. We ourselves had no idea how much
Wilson had to bear in this way till we read the
letters that are to follow ; but we have never pre-
tended that De Quincey in his earlier life, and
whilst prostrated under opium, was anything but a
perilous person to have much to do with in lending
to or in accommodating ; and this, as we have said,
from mere helplessness in practical matters. But,
as will be seen from these letters, it was De Quincey
who was first the lender ; another proof that, so long
as he had it, his friends were welcome to his purse.
And this generosity and timely assistance Wilson
never forgot, but stood by his friend in all weathers,
even when the horizon was most cloudy. It will
perhaps be remembered that Wilson, through the
fault of others, was suddenly deprived of his fortune,
and plunged into difficulties, and, instead of peace
and study at Elleray, had to think of making his
way in the world ; and by-and-by proceeded to
study for the Bar at Edinburgh. Hence the tone
of the first letter :
" Tuesday [May 1813].
" MY DEAR SIR, I was prevented from going with
you to Borrowdale by very urgent business in Kendal,
but had not time to tell you so in my note sent per
coach yesterday. I am at present in greater diffi-
PROFESSOR WILSON. 31
culties about the business I spoke of than I at that
time imagined. I heard on Sunday of several very
considerable bills of which I had no remembrance ;
others are far greater than I thought of; and, to
complete my bad fortune, some money now due to
me cannot be paid for some months. I therefore
cannot conceive any way of settling my bills here
and elsewhere without getting temporary assistance
from a friend. By not settling them, I fear that
very unpleasant effects would follow.
i( When you so kindly offered your assistance on
our walk t'other day, my acceptance of it to my mind
seemed impossible. The shortness of our acquaint-
ance renders it difficult for me to think that I can
have any right to request or accept such a mark
of kindness and regard, and, further, I have some
doubt of the justice of availing myself of your bene-
volent disposition, or of that friendly feeling you may
entertain towards me. I hope, however, that on no
occasion of my life have I preferred my own interests
to those of a friend, and I w d face any difficulty,
rather than be the cause of bringing a similar one
on any Man. But your kindness suggested the relief,
and when I contemplate the idea I have of your
character, I venture to speak thus to you ; it being
the first time that I have ever spoken it to any
"^200 would, I believe, with what I shall be able
to raise elsewhere, keep me afloat for the Summer.
At Christmas, I shall be able to repay that sum,
together with the interest. On this plan alone could
32 PROFESSOR WILSON.
my conscience allow me to accept of this sum from
you. If you can advance that sum to me im-
mediately, it w d be a kind of blessing ; for there are
many feelings both of my own, and of one most
dear to me, which it would save. I might say much
to you on this request, but I cannot.
"If I live till Christmas, you will sustain no
loss whatever. If I do not, your debt will be among
my sacred ones, and will be paid. Otherwise, I
could not have written this letter to you. Let me
have a few words from you. I shall be at home on
Wednesday afternoon, and also all Thursday. If
you cannot come here a day before you go, I will
come over if you remain at Grasmere. Your affec-
tionate Friend, J. WILSON."
"GRASMERE, Tuesday afternoon, May ir, 1813.
" MY DEAR SIR, Having made my offer to you
the other day in perfect sincerity, I am truly happy
to learn that you have determined to accept it.
" I have detained your servant for the purpose of
sending off by him a letter in time for to-morrow
morning's post. Will ^200 be enough ? If you are
in very immediate want of the money, could you not
draw upon me at a short date ? The money will
most probably reach Ambleside on Monday night
" I am proud that you allow me so confidential a
PROFESSOR WILSON. 33
place in your friendship ; and, in the midst of my
sympathy with you under your misfortunes, am glad
that they have furnished me with an occasion for
testifying (though by so trifling a service) that I am
not unworthy of it. Believe me, my dear Sir, very
faithfully your affectionate Friend,
" THOMAS DE QUINCEY.
" JOHN WILSON, Esq.,
" P.S. Excuse me for not writing more at length.
I was asleep when your servant arrived, not having
got home yesterday from Borrowdale until midnight,
and having had little sleep in the night from
toothache. I shall be at home, I believe, all this
week, but shall be most fully disengaged from busi-
ness on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday next."
And this was the letter that went by Wilson's
servant to the post :
"GRASMERE, Tuesday, May u, 1813.
" DEAR Sm, I have an opportunity of rendering
an important service to a friend by lending him im-
mediately the sum of ^200. Can you conveniently
furnish me with that sum or with a considerable
part of it by next Monday ? I leave this place for
London next Wednesday, and on Tuesday there is
no post from Kendal ; so that if your answer does
VOL. II. C
34 PROFESSOR WILSON.
not leave Manchester by Sunday night, it cannot be
here before I go away. I am, dear Sir, faithfully
yours, THOS. DE QUINCEY.
" Mr. JOHN KELSALL,
" Merchant, Manchester."
"EDINBURGH, 53 QUEEN STREET,
"Friday, December 17 .
"My DEAR FEIEND, When I last saw you I
thought it probable that I might pay a visit to
Elleray at Christmas, but I find that I cannot do so.
The Law Class continues during the Christmas week,
and regular attendance on it, tho' of little utility, is
necessary to admission to the Faculty of Advocates.
I cannot therefore hope to revisit "Westmoreland
before the middle of April.
" On my arrival here I found that in a few weeks
a number of new regulations were to be adopted by
the gentlemen of the Law regarding the examination
of candidates. It became necessary, to avoid their
operatioD, to pass my Civil Law trials immediately.
As I boldly petitioned to be examined on the Corpus
Juris, and last week was examined by nine wigs, who
were pleased to express themselves satisfied with
my knowledge of the Laws of Eome, which are the
foundation of much of our Scottish Law. In a
twelvemonth from that time I shall be at the Bar,
though I have still an examination in Scottish Law
PROFESSOR WILSON. 35
to pass thro' to qualify myself even decently for
which will require several hours' daily study. This
I am told on high authority, tho' it seems not very
consistent with reason.
" I begin to feel myself quite a barrister, and
attend Court regularly, where I improve myself in
the principles of oratory by listening to the numerous
old men eloquent with which the Court abounds.
"In about a fortnight it falls upon me to open a
debate in the Speculative Society (composed chiefly
of Lawyers) on the question : ' Has the Peninsular
War been glorious to the Spanish nation ? ' Now, I
am sorry to say that I do not feel myself so well able
to discuss this question as I ought to be, and if you
have leisure to send me a few hints they will be most
acceptable. I wish to be instructed by you in the
following points : First, in what essential respects the
Spanish people have shown themselves superior to,
or equal to, the Americans, the Hollanders, &c. &c.,
in this struggle. Secondly, some general reasons to
account for their supineness and want of exertion at
particular periods of this war. Thirdly, an answer to
that objection to the Spanish character drawn from
the non-appearance of first-rate men among them.
Fourthly, an explanation of the causes w h have pre-
vented them from ever possessing one great and
effective army. Fifthly, some good remarks on their
behaviour during the year 1812, and at present.
Sixthly, your opinion on what they w d have done
without Lord Wellington at all, and of the value of
his achievements. In short, you will oblige me by
36 PROFESSOR WILSON.
giving me weapons of any kind to wield against the
raw-boned regiment who will attempt to deprive me
of ratiocination in this enquiry.
"The whole principle of such a debating Society
as this is very absurd, but as all my friends and ac-
quaintances will be present on this occasion, and as
a little quackery is useful in the world, I w d prefer
making a good speech to a bad one, and really with-
out your assistance and advice I fear that this will
not be in my power.
" On the same night I must also read an essay on
some political or philosophical subject. I find that
I have not time, inclination, nor ability to write one.
If therefore you have any essay by you that you
think w d surprise a Scottish intellect, or if you c d
direct me to one not likely to be known here, I can
inform you of the effect which y r reasoning produces
in the Metropolis of Scotland. Something on litera-
ture, as Mr. Skeffington says, would be desirable ;
but if you can accommodate me with a paper of
half-an-hour's length, the subject matters not, pro-
vided I can read the language in which it is
" I suppose you will receive this on Sunday. I go
to Glasgow on Friday (this day week), so I should
wish to hear from you about this essay before I go.
If you have one, you can send it per mail directed
to me at 53 Queen Street. Your lucubrations on
the Spanish War will be most acceptable as soon as
convenient to you. Perhaps Wordsworth w d write
me a letter on the subject were you to inform him
PROFESSOR WILSON. 37
of the public appearance I am forced to make of
" I remain in Glasgow only two or three days. I
hope that your domestic concerns at the Town-end
go on pleasantly, and that your new handmaid gives
satisfaction. In your letter to me, and I take it for
granted that you will let me hear from you, be so
good as let me know what y r intentions are about the
Spring months. I c d meet you at Grasmere about
the middle of April, or indeed at any other part of
the world, for six weeks. If you have any idea of
a Highland walk, you can command me later on in
the season. But, till I hear from you, no more.
Mrs. Wilson, and indeed all the family, remember
you with all possible kindness, and believe me, my
dear Friend, yours most affectionately,
" JOHN WILSON."
Wilson, however, made up for his enforced absence
from Elleray during the Christmas of 1813 by a
longer stay in the autumn and winter of the follow-
ing year, being there from the middle of September
till after Christmas. We have one or two records of
this stay : and our next letter may be regarded of
interest by many as signifying to us that James
Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, had either accompanied
him to Elleray or paid him a visit, for we find De
Quincey thus writing, inviting the pair to dinner :
38 PROFESSOR WILSON.
"GRASMERE, Friday, September 22nd, 1814.
" MY DEAR WILSON, I am expecting Mr. and
Mrs. Merritt this evening on their return from
Keswick where I left them on Tuesday last : so
that to-night I cannot possibly come over. More-
over, it appears to me that Elleray is not in the way
from this place to Wastwater ; but rather vice versa.
However, if you and Mr Hogg will come to Gras-
mere to-morrow and dine with us at ^ past 2 o'clock
[I hope that hour will not be too early], we can
arrange a plan for going thither in which possibly
Merritt might be included ; and that would delight
him. He can't walk ['damn his body ! ' as he says] ;
but I think I can get a horse for him from Allan
"Mrs. S r [damn her body!] has it in con-
templation to run away from old S r [damn his
body !]. She told this in confidence to Mrs. Merritt
who told it in confidence to me who hereby,
my friend, tell it in confidence to you. Mind that
you keep the secret as well as I have done ; and
then it will stand a chance of coming round to old
S r to-morrow morning, by the Whitehaven
coach. Faithfully yours, THOS. DE QUINCEY.
"JOHN WILSON, Esq.,
PROFESSOR WILSON. 39
And, of course, the festive season of Christmas
comes in for due celebration. We find De Quincey
thus writing to Wilson on Friday, December 23,
" MY DEAR FRIEND, I have promised for you that
you will meet a party, viz. : young Mr. Jackson,
Miss Huddleston, the family from the Nab, and
others on Christmas-eve, Saturday, Dec. 24. Now,
therefore, I conjure you do not bring me, your
sponsor, into discredit, nor disappoint the company
[who are all anxious to see you], by not appearing.
So may a just God prosper your Law Schemes as
you attend to this request. This note will be
delivered to you by young J. Simpson, who is kind
enough to ride over on purpose. Most affectionately
"Tnos. DE QUINCEY.
" P.S. Come to dinner if you can, but at any
" JOHN WILSON, Esq.,
"53 QUEEN ST. [postmark, Mar. 22, 1820],
" MY DEAR FRIEND, I begin to fear, indeed have
feared for some time past, that you have not been
well since we parted. If so, I shall be most sin-
40 PROFESSOR WILSON.
cerely sorry for it, and hope that with the approach-
ing Spring weather you will pick up health and
spirits. If not, I shall be extremely glad, and hope
that you will let me hear from you at y r leisure.
"When I last saw you at Bowness I wished to
enjoy your society without alloy ; and therefore
touched as lightly as possible on any topic that
might have been uncomfortable as, for example,
pecuniary affairs. The necessities of the situation
in which I now stand drives me to write of these,
and nothing but necessity w d drive me to do so.
"A good many months ago I borrowed forty
pounds from the only quarter which was within my
power, to take up a bill or bills of yours, I forget
which, to that amount. I knew that it w d be
necessary for me to repay it at the precise time
fixed by me, which time elapsed a few weeks before
my last visit to Westmoreland. I did accordingly
pay it with a difficulty and a misery of which I do
not wish to recall the image to my remembrance.
It was the utterly impotent situation in which I was
left by that unavoidable payment which obliged me
to write to you on the appearance of the two twenty
pound drafts presented to me about a month before
I visited Westmoreland, stating my inability to
take them up. Mr. Cookson's twenty pounds I
received only, but I mentioned to you that the
twenty-five pound bill was not accepted by the
person by whom it was drawn, and that I should
have in all probability to refund the ^25 which I
received for it from the Bank here. This has accord-
PROFESSOR WILSON. 41
ingly happened. The Bill was brought to me a few
days ago, and I returned the ^25. This I did by
borrowing the money from my brother's clerk for a
couple of days, and next morning selling as many
books as I could muster to an auctioneer for ready-
money, by which I repaid the clerk at the time
specified. The books did not bring one-third of
their value. Soon after my return from Westmore-
land the 25 draft of which you spoke to me in the
Bowness Bowling Green was presented and paid.
The letter from your Mother with money to that
amount never has arrived, and a few days after I
paid that Draft, a tax-gatherer came to me for ^14,
which I had not, and he threatened me with an
execution in my house. I got the money from
Blackwood, and so avoided that evil which would
have been ruinous to me all my lifetime. The case
therefore stands thus : that, being in debt to the
very lips, these last two 25 pounds, ^50 and the
previous ^40 = ^90, have done me up : and I scarcely
see how I can avoid bankruptcy.
" If I know anything of my own heart at all, I
know my affection and my gratitude to you, and
believe myself incapable of a mean action. -Perhaps
I ought not to have stated these things to you at
all, for I know that it is not in your power to repay
that money. I have, however, brought myself, most
unwillingly, to tell you precisely how I am placed,
and if I accept any more bills of yours, and am left
to pay them, the necessary consequence is loss of
credit, and an arrest. I declare to you, my dear
42 PROFESSOR WILSON.
Friend, that life is scarcely endurable to me under
the ignominious shifts and subterfuges that I have
been driven to in order to take up these two last bills.
Pardon me, if I have said anything to hurt you for
God knows that I love you, and w d assist you to the last
farthing of what I have. My affairs are at a crisis
not a hopeless one, but one that will be fatal to my
whole future life if I should be forced to accept any
more bills ! As it is, I do not know how to extricate
myself from present embarrassments. Yet I do not
fear in a year or two to make things square again.
"I had wished to write about the Magazine, but
know not now what to say. Unless something
has occurred to make it impossible for you to send
y r contribution as you so solemnly promised when
we parted, no doubt you w d have done so. But
I can never again mention the subject to Mr. Black-
wood, who delayed the printing of the work several
days on my assurance of a packet coming from you.
It becomes daily a more difficult task for Mr.
Lockhart and I to write almost the whole of the
work, and when he is married it is not possible that
for some months afterwards he can be in Edinburgh
or at leisure to write. Your assistance is becoming,
therefore, every day more desirable, and I have only
to add that payment at the rate of ^10, los. a sheet
shall be monthly transmitted for your communica-
tions along with y r Nos. of the Magazine. This
I again pledge myself to do, and for the last time ;
for were I again to reiterate, I feel that I should be
forcing the task upon you. Whatever and whenever
PROFESSOR WILSON. 43
you send, it shall be inserted, and nothing can ever
come wrong. With kind regards to all y r house-
hold, I am, my dear De Quincey, your most affec-
tionate Friend, JOHN WILSON.
" Send y r articles addressed to the Editor, No. 1 7
Princes St., either in letters per post or in parcels
In 1820 Wilson, on the death of Dr. Thomas Brown,
was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy in the
University of Edinburgh.
" 53 QUEEN STEEET, August $th .
"My DEAR FRIEND, In your letter of the 26th
you proposed to send in a day or two your review
of Malthus. It is now the 5th of August, and I am
beginning to fear that something may have occurred
to stop your composition. Ebony, who is the child
of Hope and Fear, and who has shown a face of
smiles for some days, begins to droop excessively ;
and if the article does not come soon, no doubt he
will commit suicide, which will be some considerable
relief to me and many others of his well-wishers.
Two sheets of the magazine was a promise that
raised the mortal to the skies ; so do not draw the
devil down !
" I am quite at a stand respecting my lectures,
but have been reading some books, some of which
even I understand. What is good in Clark's ' Light
44 PROFESSOR WILSON.
of Nature ' ? He is an insufferable "beast as to style,
and seems to me to have no drift but to leewards.
If you think otherwise, give me notice of those
parts of his book that you think worth reading. As
I have to lecture on Moral Philosophy, I should
merely give such general views of the intellectual
part of our nature as are essential to the understand-
ing of Man as a Moral Being : and first of the phy-
sical nature of Man. "What should I treat of in the
Senses appetites and bodily powers ? It seems to me
perhaps I said it before that I sh d have a lecture
on 'The Origin of Knowledge' when treating of the
Senses. What are the books ? and what theory is
the true one ? And your objections to Locke.
" Of the Intellectual Powers, I send you to-day
a sketch by the late Professor Brown my pre-
decessor. He had a great character here, and the
book seems exceedingly ingenious. I wish during
the winter probably about the ist of December,
to explain his Theory to my students ; and hope
that you will read it, at your leisure, and discuss its
merits and demerits fully and freely exactly as you
opine them to be, in letters addressed to me. I
forget if I mentioned to you that I intend giving
half-a-dozen lectures on the Greek Philosophy
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, &c. Have you any books
about them and their systems ; or can you write me
some long letters about either, or their philosophy ?
"What does, in your belief, constitute moral
obligation ? and what ought to be my own doctrine
on that subject?
PROFESSOR WILSON. 45
" Are there good essays on the Stoic and Epicurean
Philosophy, and where ? What books ought I to
read for disquisitions and views respecting the duties
created by society. This branch, if I treat it at all
this winter, and I think I must, is most exigeant.
" I sincerely hope that you will not delay, should
you not have written to me already, to send me
such information as I now seek, for time is flying
rapidly, and I have few books.
" I write this letter, which probably contains
repetitions, to remind you of the necessities of my
present situation; and that nothing in the world
w d benefit me so much as your advice and assist-
ance at the present juncture.
" In what I have said about your articles for the
Magazine, do not imagine that I have any intention
however remote of doubting that you will send
them if you can. That, however, I know, does, with
all men, depend on a thousand circumstances. I tried
to convince Blackwood that you never had engaged
to write for the Magazine, and his face was worth ten
pounds for it was as pale as a sheet. I told him,
however, that now you were engaged, so that if the
articles don't come now, he will become a sceptic
even in religion, and end in total disbelief of Earth,
Heaven and Hell. Believe me to be, my dear
Friend, ever yours most truly, JOHN WILSON.
" P. S. Stewart's 'Elements of the Philosophy
of the Mind ' consists of 2 vols. the latter of which
contains ' Eeason/ &c., and the former ' Imagina-
46 PROFESSOR WILSON.
tion,' &c. Whatever of these you have not, I will
send to you. There is a third volume of separate
Essays, which I will send too immediately if you
have it not ; do let me know how the matter stands.
" I have received your long and entertaining letter
of the 5th, so delayed sending this letter. Not
hearing from you to-day (7th), I send it off. I see
the necessity of secrecy. But I am working away.
Can you give y r letters a less mysterious outward
form ; and, pray, do not write anything on the
backs. Time flies. I will not write again till I
bear from you again. Adopt in your letters some
ingenious disguise as to your object in writing.
" EDINBURGH, Sunday [postmark Feb. 17, 1821].
" MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, I feel some difficulty in
knowing how to write to you, as I fear you may be,
or may have been ill : and it is my wish at all
times to write nothing that may be otherwise than
" I. I hope that hitherto I have behaved accord-
ing to the best laws of friendship regarding the
bills you have lately been forced to draw upon me.
I have subjected myself by paying them to the
greatest indignities and degradations. I say no
more. Should I, some day or other, refuse to accept
a bill of yours, I trust that you will do justice to
PROFESSOR WILSON. 47
my motives. I have considered the subject in every
possible view, and see no possibility of accepting
another bill. I have suffered for your sake that
which I w d not have voluntarily suffered for any
other man alive.
" II. With respect to Blackwood's Magazine, I
do not think that I can press that subject upon you
any more, for, if you c d write for it, surely you
would; and therefore I am bound to believe that
some cause exists to prevent you. This I most
deeply lament, for, as money is necessary, and as
;i2O, ^130, or even ^150 per annum could be
made by you in this way the fact of your not
writing to that amount, obliges me to believe that
some distressing cause prevents you from writing.
God knows that y r good is my object in having
so often urged this request. Necessity makes me
write, and nothing else almost.
" III. I am anxious to know from you, if you
have done or still intend to do the 8 for me
before the ist of Novem r . I trust that you will.
I wish you w d write one or two on Cause and Effect,
but not unless you choose. I do not wish to say
that by not fulfilling y r promise of these 8 you
will distress me much, for perhaps it may distress
you more to write them, but to trust to them and
eventually be disappointed w d be a most serious
calamity to me.
" I wish, therefore, much to hear from you ; and
speak of them as chapters in a work of your own,
if you please, when you write to me. Could you
48 PROFESSOR WILSON.
contrive to give your letters a less mysterious out-
ward appearance ?
" I am greatly behind in my labours, having been
ill of late with headaches and palpitation of my
heart. It is in your power to confer a great benefit
on me ; but, if you do not, I shall attribute it to
any other cause than want of inclination. You
promised me a scheme and a list of books, but do
not trouble yourself about them if it will hinder you
from writing. An early letter will be most accept-
able. Your affectionate Friend,
" GLOUCESTER PLACE, EDINBURGH,
" Thursday [postmark 1825].
" MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, "We are all well and
comfortable in our new house. Thank God, it is so ;
for between Moss Paul and Hawick my dear wife
was taken suddenly ill a fit of a hideous and
appalling kind. I dare not think of the miseries of
that hour night and solitude nor shall I distress
you by any details. You who know her and me
will know what must have been my agonies with
her lying insensible and convulsed for half-an-hour
in my arms in the mire of the road, with none to
assist us, and Johnny and Bean weeping and wailing
beside us. She is now perfectly recovered. Instead
of reaching Edinburgh on Saturday night, we
PROFESSOR WILSON. 49
reached it on Tuesday. This fit was a repetition of
that Mrs. W. had last summer, but its effects have
not been nearly so severe, and the medical men say
that nothing can be so cheering as to know that the
second attack has been less violent than the first.
I am grateful to God for her restoration, and live in
hope that His mercy will be shown toward us. Do
not speak of this ; but indeed you feel on all
occasions in such a way that any caution is un-
" I shall be looking out every day for your com-
munications, which are much needed, I assure you.
I almost hope that some beautiful things are winging
their way hither at this time from Rydal Cottage.
As soon as you have any one thing complete, send
it off by letter, for the publisher is in a fever, and
the volume must be shipped off to London in time
to be published there, some weeks before the Neiv
Year. This, he says, is the meaning of the appella-
tion JANUS. Remember that everything you think
good, on whatever subject, and however short,
original or translated, will answer our purpose.
Without your timely assistance the double-faced
old gentleman will assuredly be damped, for Lockhart
left Edinburgh this morning, and is all in a bustle
about his change of life, and I have been palsied by
that late terror.
" Fifty guineas a year will add to your Incomings
or Comings-in (which is the most abominable word it
is hard to decide), and, if Janus prospers, that you
will receive for 100 pages easily written, being but
VOL. II. D
50 PROFESSOR WILSON.
two sheets of a maga, every ist of December till
Doomsday. Do not disappoint me then, my dear
Friend, and believe me to be, now and always, yours
" JOHN WILSON.
" P.S. I trust that everything you send will
leave Ambleside by post in letters on or before
Thursday the loth, for Saturday the I2th is posi-
tively the last day that can be allowed say then
Saturday the I2th the last day on which your pen
works. But unless I get copy (accursed word !)
the press will be stopped before that."
The following letter is of a date somewhat later,
after Mrs. de Quincey had been some time in Edin-
burgh, and had fallen ill :
"MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, I am truly happy to
hear that Mrs. de Quincey is much better ; and I
hope ere long will be restored to her usual state.
Dr. Abercrombie has the first character in Edinburgh
" I am absolutely enslaved at present by my
Political Economy Lectures, but you cannot come
amiss any night except to-morrow this week.
Yours affectionately, JOHN WILSON."
It may be here necessary to add that, whilst the
Editor's aim has been, as far as possible, to let the
PROFESSOR WILSON. 51
letters speak for themselves, it must be borne in
mind that in hardly any case do we have the letters
continuous and complete ; and that, if we had, fur-
ther light might be thrown on some points and first
impressions modified. In the case of Professor
Wilson's letters, it hardly needs to be pointed out
that they belong mainly to a period which De
Quiucey himself has characterised, in very explicit
terms, as one in which other economies besides
political economy tended to go to wreck ; and that
later letters, had they been preserved, would have
done much to modify the impression that might be
drawn from some of them, as though De Quincey,
having once done Wilson a friendly favour, was ever
after drawing bills upon him with the most awkward
consequences for Wilson. For many years after the
date of the last letters here given De Quincey wrote
much in Blackivood's Magazine, of which Wilson
was, in effect, editor ; and in this case, as in others,
the lapses in business matters in a period of deep
prostration were to a great extent atoned for. The
handing of their purses to one another, with full
faith, as it would seem, that the future would some-
how, as if by a kind of magic, work out order for
them, is not to be commended, as likely to lead to a
deepening of respect and friendship ; but it is pretty
clear that, at a certain time, it was practised by this
circle pretty well all round : it is something to know
that accounts were satisfactorily "squared" up, in
so far, at all events, that Wilson and De Quincey to
the end remained the most attached friends.
LETTERS FROM SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON,
AND MRS. DE QUINCE Y*S ILLNESS.
THE letters from Sir William and Captain Hamilton
are very few and short, a circumstance due to the
fact that, after De Quincey became intimate with
them, he was always in close neighbourhood, with
many opportunities for personal intercourse, but the
letters will suffice to show that neither he nor his
biographers have exaggerated the intimacy. The
letters from Captain Hamilton (" Cyril Thornton ")
regarding Mrs. de Quincey's illness are those, surely,
of a very attached and warm friend. It may be
mentioned that " Cyril Thornton " was published in
1827, and that Captain Hamilton also wrote a
" History of the Campaigns of the British Armies in
Spain, Portugal, and the South of France from 1808
to 1814," which was published in 1828. Captain
Thomas Hamilton died at Pisa on the 7th December
1842 ; and there appears in Blachvood's Magazine
for February 1843 an affectionate obituary notice of
him. His last work was "Men and Manners in
America," of which two German and one French
translation had already appeared at the date of
SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON. 53
the Blackwood notice ; and of the work Blackwood
then said that it was " eminently characterised by a
tone of gentle, manly feeling, sagacious observation,
just views of national character and institutions,
and their reciprocal influence, and by tolerant
The letters of Captain and Sir William Hamilton
are uniformly without dates, but must belong to the
years 1831-7 :
" 5 DARNAWAY STREET, Saturday.
" MY DEAR SIR, I find my brother is engaged on
Tuesday, and I think it would be more pleasant for
you to come on Monday, should you happen to be
disengaged on that day. Believe me ever, my dear
Sir, very truly yours,
" T. HAMILTON.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq."
"My DEAR DE QUINCEY, Will you not break
thro' your rules and dine with us to-day at 6 o'clock ?
No party. -Only my brother and perhaps one other
gentleman. Ever very truly yours,
" T. HAMILTON."
[Note by De Quincey -."Monday, March $rd. Dined there on this
54 SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON.
" MY DEAR DE QUINCE Y. Will you allow Maggy l
to come to us on Monday next, as you were good
enough to promise Mrs. Hamilton ? I Have been
often threatening to call 011 you, but the days are so
short, and I do not get out till so late, that I have
never yet effected my purpose. I hope, however, your
daughter's being here will be an inducement to you
to offer us a dinner visit whenever you are so inclined.
We are, I may say, always at home, and always shall
be glad to see you. Believe me ever, my dear De
Quincey, very truly yours,
" T. HAMILTON.
" DARNAWAY STREET, Friday."
"MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, Mrs. Hamilton is in bed
to-day with a headache, and therefore I fear your
little girl would find it stupid work being with us
to-day. To-morrow, however, we shall be delighted
to receive her, tho' I fear, poor thing, she will find
our house dull enough at best. Being absolutely
alone, it would be an act of charity if you would
come and dine tete-a-tete, but this I have not the
conscience to press, tho' your doing so would give me
1 Maggy Margaret, De Quincey's eldest daughter, later Mrs. Robert
Craig, then a mere girl.
SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON. 55
the greatest pleasure. I hope Mrs. de Quincey is well,
and with best wishes and regards, believe me ever,
my dear De Quincey, very truly yours,
" 5 DARNAWAY STREET, Monday"
" MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, I am very sorry indeed
to hear of Mrs. de Quincey's illness. Mrs. Hamilton
begs me to say that if there be anything this house
can afford either esculent or potable, which would be
either useful or agreeable, she begs you will let her
know. In short, if she can be of use in any way it
will give her and both of us the greatest pleasure.
I hope, however, Mrs. r de Quincey is already in a fair
way of amendment, and I now write to beg that if
you can bear the society of a bookseller and a printer
you will dine here in such vulgar company on Wed-
nesday next. I sincerely hope Mrs. de Quincey's
health will then be no obstacle. In the meantime I
have only to say we shall be most happy to see little
Maggy on Thursday. But never mind her dress.
Annette will supply her with anything she wants.
Ever, my dear De Quincey, yours,
" T. HAMILTON."
56 SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON..
" MY DEAR Du QUINCEY, Our Cook calls to know
whether she can dress anything for Mrs. de Quincey,
who, I trust, is better. I have desired her to see
you, and you will of course not scruple to order any-
thing that may be either useful or agreeable to the
invalid. If you can get away either to-day, to-
morrow, or any other day, I trust you would come to
dine with us, for you must be very solitary. We
are quite ready for your little girl whenever she can
be spared, Mrs. H. and I being quite re-established.
Believe me ever, my dear De Quincey, very truly
yours, T. HAMILTON.
" Saturday Morning,
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" 1 8 Duncan St."
"MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, I write to express my
hope that Mrs. de Quincey is again recovered, and
that Maggy is to come to us to-day according to
promise. Mrs. Hamilton bids me expressly prohibit
you from taking any trouble about her dress ; it really
is entirely unnecessary, as we see no company. Mrs.
Hamilton likewise bids me say that she would have
called on Mrs. de Quincey, but she is at present not
equal to the exertion of paying visits. We both
SIR WILLIAM AND CAPTAIN HAMILTON. 57
Lope Mrs. de Quincey will be good enough to accept
this apology, and that we shall have the pleasure of
seeing both her and you at dinner as soon as she feels
equal to such an exertion. Tell Willy to come at all
hours to see his sister. Believe me ever, my dear
De Quincey, very truly yours, T. HAMILTON."
" MY DEAR SIR, I shall send you the book from
Colquhoun to-night. He is coming to drink some
negus with me to-night. Would you join him
about ten with the children ? Yours ever truly,
" Sunday Night, Dec. 23."
DEAR SIR, If you are not better engaged
this evening would you come over to Coffee with
the Children ? Yours ever truly,
" W. HAMILTON.
" Give bearer only a verbal answer."
LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY.
" WRINGTON, Saturday, July $rd, 1813.
U MY DEAR BROTHER, An important communica-
tion which I ought to have made sooner, I am
now afraid may come too late a certain parcel I
left at Miss Hewson's directed to Miss Hazelfoot,
Devonshire Place ; it was on the chimney-piece of
my bed-room. If it was never sent for, can you
contrive to convey it as directed? I shall be glad
to pay porterage for the same. My mother is much
better ; she is at Clifton for a fortnight in Dr.
Bridge's house, where she can give you a bed if
you please any time before next Tuesday week.
I can't send you any news, as I am writing from the
Eectory, where Henry and I are dining. The latter
is still house-hunting. At present the Banks of
the Wye preponderate in his esteem, but it is not
impossible that the visit of this day may transfer
his affections to the Yeo. You are much remem-
bered here, and much expected to dance at the Club
on Tuesday with Mrs. Elsdale. Ever your affec-
tionate JANE QUINCEY.
" Miss Leeves says : ' Tell him I must doubt his
gallantry if he does not come.' '
LATER LETTERS OF yANE DE QUINCEY. 59
"WRINGTON, Saturday, Sept. 9^, 1815.
"My DEAR BROTHER, It is singular to see how
long a man retains the power of surprising people,
and, contrary to the maxim long established, how
prone the wisest are to wonder, since even we cannot
take in the circumstance of your three weeks of
business being lengthened to three months. Let
us hope that it is by this time satisfactorily settled,
and that you will not delay your visit till the whole
of this fine autumn is fled. Many people have in-
quired after you, some to promote colloquy, and
some from kinder or less idle motives, among whom
always reckon the Mackenzies, who are very desirous
to see you. Another person interested in your move-
ments is Mr. Haviland Addington, who has thoughts
of making a walking tour to the Lakes, and hopes
to find you there. I have not seen him for a week,
and when I did he was looking out for a companion,
which is an article, when it must be found in the
shape of a young man, so uncommon that I think
he will probably be obliged to give it up till next
year but I told him I should mention it to you.
The Addingtons are the pleasantest people, on the
whole, in this county, when you get well acquainted
with them. I met at dinner there last week a
Gentleman who had travelled in a coach with a cer-
tain man who told him that Coleridge was separated
entirely from his wife and had taken a house at Calne.
Did he lie \ I hope for the sake of all concerned that
this is only the exaggeration of malicious gossip.
60 LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY.
" I have bought Southey's ' Roderick/ which I
prefer to anything / have seen of his poetry. How
was it you did not join my mother and Mary in
London ? They had a pleasant set of rooms in
Berkeley Square, with a carriage, &c., which Mary
did not enjoy much, for she was very ill during half
the time. They were out only ten days.
" I talked over the Lakes with young Addington
the other day, till I fanned into a fever the con-
stant desire I have to see them once more in my
life, and I regret exceedingly that the state of society
will not permit a lady to travel with any companion
that may offer. If brass had been abundant we
should certainly have looked in upon you. I can't
imagine what you are doing or why we have never
had those C we were to expect before Easter.
Ah, my friend, how many fair years are passing
away ! It appears to me that the world is at present
in a very decayed state. I don't mean the shell
itself, for that seems to me more beautiful than ever,
but, in the first place, there is a sort of stagnation in
public affairs, neither a war nor a tax to furnish
a little excitement to the famishing politicians ; nay,
to descend to minuter occurrences, there is not an
earthquake nor a murder of any note to rouse one.
A still more alarming fact, which seems to portend
the approaching dissolution of the world, is the very
rapid decline of all sorts of sense ; the increase of
folly in my short experience being so great that I
am fully persuaded the next generations will not,
except in a few favoured instances, be able to keep
LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY. 61
themselves out of fire and water. As a temporary
amendment of this evil, Mary and I propose to
burn all our acquaintances whose mental or moral
maladies place them in the list of incurables, and
it is astonishing how few common honesty would
permit us to save from the grand conflagration.
" We have lived this summer in a state of pleasant
vegetation, solacing ourselves with the charming sun
and the beautiful country, and with visions of delight-
ful people and delightful books, and regions of un-
tried knowledge and travels beyond the seas ! Do
send a letter like an angel visit and tell us some
"Henry is still at Dulverton, where he has got
acquainted with his neighbours. I wish you could
give me any news of Eichard. We don't know
where to write. We are expecting General and
Mr. , Indian friends of my Uncle and the Kel-
salls, for a short time on their way to or from Bath.
The Kempes are all at Ilfracombe.
" What more can I say unless you will write ? It
is like writing to a man in distant spheres to whom
you are ashamed of communicating the everyday oc-
currences of poor humble earth, or to a friend of former
years so long unseen that he may be grown over with
hairs and eat grass like Nebuchadnezzar, and of course
any allusion to his former state would be painful.
" Mary sends love. This is the last frank we
shall get this year ; remember Mr. A. is not restricted
to any weight, a fact which some of the post-offices
do not know, and one which we sent was charged
62 LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY.
73. 4d. from this mistake. Again I entreat you
to send us some good news. With remembrances
to our friends in your parts, ever yours,
" JANE QUINCEY.
" Miss B. bids me say your rug is finished and
will be sent in due time."
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, Westmoreland."
" WRINGTON, Monday, May 3is, 1819.
"MY DEAR BROTHER, I am sorry I could not
at once reply to your letter, which I should have
done had there been any money in the house which
could render it serviceable. My Mother, intending
to go to Bristol to-morrow, waited till that visit
should enable her to get a proper bill drawn by her
"The sum you mention sent last summer as an
annual remittance from my uncle is intended to be
so, and would have been forwarded to you naturally
at the time answering to the date in my mother's
note-book I think the I5th of July, and with it
half a year's warehouse rent not yet paid, though
due last Ladyday, and which Mr. Kelsall proposed
to remit to my mother with her Midsummer quarter.
I am surprised you should not have heard of his
failure, which happened four or five months since,
LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY. 63
in consequence of extensive speculations in which
you would have fancied plodding John was the last
person to have thought of engaging. Of course
we are in a degree sufferers by his losses. Most
happily in the course of the last 2 years my mother
has gradually removed about seven thousand pounds
from his hands, to her no small matter. Now he
has not above ^1000 among us all unsecured. He
has compounded with his creditors for 153. in the
pound, to be paid by instalments in 18 months.
After this he fancies he shall still have something
left to recommence business in a small way, and
promises to pay off the remaining fourth part of our
debt, but we think it safe not to expect it.
<( Mary and Mr. Serle are settled at Brislington,
in rather a pretty, well-wooded neighbourhood, 2^
miles from Bristol on the Bath road, and 14 from
us. Mr. S. has the curacy and lectureship in the
room of Mr. Simpson, who died lately ; the last is
a perpetuity, and has the advantage of exempting
him from residing on his living of Oddington, near
Oxford, where there is a mere farm-house in, as
you know, a direful country. They have been so
fortunate as to get an excellent house, a little
out of the village, with a beautiful garden, &c. I
have not yet seen them since they went to reside
there at Ladyday, but shall soon follow my mother,
who is on her way to-morrow to stay there during
Mary's confinement, which is to take place in a few
weeks. You will probably hear of this event, if nob
before, when the Manchester money is sent to you.
64 LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY.
We leave Westhay, which is now in high beauty,
quite empty ; Mrs. Brotherton being on a visit to
Boston, where it is thought Fitzwilliam cannot last
" Henry s address at present is 5 Nelson Place,
Clifton, but as he often changes, any letter had
better be sent here. His wife, who is a lovely
creature, has wretched health, and he nurses her
with a devotion rare in any one, and almost amus-
ing from him, who has not had much credit given
him for constancy. He actually fainted dead away
lately, when Mr. Burrough told him, with as much
preparation as possible, that, tho' his wife was better
for the present, he , was not without fears that her
complaints might sooner or later terminate in con-
sumption. I should be deeply grieved if he were
to lose this only thing which seems to steady him,
and if he were to marry again he would hardly find
a person so amiable, circumstanced as he is, to take
him, to say nothing of the alarming prospect of
children, which she is happily free from. Of course
they often get into scrapes about money, but on
the whole get on better than could be expected.
" Of Kichard we have heard nothing since he
acknowledged the receipt of the money my mother
sent. I suspect he is trying his fortune somewhere
in the land of adventure, as he calls America. My
Uncle continues at the Cape for his health, which
improves. My Mother pretty well.
" I have spent so much time in giving you this
short account of our domestic affairs as to have left
LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY. 65
myself no room to speak of my Swiss tour and the
extreme delight it gave me. I never feel perfectly
satisfied as to scenery except in a mountainous
country. I remember I felt the same vivid pleasure
when I first opened my eyes on a mountain in
Westmoreland, which had also the advantage of
being the first that had enchanted me. It is odd
that I felt comparatively very little of the same
enthusiasm the year before last when we travelled
thro' a great part of Wales. Many very fine, very
lovely spots we certainly visited, but, in a general
way, the objects seemed to me to want that keeping
and proportion among themselves which holds, ac-
cording to their respective magnitudes, in each of
my other mountain impressions. The vallies are
as large as those of Switzerland, without the corre-
sponding majesty of their surrounding mountains.
On the whole, I travelled thro' Switzerland with a
pleasure almost amounting to pain, when I con-
sidered how soon I must leave it ; and I live in the
hope of some time returning to explore the wild
country of the Grisons and other lands of romance
which we had not time to visit.
" My mother desires me to leave her a little room,
so I must conclude with the fervent hope that you
may find another fine summer, such as I hope we are
going to have, effectual to the relief of your health
and spirits. I am sure we have had days already
which might, as you used to exclaim, * cure all sad-
ness but despair.' I am a surprising doctress in the
village, and think I could cure you if you were here.
VOL. II. E
66 LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCE Y.
Everybody, you know, in this generation has stomach
complaints, which, tho' they do not kill, are most
wearing to the mind and spirits ; and you philosophers
go the wrong way to work when you should take a
few simple pillules and bitters, drink milk and keep
early hours ; you sleep when you should wake, write
when you should sleep, in a fit of absence eat the
most unwholesome things, and then swallow opium
for the whimsical cure of these heterogeneous ills.
Lest you should distrust my medical skill, I give you
an example quite out of the common way in a cure I
have just made of a Cow of ours, who, given over by
the professional men, was dying in the slow consum-
ing agonies of a stomach complaint. I administered
a powerful medicine first, which I do not discover to
the uninitiated, and then dosed her with Quercus
cortex till, in spite of the physicians, she began to
hold up her head, and now eats and thrives like her
"I hope you will, however, be able to write I
think 10 guineas a sheet would make me do wonders.
And, after all, the performances which you might
execute with the least satisfaction to yourself would
often be read with very different feelings by those
whose spirits and interest in the subjects were more
alive. Moreover, if you only got fairly into the
midst of something, I should think exertion would
more and more quicken your powers and make you
forget your maladies.
"I hope your family (what an odd word to write
to you !) continues healthy and blooming, and that
LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY. 67
your wife has quite recovered Her indisposition. Pray
make my kind regards to them all, and believe me
your very affectionate JANE QUINCEY.
"The Spectator somewhere says : ' I never do
pardon mistakes by haste/ I hope you do, as I am
in the midst of packing for Brislington, and cannot
read over this morsel of eloquence."
" MY DEAR THOMAS, I enclose a Bill on London
value ^100, which is your Uncle's ^84 and your
half-year's Warehouse rent which I am to receive from
Mr. Kelsall. The rest I have made up, and it is all
I can do. I will pay the interest to your Uncle of
the 160 till you have recovered from the pillage of
your dishonest serv*. With love to your wife and
children, I am, your affectionate Mother, E. Q.
" Pray acknowledge receipt to me at Kev d Philip
Serle's, Brislington, near Bristol.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, Westmoreland."
Jane de Quincey lived to a long age, and was never
married. In her later years she, like her mother,
adopted evangelical views ; and it was the business
of more than one of Mr. de Quincey's daughters to
cheer her lonely hours, after she was aged and feeble,
by reading to her favourite books, of which she never
tired, though not seldom the patience of the reader
68 LATER LETTERS OF JANE DE QUINCEY.
was so ; for they were mostly of the old-fashioned
style of trivial dull story or treatise, with but little
to meet the tastes or satisfy the cravings of the
younger generation. She had a great love of garden-
ing, and soon transferred the homely gardens at the
various places where she lived into tasteful and beau-
tifully laid out parterres ; and her careful economy
and admirable management of her investments were
equally remarkable her solicitor declaring that in
these matters she scarcely ever made a mistake.
She died on the loth of February 1873.
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY, AND LETTERS
FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE.
" WESTHAY, July 24, 1809.
" MY DEAR BROTHER, If this letter should meet
you, it will inform you that the Queen's Head, Ked-
cliffe St., is the place of rendezvous for the Wrington
" What could be in Mrs. Kelsall's head, when she
told you we were not on good terms with the Leeves
family, I cannot imagine. Be assured, however, it is
all a mistake. I conclude from your enquiries about
Silver Leg you have not received a letter I wrote to
you in the North. He is yet alive, the young man
of whom ye spake ; and talking of Legs, his have
to-day been splendidly arrayed in white silk hose in
honour of his Sister's wedding.
"We shall walk towards Brockley on Thursday
evening ; to-morrow I think there is no chance of
you. You have surely not forgotten the tall Thistle
and the old shoe. Pursue that road and we shall
meet. Till then farewell, my charming Brother.
" But first I must tell you that Hannah More
70 LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
sends you word she is keeping some of her best
Artichokes for you, and desires you will come and
eat them without any delay. I met two of the ladies
to-night, and told them we expected you on Thurs-
day. Polly immediately exclaimed, ' There shall not
be another artichoke ate till he comes ! ' Ever your
affectionate M. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.
"Miss de Quincey requests Miss Dyer will have
the goodness to deliver this letter to her Brother if
he should call in Broad St."
" WESTHAT, April 26, 1810.
" MY DEAR BROTHER, I have lately been in
Bristol, and have made many enquiries concerning
water carriage for your books. I find that there are
Vessels frequently sailing from thence to Liverpool
and sometimes to Lancaster, but even if they
were sent to Liverpool I suppose they would be for-
warded northward. I now wish to know where you
would have them directed. You mention Kendal in
your last, but I have not been able to ascertain
whether there be any water conveyance between
that place and Lancaster. You, who are so much
nearer to the source of information, might easily
enlighten yourself on that head. I wish, however,
you would let me know soon, as it is really high
time poor Mrs. Hall should be disburdened of three
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 71
ponderous boxes which have remained in her house
in Dowry Parade since we left it. I suppose it is
in vain to ask you if you remember how many you
ought to have. I concluded these three to contain
books because of their weight. I hope when they
arrive in Westmoreland they will not prove to
contain any of our household goods.
" My Mother has been expecting to hear from you
ever since you left us. Have you forgotten that you
were to write on the subject of your finances ? Are
you not horribly poor ? and don't you find house-
keeping a ruinous concern ? If you have discovered
a mine of gold in your mountains, let me know, and
I will come and see you immediately ; otherwise I
shall not have the conscience to add to your poverty
by increasing your expenses. If this difficulty were
surmounted, pray tell me how I am to journey to
you. These, alas ! are not the days when one can
mount a white palfrey and ride unmolested through
woods and vales, over hills and downs. From all
this, I think it pretty evident that you ought to
come to visit us, and then we might go back in
company ; or what do you think of making a walking
tour through Wales, by the way ? We have a very
backward Spring in this part of the World. The
woods are only now beginning to come out. Westhay
improves but slowly, though I suppose you would
find it much altered since you saw it. We have
green grass plots, and budding trees, and a promise
of a wilderness of sweet flowers, but unsightly heaps
of brick and mortar still meet the eye. The Ladies
72 LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
of Barley Wood often enquire after you. They say
you invited them to come and pay you a visit in
your Cottage. Sally More says, ' Oh, 'tis a sweet
young man ! ' Henry has just been to enter himself
at Brazenose College. He does not reside till next
spring. Jane is not at home, so I am not able to
refer to your letter, in which I remember you men-
tion several remedies for the toothache, upon which
subject I have to observe that I believe all hot
things apply'd to the teeth, though they will some-
times give a temporary relief, are highly injurious
in the end, and as you cannot put anything on one
tooth without touching all the rest, you endanger
your whole stock. Therefore I strongly recommend
you to abstain from using them. Any outward
application to the face, I should suppose, must be
harmless. A Lady told me the other day that a
Laurel leaf made warm at the fire and then bound
on the cheek would often produce a very good effect.
What is become of ' The Friend ' ? Believe me
your affectionate Sister, M. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Kendal, Westmoreland."
" WESTHAY, June 30, 1810.
" MY DEAR BEOTHER, Far be it from me to
insinuate that you are_a man to be suspected of a
deficiency in punctuality. Yet you know, to any
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 73
person it might happen that, though they fix to leave
a place the next week, they might defer it to the
next, or the one after that, or even to a more distant
period. These and some other considerations deter-
mine me to hazard a letter to Grasmere ; if you
should have left it, I suppose it will sleep quietly till
you return. Before I proceed I must thank you for
your plan and enchanting description of your Cottage.
To give you an idea how ardently I desire to see it,
to range those mountains and to hang in ecstasy over
those clear waters which have been the subject of so
many of my sleeping and waking dreams, is quite
impossible. I do not, however, know whether we
shall be able to persuade my Mother to fall into the
plan which your journal proposes. I trust more to
your eloquence than to my own, and therefore shall
not urge her much till you arrive here. What will
be the damage of the journey, think you ? I fear
not less than thirty pounds there, and as much back.
I do not quite understand from your letter whether
you intend to visit Westhay before or after you go to
London. I imagine the latter. If you should see any
book bargains in Town, I leave it to your discretion to
make a small purchase for me ; any tolerable Spanish
or French work would be useful, as we have so few.
If Mrs. Eadcliffe's ' Romance of the Forest ' and
1 Italian ' are to be had for little, it would be pleasant
to add them to our Mysteries. I don't mean by any
means to confine your choice to these books.
" I hope you are going to take a degree at Oxford.
Does not your heart dance at the idea of adding B. A.
74 LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
or M.A. to your name ? We had a letter from Ki chard
about a fortnight since, dated from the mouth of the
Loire. If you do not already know it, it may be .
well to inform you that no letter directed to him out
at sea will reach him unless post and packet paid. If
you direct to the Crown Hotel, Plymouth, it is still
right to pay the postage.
"You may expect to see our garden much im-
proved, though still far from the excellence to which
we hope it will attain. The season has been very
unfavourable to the growth of our young shrubs.
We have had as little rain as you, and of course suffer
from a want of grass and hay. The two fields have,
however, yielded about as much as will serve the
pony and two cows during the winter. One luxury
our southern situation procures for us that cannot be
had in your beautiful country I mean the musical
notes of the nightingale. Our woods abound with
them they have now, indeed, almost concluded their
singing for the season. Can you tell me whether
they ever sing again in the autumn, as the Encyclo-
paedia informs me ? for I don't think myself bound to
believe them, as they also observe that their usual
time of beginning to sing is often six o'clock, whereas
they are to be heard at almost any hour in the day.
Did not I tell you when I last wrote that my Mother
had sent two pounds by post to the printer of ' The
Friend ' at Penrith ? yet you say you have just paid
for the whole quantity we have had. By the way, I
must here mention that we have never had any ist
or 2nd Nos., and but one 24. If you do not bring
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 75
them with you I am persuaded we shall never get
"This day (July i) we have witnessed what is
become almost a phenomenon two showers of rain ;
distant thunder is rolling all round us, and the air feels
as hot as if we were near the crater of Mount Vesuvius.
The news in this part of the world is that Miss Leeves
is to be married to Mr. Elsdale in a week or two.
Miss Boak also, it is said, is going to lead Mr. Cotterel
to the altar, or he is to lead her, if you will. Silver
Leg is become much more sociable than he used to
be, and occasionally calls in at tea-time. He shall
sing a glee for you when you come. My Mother
sends her love, and will be very glad if you come as
soon as you tell us. Give my love to little Dorothy
Wordsworth, and tell her we must be sworn friends.
It will be as well if you can write as soon as you
arrive in London, for it is very possible we may
trouble you with a few commissions if you send your
direction. Jane and Henry desire their love. Ever
your affectionate M. DE QUINCEY.
"My parting injunction is, come quickly. Is it
not singular that the very day after I received your
letter Jane went to Brockley and saw lying on the
table the very book you mentioned the account of
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, nr. Kendal, Westmoreland."
76 LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
"Monday, August 12,
" MY DEAR BROTHER, My hand is still weak and
trembling, as you will see, but I wish to inform you
myself that I am getting well very fast, and am
now quite able to travel ; only, unfortunately, we are
detained by my Mother, who has fallen sick as soon
as I have begun to get well, so that when we shall
be able to move I am at a loss to guess. Dr.
Jarrold urges her to travel, but she says she has
not strength. I hope she will feel herself much
better in a day or two, but I fear we shall not leave
this odious place this week. Mrs. Kelsall says we
ought not to run away from her the moment we
are beginning to be in a state to enjoy the company
of our friends, and a great deal more to the same
effect, which your knowledge of her will enable you
to supply. She has been so kind during my sick-
ness, and means to be so kind, even when she tor-
ments one by her importunities, that we do not
know how to act. I am in despair at the thought
of remaining here another week, and I know very
well I shall neither recover my strength nor lose
my pale, sickly appearance, until I breathe your pure
air and have the energies of my mind called forth
by the glories of that delightful country. We have
just heard of the King's death. 1 This is a doleful
1 George III., born 1738 and died 1820. in the end of October 1810
showed signs of derangement of mind ; and now and then, whilst he was
in the worst crises of this disorder, reports were spread of his death.
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 77
letter, but I cannot write otherwise than as I feel.
I need not add with what joy I shall announce
the day of our departure. Believe me your affec-
tionate Sister, M. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, Westmoreland."
"WESTHAY, Dec. 7, 1811.
" My DEAR BROTHER, I have been talking of
writing to you ever since I returned home. Last
Monday fortnight I even made a kind of vow that
1 would not delay beyond the next day, but lo ! that
very night I was seized with a sore throat, and the
next morning was pronounced to have got the scarlet
fever, which has been very prevalent in this country
for some weeks. As soon as the report got abroad,
our house was avoided as though we had the plague.
Our neighbour, Mrs. Mackenzie, did not venture to
pass the gate, and was afraid to send for vegetables
from our garden. The Mores were more courageous ;
they came twice to make enquiries, and brought me
grapes from their vinery. I don't know whether I
am not indebted to you for a little of this attention.
They were much gratified by your present of Char,
though they were not so fortunate as to taste a morsel
of it ; the reason whereof you shall hear. The two
pots, you mayremember, were tied up together and
wrapped in paper. When we arrived in Manchester,
it was thought advisable to open them, and give
78 LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
them the advantage of fresh air in a cool place,
which was no sooner done than they fell to pieces,
having, I suppose, been cracked in the course of our
journey. Not being able to procure other pots, the
luckless Char could not be conveyed any further.
You may conceal or impart this intelligence to Mary
Dawson as you judge best, and may at any rate tell
her it was thought excellent by all who ate of it.
The old ladies, however, justly considered that the
gallantry of the intention was the same, and they
constantly aver that you are a sweet young man.
Your picture is hung over the drawing-room chimney-
piece, and is universally considered an excellent like-
ness. I hear from Miss Austin that she has seen
a gentleman who has seen your Cottage at Grasmere.
He was told it belonged to Mr. de Quincey, a poet.
She entreats me to send her some of your com-
positions. I beg you will immediately pour forth
an ode in her praise, or address a sonnet to her.
You may begin to this effect :
' thou ! who erst in shining steel array'd,
My heart in famed Jericho betray'd,' &c., &c.
* You cannot imagine how dreary I felt for the
first fortnight after I returned home. The weather
was miserable, and the whole country so saturated
with wet that it was impossible to stir out. The
hills, which in oiher times had appeared so re-
spectable in my eyes, being compared with those I
had left, seemed unworthy of the name. All this
time I maintained a melancholy silence. Every-
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 79
tiling I saw displeased me, and my soul blessed
nothing on this side Orrest-head. These glooms
have been greatly dispelled by my late fever, and
I can now admire the rich tints which still linger
on our Ash woods, and look with pleasure at our
grassy nooks and sloping fields. I am visited at
times with the most lively visions of particular
scenes in your sweet country ; cay, I am .even in-
clined to think that I have more than once been
transported by some kind Fairy to several places
which I could name. Once during my illness I was
at Watenlath with you and Jane. We sat down
by the warm stream, and ate the same mutton-bone
which erst we gnawed on the descent into Borrow-
dale. And I have walked with Miss Wordsworth
through Tilberthwaite on the beautiful winding road
which charmed us so much. By the assistance of
my aerial friend it is highly probable I may frequently
visit Grasmere, but as I observe I cannot always go
exactly where I choose, I beg you will send me all
manner of information concerning everything be-
longing to the valley. Pray remember us all most
affectionately at the Vicarage, and enquire after the
welfare of my two birch-trees. The roots of the
Osmunda regalis which we received from Mr.
Wordsworth on the morning of our departure are
planted, and I hope will appear in the spring. We
have been making improvements in our garden, and
are building a little rural hut of roots and moss
and pieces of knotted trees, in a warm ever-green
corner. We have, as far as the nature of the ground
8o LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
would permit, adopted Mr. Wordsworth's hint con-
cerning fruit-trees planted on the lawn, and where
these would not grow have planted ornamental forest
trees. In a few years we shall have a very woody
appearance. There is a great deal of planting going
011 upon the hill behind our house. I am sorry to
say that Larches abound, mixed indeed with Birch
" After all that was said on the subject, ' The
Friend' was not remembered. We regret this very
much, both on our own account and because we have
so often promised Burroughs to bring his numbers.
Pray send them by any opportunity that offers. If
Mr. Johnson should take either of the canaries which
my Mother has mentioned to him, he might bring
them as far as Bristol. I think he is much better
off at Grasmere. I was very much vexed about Mrs.
Wordsworth's print and cotton commission. Some
friends of ours, for whom we had made purchases
when we were in Manchester before, had given Mr.
Kelsall a deal of trouble by asking him to change
certain articles which did not please them, and he
told us, in consequence of this, that he had rather
not be employed in this way for anybody but our-
selves. After this I could not mention the Grasmere
commissions without asking it as a particular favour
for them, which, for many reasons you know of, I
did not choose to dp, especially as I found it would
only save a penny a yard. I often wish I had any
means of sending poor P. Ashburner a bottle of the
Asthmatic medicine. If it is to be had at Kendal,
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 81
do buy a bottle for me, that she may give it a
"Tell Mary Dawson 1 we continually long for her
brown bread and nice mashed potatoes, and that we
talk and think and dream of Grasmere without ceas-
ing. How are 'my Parker' and the young man?
I hope the latter will not give in to the expensive
habit of furred and lined greatcoats this winter.
I should strongly recommend him to court this
acquaintance of our friend Miss Wilson ; she is the
woman who will teach him to rein in his extravagant
habits. We expect Henry in a few days ; he has
had one of his old inflammatory attacks since he
went to Oxford, but is partly well again. The ac-
counts from Kichard are bad ; his cough increases,
and the ship surgeon fears an affection of the lungs.
He is endeavouring to get home that he may be able
to attend to his health. He is now at anchor in
Hosley Bay. When you go to Brathay carry our
best remembrances to the Lloyds. When shall you
be in London? I shall go through about the middle
of June. Pray contrive to go before that time.
Your affectionate M. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QOINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, nr. Ambleside, Westmoreland."
1 Mary Dawson was De Quincey's servant in Grasmere.
VOL. II. F
82 LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY.
"WESTHAY, Jany. zoth, 1813.
" MY DEAR BROTHER, The same ship which
brought this letter carried one also for my Mother.
Hers contained Bills ; and yours being directed in
the same hand, we immediately concluded it was of
the same kind, arid therefore, thinking to save the
expense of another letter, I have opened it, for the
purpose of using the cover. I delayed acknowledg-
ing your last and its valuable contents till I heard
whether Henry Leeves had received that and another
packet of letters which came soon after the first had
been received. They were enclosed in a frank with
Mr. Southey's compliments, who sent at the same
time several from Miss Kempe. This day a note of
thanks came for H. Leeves, who is at P . He
desires his best remembrances to you, and many
thanks for your kind exertions. He has given up
his intention of going to the West Indies, having
had the offer of a passage in the Aboukir 74, which
is going to the Mediterranean, to touch first at
Gibraltar. He has every reason to expect a perfect
restoration from a warm climate, since he has already
received great benefit by confining himself to a room
kept at a certain temperature. Pray make our
acknowledgments to Mr. Sou they. We were all
very much grieved to hear of the affliction which
the Wordswortbs have sustained in the loss of that
sweet little boy. It is not surprising that they
should sink under the pressure of such an unforeseen
LATER LETTERS OF MARY DE QUINCEY. 83
calamity, but it is distressing to hear that they are
actually suffering in health. Mrs. Mackenzie has
lately lost a little girl in that terrible complaint,
water on the brain. The child from the commence-
ment of the attack, which at first was not considered
dangerous, refused to take any medicine ; and the
horror which she felt to it, however concealed or
disguised, was so great, that often she would abstain
even from tasting water, though parched with the
thirst of fever, from suspicion that something
was mixed with it, and the strength of two men
could seldom force a drop of medicine down her
throat. She was rubbed with mercurial ointment
to procure a salivation, and her head covered with
blisters, which were very sore. The cruel treatment,
being the only chance of removing the disease, was
rigidly enforced by the mother, though the child
was continually calling out to her to let her lie
quietly. Poor little Tom Wordsworth was a favourite
with my Mother, and she was much affected at the
account of his death. I am sorry you think so ill of
Kichard's appearance. He says his cough never
troubles him in frosty weather, but hangs upon him
at other times, particularly in damp and foggy
weather. This sounds more like asthma than con-
"Jane left us last week. She went to London
with Mrs. Millard, and from thence to Boston with
Fitzwilliam Hodgson. Henry has not left Oxford
this vacation. He still thinks himself in love with
Bessie Leeves, and he occasionally favours me with
84 LETTERS FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE.
a closely written letter descriptive of the 'desola-
tion of his heart, the ' torments under which he
suffers/ the ' sleepless nights and the anxious days
he passes/ &c. &c. My Mother desires me to say
we are anxious to hear that you have brought your
affairs into such a state as to be able to make your
demand upon us. With best remembrances to the
family at the Vicarage, in which my Mother joins,
believe me your affectionate M. DE QUINCEY.
"My Mother says you had better endorse this
Bill to Mr. Kelsall, or any other person, because it
cannot then be used without a forgery. The Bill
has been sent to Mrs. F., but pray write to her she
will be much gratified. Please to acknowledge the
receipt of this.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
Mary de Quincey, as has been said, married in
1819 the Rev. Philip Serle, and settled at Brislington,
near Bristol. She died in 1820 in childbed; and
the two letters from Mrs. Hannah More which
follow show something of the impresssion she had
made on those with whom she had come into
" MY DEAR MADAM, I know not how to write to
you, and still less do I know how to forbear. We
have indeed been deeply interested in your sufferings,
and I have lamented on this, as on some former
LETTERS FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE. 85
similar occasioos, the impotence of human friendship,
which can do so little, can do nothing for us, which
can only feel, and whose feelings do not mitigate
what they share.
"Just as I had written so far, Mr. Serle's letter
was put into my hands. I think I never shed so
many tears over any letter, and I doubt whether
there were not more joy than sorrow in those tears.
There is indeed something so elevating in the tone
and spirit of it as makes me consider the subject of
it almost as much a matter of congratulation as
of condolence. It presents a very striking and en-
couraging instance of the power of divine grace to
raise the devout heart above its sorrows, above its
mortality, above itself. Much as I lament the loss
of the dear departed (and she has been the frequent
subject of our discourse with Mr. Inglis and the
Thorntons, who are staying with us), I cannot but
feel gratitude, joy, and encouragement in the con-
sideration of such a dying bed. This sublime resig-
nation of the dying Christian strengthens the faith
of the survivors ; it is an animating evidence that
Eeligion is a reality, and the only support, when
flesh and heart fail ; the only relief and strength in
that last great exigence of sinking nature. I feel
deeply what the afflicted husband must have endured
on witnessing sufferings so exquisite in one so dear to
him. I hope her bitter but brief sufferings are over,
and she is now, I trust, with those who came out of
great tribulation, and who were brought out of it
by the same blessed means, the blood of the Lamb.
86 LETTERS FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE.
Such scenes as these, and even the representation of
them in this letter, reduce all things relating to
this world to their real littleness, reduce everything
not connected with eternity to nothing ! Oh that
such impressions were commonly more lasting ! I
feel much for the widowed desolation of poor Mr.
Serle, so soon bereaved! And this leads me back
to the holy resignation expressed by her he has lost.
Hers was a real evidence of religion. She was not
one who was under trials and difficulties, and those
disappointing and vexatious circumstances which
help to wean from life. Submission in such cases
often passes for more than it is worth ; death may
be rather an escape than a trial, and to quit a world
so little inviting costs but little. But she we lament
was young, happy in her circumstances, happy in her
husband ; all about her was prosperous, peaceful, and
promising ! What a lesson to us all !
" If I had not begun tbis scrawl to you, I would
have written to Mr. Serle, but in writing to one, I
write to both. Pray thank him cordially for his
letter, which in his situation must have been no
inconsiderable effort. I hope I shall be as much
edified by this letter as I have been affected. My
sister has been deeply interested for you all, and joins
in most affectionate sympathy to all three with,
my dear Madam, the same from your very faithful
" H. MORE.
" Mrs. QUINCEY,
" Rev. Philip Serle's,
" Brislington, Bristol."
LETTERS FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE. 87
" MY DEAR MADAM, I have not lately been able
to get any information relating to you. And it would
be a gratification to us to hear that you and Mr.
Serle are as well as can be expected. Alas ! how well
is that? The health of your sad trio, however, I
hope, has borne up under this severe shock. And so
the poor little babe is escaped from all the perils and
sorrows of a sinful and suffering world, and is gone to
join its dear Mother.
" We shall miss you very much at the Bible meet-
ing on Thursday next. It is on a small concern
connected with that meeting that I trouble you
with this hasty line. How does Westhay stand at
this time with regard to fruit ? If it abounds, you
will perhaps have the goodness to bestow upon
our Thursday dinner a portion of anything that can
be spared without robbing your garden too much.
Will you excuse this liberty? We shall be de-
plorably off in the way of speechifying Bishop of
Gloucester at the Isle of Wight, Dr. Randolph in
Germany, poor Simpson dead, Biddulph and Boak
absent, &c. &c.
" We are under great concern for some other dear
friends ; our favorite, Dr. Perceval, dying ; by this
time probably dead ! His sweet Wife expecting every
day to be confined ; several little ones already ! Oh !
it is a dying world, and that to which we are hasten-
ing is the land of the living.
" With our most affectionate regards to Mr. Serle
88 LETTERS FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE.
and Miss Quincey, I am ever, my dear Madam, your
faithful and affectionate and sympathising
" H. MORE.
" BARLEY WOOD, Saturday.
" Eev. Philip Serle's,
" Brislington, Bristol."
It has to be remembered that Mrs. Hannah More
was not alone distinguished for the educational and
more strictly moral and religious works with which
her name has come in more recent days to be popularly
associated. Mr. Austin Dobson implicitly gives his
countenance to this idea in the clever poem, "Lines
on a Stupid Picture " :
" Maybe this homely face may hide
A Stael before whose mannish pride
Our frailer sex may tremble.
Or say the gingham shadows o'er
An undeveloped Hannah More !
Or latent Mrs. Trimmer ! ! "
In her earlier days she was an intimate of the
circle that gathered round Dr. Johnson, Burke, and
Garrick, and wrote several plays that were fairly
successful ; among them, " The Inflexible Captive,"
" Percy," and " The Fatal Captive." She also wrote
several novels and stories. About the year 1 799 she
came under strong religious impressions, and allied
herself with the evangelical revival, in the minds of
LETTERS FROM MRS. HANNAH MORE. 89
modern readers associated with the rise and work of
the " Clapham Sect ; " thenceforth she devoted herself
entirely to work of a moral and religious tendency,
or on education with reference to these. She is said
to have realised more than ,30,000 by these works.
She was born at Clifton about 1745, and died there
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY's MOTHER WHILE AT
" WRINGTON, May 3is, 1811.
"My DEAR THOMAS, I am much obliged to you
for your long Letter, which ought to have had an
earlier answer. If you are extreme to mark offences
of this sort, I am afraid my excuses will do me no
good, if I fill a sheet with petty interruptions and
sorrowful headaches, from day to day obliging me
to neglect your interesting commission. I have
succeeded to admiration in obtaining the required
information, and that altogether by my evil deeds,
and therefore do not see why I should not follow
great examples, and claim the praise of virtue ! I
did not get to Barley "Wood till last night, where
company and other objects so engaged the party
that I trembled for my business, and said to myself,
'This is for not coming before/ but at length I had my
turn, and Mrs. H. More (previously ill and languid)
roused up her attention and entered with her usual
benevolence into the Christian politicks of Grasmere.
She could only say that a Sunday School Society
did somewhere exist in London, and that it afforded
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 91
assistance to poor Parishes (as it could, not being
itself affluent) in money and Books. Jane and I
were coming away disconcerted at our failure on
this point, though not without a promise from Mrs.
Hannah and her sister Patty of a contribution in
Tracts to the School when we come to you. At
the very moment of our departure Mr. Venn from
Clapham was announced, and Mrs. H. More with
great readiness welcomed her guest and asked our
questions in the same breath. I hope the answer
will be to the purpose as far as it goes. The Gras-
mere Clergyman must write to the Society's Secre-
tary, Mr. Smith, No. 19 Little Moorfields, and will
entitle himself to favor by simply stating the in-
adequacy of his means, and the great objects de-
pending on support, at least till experience recom-
mends the Institution to more effectual patronage at
home, where at present it is an experiment, and
viewed with indifference, if not with suspicion, by
people who must very feebly comprehend the value
of religious instruction. We shall bring our little
aid along with us, and I hope the encouragement
and strength of Hannah More's name will cheer your
good Pastor under his difficult labour. When we
shall begin our journey I cannot yet ascertain."
" June 8.
"Your letter to Jane is just received, and has
spurred on my lazy pace to make a very great
92 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
attempt at a conclusion this night, which I should
certainly effect but that a curious little Boy is just
arrived with a Note in his hand from Hannah More,
begging us to receive him for a couple of days
(Barley Wood overflowing with company). This Boy
is the Son of Mr. Macaulay, Editor of the Christian
Observer; he is now sufficiently pleased by himself
among the Books, and if he can be quiet without
drawing upon me for attention, I shall deliver
my conscience and relieve you from your various
" First, I assure you the Letter upon which Mary
Dawson has exercised her inquisitional talents to
the death of your miserable Cobler, and the implica-
tion, I suppose, of many beside, came safely and
without any delay, as well as the one to me which
I now answer. Your Boxes likewise are resting in
peace where you left them, but Jane, under the
quickening impulse of your complaints, is resolved
to cord them forthwith.
" We stay to see Mr. Scarth (my Lord Darlington's
Steward), and to know assuredly whether he persists
in his claim upon your Uncle's Land or gives it up.
If he claim, I shall receive an ejectment and must
take advice, and put the defence of our right into
proper hands. How long this will take I cannot
guess. Mr. Scarth is expected in a few days. I
think I may safely say we shall not quit Wriugton
till the very last of this month. We have many things
to arrange if this most important affair wind up ever
so smoothly, and then we shall come immediately to
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 93
Grasmere. Ask Mary Dawson if other Articles, such
as Table Cloths, Sheets, Knives, Forks, Spoons, not
to mention Kettles and Pans, which we cannot
accommodate, must come.
" We enter sufficiently into the general joy at
Lord Wellington's victorious career ; the dullest clod
in Wrington understands it is better to win a battle
in Portugal with great loss than try our strength
here with the horrors of war at our doors, what-
ever might be the result ; but our honest neighbour,
Colonel Mackenzie, could never be tutored to your
view of things, tho' he is very candid, and of course
if we press him he will own his mistake. The ques-
tion which Captain Pasley's Book l will stir, I think,
will be hard to settle between the Politicians and
Moralists ; I have thought about it, but am as much
' abroad ' as Madam Leeves. I recollect a paper in
the Friend, upon the affair at Copenhagen, which
perhaps, if I had a better memory, I could bring to
bear upon the present point, but you can better tell
where the Friend is than anybody else. After all,
Captain Pasley's arguments may probably stand too
much on the support of expediency to satisfy my
1 Captain Pasley [afterwards Major-General Sir Charles William
Pasley, K.C.B.] wrote extensively on military matters and mathematics.
He saw a geat deal of service was at the siege of Copenhagen and
distinguished himself at Corimna. The essay on the " Military Policy
and Institutions of the British Empire " (referred to above) was only
the first part of the work as originally planned, and the continuation
never appeared. It gave rise to much discussion Wordsworth dis-
cussing it in a letter to the author of it which will be found in " Prose
Works," vol. i. pp. 197-208. Pasley was born in 1781, and died
April 19, 1 86 1.
94 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
feelings, yet I should read the Book if it came in
" This little Macaulay is a clever Boy, and puts
me in mind of the elder Coleridge, but he says
such extraordinary things that he will be rained
" We hear his Majesty the King of Eome (little
beast), as Mr. Hughes says in a Parenthesis, has the
Crown of England suspended below his royal canopy
to accustom his eyes and fingers betimes to their
proper object !
" Wrington weather has maintained a good cor-
respondence with Grasmere ; however, I think it has
been the sweetest spring I ever remember, pleasanter
for the hundred changes in a week. The verdure
is quite perfect, the nightingales all in song; very
melancholy. I understand Jane shall give Mary
Dawson satisfactory notice of our approach. Poor
Lansdown is dead after three days' illness.
"Mary is gone with the Bridges, who have been
here all the Week. Miss Brotherton and Jane unite
in kind regards with, dear Thomas, your very affec-
tionate Mother, E. QUINCEY.
" Mrs. H. More tells me, with great indignation,
that Southey's Uncle has left his fortune to a
" This Macaulay has half read over the ' Mysteries
of Udulpho ' this evening ; he travels post, and
amuses me inexpressibly with his motions and
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 95
"I have scratched out much of our Baby genius 1
to tell you that a Baronet's Son has written what
he calls the * Necessity of Atheism.' He has sent
it with a Letter to Hannah More, requesting, ' if
she find the proof satisfactory, that she will not
hinder the circulation of the Book by her intolerant
Eeligion ! '
" THOS. QUINCET, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
In a conversation with Mr. Ernest Hartley
Coleridge, which we were recently privileged to have
in London, he described to us a visit which he had
paid, with his father (Derwent Coleridge), to Lord
Macau! ay at Holly Lodge, and he remarked that
he was then struck with the likeness in form of face
and head to the portraits of his grandfather. It
would thus appear that the general resemblance
maintained itself to the end. Mrs. de Quincey was
the first we are aware of to note the likeness, or, at
all events, to make record of the impression.
This Pasley book referred to in the above letter
indeed caused a great stir. The minds of the
Macaulay was born 25th October 1800, and was therefore in his
eleventh year ; but what a pity De Quincey's mother should have
scratched out anything about him, even to make room at the end of a
letter to tell, what, of course, we now know so well, that Shelley was
a most irrepressible propagandist of his then atheistical opinions ! But
fancy the idea of Mrs. Hannah More propagating them ! Yet, it seems,
she could not help talking of them and of him.
Doubtless it was of this passage De Quincey was thinking when he
wrote as follows in the essay on Shelley : " My own attention was first
drawn to Shelley by the report of his Oxford labours as a missionary in
the service of Atheism " (" Works," vol. v. p. 18).
96 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
people were possessed as with a sense of some
demoniac visitation in the person of Napoleon ; and
every word spoken by a practical man was listened
to and discussed in all quarters with an eagerness
and keenness hardly credible to us now. No other
topic rose into any competition with it. That
Wordsworth was led to discuss the book at length
is a proof of the interest it excited. His letter to
Captain Pasley published in vol. i. of the " Prose
"Works " as a kind of supplement to the " Convention
of Cintra " pamphlet is a good illustration of his
power as a publicist : had he chosen to devote him-
self to work of this kind, he would have left a
precious legacy of clear and yet impassioned writing,
of which doubtless political writers and historians
would have had to take note. And his speciality is,
that, like all the true philosophers of the past, he
desired to raise the level of the discussion to a higher
platform than that of politics or military policy
only. We are glad that the above reference has
given us the opportunity to signalise, so far as we
may, the remarkable qualities of "Wordsworth's earlier
prose, and his keen interest in national development,
true liberty, and social progress.
Wordsworth, in his letter, acknowledges the interest
he felt in Captain Pasley's book, but deals rather with
the points on which he disagrees with him than on
those in which he is agreed ; and the burden of all
is, that our policy is war with France so long as
she maintains the spirit of domination and military
pretension ; that war is likely even to be cheaper and
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 97
better for us than peace ; and that our efficiency
for this purpose depends more on elements moral
and social elements that did not properly come
within Captain Pasley's purview as a military critic,
than he is likely to believe. Wordsworth in the
outset says :
"You seem to wish to frighten the people into
exertion ; and in your ardour to attain your object,
that of rousing our countrymen by any means, I
think you have caught far too eagerly at every
circumstance with respect to revenue, navy, &c., that
appears to make for the French. This, I think,
was unnecessary. The people are convinced that
the power of France is dangerous, and that it is
our duty to resist it to the utmost. I think you
might have , commenced from this acknowledged
fact ; and, at all events, I cannot help saying that
the first 100 pages or so of your book, contrasted
with the brilliant prospects toward the conclusion
have impressed me with a notion that you have
written too much under the influence of feelings
similar to those of a poet or novelist, who deepens
the distress in the earlier part of his work, in order
that the happy catastrophe which he has prepared
for his hero and heroine may be more keenly relished.
Your object is to conduct us to Elysium, and, lest
we should not be able to enjoy that pure air and
pnrpureal sunshine, you have taken a peep at
Tartarus on the road. Now, I am of your mind,
that we ought not to make peace with France, on
any account, till she is humiliated and her power
VOL. II. G
98 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
brought within reasonable bounds. It is our duty
and our interest to be at war with her; but I do
not think with you that a state of peace would give
to France that superiority which you seem so clearly
to foresee. In estimating the resources of the two
Governments, as to revenue, you appear to make no
allowance for what I deem of prime and paramount
importance, the character of the two nations and of
the two Governments. Was there ever an instance,
since the world began, of the peaceful arts thriving
under a despotism so oppressive as that of France
is, and must continue to be, and among a people
so unsettled, so depraved, and so undisciplined in
civil arts and habits as the French nation must
now be ? . . .
"The spirit of Buonaparte's government is, and
must continue to be, like that of the first conquerors
of the New World who went raving about for gold
gold ! and for whose rapacious appetites the slow-
but mighty and sure returns of any other produce
could have no charms. I cannot but think that
generations must pass away before France, or any
of the countries under its thraldom, can attain those
habits, and that character, and those establishments
which must be attained before it can wield its popu-
lation in a manner that will ensure our overthrow.
This (if we conduct the war upon principles of
common-sense) seems to me impossible while we
continue at war; and should a peace take place
(which, however, I passionately deprecate), France
will long be compelled to pay tribute to us, on
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER. 99
account of our being so far before her in the race
of genuine practical philosophy and true liberty.
I mean that the mind of this country is so far
before that of France, and that that mind has
empowered the hands of the country to raise so
much national wealth, that France must condescend
to accept from us what she will be unable herself
to produce. . . .
" We must go deeper than the nature of your labour
requires you to penetrate. Military policy merely
will not perform all that is needful, nor mere military
virtues. If the Eoman State was saved from over-
throw, by the attacks of the slaves and the
gladiators, through the excellence of its armies, yet
this was not without great difficulty ; l and Kome
would have been destroyed by Carthage, had she not
been preserved by a civic fortitude in which she sur-
passed all the nations of the earth. The reception
which the Senate gave to Terentius Yarro, after the
battle of Cannse, is the sublimest event in human
history. What a contrast to the wretched conduct
of the Austrian Government after the battle of
Wagram ! England requires, as you have shown so
ably and eloquently, a new system of martial policy ;
but England, as well as the rest of Europe, requires
what is more difficult to give it, a new course of
education, a higher tone of moral feeling, more of
the grandeur of the imaginative faculties, and less
of the petty processes of the unfeeling and purblind
1 " Totis imperii viribus consurgitur" says the historian, speaking
of the war of the gladiators.
ioo LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
understanding, that would manage the concerns of
nations in the same calculating spirit with which it
would set about building a house."
" WESTHAY, Monday, March ist, 1813.
11 MY DEAR THOMAS, I am going to write to you
about business, and as I am not likely to be very
luminous, nor you very attentive, I can assure you
my credit in my neighbourhood is suspended upon
the execution of a certain Bond, which is coming to
you from Mr. Kelsall without a moment's delay.
This is to make you lay down your Book and take
up your Pen ; and I will explain to you on what
ace* you are called upon to sign such a Paper. I
have bought the Land on both sides of this place, or
rather I have bought other Land for which my Lord
Darlington gives me Land on each side this House,
so that, as our old Clerk said to Mary, " I do zweere,
Miss, that your ground do go to thick little orchert
of Mister Leeves's to thick here gate," which is
true ; and as soon as your Uncle sends me Money to
make up the whole purchase, I shall transfer it to
him. In the meantime I am obliged to borrow of
the Quincey estate, but so fearful is Mr. Hall of
being hurt, and I suppose he requires no more than
is strictly in order, that on Saturday Night the
Bond of Indemnity arrived, and was signed by us
and sent on to Jane. I had so little notion of this
Bond being to prove anything more than a simple
requisition that all my Children should engage not
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 101
to trouble the Guardians if any loss should eventu-
ally be incurred to the Estate, which I knew was
impossible, unless I should turn a robber of my
Children, that I did not think it needful to ask
any of them whether they would consent to sign ;
but now I see that the Paper is for the whole sum
borrowed, namely, ^2000, and doubled according
to the usual tenor of Bonds, and you have never
heard for what you were to become responsible.
I think it is but decent to let you know that I
expect to receive the whole money from India
probably in two or three Months, but certainly as
soon as your Uncle can remit in answer to my Letter
by the Fleet just gone out, and the Land is safely
mine till he can pay for it ; and I have also an India
Bill of seven hundred pounds due in June to cover
any loss if your Uncle should die in the interval.
Therefore I conclude you will not see any hazard.
Mr. Gee requires no such security, but Mr. Hall
has put him into the Bond, and from Mr. Kelsall's
Letter, I am almost afraid he (Mr. Hall) will not
let the money be advanced till he sees every name
to ' his bond ; ' and you may judge how I feel when
you are told that the Lawyers on both sides are
appointed (according to the terms of the purchase
and the exchange) to meet on the 25th of this
month, for the conveyance to be made, the papers
being now ready and the money paid. I therefore
beseech you to sign the Bond and send it off as
directed instantly, and if you get this Letter first,
enquire every day for it. If I am forced to appear
102 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
without money, I shall be utterly dishonoured. I
have written very strongly to Mr. Kelsall to re-
monstrate with Mr. Hall against suffering me to
be exposed to such a calamity, for it would be no
less to have the story fly all over the county, and
that merely because Mr. Hall is a trifler. Mary
and Jane having signed certainly secures him from
the very worst which my utmost knavery could
bring upon him. Your Uncle, too, would be much
injured, and most likely lose the land which he
has constantly been desiring me to buy, and would
have long ago sent the money for but that I
assured him there was no prospect of ever having
it. It is by a strange chance now that I have got
it, and every Gentleman who has seen it says your
Uncle's estate is increased in value ^500 beyond
the cost of the Land, which, as land, is quite dear
"Mary sent you a Bill of ^105 from India long
since, and hopes you got it. We are both sincerely
sorry for the Wordsworths. ' For young Children
whom I never knew, I am more apt to feel how
happily they are laid up in Heaven than to grieve
that they have tasted little of life ; but for little
Tom, whose image is very vivid to my recollection,
especially that day when he drank tea with his
Father and Mother at your Cottage with me, when
you and your sisters were out, and upon Mr. W.
giving him some slight reproof he was covered with
blushes, and laid his face down in his poor little
hands upon the Table, shedding many tears before he
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 103
could be joyous again. I could have been glad and
thankful for his recovery, though, of all Children, one
of such sensibility was least fitted by Nature for
living an easy life. We are much obliged to Mr.
Southey for his exertions in favor of Henry Leeves.
He is really almost well, except his tossing and sick-
ness in the Bay of Biscay, where he has been heard
of. We remember, and hope you do not forget, you
are under some sort of promise to come here this
spring or summer. We shall be very glad to see you.
I have been expecting to hear from you any time
since Christmas, and am in all ways wishing and
ready for your communication.
" I congratulate you on Bonaparte's disgrace ; I
examine every paper and sift every sentence to find
out something worse than is shown upon the surface.
Mary sends her love to you. I am, my dear Thomas,
your affectionate Mother, E. QUINCEY.
"There is no sort of news here; only a few old,
very old people dead ; and the chief object of interest
in Wrington is the school upon Mr. Poole's system,
which is Dr. Bell's with some alterations. I expect
a large party of Children to-night, who are so athirst
for learning as to come out here twice a week.
" Mr. Belcher is dead. I am afraid his family are
quite thrown upon the kindness of their friends, all
able indeed, and I hope willing, to help them.
" THOS. QUINCET, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
io 4 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER.
"WRINGTON, Feb. 9, 1814.
"MY DEAR THOMAS, The Post arrives so late since
it has arrived at all, that Letters cannot well be
answered by its return ; at least not by me, for I
cannot see to write by candle-light.
" I will give you Henry's direction at the foot, but
as to Kichard's wishes about his Trunk I can say
nothing ; he is lodging at No. 2 Lower Church Street,
Bath, and I suppose there may be time before he
leaves it for Henry to receive his orders. Eichard has
bathed and drunk the waters so successfully that after
spending one fortnight here he means to take another
dose. "What then I have not heard. Jane is with
Eichard. If we had not interpreted your silence by
the old comfortable rule of * no news being good news/
we should have added this to our dreary winter's mus-
ings to fear some evil had befallen you, and after the
best use of our rule we were not a little glad to hear
by the Elsdales that you had appeared in Manchester.
" The chief event, which at the time enlivened the
monotonous sadness of being shut up in the snow, was
that on Thursday the 2nd January, after midnight,
we had the happiness to be instrumental in saving
a family from the danger of perishing. A Father,
Mother, and their two Daughters were on the way to
Congresbury in a Chaise, when the party were quite
buried. Their cries at length roused all the Sleepers,
for all were fast asleep, and Moses by great efforts of
strength dragged out the Women, who were in fits.
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 105
The Men were sadly exhausted by their endeavour to
reach the House from the back of our garden Wall,
where the Chaise was wedged in. At last all were
got in, and after due cherishing put to bed ; the
Postillion, who was almost a dead man, was the longest
before he recovered. Moses finish ed his patient labours
at last by bringing the Horses out of their snow tomb
into the Stable. We had the party till the next
evening, when the road was cleared for their departure
with four Horses ; and we were almost as glad to part
as to meet with the Drawing- Eoom Guests ; the Pos-
tillion and his Horses were the best of the Company.
" I am terribly out of love with our flocks ; they
are much like the Ladies and Gentlemen of the
rational creation, so restless that they require a Man's
time to be spent in bringing them home from broken
bounds. They have torn and eaten all our shrubs,
and the beautiful Ivy, which had reached the top of
the hothouse, they have eaten down to the ground.
Three lambs are dead, and considering the still likely
accidents and consumption of Hay, the profit will be
little and the mischief lasting. Your Grasmere news
is all doleful. Poor Mary Dawson ! I fear she was
never the same internal woman at least from the time
she looked with favor on such a Man, and pro-
bably continues unchanged and unrepentant, as it
does not appear, from what you say, that either she
or her Visitors made much account of the sin. The
shame of her disappointed vanity and all her bitter
anger against the Man may leave her where she is,
and without other proof of repentance, I think Mr.
io6 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
Lloyd was quite right not to visit her. I cannot but
be sorry for your loss of this poor Creature, for
besides her housewifery, her age and homeliness
rendered her a more proper person for the situation
than a very young one. We shall be very glad to
see you, come when you will. It is in vain to ask
you who are the base or the foolish Men of whom
you prophesy that they will waste our golden
" I was casting about how to send the enclosed
Letter to Mr. Salmond without giving him postage
to pay. Kead it, as you will see by it what your
Uncle ought to reap for his services. He has already
sent a Copy to Salmond, but fearing it might be lost,
sends another to be sure that his Masters may hear
of his Merits enough. He does not expect much,
as he has no great friends or powerful interest to help
his suit. I suppose the twopenny post will be safe
enough. You will put a Wafer in the Letter of
"Mr. Kempe being just arrived, I must not say
several things I had in store. I am half afraid that
I may forget something relating to the document
which you may perceive is of importance to your
Uncle. Henry's direction is 35 Whitehall.
" Mary desires her love. She says she has written
by this post to Eichard telling him about his Trunk,
and both she and I think it had best be sent to
Henry's Lodgings if he will receive it.
" Besides Salmond's Letter, I send also a Note to a
Man in the Hay market which encloses a i Note for
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 107
a parcel of Pills, with which I doctor my good neigh-
bours so successfully that I am thought the most
skilful Physician in these parts. I am, my dear Son,
longing to see you. Your very affectionate Mother,
" WRINGTON, Sept. qtfi, 1816.
" MY DEAR THOMAS, So many times when I
reckoned upon seeing you have passed in disappoint-
ment that I seem to have no chance of exchanging a
kind greeting ; therefore I catch the present oppor-
tunity to tell you how much the hope of seeing you
in London spurred me to the undertaking ! It was
right for me to go, as your Uncle's affairs required it,
but I assure you neither I nor my companion (your
sister Mary) counted upon any pleasure unless we
could find you there ; and indeed we had no pleasure,
but great discomfort, for she was alarmingly ill, so
that I thought for a short season she would surely
die. I should except the satisfaction of having
effected what I went about, and the positive refresh-
ment and delight of hearing a Preacher after my
own longing mind, whose Sermon seemed, at least to
me, to contain deeper matter and sublimer views
than one often meets with. As Ann Kempe said on
hearing Robert Hall, who has lately been in Bristol,
1 It is at such times we are made to feel what our
nature is capable of, and to blush at the low and
io8 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER.
little objects which so generally absorb without satis-
"We saw my Friend Nancy's Brother in Town,
whom we thought less amiable than ever, inasmuch
as by making himself coaxed and courted among his
fashionable Parishioners, his pride is desperately fed
and his principles starved. It happened on the day
that this piece of divinity dined with us, and by
appointment escorted "us to the British Gallery of
Paintings, young Thatcher from Madeira was of the
Party, and perhaps you can hardly believe me, but
indeed it is true, so gross was M.'s insolence that I
was obliged to let the poor Madeira Lad go away
from our Hotel in Berkeley Square into the City, and
dine with us the next day.
" The frank in which this goes was begged for the
sake of your India Letter, and is a parting one, as
Mr. Addington is summoned to Town on Monday. I
have not a word from your Uncle, and as it appears
by the Paper that the Gov. Gen. has his head-
quarters at Futtyghar, where he is stationed, I am
spinning hopes that his Excellency may be scattering
favors. I therefore beg you will write to tell us if
my Brother tells you that he gets aught. I do not
expect it on any other ground but as a bribe to get
his place for another who would make better use of
it. So little does my Lord Moira like Eeformers,
that when my Brother went up 800 miles to pay
him respect, although he twice breakfasted with the
great Man, he contrived to pass him without a single
word. We are expecting, I think next week, a visit
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 109
from General Poole, who is just arrived, and who
went up with your Uncle to this ungracious Levee.
" We never had a Courier. Was it because
your Papers never appeared, or that the Editor
forgot us ?
" I wish to know whether any mortal presumes to
dive into the mysteries of diplomacy so far as to
guess at what is going on in France, or at any pro-
bable result. I feel a very uneasy apprehension
that, bad as the French are, the Allies are acting (to
say the least) without either vigour or dignity, and
when I think of the universal homage paid to Bona-
parte even by our seamen, I am forced to conclude
that all national distinctions are melting away. I
went to see David's picture of the Corsican, in the
hope of finding what I did really find in it, namely,
the figure of a very mean man, as well as the expres-
sion of wickedness. I mean the latest portrait ; the
one by the same Master, taken years ago, is alto-
gether the likeness of another man.
' ( If you can prevail with yourself to write, I shall
be very glad of a Letter.
" I went to the National School when in Town,
and was very highly gratified, but the Master I did
" I have wavered often while writing this note, and
at last resolve to say a word of the report which we
now suppose had no truth in it. It seemed to come
from high authority that you were about to marry,
and nothing short of an oracular Voice could have
made us listen to the tale, considering your want of
no LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER,
means to meet the demands of a family. I am, how-
ever, so much entitled, and do really feel so affec-
tionate an interest in your happiness, that I cannot
help begging you to let me know your designs, and
also to consider well before you trust the mere im-
pulse of feeling, if, as I have but just now heard, the
sober judgment of your Friends cannot approve the
step. I can abate much of what the world demands
in marriage, but I know there are congruities which
are indispensable to you, which you may overlook in
the delusion of fancy, and be forced to see every
moment of your life after to be wanting to your
comfort, when you are come to yourself. I am, my
dear Thomas, your sincerely affectionate Mother,
" Remember that Mr. A.'s privilege of frank is un-
limited in weight and number, so do not pay."
By 1818, as we know from the " Confessions,"
De Quincey had entered fully on the "pains of
opium." Though he speaks prior to 1813 of years
" set, as it were, and insulated in the gloom and
cloudy melancholy of opium," he could still regard
himself as having been, on the whole, a happy man
till the middle of 1817; and 1818 finds him com-
pletely overmastered helpless to write or produce
anything of worth; his affairs in disorder, and the
fear of creditors upon him. At length he aroused
himself, and had two main points to contend for
the reduction of the opium indulgence, and the
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER, in
discharge of debts that had become pressing. ILL
these circumstances, and as a last resource, he made
application to his mother. Among his papers we
have found the following lengthened statement of his
position, difficulties, prospects, and possibilities :
" When I was a boy I was possessed by that kind
of ambition which with most people is the highest
that they ever attain. I planned and projected
constantly in the ordinary spirit of ordinary minds
to raise myself to high stations and honour in the
State. With boyhood these purposes forsook me ;
and I gradually substituted a different ambition (if
I may call that ambition which in no degree partook
of the feelings which belong to vulgar worldly
ambition, being wholly disconnected from all love
of applause) : my ambition was, that by long
and painful labour, combining with such faculties
as God had given me, I might become the intellec-
tual benefactor of my species. I hoped, and have
every year hoped with better grounds, that (if I
should be blessed with life sufficient) I should
accomplish a great revolution in the intellectual
condition of the world, that I should, both as one
cause and as one effect of that revolution, place
education upon a new footing throughout all civilised
nations, was but one part of this revolution : it was
also but a part (though it may seem singly more
than enough for a whole) to be the first founder
of a true Philosophy : and it was no more than a
part that I hoped to be the re-establisher in England
(with great accessions) of Mathematics. It would
ii2 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
be altogether useless for my purpose to stop here
to justify myself for entertaining such hopes, and
in fact impossible ; for such hopes can be justified
in no other way than by their realisation. In
that way I trust that more or less they will be
justified. If I fail in the great purposes which 1
have so long pursued, the failure will be grief
enough ; and it cannot add any stings to it that
such or such a person has sneered at me : mortifica-
tion from contempt will be altogether swallowed up
in the mortification or (to express it by a fitter word)
the sorrow of failure. I mention these hopes now
merely as explanations of my past life. It followed
naturally that a person who pursued objects so
really great, could not have much disposable ambi-
tion for the puerile greatness attached to high
stations in life. Accordingly for some years my
thoughts never wandered in that direction. At
length, however, I was compelled to think of some
projects for enriching myself. The cause was this :
I had received a patrimony of ^2600 : being denied
by my guardians the sum necessary for my support,
I was obliged to contract debts ; and paying a high
interest (ij^ per cent.) for money borrowed, I
was obliged on coming of age to deduct nearly
,600 from my principal to acquit myself of en-
gagements of honour. Then I had about ^2000 :
from this I deducted in the year 1807 ^3 as a
gift to Mr. Coleridge. I do not mention this by way
of self-applause : it was better to spend money in
that way than in self-indulgence, as most young
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 113
men do : but, in strict morality, I admit that it was
wrong : it was an act not for my fortune nor for my
situation : nevertheless I did it in a right spirit : for
my motive was this : I said to myself Here is a
man of great genius who could accomplish great things
for mankind, if he were for a while set above the
anxieties and the distractions of immediate necessity :
^"300 will not only enable him to get rid of any
debts that he is likely to have on his scale of living,
but will also leave him a surplus which, when added
to his present income, may deliver him for two or
three years from all necessity of diverting his thoughts
to the mere drudgery of getting money, and will thus
procure him ease of mind, and will disengage and, I
may say, enfranchise his time for a period of duration
sufficient for the accomplishment of great works.
This was my purpose, and that I could not have had
any other will appear from this that I sent, the
money through the hands of Mr. Cottle, and I am
uncertain whether Mr. C. to this day has ever learnt
to whom he was indebted for the present ; and ex-
cepting to yourself and one other person, I have never
mentioned the case to this hour though it is now
more than eleven years since it happened.
"In this way my fortune was reduced to ^1700 :
about ^700 or ^800 was spent in books : this
was almost necessary to the objects I had in view,
and so far a duty if I lived in the country : but,
as I might have lived in London, and have had
the advantage of access to great libraries, it was
not necessary, and so far it was wrong. It was
VOL. n. H
ii 4 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
done, however, in my boyish days, and I cannot,
therefore, have any interest in excusing it more
than in defending the composition at my mature age
of a school essay or a copy of verses. My fortune
was thus reduced much below what could upon any
terms support me. It was important, therefore,
that I should turn to some mode of raising money.
Like all persons who believe themselves in possession
of original knowledge not derived from books, I
was indisposed to sell my knowledge for money,
and to commence trading author. I therefore
fixed on the law as the only profession which, on
many accounts, was now open to me, and I took
the necessary steps preliminary to the practice of
that profession. My purpose was not to engage in
any petty chase after the honours of the profession,
to which by that time I was wholly indifferent, and
could not regard as fit objects of any but a childish
ambition but simply to get money, of which I
purposed to get the greatest possible quantity in
the least possible time. The necessity of stopping
in the midst of pursuits really great for such a petty
purpose as the raising of a fortune was melancholy
enough, and I need not say that I designed to get
it over in as short a time as possible, and should
have thought it to the last point wretched and
insane for me, with rny views, to make my profession
(as most do) the serious business of my life. If I,
instead of labouring for years to mature a great
scheme of philosophy and education, had pushed
myself forward in the path of common vulgar
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 115
ambition, and had risen to the honours which lie
in these paths, I am sensible that I should have
experienced a very different treatment from my
female relations ; and yet the actual difference be-
tween what, on that plan, I should have been and
what I now am must be much in my favour : for
whosoever gives himself up to law zealously must be
very ignorant of most things which it is truly honour-
able to know. But there are not many minds that
are not in a captivity to external things. I do not
doubt but that Lord Bacon and Milton were both
more respected by their wives for the public offices
which they held than for those great endowments
which have made them venerable names to posterity.
I need not say that I make this reference by way
of illustration merely, and not as though their cases
were strictly analogous to mine.
" This, however, is digression, and it looks like
complaint, but I would beg you to understand that
I am not complaining : if there be anything sound
in my hopes and projects, they ought to be well
able to indemnify me for any losses, slights, mortifi-
cations, or iu justice to which they have exposed me :
they are able to do this, and they so indemnify me
beyond the sense of it as any practical misfortune.
" I did, however, pursue the study of the law as
zealously as my means would allow me. On that errand
it was, as you will remember, that I came down to
the South, when I was last at Westhay. Soon after
my return I came to the end of my fortune : for you
do not seem to be aware that the last penny of it
n6 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
was gone in 1815. Whatever then remained was
in Mr. KelsalFs hands. Hence arose a difficulty in
the way of my further pursuit of the law. Soon
after this, happened an event which increased it. I
had long been attached to a young woman, and had
visited her : for some time this was undiscovered ; but,
when it was discovered, I felt myself as much bound
in honour as I was inclined by affection to marry
her ; a connection between a gentleman and the
daughter of a 'Statesman * would have exposed her to
a scandal which she could never have got over. I did
marry her, but I did not communicate my marriage
to you, believing that, from her station in life and
want of fortune, it would give you pain. In justice to
my wife, I must say that she is all I could desire,
and has in every way dignified the position in which
she stands to me.
" Marriage brought with it many expenses : we
have had two children the elder, a boy, born Nov.
9, 1816, and therefore now more than two years
old : as a joint memorial of affection for my brother
and schoolfellow and my uncle, I had him baptized
by the name of William Penson : the younger, a
girl, born on June 5 of this year, and therefore now
rather more than six months old : her, as a just
expression of affection for my wife, I had baptized
by her name Margaret Simpson. The expense of
living, which by two confinements of my wife, and
two sicknesses (one a fever, the other a long and
painful affection of the breast), by keeping an addi-
1 'Statesman contraction for Estates man = Westmoreland Yeoman.
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 117
tional servant, and by the children's clothes, &c.,
were, of course, much increased, I have hitherto
supported by my pen only that I have received
during three years ^124, in aid [viz., a loan of
from my sister Jane in 1817, and a present of
this year, through you, from my uncle]. I should
still have been able to get on very well, and gradually
have saved a sum sufficient for my law pursuits, but
for an unfortunate bad state of health which seized
upon me in the latter end of last year, and has not
yet left me. In October of last year I was bit three
times running by a dog when sitting in a room ;
and this being followed by some strange and painful
sensations some weeks after, I suffered for a long
time under fear of Hydrophobia. This may or may
not have been the first origin of the long illness
uuder which I have languished : be that as it may,
it has been sufficient to incapacitate me for all con-
" I am now in arrears to various creditors to the
amount of ^150, which must be paid in part, ^50,
almost immediately ; in the other part about Candle-
mas (Feb. 14) next. If this were paid, I have
nothing which would enable me to transfer my
family to London for the pursuit of the law. On
account of my family I would wish to avoid a
prison. This is the first request which I ever made
for money; and, recollecting that in 1810 you offered
to make me a yearly allowance which I have now
declined for nine years, I know of no person to whom
I can apply except yourself."
n8 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
In the Memoir we have spoken of the John-Bull
element in De Quincey, and endeavoured to em-
phasise and illustrate it. Here we have an indirect
expression of it in De Quincey's views of women.
He regarded the female sex with all knightly defer-
ence, and was never wanting in courtesy and, in a
sense, devotion to them. But he could not be
brought to feel that in intellect and in insight in
certain directions they were not more markedly
limited than men ; more subject to certain inherent
prejudices which he regarded as common to the sex
as sex. Even in regard to the education of his
family, this was felt ; for, though he was as fond of
the girls as of the boys, if not more so, he was in
a certain way indifferent to points of education in
their case, whilst he was assiduously careful with
the boys ; losing no opportunity of advancing them,
and by every means in his power endeavouring to
infect them, when mere children, with a love of
study and knowledge for its own sake. He was the
sole tutor two of his sons ever had, and they were
as students highly successful. But the girls, it must
in honesty be said, fared differently. Though he
was fond of their company, and did all he could
to please and to humour them, he did not feel
called on, in the same way, to become exclusive
tutor to all or either of them, and in their earlier
years (for after they reached womanhood it was
different) did not seem inclined to enlist them in
sympathy with his own efforts and pursuits. As
we shall see by-and-by, his mother was inclined to
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER. 119
deal a little too severely with him on this very
Instead, however, of sending the foregoing somewhat
over-exhaustive statement, with so many reflections
which could hardly have had the effect of conciliating
his mother, he contented himself with a simple resume
mainly of the latter part of it, dwelling more fully on
the character and merits of his wife. And this letter
had the desired effect ; for we find his mother thus
replying to it without loss of time :
" WRINGTOX, Dec, zyrd, 1818.
DEAR THOMAS, I shall provide the sum of
your use in a week or ten days, and now pro-
ceed to explain the terms of this advance, leaving the
execution of your part to an after day, not doubting
its being done in good faith. I need not explain why
I prefer the agency of Mr. Kelsall to any here, but
from him you will receive the money in Bills on
London ; and the whole Loan is from money in Mr.
Kelsall's hands belonging to my Brother, for which
Mr. K. allows 5 per Ct., and so must you, namely, %
a year. I must now speak of myself, before I go on
upon the Business, and with a heavy feeling that
every word maybe taken in another sense from that
in which it is spoken. I shall, however, abide in the
course which I must take, and ascribe all such mis-
readings of my real meaning either to my own want
of precision or to the terrible irritation which you
120 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
labour under both from disease and medicine. I
hope it will satisfy you, because I think it ought,
that I am not unkind or unjust, to know that I have
settled my testamentary division of that moiety of
your father's property which I receive the interest of,
exactly as he left it. I have ample power to alter it
to any extent among my Children, and I have power
to fetter it with ..conditions as I see occasion, which
power I have used as I have seen the necessity; and
to this end I have left the whole in the care of
Trustees for the use of all my Children, who will
receive, on the proportion of Principal allotted by Mr.
Quincey, just so much interest as the money brings ;
those of the Men who leave Children can bequeath
the Principal itself which will be paid as their Will
directs to the surviving Eepresentatives of my Sons.
" With this arrangement so made, and the views
upon which it is made, I am bound to declare that I
would not, if I had the liberty, knowingly waste or
lessen the amount, but leave it as well as I found it.
In addition to this, I can truly affirm that I am not
unwilling to assist my Sons by reducing myself
within a much smaller way of living, though neither
to deprive Jane of a respectable asylum with me,
nor to sink myself into so great poverty as my Sons
are in, who by marrying, have really made what
I could reasonably do quite unavailable. I- here
repeat what I said before, that I offered to leave
Westhay, and allow each of you, T. Q., E. Q.,
and H. Q., ^84 a year that is, ^252 a year out
of my income of ^665, which for single Men, with
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 121
your share of rent, I reckon at least equal to your
full proportion at my death with a family ; I might
say very far beyond it, and, I think, equal to my
remaining share to maintain any establishment of
comfort and to answer the claims which are upon me.
Need I say that the first allowance to Henry has
pinched me so much, that I have to maintain a con-
stant struggle to answer those claims and to keep out
of debt while I stay here ; and as your Uncle made
this place solely for our comfort, I thought it my
bounden duty to him to give him the choice of set-
ting me at liberty to leave it or to supply my lack of
assistance to you. He has taken the latter, and it is
as broad as it is long, for I could not do more any-
where without lessening the property, which I will
not do ; and I am sure your Uncle has spent, and is
spending, more upon us by far than he has for him-
self if he were to come home, which he would now
do, being in very bad health at the Cape, if he could
fulfil his engagements and live at home. That he
and I were sincere in saying we would do what we
could to forward your study of the law is certain,
though perhaps we had neither of us any precise idea
how much would be necessary when your own fortune
was gone. Perhaps had he advanced at once as
much as your life-interest in ^84 a year is worth,
that might have been enough as far as money went ;
but had the scheme failed from your ill-health or any
other cause, your affairs would have been worse than
now ; and I am afraid, from your own account of your
deranged health and nerves, though you have many
122 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER.
sources opened at your door at Grasmere, it is
doubtful whether you will use them. The Paper
alone, if it is to be continued and you could go to
Keudal, as a sure income I should think preferable to
any more promising speculation, and surely the too
well-known speculations of authors, most justly, are to
be called, in your own Words, ( so many romances.'
Therefore let me entreat you to hold fast the Kendal
certainty, and though I am not sanguine enough to
hope that you would or could regularly do all the
labour of an Editor which is absolutely necessary, so
that you could be without an assistant, I should
think a cheaper Drudge might do, leaving you
perhaps a hundred a year, with leisure to fulfil any
literary engagement which your health and spirits will
let you. More than this you cannot do anywhere,
and you have really brought to you by your friends or
your fortune more than you are able to accomplish.
Why, then, go in search of more, and in so doing
encounter a thousand evils, not the least of which is
the bringing your wife and children away from the
place where their natural affinities, tastes, and feelings
may best be cherished ? We none of us dare recom-
mend you to take the drudgery of the Paper, though
we think you could do more and gain more by living
at Kendal with a humbler Clerk, but to the proposal
of transporting your Wife and Children to London
we feel a reluctance insufferably strong and grievous.
And being now at the Threshold, let me at once
assure you we all think there can be but one reason-
able view taken of the condition in life which you
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 123
Lave described your "Wife's to be, and that view is
the same as yours, that it is a happy and respectable
oiie, and we are greatly rejoiced to find that she has
dignified it by her conduct, as well as that she
answers your wishes as a Companion and a Wife.
" Henry married a very handsome, well-disposed,
and well-mannered Young Woman, the Daughter of
a Captain of a trading Vessel from Minehead. They
live at Clifton just now, and manage to pay their
debts, notwithstanding they have both very bad
health and dress like people of fortune ; this is
wonderful to us, and we think she should be willing
to spare a little from her dress to nourish her life
by better food ; but I assure you, when Mary gave
her, lately, a very pretty cambric Muslin Gown, quite
new out of the shop, with a narrow blue stripe, such
a one as any young Lady would wear in a morning,
she said Henry would not let her wear it. Mary
begs you will never mention this to Henry. They
have no Children, happily. She had not a penny.
" I now go on to state the necessary condition on
which I must insist in regard to the Loan, on which
alone I could presume to advance it ; I mean that
you must give the security of your Warehouse share
to my Brother. I should recommend you, as you
must acknowledge the receipt of the money directly
to Mr. Kelsall, at the same time to direct him to
send your whole share of Warehouse Kent to me.
I will pay your interest to my Brother and remit you
the : residue with your allowance, or keep it, which
would be far better, as a little deposit, to be called
i2 4 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
for in a time of sickness or any other emergency.
Should I have the power by an exemption from sick-
ness or other contingencies myself, I will gladly put
to such a deposit any little sum which I may be able
to save at the end of a year ; a very little it must
needs be in the present state of things, and not more
in addition to your allowance if they were altered,
and so little more if I were dead and your Uncle
living at home on his Pension (which drops with
him), and any other little means which he may bring
with him, that there is nothing to say in any case,
bat that you must mainly depend upon yourself to
meet the exigencies which are created by your Family.
To say I wish I could create funds as fast as your
occasions is a cheap and fruitless wish, though it be
a sincere one. Mrs. H. More and her only living
sister Patty have had a miserable winter so far.
Gen. Mackenzie is in very indifferent health at
" Mary is here, and with Jane unites in love, and
so do I join with them, to you and yours. We expect
Mr. Serle to-morrow from Oxford. He has taken the
United Curacy and Lectureship of Brislington, 2\
Miles from Bristol, going to Bath. He has no House
on his Living. She desires me to say that she will
write an account of their Tour, though she thinks
she has no talent that way. We are all tolerably
" I certainly do not pretend to any political sagacity,
but let me observe, which is an acknowledgment that
I do receive the Paper, that I think you admit some-
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 125
thing now and then like defences of indefensible things,
which will lessen the credit of the Paper, and in the
long-run tell against the cause of social order. I am
sorry the search into the misapplied funds for schools,
&c., has fallen into no better hands than Brougham's,
but cheating should never be softened or excused.
' Let the galled jade wince/ I am, my dear Son, your
really affectionate Mother, E. QUINCEY.
" We understand there is a very bad story about
an estate in your Quarter belonging to a Charity, but
really in the hands of a great Man. Short days and
bad eyes, or I would try to write a more legible copy
" WRINGTON, Feb. 25, 1822.
" MY DEAR THOMAS, I have your letter before me,
and a very melancholy one I think it, for I see not
at the bottom of your calamities any better hope than
that which has ever cheated my unfortunate Children.
I have written to Elton's for the Bill you want of
^54 at two months on London in your favor, and if
they send it to the Post in time I shall be able to
enclose it to-day, if not to-morrow. I write without
hope myself, and scarcely know what to say ; for I
do know this, that I cannot express what I sincerely
think and grieve over but you will call it being angry ;
yet I cannot say what I do not think, and if I were
to send an enclosure without a word, I should myself
feel that at least I acted a cold, unkind part by you,
when in truth I do not feel anything like it. You
126 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
should be aware that with all the flattering accounts
which you give me of your literary expectations and
successes, and the numerous honourable testimonies
which you receive from Men and Journals, and which
you think important in proportion as I receive
them as you do, I must consider you as not being
driven to anticipate \vhat I now send. I do not,
however, make any scruple about it, as I have the
money. I am greatly troubled at your illness and
the opinion of your Doctor as to its tendency, cer-
tainly hoping that he is mistaken, though I can easily
believe, and cannot but believe, that your stomach is
miserably injured by the Opium you have swallowed.
" There is one thing in your Letter which I must
take notice of to remonstrate against so far as to
show you the impropriety in future of such a measure,
and that is your intention of sending expresses hither,
and to Westmoreland, I suppose. In the first place,
it is doubtful whether any time could be saved ; and
in the next, to what purpose ? For, supposing the
emergency the greatest possible, and the end designed
completely answered, surely in such circumstances
the pain and misery would have been extreme, and I
should hope you did not want farther security than
you have that I should do what is right by your poor
Children, without doing wrong by others ; and indeed
the utmost, if I were dead, must be so little, that the
very money spent upon useless Expresses would be
missed out of it sadly. I am almost afraid that you
have greatly overrated what I have to divide, and
therefore I state it here. What has been lost by
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 127
Mr. Kelsall I have nearly made up to the estate, so
that it may be said to stand in value as it did at first,
namely, at ,13,000, which will be equally shared in
four parts, the surviving Children of my Children to
be equal sharers afterwards ; but the whole is so tied
upon the Children (and yours seem likely to be the
only Heirs after their Elders are removed) that none
of mine can touch anything but their shares of interest
for their lives, with power to settle upon their wives
during life as they please. This is in substance my
arrangement. ... I wish you may not be grievously
mistaken about the sale of your Library. I can
imagine nothing like the amount you expect. I
ought to have said that Jane could not by any means
have come to London by herself, if she had been
ever so well disposed.
"And now, my dear Thomas, let me say that,
knowing how much your spirits are depressed, and
that mine being equally so, I hope you will believe
me that I feel for you, and as I am continually think-
ing hour after hour upon your circumstances, and
coming for ever to the same sad, hopeless conclusion,
you will not wonder that I can offer you little com-
fort ; but if you imagine from this that I do not wish
to give it, you do me little justice. I am, in truth,
always your affectionate Mother, E. QUINCEY.
" I wish you would acknowledge the receipt.
Elton's have chosen to draw at a shorter date, I see.
" THOS. QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Fox Ghyll, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
128 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCETS MOTHER.
"WRINGTON, Jan. 13, 1825.
" MY DEAR THOMAS, In answer to your Letter re-
ceived on Tuesday, I must enter on a few explana-
tions to let you know what I can and will endeavour
to do. Things are altered with us, as you may suppose,
by your Uncle's return, but not probably just as you
may think. I am, however, able, and thankful that I
am able, to undertake more than I could before that
event ; that is to say, I have released him from his
former engagement to help any belonging to me,
because he is come home with so much less than he
wants that he is really the poorest Member of this
establishment, with a host of Eastern habits cleaving
to him, which we had no notion of, but supposed he
would find all that mortal man could desire for com-
fort and pleasure. But this is far from being the
case. He finds himself unable to live without things
which will cost him a fearful sum to pay for ; and the
discovery of his unequal means is not a whit more
pleasant after I had fairly warned him of the pangs
which would lay hold on him when he had relin-
quished the power and wealth of his appointment.
He has been spending 4000 a year for 14 years in
India, and has realised very little so that with his
pay he will not have more than ^700 a year. He is
building a new dining-room in the place of the old
Greenhouse the old dining-room taken to himself,
and a new bed-room, bath, &e., attached to it, as his
own suite of apartments ; a great deal of new stabling
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 129
and servants' rooms ; the drawing-room enlarged by a
bow-window and the west window closed. The house
which Mrs. Church calls the Great Babylon is too
large for its original character, and much too large for
the master's pocket the alterations must cost him a
thousand pounds out of his very moderate principal.
He hopes he shall enjoy himself when these works
are done and warm weather come ; and it will be well
if he be not disappointed, which in my inmost thought
I believe he will. In our present state of confusion
we have no delight but what we can pick up out of
distant views of order and beauty.
" I have just written to Henry an often-told story,
which he either does not or cannot understand, and
I here send it to you. It is a statement of my ways
and means at present, which, if I live, may be dis-
turbed by various circumstances ; therefore I only say
for the present, though, among many others, I mention
two things which must set me free in part or make
me unable to do what I now mean to do, Damely, that
your literary productions bring you profit enough or
that your Uncle take a Wife, not a more unlikely
event than I hope the other is.
" My nominal income, reduced as interest now is,
amounts exactly to 600 a year.
I have offered Henry . . . ^"looayear.
I offer you the same . . . 100
I pay to the Westhay Establishment 250
Kemainder . . . .150
And this 1 50 is to meet the following expenditure :
Cloaths Journies Apothecary, this Xmas ^35
VOL. n. I
i 3 o LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
Books, Stationery, Charity, little enough, I assure
you ; and a heavy but uncertain deduction from this
^150 in Duckworth's yearly account, both as Agent
and Solicitor, though he is a reasonable man and
for allowance to Tenants for repairing from 20 to
^"40 every year. I believe you will not think I have
any great superfluity, but such is Henry's arithmetic
and his need together, that he has written to beg of
me to help and to lay his circumstances before his
Uncle, which, indeed, if I had done, could only have
exasperated and made things worse. In the prospect
of this rich Uncle's return, Henry actually set up a
House and furnished it, not doubting but a Nabob's
purse would be open to him. The consequence, as
I told him it would be, was that my Brother was
so offended with this appropriation of his money,
that he has positively refused to see or do any-
thing for the really bewitched Creature, who, hear-
ing of the alterations and many luxuries of the
place, cannot comprehend that these expenses dry up
the means of liberality, and will not admit that
he himself forfeited any claim by his indelicate
" I have, it may be, convinced him, if not of being
in the wrong for that is impossible but that his
only course is to give up his smart house and sell
his furniture down to just enough for a very small
cottage ; and burning as he is with anger, I do not
know what he will do, but he has written such a
Letter to me about his Uncle, that' if I were to show
it, I am sure he would deserve to be blotted out of
LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER. 131
T. P.'s "Will. Being myself to receive some remunera-
tion from the Commissioners at Manchester for damage
done to the Warehouse, which I expect will lessen
the rent, and therefore the money ought to go into
the Funds I have promised to furnish 50 towards
Henry's foolish debts in July, when I am to receive
my recompense. I have no objection to consider
your year as beginning the ist March, but having
paid, and having yet to pay for furniture for new
rooms, which indeed I did not want and am annoyed
to have, I cannot send you more than 20, nor con-
veniently the remaining till July, though, if you
are in straits, I will send it in part by March, and
the whole by May.
"Having lived rent free for 14 years, I could not
forbear to save my Brother what I could in furniture
Bills, though my convenience is increased by none
of these things, nor in anything else except an addi-
tional horse to our one, making a pair for the carriage
instead of the Wrington Inn Horses.
" We return you our thanks for the promised
Novel. On reading the review of it in the London
Mag. we thought you were the translator. I wish
to know, if there is no secret in it, what connection
you have with the said Journal in the new series.
"I cannot expect that your literary productions
either as a Translator or an Author will rise in moral
tone to my point, for I suppose you must please your
Eeaders, and unfortunately little is required, and
much will be lauded to the skies, and that by Church-
men, sadly at variance with Christianity. I wish I
132 LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY'S MOTHER.
could say that all who hold a purer creed were better
people than many men of the world.
" I am sorry for your sicknesses, and felt the irk-
someness of writing on the spur of any disagreeable
occasion ; at the same time believing that you do
what you can, I am glad to do what I can, and hope
nothing will lessen my means. I hope your poor
Children will not get either of the dreadful fevers.
Do you live at Fox Ghyll ? How many Children have
you ? Henry heard that you had left Westmore-
land and settled in London. I am glad it is not so
for the Children's sake.
" Jane has had great trouble with Teeth and Face
and nervous affections a long time ; she and Mrs.
Brotherton are in Bristol, or they would send their
love. I am pretty well now, and, I thank God, much
better than at my time I could expect. I am, my
dear Son, your affectionate Mother,
" THOS. QUINCEY, Esq.,
" 4 Eccleston Street, Pimlico, London."
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICHARD DE QUINCEY.
RICHARD DE QUINCEY, having secured a rating in
the navy, served in various ships, the Diomede, the
Superb, and the Prometheus, and was at least twice
in London for a few months at a time, when, in the
years 1812 and 1813, he saw something of his family,
though it does not appear that he visited Westhay.
In 1813 he journeyed to Westmoreland, and spent
some time there, though Thomas was then absent
from it. The following letters will attest these state-
" 1 8 SACKVILLE STREET, PICCADILLY,
14th Feby. 1812.
" DEAR BROTHER, Having met with a number of
unexpected Difficulties and delays in obtaining my
Discharge, I did not leave the Ship till the 4th of
this Month, and have been in Town a week. Mary
and Miss Brotherton have also been the same time,
and only left Town for Lincolnshire this Morning.
My Time has been so much occupied in attending
them, that I have done very little of my own business
134 LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY.
"It is so long since I heard from you that I am
uncertain whether you may not be in Town at the
time I am addressing you at Grasmere. As Mary
could give me no information on this point, I went
to Murray, the Bookseller, to get Coleridge's address
(expecting he might give me some intelligence), but
found he was on the point of leaving Town.
" Should you have any intention of visiting London
this winter, I hope it will be shortly, as I do not
intend, without any particular inducement, to remain
here above a Month.
" All were well at Westhay, according to the letter
which Mary got yesterday. The Bellman is King-
ing. Yours affectionately, K. DE QUINCEY.
" Please to write immediately.
"Tnos. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, nr. Kendal, Wstmoreland."
"WOOD'S HOTEL, PANTON SQUARE, HAYMARKET,
" 2nd March 1812.
" DEAR BROTHER, I think it necessary to apprise
you of my having shifted my Lodgings, lest you
should happen to address any letters to Sackville St.
It is not likely that I shall be able to gain any in-
formation on the point you wish, as I am not ac-
quainted with a single person in town, except one or
two half-pay Lieutenants. You may conceive I am
therefore tolerably dull, especially as I have been
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY. 135
rather unwell lately, and confined to the house. I
expect to remain in Town all this Month. If you
have not engaged any Lodgings you can have a
Bedroom here, by which means you will save the
expense of a Sitting-Eoom, as I have one. After all,
however, I do not seriously expect to see you until
I am on the point of going away, well knowing how
variable you are on these points.
" Jane, in a letter of last week, assures me in a
most passionate manner that you had solemnly sworn
to Mary to be in Town early in January. I hope I
may not have to bring an indictment of a similar
nature against you. Yours affectionately,
" EICH D DE QUINCEY.
"Tnos. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Kendal, Westmoreland."
[From Jane to Thomas de Quincey.~]
"BOSTON, Thursday, May 6th, 1813.
"MY DEAR BROTHER, I had Eichard's letter on
Monday. If it had come some little time since, I
should have made no other arrangement for my
journey than the meeting you in London ; as it is, I
can accomplish this as you propose consistently with
an engagement to go with Henry. He wishes to be
in Somersetshire for a short time, and in consequence
of such an intimation Miss Brotherton has invited
him to visit her previously, that we may have a com-
136 LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY.
panion for the whole journey. We mean to post,
having by an exact calculation ascertained that the
difference is trifling for three at the present exorbitant
rate of stage-coach travelling. If then you can con-
descend to take a fourth in a chaise from London, we
shall feel ourselves sublimely happy, supremely for-
tunate, &c. &c.
" Our plan is, shortly, this : we think of leaving
Boston, if nothing unforeseen prevents it, on or about
the ist of June, being in London the same night.
Later in the evening we must spend two or three
hours with a dentist ; then, leaving London in the
middle of the day, propose to go so far the first night
(forty or fifty miles, for instance) as will bring us
to Bath in good time the next day to show Miss
Hodgson every part of it which is worth a person's
notice who has never seen a fine town, and never
If you approve of this plan and can vegetate with-
out much food (two meals a day at most), it will at
least be as economical as the generality of coaches,
and much pleasanter. Let us hear your mind and
where we may write to you in London, finally to
adjust all particulars ; but first and chiefly let us
know if we cannot come at once to your lodgings and
get beds there, supper and breakfast ; which would
be so much more agreeable, as well as cheaper, than
a hotel. If I recollect, the house is not small, and I
should think your recommendation could procure us
this piece of service, even in the possible event of
your changing your London destination, for they do
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY. 137
say such things have been. Pray make my kindest
regards and congratulations to the "Words worths.
Not to mention the pecuniary advantages of a situa-
tion (though I don't know what it is) of this kind,
I do really think he changes his residence for one
even more beautiful. How little to be expected in
going from Grasmere ! I envy Eichard his stormy
visit to the Lakes ; don't you remember how vainly
we languished to see Windermere in a breeze ? I
dined here in company with a Captain Smith, who
professes to be intimately acquainted with the Lakes
and all who live near them Wilson, Lloyd, King,
Lough, &c. &c. and talked with me by the hour
about them. I shall have abundance of questions
to ask, which I may as well spare now, as we shall,
I hope, so soon meet.
" I had a long letter from Mary to-day. She
observes very pathetically, ' We cannot hear from
Thomas.' La ! how odd that is ! ! You will find
them, as usual, very busy altering and improving the
exterior in them this is the outward visible sign
of the unhappy malady which we have all, I think,
agreed reigns in our family. For my part, I yet
feel so sane in some points that, were I not aware
that this species of delusion is common among mad
people, I should persuade myself that, by some happy
chance, I had escaped the contagion. Henry's dis-
temper rages violently just now. Take the following
instance : instead of following the simple route from
Oxford to Huntingdon, and from thence to Boston,
he goes to London ; then, without making any stay
i 3 8 LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCE Y.
there, by some truly wonderful contortions, and pass-
ing thro' various mail-coaches, he at length writhes
himself into Bourn thro' the most uninteresting
bits of country, then takes a chaise for a seven-
teen mile stage to Boston, by which plan he proposes
not the smallest pleasure to himself, and succeeds in
spending, as I can prove to a demonstration, three
times as much money as was necessary. I hope
Pink will pursue his intention of being in London
with you, and still more that he will at length rest
the sole of his foot at Westhay.
"Mr. Leeves has had one letter from Henry, 1
dated Gibraltar. I think he will very probably
deliver all your recommendations.
" I wonder to hear of such stormy weather in the
north ; we have had a beautiful spring, only too hot
and dry, and I understand the promise of fruit is
everywhere very great apples especially. Mr. Gee
has cut six or seven pines already.
"All desire the kind remembrances to you both.
My love to Eichard. I am now visiting Miss
Brotherton ; the young Gees are in London for a
short time. I have seen ' Kemorse ' 2 on the Boston
Theatre boards. Pray write an answer to my queries,
and believe me ever your affectionate
" JANE DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Ambleside, Westmoreland."
1 Henry Leeves, who, on account of ill-health, had gone to Malta
and Spain, &c., and carried letters of introduction procured by De
Quincey from Southey and others.
2 Coleridge's drama. It was published early in 1813.
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY. 139
On Friday, August the 6th, 1813, we find De
Quincey thus writing from Westhay to Miss "Words-
DEAR MADAM, I will trouble you or Mrs.
Wordsworth, when either of you happen to be in
Grasmere, to let Mary Dawson know that I may
possibly be at home on Saturday night, August 14.
Before that day she need certainly not expect me,
and I fear that not even then ; but that I may not,
in any case, come upon her by surprise, I think it as
well to give her notice that my present purpose is
to reach Grasmere about that day, altho' it may
happen that I shall be induced to stay a fortnight
longer. But there can be no harm, and much advan-
tage, in having things ready.
" On Sunday last one of my sisters received a letter
from my brother Eichard, dated London. I believe you
know that he is as restless as the sea. So you may
guess our astonishment at learning that he had only
just left Westmoreland. If he had known that I was
here, probably he w d have communicated more tidings
from Grasmere or the neighbourhood ; as it was, his
letter communicated nothing except a very short and
indistinct mention of Mr. Lloyd's illness in July.
This gave us all great concern ; but we collect from
the wording of it, that he had recovered before my
brother left the north. If Grasmere can be con-
i4o LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY.
sidered a change of scene for Mr. Lloyd, I trust that
you will not scruple to make use of my house : even
if I return as early as I talk of, you know there is
room for us all.
" "We have company in the house, and I write in
some hurry : else I have matter of one kind or
another that might fill a long letter. This must wait
till the next chance. Begging you to excuse my
brevity, I remain, my dear Madam, yours very
sincerely, THOS. DE QUINCEY."
[From Henry to Thomas de Quincey^]
" LONDON, HOLYLAND'S HOTEL, STRAND,
i^ih Dec. 1813.
" DEAR THOMAS, The design of this is purely to
be informed whether you really are in existence or
not. All parties agree in this, that nothing has
either been seen or heard of you since you left Bristol
to cross the Severn. Whether you arrived safe on
the Cisalpine Side is, to all but yourself, unknown,
but this is certain, that a few nights after your de-
parture my Mother had this extraordinary dream,
which, not being superstitious, she treated as a dream,
but subsequent events, together with this dream,
have contributed to a certain misgiving in my mind.
She dreamt that she saw my Uncle's fine watch,
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY. 141
consigned to your custody, floating in the tremendous
waves of the sea, with its works, of course, completely
spoiled. Such was the dream, you only can prove
the fallacy of it, which I most particularly request
you will do directly, if possible. If half a sheet be
incompatible with your occupations, half a line (just
a yes or a no) will satisfy me ; but I should like to
have a sort of outline of your past, present, and
future intentions whether you are coming to town,
and so forth. All inquiries in Tichfield Street (where
I know you have attractions superior to a Hewson)
have been unsuccessful.
" I have been in town and out of town so many
times this year, that any account of myself would be
but a tedious series of locomotions. Eichard was con-
fined to his apartments in town for some time with
liver complaint and rheumatism. He first lodged
at Hewson's; afterwards at 13 George St., Portman
Square ; and finally removed to Horseman's Hotel,
Whitehall, where I was resident with him one fort-
night. From thence we both proceeded, per Bristol
Mail, to Bath, where he is remaining with one of the
girls, for the advantage of warm bathing. I have
been introduced, by means of Mrs. Thatcher, to a Mr.
Stoakes, a Stock-broker in Throgmorton St., who has
promised his services towards procuring me a situa-
tion, either in one of the public offices or else in the
Bank of England. He is a person of considerable
influence, being nearly related to all the Scots, East
India Directors, a family, you know, very numerous,
and, in their way, powerful. I have called once on
i 4 2 LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY.
Stoakes, when he was in Bath for his health, and he
gave me his address in London. In short, Sir, he
means to introduce me to one St , a person of
great power in the Treasury, and right-hand man to
the Lord Chancellor.
" A new operatic piece called ' Orange ' is all
the fashion at Drury Lane ; and another new piece
entitled 'Illusion; or, The Trances of Nourjahad'
has been performed there 17 times without inter-
mission. It is somewhat prosing, as the design is to
show the miseries attending on a visionary and a
drunkard, and one who makes pleasure his sole object.
The apparatus of it, however, is more splendid than
that of the ' Virgin of the Sun.' The Story is taken
from a tale of the same nature by the late Mrs.
" I have a free admission for the whole Season to
Drury Lane. I have been rather tedious, and, of
course, not very entertaining, as epistolary composi-
tion, you know, is not the kind, of all others, in which
I excel. I had almost forgot to mention that the new
singer at C. Garden, Miss Stevens or Stephens, is
quite equal, and I think will be superior, to Mrs.
Billington, as is the general opinion.
" Eichard is in great distress about his trunk, which
he expected from your country. You, of course, know
that Coleridge has been lecturing in Bristol. And
now I hope you will absolve me from any imputation
of having diverged from facts, simple facts, in this
letter, unless indeed dreams be not facts. I only
wish to be consistent, which many people are not.
LATER GLIMPSES OF RICH. DE QUINCEY. 143
My direction as above, but only for a few days or a
week. Your affectionate H. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, Westmoreland."
EicLard de Quincey, whose life had been thus
chequered and eventful, died about the early age of
twenty-six, though no exact date could be given for
the event. He had been with his ship in Jamaica,
and at Port-au-Prince had gone on a sporting ex-
pedition to the Blue Mountains. From this expedi-
tion, so far as is known, he never returned probably
fell a victim to accident or to wild beasts.
HENRY DE QUINCEY.
HENRY, the youngest of the brothers, if he did not,
like his elders, run away from school, was constantly
in scrapes, which gave his mother and sisters no little
concern. He was, as Thomas describes him, " head-
strong," but a clever, high-spirited boy, averse to
discipline, like the others, but with more of worldly-
wisdom and, it may be, of calculation. Of his dis-
position and character some notion may be derived
from the following letters, as well as from stray refer-
ences to him here and there in other chapters. With
all his tutors he was soon at loggerheads, with the
exception of the last, the Rev. W. Gambier, from
whose school he had, however, to be removed for other
reasons, as will be seen. He married the daughter of
a sea-captain, a poorly educated girl ; but she managed
very quickly, as some women of her rank do, to pick
up some measure of education and good manners. It
is characteristic of Henry that he set up a considerable
establishment on the faith of a large allowance from
what he regarded as his rich nabob uncle from India,
and was disappointed ; for Colonel Penson, though he
had a fair income of ,700 a year on retirement, had
HENRY DE QUINCEY. 145
learned many expensive habits in India, which he
could not wholly give up, and, with the fullest affec-
tion and utmost desire to help, had little to spare to
his nephews after that time.
"BOSTON, August 27, 1807.
" MY DEAR BROTHER, I was not a little surprised
to find by your letter received to-day that you were
still at Everton. If I could have supposed that you
had been there I should have written before. I
believe I told you that Mrs. Pratt and Fanny came
to our house (in April, I think) for the health of the
latter, who was advised to try the Hot Wells air and
Water. After some weeks, poor Fanny continuing to
grow worse, Mr. Pratt and the whole of the family
came to be with her. My Mother gave up the house
in Dowry Parade to them, and Mr. Pratt took Lodg-
ings for us in Princes Buildings. After suffering very
greatly, the poor Fanny died about six weeks since.
In a short time after the family left for Shaftesbury,
Joseph for Cambridge. I came here soon after, and
my Mother is now gone to Shaftesbury, where the
Pratts took Lodgings for her. She intends to remain
there for some weeks. Henry is with her.
" I find I am expected to stay here six months.
Whether I shall or not, time must show. I shall
return through London, of course, if it were only to
see Jane. I called on her as I came. She says you
have never written to her. We have not heard any-
thing more of Richard, but his ship is daily expected.
VOL. II. K
i 4 6 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
" After having given you an account of myself, I
must now beg you will let me know something of
your proceedings. Why have you not been to the
Lakes ? Do you mean (I hope you do) to return to
Oxford next term ?
" I have not yet been able to get the ' Polish
Chieftain/ Did you not tell me that Chalmers'
edition of Shakespeare was the best ? What is the
price? I have ordered Graglia's Italian Grammar.
Is Poarretti's Die. the best ? I am afraid you will
not have patience to answer all these questions.
" I hope you will come to Oxford, for I shall feel
much more happy in the idea of your being so much
nearer to me. Believe me ever your affectionate
" I hope you have written to my Uncle.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
"At Mrs. Best's, Everton, near Liverpool."
"BOSTON, Oct. 2nd, 1807.
"MY DEAR BROTHER, I believe you are right in
supposing that no argument which could be used to
Henry would have sufficient weight to inspire him
with resolution and constancy enough to form and
maintain any plan of conduct. Yet I think it is
a pity not to make any exertion. You might write
to him and inquire what were his plans for his future
life, and, without appearing to persuade, give such
a fascinating description of a College life, for in-
HENRY DE QUINCEY, 147
stance, as should at least divert his imagination from
rioting in the delightful paths of tare and tret, as
you technically express yourself. If you could get
him entered as a student in Christ Church, it would, I
think, be an irresistible bribe to all parties ; especially
as my Mother has not any particular desire to have
him a merchant, but acquiesces in it as a means
which she expects will be likely to subdue the lofty
ideas inherent in the family, and because such a
choice requires the least exertion on her own part.
If a school could be found such as she would approve,
she would, for the present at least, I doubt not, be
happy to have him removed there. No one can have
a greater objection than myself to his present situa-
tion, for there, of all places, his ideas are the least
likely to be enlarged, as every boy is intended to
occupy the same station to which he aspires. Pray
let me hear your further ideas on this subject. I
remain your truly affectionate M. DE QUINCEY.
"Mr. Thomas Gee arrived from France about a
fortnight since. He obtained his passport through
the interest of Sir Joseph Banks.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" At Mrs. Best's, Everton, near Liverpool."
"BROCKLEY, Jan. 26th, 1810.
"Mr DEAR BROTHER, About two months ago I
wrote to you, begging you to send me the books you
promised me when you went away. I conclude, as I
1 48 ] HE NR Y DE Q UINCE Y.
have heard nothing from you, that it never came to
" I shall, however, be glad if you will send them
soon, as I am in great want of them, and I am being
continually asked whether you intend to send them
" I suppose you have heard that Eichard has had
the measles, and the usual concomitant, a bad cough.
" My Mother and Mr. Boak have canvassed over
a certain letter which appeared in The Friend
(signed c Mathetes ') about a dozen times. They
both agree that you are the author of it. 1
" Doctor Bridges asked me the other day what
college I was going to. I told him that I believed I
was to go to Christ Church, at Oxford, but that I was
not certain. He immediately exclaimed what an ex-
pensive college it was, and said that nobody but
Noblemen's sons went there, and told me that
Queen's at Cambridge was by far the best, as there is
a very pious head there.
" I have been at home for these 5 weeks past, and
1 In this they were wrong, however ; " Mathetes " was not De Quincey,
but Wilson. Others, and good judge?, made the same mistake, so that
there may have been a little of De Quincey in " Mathetes" after all (see
"Memoir," i. p. 179). We find De Quincey himself, however, writing
thus on the point : "Professor Wilson, in conjunction with Mr. (now
Dr.) Blair, an early friend then visiting Mr. Wordsworth on Winder-
mere, wrote the letter signed 'Mathetes,' the reply to which came from Mr.
Wordsworth " (" Samuel Taylor Coleridge," p. 100 vol. ii. of " Collected
Essays," original edition). The letter, along with Mr. Wordsworth's
reply, is printed in Wordsworth's " Prose Works," vol. i. pp. 297-308
(and answer, pp. 309-326), without the slightest indication of authorship,
so that the unwary reader might easily be led to the idea that " Mathetes "
was a mere ruse for Wordsworth, an editorial device to give him the
opportunity of reply. But it was not so.
HENRY DE QUINCEY. 149
we spent a week at Doctor Bridges' ; a most un-
pleasant week it was, too, for we had nothing at all
but discussions of Church preferment, and great and
small tithes ; how much one man's living amounted
to, and what he might make of it, if he would but
raise the tithes on cheese and apples. How is your
cottage ? Have you finished the grand alterations you
were making in the shrubbery ? Is the sweep made
up to the door ; for I shall expect to be set down
close to your door when I come in my carriage. My
Mother and all join in love to you, and I close my
letter in hopes that you will condescend to honour
me with a letter and a few books which I am much
in want of. Believe me ever your truly affectionate
Brother, H. DE. QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, near Anibleside, Westmoreland."
"BROOKLET, Dec. nth, 1810.
"Mr DEAR BROTHER, Having long since given up
all hopes of hearing from )^ou, I now sit down to
write to you, though much in doubt whether or not
you still enjoy the light of the sun. But though you
may not perhaps be absolutely lost to nature, you
certainly are to the world in general ; for I believe
you never use a quire of epistolary paper from
January to December. You know, I suppose, that
Eichard has just now been home, and returns to
Portsmouth to-morrow. His health, though lately in
150 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
a precarious state, is now, I am happy to say, restored.
He lias not yet got a ship, but expects to, very
shortly ; and, what is very probable, a ship that will
require to be laid in dock for perhaps a couple of
months, which time he may, very comfortably, pass
" I am now going to inform you of a thing by no
means either uninteresting or unpleasant to myself.
"We break up on the iQth inst., and I have now but
one tedious week to remain in this place. Never was
a reprieved malefactor more extravagantly joyful or
more unexpectedly released.
" Where I am to take up my quarters next, time
only can discover. But of this I am satisfied, that,
wherever it be, it cannot be worse than this place.
" The manner in which I have been calumniated
behind my back and reviled to my face is dreadful.
It is, however, all comprehended under the sweeping
sentence of ' restraining the vicious ' and ' turning one
out of many to the fear of the Lord,' for this is what
he includes in his prayer every evening. He takes
also every opportunity of cutting me up, by reading
particular parts in 'Bobinson's Scripture Chapters'
and 'Burder's Sermons/ which he thinks applicable
to me, pronouncing them with a fiendish pleasure,
and frequently enlarging upon them out of his own
head. This, he thinks, puts me on the rack ; but,
poor ignorant fool, how grievously art thou mis-
" I am extremely curious to hear some intelligence
of you ; at least whether you are dead or alive. If
HENRY DE QUINCE Y. 151
you think you can possibly make up your mind to
dictate your thoughts, and have a scribe to execute
the mechanical parts of a letter, it would be very
thankfully received. Indeed it is so long since I
have seen a letter from you, that I am quite curious
to see what sort of a thing it is. Pray send me
some account of the Grasmerian affairs, how many
hundreds you have received for metaphysical works,
&c. &c. My Mother, Mary, Jane, and Richard de-
sire their love. Believe me your truly affectionate
Brother, H. DE QUINCE Y."
"LANGLEY, May 13^, 1811.
<f MY DEAR BROTHER, Here am I in Kent, very
much delighted with my situation. The Gambiers
are a very pleasant and genteel family, and very
kind to me. The only thing I find at all disagreeable
is, that people are too lazy to write to me, and so I
wait from week to week without receiving a com-
munication from any part of the world. It is, I
believe, some seven ages since I heard from you.
' My brethren, these things ought not so to be/ One
reason why I now write to you is to request you to
send me my certificate of being a member of Brazen
Nose, which you know I brought from Oxford with
me, and which you, being afraid I should lose it, said
you would keep for me. I hope you will not have
to tax yourself with the same thing as you suspected
me of, viz., having lost it yourself. Another reason
152 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
why I write is this ; i.e., if you could conveniently
lend me 2. The reason is, that I have but a very
short time ago written home for some money, and
they sent me some, commenting at the same time
very keenly upon my extravagance, and hoping I
should not make another call very soon. Now, from
various unforeseen accidents, I am at present reduced
to great poverty ; nevertheless, I would rather endure
to be penniless than let them know I am so soon
in want of a fresh supply ; so that if you could be
good enough to lend me the sum above mentioned,
I will return it the first time I have a reinforce-
ment from Westhay. By the bye, I think my
Mother and Sisters are by this time at Grasmere.
If they are, do not let them know one syllable of
" I will now tell you what my studies are. Ever
since I came here I have been employing the after-
noons in studying Algebra. Mr. G. is a violent lover
of Mathematics, and has indeed attended a great
deal more to that than to the classics. He was of
Sydney Sussex at Cambridge. I have just read with
him a most difficult piece of Greek, and, as I am
told, the most difficult in the language : I mean the
1 Funeral Oration of Pericles/ extracted from Thucy-
dides. At present I am. reading e Longinus de
Sublimitate ' and Quintilian, previously to which
latter I read a good deal in Livy ; but finding it too
easy to improve myself in the difficulties of the
language, I, by the advice of Mr. G., am now read-
ing Quintiliau. Mr. G. is a man as different to old
HENRY DE QUINCEY. 153
Boak as Nero was from Trajan. He is a perfect
Gentleman, being related to several noble families
in the Kingdom, and having been accustomed to mix
in the higher circles. He permits me to do exactly
what I choose, equally as if I was at the Univer-
sity, and on that account never finds his easiness
abused. The whole family is perfectly genteel,
especially the daughters. They have been brought
up in the solid and useful branches of education,
without all those vain and contemptible things which
are at present thought to be necessary ' accomplish-
ments. 1 Mrs. G. is a woman of good family, and
still retains much of her former beauty. Miss G. is
about 28, being a complete Mathematician and Latin
and Greek scholar. All the others have learnt
more or less of Mathematics. There are 4 daughters
and 2 sons. By the bye, Mr. G. published a book 2 or
3 years ago entitled c An Introduction to the Study
of Moral Evidence, or of that Species of Eeasoning
which relates to Matters of Fact and Practice/ It
went through two editions. Have you ever met
with it ? If you have not, you can see mine when-
ever we meet. It is a book which the Edinburgh
Review, seemed afraid to handle. 1 Price 43. 6d.
Will you let me hear from you as soon as
1 Mr. Gambler's book appears to have met with a considerable suc-
cess. It was originally published in 1806 ; a second edition appeared
in 1808; and a third and much enlarged edition was issued in 1844.
The title is correctly given above, and it contained an Appendix " On
Debating for Victory and not for Truth "certainly not the least wise
and practical part of the book. He was incumbent of St. Mary-le-
Strand, Westminster, as well as Hector of Langley, Kent.
154 HENRY DE QUINCE Y.
" If the Westhayians are with you, give my love,
and believe me your truly affectionate Brother,
H. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, Westmoreland."
"LANGLEY, June yd, 1811.
DEAR BROTHER, Some time ago I wrote to
you for the purpose of requesting you to lend me, if
it were convenient to you, 2. As, however, I have
not yet had any communication from you, I con-
clude that my letter never reached the place of its
destination. If this should be the case, it will be
necessary for me to re-explain, as I did in that letter,
the causes which have reduced me to making this
request. It was not long since I wrote to my
Mother for a supply, which she transmitted me ;
but it was accompanied with a veto against making
another call soon. This call, however, I am under
the necessity of making somewhere or other; but
I would rather be penniless (as I at present am)
than ask my Mother for any more. She would say
I am dreadfully extravagant, though, in fact, she is
totally unaware that I have to pay every little bill
which I incur here, since Mr. G. is not in the habit
of paying any small bills for us. So it comes to pass
that I have scarcely had any money to spend upon
myself. Nay, I have not even wherewith to pay a
letter's postage. If, however, you could be good
enough, without inconvenience to yourself, to lend me
HENRY DE QUINCE Y. 155
^2, I should be much obliged to you. I forget
whether I told you my direction ; but lest I should
not, be good enough to direct to me at ' Eev d J. E.
Gambler's, Langley, Maidstone, Kent/ I will return
it, the next instalment I receive from Westhay. I
also requested in my last letter (which I suppose to
be lost) that you would send at the same time my
certificate of being a member of Brazen Nose. If
you remember, you told me that, as I might possibly
lose it, you would keep it for me. In case, though,
you should yourself have lost it (which I should not
be greatly surprised to hear, as I suppose it migrated
into those bottomless chests of metaphysics 'from
which no traveller returns '), I say that in this case
it will not, as I should imagine, be of any material
consequence to go to Oxford without it. If, how-
ever, it should be forthcoming, I will be obliged to
you to send it when you write. Let me know also
whether my Mother and sisters are with you at this
present time. I know that was their intention, but
have not heard one syllable from them or from any
one else since the loth of April. ' tempora !
Mores ! ' I wrote to Eichard a short time since, but
have not heard one word from him yet. I fear that
that letter also miscarried. 1 intended, had my
finances permitted, to have made a pedestrian tour
from hence to Chatham, and so all along the sea-coast
to Dover, during the holidays, which commence on
the 2oth, but I fear I must relinquish the scheme.
" I have a great wish to know how you stand as
to health. Is not your cottage now surrounded with
156 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
roses, and do you not ' rifle all the breathing
spring ' ? I am fagging hard at Longinus, Quintilian,
All the family are well. Pray write immediate] y,
if possible. Believe me your truly affectionate
Brother, H. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, "Westmoreland."
"GRASMERE, Saturday, June 8th, 1811.
(< MY DEAR BROTHER, Your second letter respect-
ing the loan of 2 [dated June 3rd], I received late
last night: your former letter, dated May I3th, had
not [as you suppose] miscarried ; it had reached me
duly ; but the truth is that it found me without any
money ; I had therefore, first of all, to write to
Manchester for money ; and then a second delay in
sending the bill, which I received from Manchester,
to Keswick that it might be discounted. This being
effected, I was just purposing to write by the next
post, when your last letter arrived. I now enclose
you two Bank-of-England notes for one pound each
Nos. 1/430 and 18992. I shall be in Town some
time next winter ; so that it will be better to repay
me then [if you should find it convenient] than at
any earlier time ; since, by sending the money in a
letter, double postage at the least is incurred which
I dislike as an expense out of proportion to the
smallness of the sum. I am sorry that it should be
HENRY DE QUINCEY. ,57
necessary for me to say anything about repayment ;
but my present income is so limited that every
shilling is important to me. I take the liberty of
suggesting to you that, if bills are presented to you
for payment which my mother supposes to be paid
by Mr. Gambler, it cannot be necessary to do
more than barely to state that fact for your full
justification in drawing upon her for more money.
Do not suppose, from my saying this, that I feel any
reluctance to lend you the money ; on the contrary,
I have great pleasure in accommodating you ; and
beg that, if you should be in any difficulties hereafter,
you will at least mention them to me, that I may
assist you as far as my means allow. But yet excuse
me for reminding you how impossible it is, with
your fortune, to live without economy ; and yet, if
undilapidated, what an invaluable freedom as to
your choice of profession and what vast assistance
for creating a gentleman's competency in any pro-
fession that fortune will secure to you !
" The Westhay party are not yet arrived ; nor, I
believe, on their road. My last account of them was
dated May 3rd, at which time they were waiting to
adjust the dispute about the tithes with an agent of
Lord Darlington's, who was not expected before the
beginning of this month. I shall of course say
nothing to them about your application.
" Mr. Gambier's tract I have not read, though I
have often heard of it. As to the approbation of the
Edinburgh Keviewers whether expressed, or [more
honourably to Mr. G.] implied in their fear to grapple
158 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
with it, whether sincere or insincere, I cannot say
that with me it has any weight at all : in whatever
numbers of the Edinburgh Review I have ever seen,
their errors and ignorance in those parts of know-
ledge which deal with definite and tangible subjects
even [as Political Economy, &c.], would alone have
been sufficient to convince me that their power is
grounded on the weakness of their readers and their
opponents. But tbat on which I chiefly rest my
contempt of the Edinburgh Review is its utter
feebleness [not merely error, which may often
consist with strength] as intellectual power in
all those parts of knowledge which are employed
about the indefinite [e.g., Moral Philosophy ^Esthe-
tics Legislation Metaphysics, in the English latitu-
diuarian use of that word] ; on subjects of which
class only can any truly great and Kare^o^v intellec-
tual power be manifested. Their papers on mathe-
matics, I am told, have gained them much credit ;
but I must ask with whom ? What known mathe-
maticians are there at this time in England whose
testimony to their merits can be of any value ?
These papers, however, I have never examined, and
upon them therefore am not entitled to an opinion ;
[once, indeed, I read a page or two, in their account
of a work of La Place's or some other French mathe-
matician, which convinced me that they were utterly
unacquainted with the history at least of Continental
mathematics and with the claims of the Germans].
I shall, however, go through those articles the next
time that the Edinb. Rev. falls in my way. From
HENRY DE QUINCEY. 159
all tins I do not mean to infer that Mr. Gambler's
book cannot be a good one because the Ed. Reviewers
have happened [whether positively or indirectly] to
express their respect for it ; for it may be a good
book in spite of their respect ; but simply to remind
you [for I think I must have said it to you before]
that to me at least such respect is no recommenda-
tion of a book.
"To-morrow morning is a post-morning from
Ambleside ; and, as we have but four post-days in a
week from Ambleside, and have also much difficulty
in getting our letters conveyed as far as Ambleside
[which is between 3 and 4 miles from my house], I
think it not right to miss an opportunity which now
offers, of sending it thither by a careful person ; as I
should thus not only miss to-morrow's post but also
be obliged to keep the letter back, several days per-
haps, for want of a conveyance to the post-office.
I would otherwise have written more at length.
Believe me, dear brother, most affectionately
yours, THOS. DE QUINCEY.
" If you write soon to Westhay, you can mention
to them that you have heard from me, which I shall
understand as an intimation that the money reached
" I had nearly forgotten to say anything about
your certificate of matriculation : I have it very
safe ; but, as I never heard of anybody's being re-
quired to produce his certificate, I think that I had
better return it to you in the winter when perhaps
160 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
you can join me in London for a few days : for it
would add to the postage ; and, if the letter should
be lost, would be irrecoverable. You need have no
doubt of its being safe in my hands ; I never lose
" HENKY DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
" Rev. J. E. Gambler's, Langley, Maidstone, Kent."
"ARDWICK, August 1811.
" MY DEAR BROTHER, Last week my Mother re-
ceived a letter from Mr. Gnmbier, informing her that,
having discovered the existence of an attachment
between Henry and one of his daughters, and having,
as he said, spoken to both parties on the subject
without success, he must beg her to inform her son
where to go, as he could not keep him any longer
in his house. He regrets to part with him, but
considers himself bound in honour to put a stop to
anything of this kind which concerns one of his
pupils. My Mother has written to endeavour to
prevail on Mr. G. to keep him till October, when he
goes to Oxford, hinting to him that violent measures
were not likely to produce the effect he desired.
This being done, she informed us that if Mr. Gambier
would not keep him, it would be necessary to return
home and receive him there. Jane and I were at
that moment going out to dine with Mrs. Elsdale,
and had therefore no time to combat this plan, but
contented ourselves with thinking it too monstrous
HENRY DE QUINCEY. 161
to be put in execution. The next morning, however,
she got up, having determined that it was more
advisable to go on to you, and endeavour to procure
a lodging for him at Grasmere. But as she had told
Mr. G. she would await his answer here, and none
having arrived this morning, I am under the grievous
necessity of informing you that we are not to set off
till Thursday. If we do not arrive at your door on
Friday Evening just as the Kettle boils over, con-
clude we are dead, dying, or mad. The valuables
you enquire after were put into a box containing
books, which was sent off three weeks since in the
waggon. My Mother's illness has been of the same
nature as mine, and was probably hastened on by
her attendance upon me. She is still weak and
unable to bear company. Northern air, our Doctor
says, is the best thing in the world for both of us.
11 After dinner: Mrs. Kelsall waiting for my
letter. I am very sorry that you will not receive
this till "Wednesday. Notwithstanding the checks
which I have received by these continual delays, my
spirits have risen to such an extraordinary height
in the near prospect of seeing you that I am hardly
like a civilised creature. Once more adieu till we
meet. Your affectionate M. DE QUINCEY.
" THOS. DE QUINCEY,
" Grasmere, Ambleside, Westmoreland."
162 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
"LONDON, 13 COVENTRY ST.,
"2gth August 1814.
"DEAR THOMAS, After calling at Townend at 6
or 7 different periods, and remaining there latterly
the whole of 22nd and 23rd inst., T at length 'gave
up the ghost/ for I perceived that at least nothing
more than your ghost made its appearance, and not
even that to my waking visions. After visiting the
Scotch Lakes and the Clyde falls, I stepped down
to the English Lakes all which, as well as Lowther
Castle, I saw in 4^- days, to my full satisfaction, for
with most of them I was much disappointed. From
thence I went to Liverpool, where I stayed 4 days,
and then departed for Whitehaven. With the help
of 4 horses, I reached it just as the mail was going
on board. Went on board and cleared the harbour
at 1 1 at night ; and after a dreadful passage of 40
hours (during which nothing but puking was heard
on the gale) we arrived in Douglas Harbour, Isle of
Man. Next Day but one, hired the packet, and
sailed from Peel town, and after a passage of 18
hours (during which we were driven 30 miles down
Channel) landed at Ardglass, county of Down. Hence
I procured a carr (i.e., a common cart) as far as
Downpatrick, 8 miles, from which place I proceeded
in chaises to Newry, Co. of Armagh, arriving there
at 9 in the evening. The Dublin Mail being quite
full that night, I was content to sleep there, and in
the morning proceeded in chaises to Dublin, 50 miles
HENRY DE QUINCE Y. 163
(64 English) ; and owing to bad driving did not pass
Santiy Wood (the nest of Collyer and his Satellites,
and the place where the Belfast mail was stopped) till
10 that night. The post-boys drove past it at full
speed, being much more alarmed than I was, as they
said they never had passed it so late in their lives.
" We arrived, however, safely at Prince of Wales's
Hotel, Sackville St., where I stayed 5 days, for the
sake of viewing Dublin and being present at the
grand musical festival, attended by Catalani, M dme
Bianchi Lacy, and M dme Ferlendio, as also Signor
Chiodi, a very fine Bass singer. It was Sunday
evening when I got to Dublin, and on Monday
morning heard the * Messiah' very finely performed.
Catalani exerted all her powers. As soon as the
Lord Lieutenant and Duchess of Dorset entered, the
whole orchestra struck up ' God save the King,'
which was most divinely sung by Catalani solo.
The following day I attended a concert at the Rotunda
at which was a very crowded, though rather mixed
company. Madame Gerbini on the violin and Lindley
on the violoncello astonished without pleasing. But
a performer who accompanied Catalani on the Oboe
was most enchanting. On the following Friday was
exhibited a very grand display of Fireworks given
by Lord Whitworth but at these I did not think
it worth while to be present, so departed the day
previous for Limerick, thence to Killarney, Cork,
Cove of Cork, Clonmell, Waterford, Wexford, and
Wicklow, back to Dublin ; thence to Belfast, which
is the most beautiful brick-built town in the 3
i6 4 HENRY DE QUINCEY.
KiDgdoms, and contains 40 thousand inhabitant?.
Proceeding to Donaghadee, I crossed in Packet to
Port Patrick, arriving there at 1 2 night of Saturday
2Oth August, where I found to my joy that, the mail
for Carlisle not starting till next morning, I might
enjoy 6 hours' sleep, having travelled 108 hours
without closing my eyes. Monday at 4 A.M. arrived
at Carlisle, and went by chaises to Grasmere, where
I stayed two days then proceeded to Bolton Abbey
and Leeds, whence the Mail brought me to London.
As I did not think it worth while to stop till morn-
ing for Eockingham, the fare in which is raised as
high as Mail fare, i.e., 4 guineas ; but I was sorry
I did not take the Eockingham, as it is only one
night on the road, and the Mail 2 nights. Nothing
should induce me to set foot in Ireland again, as I
may safely affirm it to be in all respects the most
detestable country in the world with not one beauti-
ful spot but Killarney, and even there the air is
poisoned with Eoman Catholics. Excuse this abrupt
ending, but truly a Eoman Catholic is to me so
detestable, that if I thought one of them could go
to Heaven, I should prefer the other World.
"The two Theatres are coming out in a fort-
night with such magnificent alterations as cannot till
seen be conceived. In a fortnight or so I think of
going to Bath. Your affectionate
" HENKY DE QUINCEY.
" When last in Kendal I had no money, but a bill
on London, which Kelsall had sent me. On present-
HENRY DE QUINCEY. 165
ing it for cash at the bank there, they did not much
like changing it, as the two first names of indorse-
ment were scratched out ; and they would not have
it without I could mention some respectable name
about Kendal. I therefore mentioned tbat you were
my Brother. If, therefore, they send the bill back to
you, be so kind as to pay it for me (15 pounds), and
I will immediately enclose you the money, on re-
ceiving the bill enclosed from you, as in that case
I must return it to Kelsall.
" THOS. DE QUINCET, Esq.,
" Wrington, Bristol."
Henry de Quincey, who, on attaining manhood,
developed very decided marks of phthisis, died at
the early age of twenty-seven, at Bristol.
LATER LETTERS FROM DE QUINCEY's MOTHER.
" Feb. 23, i CHURCH ST., BATHWICK,
"My DEAR SON, I am so exceedingly anxious for
some further Tidings that I can no longer endure
the feverish watching of the post-hour day by day ;
not only Margaret's state, but your whole condition
I would know, if I possibly could ; for you may re-
member that you not only left very fearful appre-
hensions alive as to the twofold evils of your wife's
affliction, but also made me feel that your own
health and spirits were much broken, as well as, by
implication at least, to draw something very like
a conclusion that on the I4th of this month your
resources would be closed up. Now, the whole
account, so much beyond most former grievous com-
munications, has left an abiding foreboding with me
on all and every part of your trouble. And as I feel
much, I must also say, having no intention of stand-
ing aloof from your family in distress, I wrote to
my Brother after your first letter, and have received
more than one enquiry from him, and on Friday
could no longer delay telling him that I heard no
LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER. 167
more ; so I suppose he may think all things restored
to their usual state, though I told him I did not, but,
on the contrary, was entirely occupied in preparing
my mind to meet a difficult and painful development
" Your Uncle is a kind Man, with some pecu-
liarities, but none which bring his good qualities into
question ; and though he will not come here to meet
Jane, with whom he is sadly offended, certainly not
without reason, he expressed a wish to meet me, and
that to discuss the means of giving help in case your
poor Children should be left without the care of a
Mother, though he would on no account appear in
the matter. When I was staying at Mr. Roworth's
in July, this really kind Man came down to Bristol
privately to meet me fur one day at an Hotel, when,
though I neither could nor would attempt to persuade
him to live with us again, I thought I might have
brought him nearer, but failed utterly : so that
(as I cannot but say my good Brother's infirmity is
suspicion, where there is the least appearance of
reserve, of something in the background) I cannot
but wish myself more in possession of the whole
truth of your condition, quite as much, I am sure,
on account of your family as for any other reason ;
I may certainly say for no reason which is not com-
bined with that one paramount interest.
"Mr. Serle and Jane have both thought that an
Indian family, who have laid themselves down to
serve and please my Brother, have crooked ends to
secure. 1 do not, however, lend myself to that
j 68 LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER.
thought ; first, because I think well of these friends ;
and, secondly, I believe my Brother to be a Man of
the strictest justice ; and although he will not en-
counter Jane, he offered in her suffering state to
take her to Cheltenham, that is, to find the money,
if medical men advised the trial, so that his kindness
is no more extinguished than his integrity.
" Strictly, I believe I am not quite right in saying
this much, but surely you will see what impels me
to say it. I am now ever your affectionate Mother,
" THOS. QUINCEY, Esq.,
"Porteous's Lodgings, 18 Duncan Street, Edinburgh."
"April 1 8, 1829, BATH,
i CHURCH STREET, BATHWICK.
" MY DEAR SON, Doubly pressed to write by my
anxiety to hear of you and by my intelligence yester-
day that my Brother will be here on Thursday next,
23rd, from whom I have had several enquiries which
I could only answer by saying ' no letter.' Yesterday
he says, ' I wish I could hear anything good of poor
Mr. Quincey's wife.' Oh then, good or bad, do not
let your Uncle think you scorn his really kindly
excited interest for Margaret. I wonder it does not
occur to you that I can hardly help fearing, since
what you said of William and your promise of a letter
in 4 days on 28th March, that something dreadful
may have occurred about William or as you were
sick with grief then (though that is a slow-killing
LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER. 169
malady), you may now by more channels than one be
drinking deeply of sorrow. I do sincerely advise you
to write immediately, for your Uncle makes only a
flying visit in his road elsewhere, and must needs
think affairs not so bad which are not worth com-
municating to anxious friends. Surely at the worst
you could use another pen to say a few words.
" I will say no more on this subject, and only, in
answer to other parts of your last letter, tell you, if
you knew how my mind has been disturbed by the
Catholic business, you would easily believe that I
require no apology for the like effect on others, and
though I do not feel exactly with you, I see enough
to make me tremble. I have had long misgivings
of any judgment I could form about it. Had the
time, and spirit of the time, been more favourable
for enquiry, I felt that my scanty knowledge and
mere common sense (as I saw in others) might
sooner make me a Babbler than a Judge, so that, at
the utmost, on the direct point at issue, I only said
my feelings are not satisfied that the Bill should pass,
neither could I repose myself on the integrity of anti-
Christian Rulers to legislate for us in this great affair.
After saying this much, I can now add that I do not
think emancipation the worst thing now before us :
it comes of our wicked misrule of Ireland, and could
not perhaps be long delayed ; and being convinced
that a large proportion of the best men, and very
able ones too, have long been of that opinion, not
only that we could not help it, but that the measure
is absolutely a right and a duty owing; though few,
jyo LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER.
I presume, think the Catholics will desist from the
prosecution of all their objects. The College of
Maynooth, and our thereby providing an idolatrous
Priesthood, this long-since committed transgression,
still continued, is most grievous. I fully expect that,
sooner or later, the bitter trial will come upon our
Church and nation which both good and bad men
have seen from far. It is but too clear that infidelity
holds one-half of our Houses of Parliament fast, and
formality or indifference the rest. The best hope is
that there is a spirit in the people at large, not yet
extinct, of religious feeling, and a zealous application
is now being made to that feeling by hundreds of good
men not to disturb the country, but to submit to
the laws, and to turn to God in earnest care for their
souls : these men are the true friends of all, though
equally hated by the High Churchmen and Infidels.
Lords Eldon and Lansdown, I fancy, like Herod and
Pilate, w r ould be good friends if they could effect the
laudable service of extirpating the Evangelicals.
" On the Catholic question, the letter of Dr.
Wilson met the floating, confused thoughts which
had taken possession of my mind indeed I had the
thoughts, but knew not how to turn them to any
use ; but his letter has at least given me the con-
viction that so it must be, and I seem to perceive
a light springing up in the gloom, of a revival of
religion : to use Mr. Serle's words now before me,
' I consider the Duke of Wellington as an instrument
to work for higher and better ends than any he has
proposed or ever dreamed of/ You need not, how-
LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER. 171
ever, fancy that I subscribe to Mr. Wilson's sanguine
Lopes without a fiery purification. The truth is, as
to my feelings, that a Church like ours, arrived at
such overgrown wealth, filled with the profligate sons
or relations of the nobility, wants pulling down.
" I now finish as I began, begging for a letter
by Friday Morning, and am ever your affectionate
Mother, E. QUINCEY.
" THOS. QUINCEY, Esq.,
"Porteous's Lodgings, 18 Duncan Street, Edinburgh."
" WESTON LEA, July 30, 1835.
" MY DEAR SON, We are now about to send off the
Chest containing your Uncle's Wardrobe, plate, and
household linen, devised to you. I should now ouly
be rejoicing to think of its comfort to you all, but I
must now append to this announcement some uneasy
thoughts which are busy to disturb my complacency,
for I cannot help recollectiug that when, in a time
past, you were contriving one of your migrations, you
spoke of selling your Goods and Chattels as an agree-
able expedient ! Now, as I may truly say we have
not kept to the amount named in the will, in plate
and linen, and have sent the Chest fuller and closer
packed than it was received, it would add to my
bitter regrets, both to think of my folly and your
scorn, of our goodwill in the surrender of our rights
and your disrespect to your Uncle's memory ; and I
need hardly add you would sell for a small sum,
1 72 LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER.
plated things for nothing, what you could not buy
for a large one.
" I have sent also, packed at the bottom of the
Chest, the Books promised, namely, Scott's Bible and
Commentary, with the manuscript Prayers, and also
a small vol. of printed prayers, which with all the
Scotch words, or, I should say, combinations of words
which do not always suit my ear, I think much better
than my labours have produced; that is to say, breath-
ing a higher, purer air than mine ; so you may see I
do not, like you and Mr. Ord, contemn all Scotch
things : of English things, men, and manners I have
not much good to say at present. The exposure of
popery as it ever was and must be has just given
a shake to English sleepers, but I fear they will soon
go to sleep again. This City [Bath] is perfectly
entranced and in love with Dr. Baines' popery and
music : I mean its gentry, and two-thirds of the
whole population, if not more, thoroughly Radical.
I have a good hope young Margaret will like Char-
lotte Elizabeth's ' Siege of Derry,' which I send her
with a Grandmother's love. My poor Brother was
listening to the conclusion of this story, the tears
falling down his furrowed cheeks, at the moment of
his seizure, which in 16 hours ended the mortal
" The Cheltenham Executor has been here, and
is now in London, with the other acting Executor.
"When they have proved the Will and wound up the
affairs, I suppose you will receive your first payment;
but, lest you should be deceiving yourself about the
LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER. 173
amount of your Uncle's property, I can, with sufficient
precision, assure you it is little, though quite as much
as I expected it could be. His income as Senior
Col. in the service, with off reckonings, Batta, and
other outlandish things, were altogether considerable,
but died with him ; and his disposable property, all
very honestly obtained, when the various legacies,
debts, and last expenses are discharged, over and
above your ^100 a year, will be to me for my life
as residuary Annuitant, and probably at the utmost
may amount to ^400 per an. ,200 of which I
have received from my Brother ever since Westhay
was sold, which he gave me in place of the ^6000
which it sold for ; so that my addition will be about
more or less than ^200. At my death this divides
between you and Jane ; I mean the whole ^400
divides between you as income. "While I Jive I
shall pay you ^100 a year, and conditionally some-
thing more. But I must now enter on some very
painful subjects : ist. I have heard and noticed
before, though you replied not, that you are still
an Opium-Eater, and this dreadful Drug, as it is its
nature to ruin the unhappy recipient, thus acts on
you, destroying alike both the will and the power to
discharge all bounden duties, to the full extent which
the more common forms of intoxication effect ! Well,
with all you wrote so well before me, of poor Cole-
ridge's dying opium misery, I am lost in the saddest
wonder, and what I have further to say, however
grievous, can be no wonder at all. That you write,
in a disreputable Magazine, on subjects and in a
i 7 4 LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER.
spirit afflicting, as I hear too, to your real friends,
I suppose may be accounted for in this way, that to
the last moment of opium delirium, you will not write
where you might with honor and no compromise of
your professed principles ; money being spent, and
no choice left, you take up with Mr. Tait ! Another
report I rejected as quite incredible, namely, that your
Children's education is neglected.
"I am so overcome with the great heat of the
weather that I find it difficult to write at all, being
by reflection, I believe, from Jane's afflicting malady,
almost as nervous as she, poor creature ! is ; but I am
so touched with your Children's misfortune, that I
am ready to help them, if I may be permitted. I
therefore propose that you shall procure and enforce
the instruction which I will pay for ; but observe, I
must and will only pay the School Bills, or if, as is
here the case, a day Governess is to be had who gives
a certain set time, which the Pupils are diligently
to work upon, so as to produce the expected results to
the Teacher the next day. I mention this mode, if
to be had, as the best ; but you may conclude that
this is an object close upon my best affections, and
for nothing else will I advance the money. I have
long been too certain that you were bringing up
your Sons in idleness, but hoping they were to be
made scholars and their minds taught to work, I
supposed they would be kept from falling necessarily
into profligacy, and live by literature, but I know
not where or what now to hope ; and my son, if
they are all brought up in idle ignorance, what but
LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER. 175
the worst can be expected ? I am sure of this, that
a Parent with your means who does this is utterly
unworthy of Children ; but still, in the present time,
where must the wages of this bad work fall the
heaviest ? In this time, bad as it is in many points,
to bring up girls in idle ignorance is only to make
them victims, not prepared to take their place among
industrious people labouring for bread, yet too igno-
rant to be received elsewhere ! ! I cannot express
my feelings as I ought ; I can only proffer my help ;
and if you can possibly be angry to hear the truth, I
too well remember what you said touching my respect
for the lowly virtues to be surprised, though not
shaken in my well-assured convictions."
[It is all too evident from this letter that De
Quincey's mother was the recipient of mischievous
gossip on many points ; and her very formal and
severe condemnation of Mr. Tait and his magazine
would suffice to show how little she was fitted to
judge or to advise in such matters, while the very
spirit and tone of her letter was only too likely to
rob it of any such effect as she intended and honestly
meant that it should have. As to the education of
the children, though in their more youthful years it
was perhaps more fitful and irregular than it might
have been, it was always attended to ; and not only
so, but many lessons in generosity and self-denial
towards each other enforced in the most winning
and touching ways. As to the sons, as they grew
up their education was made a special care ; and the
1 76 LATER LETTERS FROM HIS MOTHER.
positions they secured and maintained with honour
is the best witness for their father's carefulness in
this respect, for he was the only tutor they ever had.
But in this letter of his mother's, as in many others,
it is evident at once how anxious and tender was
her concern for the welfare of her children and her
children's children, and how apt, by too strong ex-
pressions and too ready acceptance of other people's
opinions, she was to undo all the effects which other-
wise she might have produced.]
LETTERS OF 1836-8.
AMONG the letters for the years 1836-8, we find the
following three, which may be given here the first
for the illustration it gives of Mrs. de Quincey's
resolution and self-denial ; for it tells that she rose
from her bed in her last illness (she died in August
1837) to serve the interests of her children. In
explanation of the letter, it may be mentioned that
Francis, De Quincey's son, had been sent, for change
of air and scene, to a place near Penrith :
" Postage Paid. Keep this letter. Half-a-crown for it.
" Wednesday, March 2, 1836.
" MY DEAR FRANCIS, Here is your money; namely,
One Five-Pound Note of Sir W m Forbes's Bank,
N 4" a ? , 2 May 1829. To-morrow comes Anne's
money ; namely, Twenty Pounds in 2 Ten-Pound
Notes of the same Bank.
" Now then, as to the use and application of
this money : First of all, order your clothes after
your own fancy : only, do not get any long coat
VOL. II. I77 M
178 LETTERS OF 1836-8.
but a jacket of any form you like. In to-morrow's
letter I will say everything about your journey ; and
I will advise you about the day : but observe I
will leave you free to do as you please as to the time.
Only, you must attend to my direction about the
mode of coming.
" Farewell till to-morrow. Your Mama sends you
a thousand kisses : and much you are indebted to
her in this very matter of the money. For had she
not got out of her bed, though very ill, to go before
the Lord Provost and sign various Deeds, no money
could have been got for you. Your affectionate
father, THOMAS DE QUINCEY."
The next letter, which must belong to 1837 or
1838 (it is wholly without date), shows the annoy-
ances De Quincey received from the liberties taken
by sub-editors and printers' readers with his proofs,
as they are very apt to do with the proofs of other
people. Here is De Quincey's protest thoroughly
" Mr. de Quincey presents his Compliments to Mr.
Hughes, and would beg the favour of his interfering,
before it is too late, to recover for him either the
MS. or the Proof of
" i. The close of his paper on Maynooth :
" 2. A note on the speech of Mr. Macaulay.
LETTERS OF 1836-8. 179
" At the same time he would observe that some
unknown person at the Press is constantly doing
him the most serious injuries. He has a list of some
15 to 25 cases, where capricious and generally most
injurious changes have been made after the whole
press arrangements Proofs, Eevises, &c. had been
closed ; never with any application to himself for
a sanction of these changes ; and, if the changes
happened to be by omissions, never with the slight
courtesy of transmitting a copy to himself.
"A striking instance of the rashness with which
such changes are made occurred last month. The
unknown persecutor, who follows in Mr. de Quincey's
steps doing secretly whatever mischief he can, took
upon himself to make the two following changes :
" i. A note upon the word Transcendental, ab-
solutely indispensable to liberate the word
from the grossest pedantry, he struck out :
" 2. But, which was worse (as totally perverting
the sense) he altered ' The dust to dust
ascended' into c The dust to dust descended/
If this had been right, he, the unknown
corrector, might have relied on it that Mr.
de Quincey's eye is too accurate to have
neglected it. His mistake arose from under-
standing the dust to dust of the thing, where-
as it was the word [viz., in English Burial
Service] which was really meant. The thing
descended ; but the words ascended.
" In the papers on Ricardo it was probably the
same person who substituted for the correct word
i8o LETTERS OF 1836-8.
Calendar, and 3 times over, the monster of a word
Calenderer : which evidently grew out of the follow-
ing blunder : It is a local peculiarity of Edinburgh
to call a ' mangle ' a calender : which arose originally
on the same principle as the term * Dumb-waiter ; '
i.e., the name of a person, indicating an office, trans-
ferred to a thing. The calender of Edinb., though
expressing a thing, does so under the idea of a
person. But this unknown critic, not aware of this,
supposing a calender always to indicate a thing, and
seeing that in the Ric. papers a person was meant,
fancied he would make it a person by adding the
syll. er, which made up such a monster of a word as
was never heard of before."
And it is evident that he suffered evils of the same
kind later. Here is one of his protests :
"Mr. Troup is quite unaware of the injury he has
already done me.
" i. Who is answerable for the beauty, for the
grandeur, for the effect of my papers ? Can he
pretend to say I will be so ? He cannot. He might
as well say : You shall act as I think morally right,
and I become answerable for the result. It is im-
possible. Every man must answer for himself. He
cuts away one-half from Michael Angelo's Sistine
Chapel, and says I will be responsible. He sends
for a house-painter to coat with paint the Trans-
LETTERS OF 1836-8. 181
figuration of Kaphael, and holds that if he bears the
blame, no harm is done.
" 2. But where or how does he bear the blame?
My name is there : his is not."
The fourth is a funny little note to one of his
best friends of that period, Miss Elizabeth Miller :
" Wednesday, May 9, 1838.
" MY DEAR Miss ELIZABETH, You see what a very
little shred I have left of note-paper; from which
follows one consequence that you will and must
approve, if you should find nothing else to approve,
in this billet viz., its brevity : brief, you perceive,
it must be ; that is its necessity. But I shall endea-
vour to turn this necessity into a merit : and how ?
simply by substituting for this brevity of pure
negation [viz., the not saying much] a positive and
meritorious brevity, the difficult Spartan brevity,
which does say much and even piques itself on
saying much, but within a very little compass.
" Well : having thus spent one side of my paper,
one page out of two, upon mere preface, how hard
I must work to fetch up the lost ground ! And how
can I be so absurd as to go on wasting more of my
narrow space in idle regrets for having already wasted
so much ? How indeed ? Vastly I should admire
the man that could throw any light upon that
182 LETTERS OF 1836-8.
problem : but I have a notion that much of tins
absurdity is due to the steel pen with which I am
now writing ; for I find that these metallic pens are
always leading me astray. However, if I ever am to
come to business, let it be whilst I still have a little
relique of space at my disposal.
"First, then, and this (be it known to you, fair
lady !) formed the original and the sole purpose of
my billet, the one only reason for writing at all,
I am uneasy to-day, aud in fact very uneasy under
an apprehension that last night by what I meant
for the most inoffensive and playful raillery never-
theless and in fact you were sometimes annoyed or
even hurt. "What reason have I for this apprehen-
sion ? Little or none, I must admit, beyond your
having once or twice suddenly looked grave : and
that is not much undoubtedly : but a little reason
becomes a strong one, you know, where the thing
feared would being realised inflict more than
usual pain ; as upon me it would to have caused
even a moment's annoyance to any member of your
family. Secondly, but that, being the most interest-
ing article of my note, its Spartan gem, I shall [after
the example of your sex generally, unless they are
grievously belied] throw into a Postscript. Mean-
time I remain ever, my dear Miss Eliz., your faithful
LATER LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
THE fact that so many letters of De Quincey's were
already used in the Memoir gave little hope of any
fresh " finds " from his hands ; but, from various
sources, a few belonging to the years 1854 and 1856
have come to our hands ; and these we shall present
here, just stitched together, as we may say, with a
thread or two of comment. The first is a playful
diatribe against a friend for failing to date his letters,
a fault from which, as De Quincey recognises, he was
not himself by any means exempt. He was prone
not only to substitute the day of the week, written at
full, instead of day of month or the year, and, what is
still worse (particularly in view of autographs, and
their increased value by age), he was prone to give
no signature at all, as if his sign-manual lay so in-
dubitably dispersed through the whole tenor of the
letter that there was no necessity to gather it up
in full-beaming individuality at the end. To his
daughters, indeed, he hardly ever signed himself one
way or another, and would sometimes despatch his
missives with no winding-up whatever, as though his
correspondence was meant to be continuous, and one
i8 4 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
epistle just to be tacked on to the end of the other.
But here is the letter :
"MAVIS BUSH COTTAGE, March 30, 1854.
" MY DEAR SIR, This morning I received, and
with very great pleasure, your letter dated not at all ;
that is, not dated by yourself, but by the motherly
old Post Office [whose dilapidated roof, you know,
finds itself of late clothed in purple and gold as a
' national grievance '] dated thus MAR. 29 H . I am
sure it must be a secret spiritual consolation to
every gentleman who in his race and strife with
Brandy knows how easily he may be overtaken by
the dreadful potentate, that in such a case his own
errata and oversights will be corrected and sup-
plied by the benign old lady in Glassford Street.
A good creature she really is but also a mysterious
creature. For mark those deep cryptical symbols,
held aloft like blazing cressets to some distant
corresponding scoundrel H close after the 29,
and underneath the whole, as the basis of some
inconceivable knavery, that tetragonic numeral or
digit 4. What is the first impulse on finding
oneself imcferwritten [as they say at Lloyd's], and
overwritten [as they say in no rational place that I
am aware of], and round-about-written [as they never
will say] in short, s^erscribed, subtersciibed, cir-
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 185
c^wscribed what, I ask, is the first, the earliest
impulse ? Why, this Like the faithful slave in the
Forty Thieves [what is her name is it Margiana ?],
one seeks to indorse H and 4 upon all the letters of
one's friends ; so that, if one has no chance of being
symbolic anywhere else, he might indulge it here,
and rely on the motherly old Post Office to be more
specific as it suits her. How much we of these later
days have to be thankful for; not Mercury, swift-
footed of the olden time, would or could have
attempted to do so much, though one half of his
mission was to mend the helpless failures of heroic
strugglers." . . .
The next two letters of the many addressed to him
by Professor J. P. Nichol of Glasgow are all we can
recover. They sufficiently explain themselves :
"OBSERVATORY, Glasgow, Feb. .
" MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, We have read your
second volume with increasing pleasure as we turned
over every successive page. But I now write for
business, not compliment. The Students here publish
an Album or Miscellany every two years. This year
it happens to be edited by my son. He wants to
insert ' The Elder Coleridge/ by Thomas de Quincey.
Would you object ? If not, don't answer me until
you are otherwise disposed. Eecollect you promised
to stay at the Observatory on your progress to
186 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
Ireland : I do trust that Florence and Emily will
count on us as a half-way house. "Would you further
oblige by telling me Mrs. Craig's real address ? Ever
faithfully yours, J. P. NICHOL." l
"OBSERVATORY, Glasgow, i6th April 1854.
" MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, I fear I must solicit you
to make my respectful apologies to Miss Florence
because of a crime of whose stain you, of course,
know nothing my defect of correspondence. I did
not infer, however, from what she wrote that an
immediate reply was absolutely requisite, nor did I
know, until Lushington told me a fe\v days ago, that
you felt anxious about that Nebula. Certainly you
can get a copy of it taken if you desire it, and my
brother James, bookseller of Bank Street, will indicate
the article. I think an aquatint plate would cost
only about 303. But I must use this great liberty
to ask you to reconsider about the paper. It may
seem presumptuous in me to say so ; but I recollect
that I did state at the time that your resolution of
the Nebula into something very different from Matter
1 John Pringle Nichol, LL.D., was born in 1804 at Brechin, in
Forfarshire, Scotland. He was a licensed preacher of the Scottish
Church, but early turned his attention to astronomy, to which science
he made valuable contributions : making an end of the nebular
hypotheses of La Place. In 1836 he was appointed Professor of
Astronomy in Glasgow University. He wrote many books, the chief
of which are " The Architecture of the Heavens " and " Contemplations
of the Solar System." He died in 1859.
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 187
was hardly so effective as might have been ; indeed,
notwithstanding its singular and undeniable power.
And the reason perhaps is that our other and real
ideas are so firmly nailed to such things, that it is
next to impossible, if not altogether impossible, to
detach them, and substitute anything else.
" But this first reason of mine may not be a
good one, or go farther than indicate the inveteracy
of my own materialism. Secondly, however, the
Nebula, as known now, is wholly different from what
it seemed then. Its form is not the same thanks
to the great telescopes, which have revealed so much
more of it ; and its composition is not now a mystery.
All which goes to render your way difficult, or, as
one might say (if one had been born in Tipperary),
yet more impossible for even your genius to accom-
plish the resolution aforesaid. You must pardon me
for writing that : nay, you cannot help it ; because
you thoroughly know how eagerly I have read every-
thing from your pen within my reach, and how heartily
I wish that you would turn out a real Almansor,
and that your pen would write on for ever !
"As to John's Album : he had many thanks to
offer you for your kindness. But he felt from the
first that he could not ask you to take any specific
trouble on his account, and the publication, besides,
could not wait. He will send you a copy one of these
days. His productions are signed J. N., 2, and
Basalt. He was obliged to put in more from his
own pen than he cared to acknowledge. Pray read
them and tell me what you think of them. I rather
i88 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
like Iris, Psammanitus, and the Ode from Catullus.
You will find in the same volume a brief appeal to
yourself concerning Kant. Don't imagine that /
have any pretensions to enter on controversy with
you on such a matter. But I think it would be
well if so important a matter in philosophical history
were set at rest. Do, therefore, take up the question
again, and by authorities set it at rest. 1
"Are you coming to Glasgow? If so, you will
not forget the Observatory. Say to Miss Florence
and Miss Emily that Mrs. Nichol and I should be
very glad if they could find occasion to make this a
resting-place on their way to Tipperary. Ever very
affectionately yours, J. P. NICHOL."
The next is addressed to his daughter Florence,
and tells of an escape which it almost looks as though
he had from personal violence by taking a round-
about ; for doubtless the villains who assailed and
beat the muscular carpenter would have found it an
easier matter to deal with him :
" Wednesday, September 26, 1854.
" MY DEAR FLORENCE, This day week, under coer-
cion of the Press, I was obliged to go away not an
hour, I believe, before you returned : and strangely
1 See Appendices iii. and iv.
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 189
enough, having gone a roundabout road by Pentland
and Morningside, I missed by one 30 minutes (it
was just dusk) a couple of villains who attacked
robbed and left almost for dead a master carpenter
well known to Mrs. Wilson of this house. He is
still lying ill in bed.
"On Friday or Sat., roaming along the Queen's
Ferry road, I met the two Misses Todd driving home ;
which home is Cramond House. Their Papa has been
very seriously ill. I promised to go over. Yester-
day I dined in George Square with Mr. Findlay and
Mr. Eussel (editors of The Scotsman).
" To-morrow or next day I will come over. The
4th vol. is about 200 pp. on its road to completion.
Yesterday, Mr. Findlay tells me, a London daily
paper (Globe, I think) had some large extracts from
the 3rd vol. : it is well that the book is thus kept
alive in men's remembrance. Forgive this egotism
Ever yours, dear F."
The next letter, the original of which is in the
possession of Mr. Alfred Mudie, is interesting as
anew showing the keen interest he took in all the
great questions of the day, and the delight he found
in throwing off his thoughts in letters to his daughters,
if no other channel opened. Mr. Mudie, in kindly
transmitting a copy of the letter, said : " The original
exactly fills the sheets of paper, leaving no room for
a signature. Miss de Quincey, in kindly sending me
the autograph, said that he seldom wrote letters, and
very seldom signed them. She offered a beautifully
190 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
written signature winch, she suggested, might possibly
have belonged to it. But I think the letter is com-
plete as it is. The signature was probably written
much earlier : the paper, pen, ink, and mental state
were all different : "
"Tuesday, Dec. 12 .
" MY DEAR EMILY, Parliament is at this moment
[J past 2] opening its sittings, unless some new Guy
Fawkes should kindly have endeavoured to warm its
damp cushions, squabs, and woolsacks, with a few
hogsheads of gunpowder. But what good will their
assembly do ? They will remove certain technical
hindrances to the free interchange of men and fire-
locks between one service and another. A militia-
man will be authorized to volunteer into the line.
But, when all is done, here comes the inevitable
result. Three months ago, when our people were
gathering at Varna c frequent and full ' for a run
over to the Crimea, I [and doubtless thousands beside]
said ' Within 2 months you, that now play the rdle
of Besiegers, will have become the Besieged.' Well,
that happened : the storm was a killing one ; but we
pulled through it by means of divine self-devotion
such as never ought to be looked for at the price of
i shilling a day. What follows ? Why, this that
possibly during the winter state of the roads out-
side of the Crimea, and altogether in consequence
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 191
of that state, we, the Allies, may so far obtain
the upper hand as to master the august fortress
[2e/3ao-To?, Sebastos, is the Greek version of the
Eoman Augustus]. Suppose this to happen on some
day bet. S* Valentine [Feb. 14 is it not ?] and
Lady-Day (March 25) which day, until the learned
L d Macclesfield interfered about 1752, ecclesiastically
opened the year. Good. The Park and Tower guns
will be fired ; Clonmell, perhaps even Tipperary, will
be illuminated ; and Eva * will crow exultingly a
little too early in the morning. And in Paris or
London there will be published by some great Artiste
des Modes the Sebastople for ladies, whether a bonnet
mantle or new variety of Chaussure, my pro-
phetic telescope does not enable me to decide. But
wait a little : in less than 2 months comes May-Day,
viz., May 12 0. Style; on which morning I fancy
that through my glass I descry the haughty stan-
dards of Eng. and France flying above the ruins of
the Citadel, but outside the walls a girdle of 1 50,000
RUSSIANS. It is true, we shall still have the advan-
tage of an open communication by sea. But the
enormous cost of a permanent defence against Russia
is what we never can support. Not to speak of
feuds that will too probably arise bet. the Allied
Armies, either through drunken rows among the
privates, or disgusts bet. officers, or jealousies in the
division of advantages and spoils. Now this special
case unhappily is the universal case. Nowhere has
1 De Quincey's first grandchild, a few months old.
192 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
Russia a Vulnerable point ; no heel of Achilles. Or,
if she had, and it were in the extremities and outer-
most limbus of her mighty disk, of what avail would
it be ? This we can do : we can mount guard upon
the Black, the White, and the Baltic Seas. That is
something. And if besides, in conjunction with the
Sultan, we can keep the Danube open, we shall have
improved our own position, and also that of our
client Turkey. The sword of the assassin, as you
know, is always hanging over the Czar, when his
foreign policy thwarts the interest of his nobility.
Tallow is good : but Tallow, that will not sell for
English candles, stenches in the nostrils of Asia.
Neither will Europe abide it. Hemp is good : good
for hanging people that you and I know: but, if
Hemp hangs nobody, and only hangs on hand, wast-
ing its sweet powers of suffocation upon the desert
air, then ' be hang'd to it ' say all the grandees of
Russia. And therefore through the commerce of
Russia always we can reach the Czar ; but in a pain-
ful way ; for surely none of us wishes the Czar to be
strangled ; which really was the fate of Paul the
last Russian Emperor that ranged himself steadily
against England. Alex, might do so theatrically, but
seriously all was understood to be nonsense. Here
then is my profession of faith : All is Vanity. We
shall fail yes, as much as if we fought the sea, or
fought the air. Sea and Air is Russia. 'Well/
you say, 'here is a long polit. lecture that I
didn't want/ Didn't you ? Well, then you can
make it over to Eva, who certainly does want it."
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 193
The next letter has to do with Dr. Samuel Brown,
and the estimate his friends formed of him, and
the more sober estimate of the world and of pos-
" Tuesday night, Sept. 23, 1856.
" MY DEAR EMILY, By this morning's newspaper
I learned for the first time the DEATH OF D B SAMUEL
BROWN. Not that I might not have learned it by
the same paper [Daily Express] of yesterday's date.
But it so happens that every morning, just as the
good old clock [which, by the way, Mrs. Wilson and
her sister generally call the knock] gives its 4 minutes'
warning that very soon it will reveal the hour of
9 A.M., I send off my daily penny newspaper to the
other [viz., the Northern] side of the entrance hail-
where sojourneth an English family named Worry^
pronounced not, as by the ill-disposed it will calumni-
ously be pronounced, but as the noble word WAR
would be pronounced with the addition of an affix ee ;
in fact, as the two first syllables of the word warrior.
They have been co-lodgers for a full week ; and every
morning of this week I, the undersigned, have duly
forwarded the said Daily Express, price one pennjr
for each several publication. Consequence of which
is that yesterday I did not observe at the very head
of the Obituary the following notice :
1 I have since found it to be Warry.
VOL. II. N
i 9 4 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
" ' DEATHS.
"'At Canaan Grove, Morningside, on the 2oth inst, Dr.
Samuel Brown, after a severe and protracted illness of eight
"But on this morning, viz., Tuesday, it was not
possible to escape the notification ; seeing that there
is an enormous art. from the Editor, clearly an
extravagant admirer, an outrageous adulator in fact,
calling himself by the vague name of friend which
sort of person it is that has so much mystified and
perplexed the whole atmosphere investing Dr. B.,
that finally no plain and honest judge, seeking neither
to disparage nor hyperbolically to exalt, has known
what to think of him. This night, for example, for
the first time my co-tenant, Dr. "Worry, called upon
me ; and naturally, as an Englishman who had never
heard till this morning so much as the name of
Samuel Brown, he applied to me for some informa-
tion on the subject. f It is hard for me/ he said, ' to
go along with such raptures as these of the Editor,
who says glibly that S. B. ' mounted by a single leap
far over the heads of Dalton, Davy, Faraday, and
all the foreign chemical celebrities. 1 Faraday, Dr.
W. went on to say, that personally he knew, and it
was, to his knowledge, not quite so easy a thing to
take a flying leap over him, or over Dalton and
Liebig. I told Dr. W. all that I knew, that Dr.
Samuel Brown was a very ingenious and able man,
but doubtless, in the eyes of practical chemists,
floored himself, to use a vulgarism, by aspiring too
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 195
high and aiming at too much; and, like Icarus, had
his wings singed, though he could walk well enough
on the solid earth, and deserved more credit for work
which his friends and admirers did not deign to con-
sider or in any way commemorate. And all that
comes, my dear Florence, of people erring through
extravagance and exaggeration, even with the most
amiable intentions. Dr. S. Brown had many good
and amiable traits, and was a man of penetrating and
powerful intellect, but his real claims are left in
the background, or overshadowed by crazy excessive
adulation, at which discerning people, as you see, can
only shrug their shoulders and laugh consumedly.
" Comes there any more of it ? Yes, just such
another half, which, when found, 111 take a note of
" ANTELOPE, [By this you will agnize the corre-
spond g Half when found]. "
The sixth and last letter of this sheaf conveys
something of De Quincey's estimate of the Bronte
family, whose genius he admired, more especially
that of Charlotte and Emily, but whose defects of
character he duly notes :
" Do you hear much about Miss Madeleine Smith
of Glasgow ? "What a strange case, when the sole
196 LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY.
possible accuser, so far as / know, is in his grave.
Have you seen Miss Bronte's posthumous novel, The
Professor ? The Brontes, meaning the girls, had
some very noble features in their characters, but not
many that were amiable. The males of the family
were scamps. Think of this the elder scamp (Papa,
I mean) always dined alone, like the Savages in so
many regions, and even Mahometan Barbarians, whose
wives eat apart (or perhaps after) their tyrants. Now
what excuse did the " leathery Herr Papa " make for
this practice ? Why (says Mrs. Gaskell), his stomach
being peculiarly delicate, it became requisite that he
should not be tempted away by a wider and mis-
cellaneous choice from his own simple diet. Simple !
So then his daughters no doubt had a luxurious
a tempting table ! Now elsewhere it comes out
that these poor girls, who through life were models of
self-denying abstinence, had mere plain potatoes for
dinner, without any animal accompaniment, and I
believe without any seasoning or sauce. Condiment
is pedantic. One after one, in regular succession, the
3 younger girls i. Charlotte, 2. Emily, 3. Anne
were turned out of doors to get their own bread in a
far worse service, to my thinking, than that of a
housemaid : for surely it is better by much to go
down on one's knees to scour the front door-steps,
with the prospect at night of creeping to an undis-
turbed bed, in humble respectability, than to make
one in a crowd of most vulgar Belgian girls ; gener-
ally vicious, inquisitive, scandalous, spiteful, silly, and
ignoble, gathered into one huge dormitory.
LETTERS FROM AND TO DE QUINCEY. 197
" Write to me, please, some short answer to my
questions. As to the loan, if you cannot conveniently,
never mind it. By the way, you must not suppose
that I am still holding the relation of Debtor to the
Inc. Tax Commissioners, as possibly you might F*
the sums being the same. 1 settled that at once.
No tick there, unless Tic douloureux. Yours affec-
MR. THOMAS GRINFIELD.
THE following letter from the Rev. Thomas Grin-
field, Rector of Clifton, frequently referred to in the
" Memoir," may find a place at this point :
"CLIFTON, Feb. 4, 1847.
" MY DEAR SIR, Happening only yesterday to
glance over, 'Notes on Landor, by Thomas de Quincey,'
in the January No. of Tait's Magizine, the brilliant
Writer's name, like a spell, wakened up such a train
of early recollections, that I resolved (unwisely per-
haps) to intrude on your ever-bright and busy mind
in this form of a few dull lines, and thus allow myself
the chance of a few, certain to interest me, from
your pen. Just 20 years ago, recovering from ill-
ness, I read with admiring interest (like others) your
* Confessions of an Opium-Eater/ afterwards your
' Autobiography,' and both, with the same revival of
young days and feelings, which prompts me now at
last to trouble you with this hasty and most unex-
MR. THOMAS GRIN FIELD. 199
[Here follows much information of a private kind
concerning his life and family during a quarter of a
century, and then he proceeds.]
" As though I had not enough tired you already,
I have taken (you see) another formidable sheet, as
the old Puritan divines sometimes turned the hour-
glass at the middle of their homilies, and announced
another glass ! The truth is, I rather recoil from
these last probably, as well asjirst words, with you,
to whom I must have long been an unknown rather
than unforgotten Stranger. You have redde your
history in the nation's eyes. Mine has been quite
the obscure and * fallentis semita vitce? But I have
never ceased to be ' Musis Amicus ! ' My elder-
daughter was united last summer to a literary and
a gifted person, whose name may have reached you,
Francis Barham, who has published the political
works of Cicero in his own Version, and re-edited
Collier's ' Eccles. Hist.' He has also printed a tragedy
of his own called ' Socrates/ and a Version of
Grotius's remarkable poem, 'Adamus Exul/ the sup-
posed germ of the ' Paradise Lost/ * He resides with
me, where I have passed the principal part of my
days ; now retired from the long-practised duty of
a parochial clergyman, for which declining health
1 Mr. Francis Barham, who was born in 1808 and died in 1871,
was the son of Thomas Foster Barham, a musician of some note. He
was a most voluminous writer and a man of most active mind. He
was the author of some nineteen works besides those mentioned,
among them being " The Alist or Divine," and was the founder of the
Society of Alists and of a Syncretic Society. He left behind him a
very large number of manuscripts.
200 MR. THOMAS GRIN FIELD.
would often disqualify me. I can remember your
very intelligent Mother and your Sisters, whom I
have met in an evening (many years ago) at the
late Mrs. Ford's house, of Clifton. It may interest
you to know that I enjoyed the acquaintance of
those two variously admirable men who adorned
this neighbourhood, Robert Hall and John Foster,
the latter of whom you must have specially liked to
converse with, and (so far as you might) explore the
hidden treasures of his so deeply meditative and reflec-
tive mind. But let me have mercy and regard to your
use of time. I hope that you are still favoured with
the blessing of nearly unimpaired health and vigour,
physical, as well as intellectual : and, assured
that you will excuse this friendly, however other-
wise unwelcome, invasion of your leisure, I remain,
with sincere best wishes for your happiness, your
Winkfield Schoolfellow and Friend,
" THOMAS GKINFIELD."
This letter was addressed, "Thomas de Quincey,
Esq., College Post Office, Edinburgh," and is en-
dorsed in De Quincey's neat handwriting: "Beceived
on this day, Friday, April 30, 1847, 3 P - M -" tne
delay doubtless having been caused by its lying at
the University Post-Office till some friend told him
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
IN a vast sheaf of letters and papers from strangers
connected with the later years, there are some
peculiar requests and confessions. That people in
the Western States of America should write gusLing
letters merely to tell the " Opium-Eater " how much
they had been interested in his works ; that others
should write asking where such-and-such an article
they had heard spoken of would be found ; that others
should write urging him to do what he was just then
doing collect his works ; and that some should
inquire whether he had ever written anything on
Moral Philosophy (!) and where, and should confuse
" Walladmor " with " Vladimir," is only perhaps what
might have been expected, as well as urge requests
for autographs, demands for opinions on scraps of
poetry, little essays, handsomely copied out or privately
printed ; and that young folks should ask for counsel
about embarking on a literary career. Medical men
in foreign countries seem to have been particularly
anxious to cultivate his acquaintance by corre-
spondence. It is most characteristic of him that he
struggled to answer these letters, and that mnny
202 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
of them were answered ; and that in the case of
almost each one he has noted on the back when
received, even to the hour of the day, and also the
nature of the contents. In this mass, however, there
were some bits of interesting and characteristic
quality, and most of all those in which the writers,
with that wonderful demand for comprehension and
sympathy which lies so deep in human nature, con-
fess themselves to him, and though hardly expecting
an answer, seem to find a satisfactory relief in having
thus unbosomed themselves, though in some cases
desirous of preserving the veil of anonymity or
pseudonymity. Here is one of that class, which he
has docketed and endorsed, " Keceived this morning,
May 3, 1853," with such exactitude and care as im-
portant or business communications too frequently
failed to secure from him :
"PROVIDENCE, E. L, April iqth, 1853.
" Who is this presuming to sit down and write a
letter to Thomas de Quincey, a man more honoured
by all who are capable of appreciating him than any
other English writer dead or living ? Indeed I
hardly dare tell him, for it is a lady, a young lady
who is confessing herself the vainest of her sex by
this simple act. And she will not tell him how
many sheets she has covered with her illegible hiero-
glyphics, and then sent them to enliven and enlighten
the dark heaps of sea-coal and anthracite, in her
humiliation at the thought of her presumption.
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 203
Yet I am very sure lie would forgive her if he knew
the homage her heart has been so long rendering him,
an homage far surpassing anything he could have
felt for the idol of his young affections. For the
man he loved had no soul, a splendid intellect he
had, which I could equally admire, but I should
never dream of loving him. How could you ? But
you were better able to appreciate that intellect in
all its length and breadth and depth, and not being
a woman, the heart perhaps was not of quite so much
" This young lady will honestly confess that Mr.
de Quincey is too profound for her woman's under-
standing and woman's education in his learned essays,
though he has not written a word that she has not
attempted to interpret. The ' Confessions ' was the
first book from his pen that she read, and she fell in
love with the boy, with his noble soul, his fearless
pursuit of what he thought right, and his manly
defence of all whom he loved. And perhaps it was
her love that blinded her to all his faults and foibles,
and made the sins, that many think almost heinous,
only little compared to the beams that should obscure
the eyes of those who criticise and condemn. But
when he went to live in Grasmere, and she wandered
with him for the thousandth and ten thousandth
time through all its woods and dells and sunny
vales, he would almost pity her if he could see the
tears she shed, such as no fiction ever wrung from
her eyes. And her woman's heart has yearned to
tell him of its fulness and its gratitude to one who
204 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
could retain through so many trials a soul as pure
and young and warm and fresh as it was in boy-
hood's days. Often and often she takes up the book
and lays it down to weep for his sorrows have
been in some respects like her sorrows, and her
intellect, like his, though not in degree or in pro-
portion, has been quickened and expanded by almost
unparalleled physical sufferings, and her heart has
been wrung and wrung with agony, while she has,
to all appearance, remained as blithe and joyous as
if a shadow had never crossed her path.
" Before she had heard of Mr. de Quincey, when
only a little girl, she had read all Prof. Wilson's
stories, and loved them and loved him with no
ordinary effection, but she never thought of writing
him a letter, never was in danger of ' falling down
and worshipping him,' as she would be if she should
see the author of 'The Household Wreck' and the
' Spanish Nun ; ' and had she the means, she would
cross the ocean for no other purpose than to sit at
his feet, not to learn wisdom, feast though indeed
it would be, but to pour out her heart, with, all its
deep and strong enthusiasm, to one who could under-
stand her, and would not only counsel wisely, but
chicle gently. She would visit Grasmere, oh yes !
and pluck one rose or blade of grass, more hallowed
in her eyes than moss or ivy from castle, hall, or
tower ; but nothing else could turn aside her steps
till she was in the city where he dwells, and she
had listened to the sound of his voice, and looked
upon a countenance in which, to her imagination,
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 205
is blended the expression of all that is great and
noble and good.
" He must be now nearly an old man, with sons
and daughters grown up around him; and if he is
what he seems, and also in this respect like others
who have grown old, it is more pleasant to be re-
membered with affection than with admiration ; and
a man who is not ashamed to confess that he feels
as well as thinks, will pardon this expression of her
love in one who is a stranger, and must ever be, to
him who is so wise that she would be afraid to speak
in his presence, and yet so unpretending and so good
that she might feel the confidence of a little child
and scarcely fear to caress him.
" Sometimes when persons have been reading what
he has written in my presence, they have exclaimed,
' Indeed you are very like him this sounds exactly
like you? but only in those places where there is
some heart and soul revelation some proof of the
peculiar effect of sorrow in the influence of some
great joy, which others would never make known.
I have often wished there could be given to us more
true heart histories, that those who are capable of
deep and holy enthusiasm would speak what they
feel. It is for this sympathy, to know how others
love and hate, that the young resort to novels, where
they find so much that is false and wicked, that they
are corrupted and unfitted for real life. When a
Biography is written, everything that ordinary people
care to know is left out. The heart is treated as if
it were an ' accursed thing,' and anything concern-
2 o6 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
iiig the affections as they really exist, as if it would
be pollution to portray them. Until History and
Biography tell us the truth, fiction will feed the
most readers, and in some respects it is really more
true and more beneficial than the prosy stuff which
prosy people recommend in its stead !
" How I would like to introduce you to my
mountain home in one of the most beautiful of New
England valleys ! How you would love its wild
woods, dells, and dingles, its canny brooks and silver
streams. Why will you not come ? Perhaps you
have a daughter whom I should love as a sister, and
there are many, many homes in our bonny land to
which you and yours would be welcome.
" I am one of those ladies whom you so often
commend for preferring to be wed to my pen and
books than to a heart which could not appreciate
mine, but I have never given my name to be bandied
about by heartless critics, and do not think I shall
ever acquire the amount of courage and resolution
necessary for this sacrifice. So I have not become
famous, and should not, even if I were worthy to be.
I never had a single aspiration for notoriety, and
should not trouble my head about learning or litera-
ture if my heart had something to satisfy its yearn-
ings ; but your advice in your allusions to Miss
Wordsworth has done me good. I will cultivate
letters as a resource when I am old and there is
nothing living left for the lone heart to love.
"It would gratify me more than any words can
express to know that this reaches you safely, and
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 207
that you smile, not with ridicule but with approba-
tion, at my girlish frankness and unsophisticated
" A line directed to M. M., care of A. G. Johnson,
Editor, Troy Daily Post, Troy, Neiv York, would
find me. I give my nom de plume, confessing it is
not polite or respectful to conceal my own, after
such an epistle, lest you will believe it is from pure
timidity and conscious unworthiness. If you pardon
me this I am not sure but I shall tell you all I am
and all I know ! M. M.
" I have the impression that you do not reside
permanently in Edinburgh, so I direct to Care of
Prof. Wilson, who will, of course, know where you
are. You cannot think how I blush at the thought
of what I am doing."
It was told by Miss de Quincey in her father's
Memoir that he received many letters from the
Brontes while yet they were merely to the world
Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, as well as afterwards
with copies of their works. These letters, unfortu-
nately, have been lost or given to autograph col-
lectors, with the sole exception of the first, which
we print below a letter which will be admitted to
be very characteristic :
" SIR, My relations, Ellis and Acton Bell, and
myself, heedless of the repeated warnings of various
respectable publishers, have committed the rash act
of printing a volume of poems.
2 o8 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
" The consequences predicted have, of course, over-
taken, us ; our book is found to be a drug ; no man
needs it or heeds it ; in the space of a year our
publisher has disposed but of two copies, and by
what painful efforts he succeeded in getting rid of
those two, himself only knows.
" Before transferring the edition to the trunk-
makers we have decided on distributing as presents
a few copies of what we cannot sell : and we beg to
offer you one in acknowledgment of the pleasure
and profit we have often and long derived from your
works. I am, Sir, yours very respectfully,
" CURREE, BELL.
"June i6th, '47.
" T. DE QUINCEY, Esq. "
That remarkable brother, Patrick Branwell Bronte,
a genius, but in his last days, at all events, a mournful
wreck, round whom, as we know from Charlotte's
letters, the thoughts and anxieties of the sisters so
long painfully circled, seems also to have written
frequently to the Opium-Eater letters which, so
far as they can now be remembered, were full of
confessions, of regrets, of hopes, and aspirations
mingled together in the most affecting and striking
manner. That correspondence has left token of
itself in some copies of poems, which, as we are not
aware that they have been preserved elsewhere, we
here venture partially to give, in memory of that weak,
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 209
wayward, unfortunate man, but singular genius so
singular that Mr. Leyland, 1 indeed, essays to prove
that the leading idea of one at least of the sisters'
stories was due to him; and that, in fact, he had written
a novel with the same plot, characters, and incidents
as " Wutheriug Heights," quoting Mr. Grundy 2 to
this effect : " Patrick declared to me, and what his
sister said bore out the assertion, that he wrote a
great portion of ' Wuthering Heights' himself." Mr.
Leyland, with full knowledge and refined sympathy,
abundantly establishes the fact that much misknow-
ledge and exaggeration characterised the writing of
Mrs. Gaskell in her Memoir of Charlotte Bronte, so
far as it related to Patrick, and that she has been
only too closely followed in many of her misrepre-
sentations by Mr. Swinburne, Miss Mary F. Eobinson,
and other writers of more recent date. Patrick Bronte
has enough to bear in his inherited constitution, his
tendency to disease, his morbid predisposition to
melancholy, and the reactions from it favouring out-
bursts of excess in many directions, without having
fables fathered upon him. " The defects of faith, and
taints of blood," of which the Laureate sings, were
very strong in him ; and great allowance should be
made for a man of such a temperament and such
inheritances. But it is clear, from Mr. Leyland's
volumes, that there must have been great exaggera-
tion with regard to many things in the career of
1 " The Bronte Family, with special reference to Patrick Branwell
Bronte." By Francis A. Leyland. Hurst & Blackett, vol. ii.
2 " Pictures of the Past."
VOL. II. O
210 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
Patrick Bronte. Mr. Leyland, in his picture up to
the last few years, would have us to regard him as
a shy, sensitive, fanciful, excitable creature, with high
aspirings, but without steadiness or will to adhere to
fixed resolutions, and finally losing his balance, and
surrendering himself to hallucinations of many kinds.
This, at all events, is at once the more charitable
and the more grateful view to take ; and certainly
in Mr. Leyland, Patrick Bronte has found a very
thoughtful and well-informed apologist, if not a
defender. His portrait of Bran well, at all events, is
not that of a half-madman, half-fiend, half-poet,
half-reprobate ; rather that of a man with many fine
impulses, but without ballast, and finally surrender-
ing himself to indulgences that did much to wreck
his career and shorten his life.
While disproving wholly the truth of the assertion
of Miss Mary Robinson that Patrick Bronte was an
opium-eater at twenty, he goes on to speak of the
attraction of De Quincey's writings for the whole
family, and is fain to admit that when, later, Bran-
well betook himself to opium, he may have in some
degree been led thereto by study of De Quincey's
" There is no reliable evidence whatever that Bran-
well at this period of his life [his twentieth year]
was an opium-eater ; and, considering the fact
that the biographer of Emily has assigned the art-
practice at Bradford to a period subsequent to his
tutorship at Broughton-in-Furness, one may, perhaps,
be permitted to suspect that she is equally in error
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 211
in her assertions as to his opium-eating so young.
Branwell did, indeed, later fall into the baneful habit,
and suffered at times in consequence ; but there is
DO reason to believe that he became wholly subject
to it, or was greatly injured by the practice either
in mind or body. "We can only surmise as to the
original cause of his use of opium ; but, when we
consider the extraordinary fascination which De
Quincey's wonderful book had for the younger genera-
tion of literary men of his day, we shall recognise
that Branwell, who read the book, in all probability fell
under its influence. Let us remember, moreover,
that the young man's two sisters had died of con-
sumption, and that De Quincey declares the use of
the drug had saved him from the fate of his father,
who had fallen a victim to the same scourge. De
Quincey had used the drug intermittently, and we
have reason to believe that Branwell, who followed
him, did the same. Let us, then, imagine the young
Bronte revelling in the realm of the dreamy and
impassioned, and hoping fondly that consumption
might be driven away, resolving to try the effect of
the ' dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain/
a proceeding from which many less brave would have
shrunk. Branwell had doubtless read in the ' Con-
fessions of an English Opium-Eater' that the drug
does not disorder the system, but gives tone, a sort
of health, that might be natural, if it were not for
the means by which it is procured."
Mr. Ley land has devoted a good deal of space to
Patrick Bronte's poetical efforts, and cites extracts
2i2 SIR HENRY TUNSTALL.
from many of them, but of those which are before us
it does not seem that he had any knowledge. Prob-
ably they were written at a time when neither he
nor his friends were in personal association or corre-
spondence with Bronte and it is certain that they
reached De Quincey at a time of sickness and great
prostration, which may account for their having been
swallowed up in his vast piles of papers and never
recovered till his death. We give the most striking
passages of the poem together with the translations
of Horace's Odes, which accompanied it :
SIE HENEY TUNSTALL.
'Tis only afternoon but midnight's gloom
Could scarce seem stiller, in the darkest room,
Than does this ancient mansion's strange repose,
So long ere common cares of daylight close.
I hear the clock slow ticking in the Hall ;
And far away the woodland waterfall
Sounds, lost, like stars from out the noon-day skies
And seldom heard until those stars arise.
The parlour group are seated all together,
With long looks turned toward the threat'ning weather,
Whose grey clouds, gathering o'er the moveless trees,
Nor break nor brighten with the passing breeze.
Why seems that group attired with such a care ?
And who's the visitor they watch for there ?
The aged Father, on his customed seat,
With cushioned stool to prop his crippled feet,
Averting from the rest his forehead high
To hide the drop that quivers in his eye ;
And strange the pang which bids that drop to start ;
Tor hope and sadness mingle in his heart ;
SIR HENRY TUN STALL. 213
A trembling hope for what may come to-day
A sadness sent from what has passed away !
Fast by the window sits his daughter fair ;
Who, gazing earnest on the clouded air,
Clasps close her mother's hand, and paler grows
With every leaf that falls, or breeze that blows :
Sickened with long hope bursting into morn
Too bright for her, with longer pining worn !
Even those young children o'er the table bent ;
And on that map with childish eyes intent,
Are guiding fancied ships through ocean's foam,
And wondering " what he's like " and " when he'll come."
But long that house has lost all trace of him,
Whose very form in memory waxes dim.
Long since his childhood's chosen friends have died ;
The shaggy pony he was wont to ride
The dog, so faithful to its Master's side
The rooks and doves that hover round the door
Are not the same his young hand fed of yore ;
The flowers he planted many seasons past
Have drooped and died and disappeared at last ;
For him afar, tempestuous seas had torn,
Before the children round that map were born :
And, since, so many years have passed between
The voiceless farewells of that parting scene,
That scarce they saw it then through gathering tears
So dim as now through intervening years.
" But still "said Mary " still I think I see
The Soldier's plumed helmet bent o'er me,
The arm that raised me to a last embrace,
The calmness settled o'er his youthful face,
Save when I asked ' how soon he'd come again '
And all that calm was lost a moment then !
Our Father shook his hand, but could not speak,
Our weeping Mother kissed his sunny cheek,
2i 4 SIR HENRY TUN STALL.
Our Sisters spoke not 'twas a mute farewell,
And yet no voice could speak it half so well.
We saw our Henry on his charger spring,
We heard his swift hoofs o'er the pavement ring,
There long we stopped as if he still was there
Hand clasped in hand, and full eyes fixed on air :
He scarce seemed gone so long as we beheld
The chequered sunshine and the open field,
But when we turned within when closed the door
On that bright Heaven we felt that all was o'er ;
That never more those rooms should hear his call,
That never more his step should cross that Hall.
We sat together till the twilight dim,
But all the world to us seemed gone with him.
We gathered close, but could not drive away
The dreary solitude that o'er us lay.
We felt when one has left the home fireside
It matters not though all be there beside,
For still all hearts will wander with that one,
And gladness stays not when the heart is gone,
And where no gladness is a crowd may feel alone.
" Since then how oft we've sat together here
With windows opening on the twilight air,
Silently thinking of the climes afar
Beneath the shining of that evening star,
Dear as a friend unto our loneliness
Because it seemed to link those lands with us.
He saw it, perhaps, whom time's and ocean's tide
So many years had sundered from our side,
And 'twas the same he used to look upon
While all beside so different had grown.
Our woods, our house, ourselves, were not the same
As those that floated through his boyhood's dream.
Is he too changed ? Alas ! the cannons' roar,
The storms and summers of that burning shore,
SIR HENRY TUNSTALL. 215
May have made the last great change ! Too well I know
Even our calm words cannot escape that blow !
We cannot greet him if again he come
With the same group that made his ancient home
The Heart that he loved best is clad in clay
She is laid in lasting rest she is far away ! "
So Mary spoke but she said nothing now,
Turning so earnestly her pallid brow
On the dull Heavens to which they all were turning
With looks that could not clear the shade of mourning
Worn far too constantly upon each face
For that one day of feverish hope to chase ;
That day, determined from Madeira's shore,
When they their wanderer might behold once more ;
Not now the boyish ensign he had gone,
But full of honours from his foes o'erthrowru
Time after time fresh tidings of his fame
Had roused to life his aged Father's frame,
When the old Man would raise his gushing eye, \
And lose his sighs of grief in smiles of joy.
At last, that letter with Sir Henry s crest
The tidings of his swift approach expressed,
A Victor General to his England's shore
At last that sixteen years' suspense seemed o'er.
At last the fresh-rolled walks, the shaven lawn
That long a look of such neglect had worn,
The rooms so fairly decked the expectant calm
O'er all things brooding like a magic charm,
At last, proclaimed the mighty moment come
When hope and doubt should both give place to doom.
Stay what was that which broke the hush profound ?
Like rapid wheels I heard its murmur sound.
Why are the servants' footsteps heard within
So sudden intermixed with hasty din ?
What pales each cheek what lights each swimming eye
Through the close circle of that company ?
216 SIR HENRY TUN STALL.
I cannot paint the start of mute surprise,
The tears that flashed in scarce-believing eyes,
The long embrace the silence eloquent
Of more than language ever could give vent ;
The Father's face that said, "Thy will be done
Take me if fit since Thou hast given my son ; "
The Mother's look, too fond to turn above
Her Son beholding with a mother's love ;
The Sister's eyes that shone in youth's o'erflow
Of feelings such as age could never know,
With whom this world was not the earth it seems,
But all surrounded by the light of dreams,
With whom even Sorrow took a heavenly die,
Since where it darkened Hope seemed shining by ;
So thus, while, speechless, held in His embrace,
She saw, she knew, her long-lost Henry's face,
She let past times part hurrying down the wind,
And years of vain repinings leave her mind.
Not so Old Age for Sorrow breaks it in,
And used to harness it can ill begin
Existence o'er again. Dissolved in tears
Of heartfelt gratitude, the head of years
Was bowed before that Soldier but in vain
Each parent strove to shake off Sorrow's chain,
Their eyes were dim to present joys yet still
Past joys to them were far more visible.
They saw their first-born's golden locks appear
Shining behind the cloud of memories dear ;
They looked and was this war-worn warrior Him ?
Ah ! how the golden locks waned dark and dim !
Their innocence destroyed for India's clime
Had touched him with the iron hoar of time ;
Wast him ? They gazed again a look, a tone
Can sometimes bring the past 'twas Henry 'twas their
They did not mark his restless glances roam
As if he sought but could not find his home ;
SIR HENRY TUN STALL. 217
They did not mark the sternness of his cheek
Even if to smiles its muscles chose to break ;
They only saw the stately Soldier's form
Confirmed, not altered by the battle's storm ;
They only saw the long-lost face again,
Darkened by climate, not by crime or pain.
But what He thought it would be hard to tell,
Since worldly life can mask the heart so well,
Can hide with smiles a sorrow-eaten cheek,
Can bitter thoughts in cheerful accents speak,
Can give to icy minds heart-eloquence,
And " clothe no meaning in the words of sense "
Words he poured forth of warm and welcome greeting,
For " Heaven," he said, " smiled in this happy meeting."
By turns he wandered o'er each long-lost face
By turns he held them in a fast embrace
Then Mary saw though nought her parents knew
For youthful love has eyes of eagle view
She saw his features in a moment alter,
Their rapture vanish and their fondness falter ;
And in that moment Oh how cold seemed all
The mind that lurked beneath that passion's pall !
A corse beneath a gilded shroud the corse
Of him who left them on his battle-horse
Sixteen long years ago !
Sir Henry broke
A sudden pause where only glances spoke,
With a request for one half-hour alone
To call his spirits to a steadier tone
And moderate their swell. He left them then
To spend that time in calling back again
The ancient image to their wildered view,
To mark the difference 'twixt the old and new :
But strange whene'er they strove to realise
The form erewhile enshrined in their eyes,
The visioned Idol of each vanished year
How like a vision did it now appear !
2i8 SIR HENRY TUN STALL.
They could not bear to see it shrink from view,
Like a vain dream but ever came the new
Before the old thus on a sudden faded
When by life's stern realities invaded.
Changed like life's dreary paths from youth to years,
And dull as age. The twilight hour appears,
The hour ordained by God for man's repose,
Yet often made by man an hour of woes,
A summing-up of daylight's toils and grief,
Of moody musing, not of mild relief.
That dull hour darkened in the boding sky,
And bore the breeze in mournful murmurs by,
With promise of a storm. Within the room
No cheerful candle shone to cheat its gloom,
Nor cheerful countenance smiled for only one
Lone tenant held it, seated still as stone
Sir Henry Tunstall with a vacant gaze,
As if his mind were wandering through a maze
Of alien thoughts, though on that very bed
Long years ago had lain his infant head
In sleep unstained by sorrow. Still there hung
Wrecks of a time when all the world looked young
His guns his rods wherewith he'd often trod
The breezy hills or wandered by the flood,
And breasted mountain winds, and felt within
The first bold stirrings of the Man begin.
There, pictured as of yore, the self-same wall
Showed England's victory, and her Hero's fall
On cold Canadian hills. With strange delight,
In other days the child would fix his sight,
Whene'er he wakened, on that time-dimmed view,
And inly burn to be a hero too ;
Would fill his spirit with the thoughts divine
Of the loud cannon, and the charging line,
And Wolfe, departing 'mid commingling cries
To join immortal spirits in the skies !
SIR HENRY TUN STALL. 219
'Twas that dim print that over Indian seas
First led his feet and fixed his destinies.
So why on what was childhood's chief delight
Will manhood hardly deign to bend his sight ?
The old print remains but does the old mind remain ?
Ah World ! why wilt thou break enchantment's chain !
Bending his brows, at last Sir Henry said
" Well, now I know that Time has really sped
Since last my head has in that chamber lain
That nothing has my Now to do with Then !
Yes now at last I've reached my native home,
And all who loved me joy to see me come,
And memory of departed love is nigh
To cast a holier halo round their joy.
I have seen my Father full of honoured days,
Whom last I saw adorned with manhood's grace,
Who has lived since then long winters but to see
Once more his first-born world-divided me.
I have seen those eyes rekindle, that have mourned
For me. I have seen those grey locks that have turned
From raven black for me. I have seen Her too
The first I loved on earth the first I knew
She who was wont above that very bed
To bend with blessings o'er my helpless head ;
I have seen my Sister I have seen them all
All but myself. They have lost me past recall,
As I have them. And vainly have I come
These thousand leagues my Home is not my Home.
Yet let me recollect myself for strange
And vision-like appears this sudden change ;
In what consists it ? I am still the same
In flesh and blood, and lineaments and name.
Still wave the boughs of my ancestral trees,
Still these old gables front the western breeze,
Still hang these relics round this chamber lone,
I still can see can call them still my own.
220 SIR HENRY TUNSTALL.
" They fancied, when they saw me home returning,
That all my soul to meet with them was yearning,
That every wave I'd bless which bore me hither ;
They thought my spring of life could never wither,
That in the dry the green leaf I could keep,
As pliable as youth to laugh or weep ;
They did not think how oft my eyesight turned
Toward the skies where Indian sunshine burned,
That I had perhaps left an associate band,
That I had farewells even for that wild Land ;
They did not think my head and heart were older,
My strength more broken, and my feelings colder,
That spring was hastening into autumn sere
And leafless trees make loveliest prospects drear
That sixteen years the same ground travel o'er
Till each wears out the mark which each has left before.
" So old affection is an empty name
"When nothing that we loved remains the same,
But while we gaze upon the vapour gay,
The light that gave it glory fades away.
And Home Affection where have we a home ?
For ever doomed in thought or deed to roam,
To lay our parents in their narrow rest
Or leave their hearthstones when we love them best ;
Nay, sometimes scarce to know we love at all,
Till o'er love's object Death has spread his pall !
I feel 'tis sad to live without a Heart,
But sadder still to feel dart after dart
Eankling within it sad to see the dead,
But worse to see the sick man's tortured bed.
" Well I have talked of change but oh how changed
Am I from him who o'er those dim hills ranged
With trusty dog poor Eover ! where art thou ?
I seem to see thee looking upward now
To thy young Master's face, with honest eye
Shining all over with no selfish joy,
SIR HENRY TUN STALL. 221
He paused with heavy eye, and round the room
Looked, through the shadows of descending gloom,
Like one heart-sick, for ''twas a bitter task
The hollowness of spirit to unmask
And show the wreck of years. To change his mind
He took a book lying by, in which to find
Some other course for thought and, turning o'er
Its leaves, he thought he'd known that book before ;
And on one page some hand had lightly traced
These lines, by Time's dim finger half-effaced :
" My Father and my childhood's guide,
If oft I've wandered far from Thee,
Even though Thine only Son has died
To save from death a child like me,
Oh ! still, to Thee when turns my heart
In hours of sadness frequent now !
Be still the God that once Thou wert,
And calm my breast and clear my brow.
I am now no more a guileless child
O'ershadowed by Thine angel wing,
For even my dreams are far more wild
Than those my slumbers used to bring ;
I farther see, I deeper feel,
With hopes more warm, but heart less mild,
And ancient things new forms reveal,
All strangely brightened or despoiled ;
I am entering on life's open tide,
So fare ye well, lost shores divine !
And, my Father ! deign to guide
Through its wild waters CAKOLINE ! "
222 SIR HENRY TUNSTALL.
Long o'er that dark'ning page Sir Henry pondered,
Nor from its time-worn words his eyesight wandered ;
Yet scarce he comprehended what they were,
For other words were sounding in his ear
Sent to him from the grave far-off and dim,
As if from Heaven a spirit spoke to him,
That bade the shadows of past time glide by
Till present times were hidden from his eye
By their strange pictured veil scene after scene
Sailing around him of what once had been.
He saw a Drawing-room revealed in light
From the red fireside of a winter night,
With two fair beings seated side by side,
The one arrayed in all a soldier's pride,
The other sadly pale, with angel eyes,
O'er whose fair orbs a gushing gleam would rise
Whenever, tremblingly, she strove to speak,
Though scarce a sound the voiceless calm would break,
So silent seemed despair. He took her hand
And told her something of a distant land
Soon to be won with fame, and soon again
Of his return victorious o'er the main.
" Oh no ! "at last she said" I feel too well
The hollow vanity of all you tell.
You'll go, you'll join the ranks by Ganges' flood,
You'll perhaps survive through many a field of blood,
You'll perhaps gain fame's rewards but nevermore
Those far-off climes my Henry shall restore
To England's hills again. Another mind
Another heart than that he left behind
And other hopes he'll bring if hope at all
Can outlive fancy's flight and feeling's fall
To flourish on an iron-hardened brow.
The Soldier may return but never Thou !
And, further, know, our meeting must not be,
For even thyself wilt not be changed like me.
I shall be changed, my Love, to change no more ;
SIR HENRY TUNSTALL. 223
I shall be landed on a farther shore
Than Indian Isles a wider sea shall sever
My form from thine a longer time For ever !
Oh ! when I am dead and mouldering in my grave,
Of me at least some dim remembrance have,
Saved from the sunken wrecks of ancient time,
Even if to float o'er thoughts of strife and crime :
Then on the grave of Her who died for thee
Cast one short look and, oh ! Eemember Me ! "
" Alas, Lost Shade ! why should I look upon
The mouldering letters of thy burial-stone !
Why should I strive thine image to recall,
And love thy beauty's flower and weep its fall ?
It cannot be for far too well I know
The narrow house where thou art laid below.
I know its lifeless chill, its rayless gloom,
Its voiceless silence, and its changless doom.
I know that if from weeds I cleared thy name
And gazed till memories crowding round me came
Of all that made the sunshine of my home,
'Twould be of no avail Thou couldst not come
That I might almost think I saw thee stand
Beside me almost feel thy fairy hand.
Still would that form be pressed 'neath earth and stones.
And still that hand would rest in dust and bones.
No, Caroline the hours are long gone by
When I could call a shade reality,
Or make a world of dreams, or think that one
Was present with me who, I knew, was gone.
No if the sapling lends to every breeze,
Their force shall rather break the full-grown trees.
If Infancy will catch at every toy,
Pursuits more solid must the Man employ.
He feels what is, and nought can charm away
The rough realities of present day.
224 SIR HENRY TUNSTALL.
Thou art dead I am living my word is not thine,
So keep thy sleep and, Farewell, Caroline !
" Yet while I think so, while I speak farewell,
'Tis not in words the dreariness to tell
Which sweeps across my spirit for my soul
Feels such a midnight o'er its musings roll
At losing though it be a vapour vain
What once was rest to toil and ease to pain.
I knew not, while afar, how utterly
These memories of youth were past from me.
It seemed as if, though business warped my mind,
I could assume them when I felt inclined ;
That though like dreams they fled my wakened brain,
I, if I liked, could dream them o'er again.
I did not think I could be seated here,
After the lapse of many a toilsome year
Once more returning to accustomed places
Amid the smiles of ' old familiar faces ; '
Yet shrinking from them hiding in the gloom
Of this dull evening and secluded room,
Not to recall the spirit of the boy,
But all my world- worn energies to employ
In pondering o'er some artifice to gain
A seat in council or command in Spain.
" Well world, oh world ! as I have bowed to thee,
I must consent to suffer thy decree ;
I asked Thou'st given me my destiny ;
I asked when gazing on that pictured wall,
Like England's Hero to command or fall ;
I asked when wandering over mountains lone,
Some day to wander over lands unknown ;
I asked for gain and glory place and power ;
Thou gavest them all I have them all this hour ;
But I forgot to ask for youthful blood,
The thrill divine of feelings unsubdued,
SIR HENRY TUNSTALL. 225
The nerves that quivered to the sound of fame,
The tongue that trembled o'er a lover's name,
The eye that glistened with delightful tears,
The Hope that gladdened past and gilded future years ;
So I have rigid nerves and ready tongue,
Fit to subdue the weak and serve the strong ;
And eyes that look on all things as the same,
And Hope no, callousness, that thinks all things a name !
So, Caroline I'll bid farewell once more,
Nor mourn, lost shade ; for though thou'rt gone before,
Gone is thy Henry too and didst not thou,
While just departing from this world below,
Say thou no longer wert a guileless child,
That all old things were altered or despoiled ?
And hadst thou lived thine angel heart, like mine,
Would soon have hardened with thy youth's decline
Cold, perhaps, to me, if beating, as when laid
Beneath its grave-stone 'neath the churchyard shade.
" I home returned for rest but feel to-day
Home is no rest and long to be away,
To play life's game out where my soldiers are,
Returned from India to a wilder war
Upon the hills of Spain again to ride
Before their bayonets at Wellesley's side,
Again to sleep with horses trampling round,
In watch-cloak wrapped, and on a battle-ground ;
To waken with the loud commencing gun,
And feed life's failing flame and drive the moments on
There is our aim to that our labours tend
Strange we should love to hurry on our end !
But so it is, and nowhere can I speed
So swift through life as on my battle-steed ! "
He ceased unconsciously declined his head,
And stealingly the sense of waking fled,
Wafting his spirit into weeping Spain :
VOL. II. P
Till starting momently he gazed again,
But all looked strange to his beclouded brain :
And all was strange for, though the scenes were known,
The thoughts that should have cherished them were gone,
Gone like the sunshine and none others came
To shake the encroaching slumbers from his frame.
So, while he lay there, twilight deepened fast,
And silent, but resistless, hours swept past,
Till chairs and pictures lost themselves in gloom,
And but a window glimmered through the room,
With one pale star above the sombre trees,
Listening from Heaven to earth's repining breeze.
That Star looked down with cold and quiet eye,
While all else darkened, brightening up the sky,
And though his eye scarce saw it, yet his mind,
As, half awake and half to dreams resigned,
Could scarce help feeling in its holy shine
The solemn look of sainted Caroline,
With mute reproach fulness reminding him
That faith and fondness were not all a dream ;
That form, not feeling, should be changed by clime ;
That looks, not love, should suffer hurt by time ;
That o'er life's waters, guiding us from far,
And brightening with life's night, should glisten Memory's
Star. P. B. B.
BROUGHTON-IN-FURNESS, April 15, 1840.
ODE XV. BOOK I.
'TWAS when the treacherous shepherd bore
His Eoyal prize away,
In Phrygian ship from Spartan shore
Across the ^Egean Sea,
That Nereus raised his awful brow,
And hushed each favouring breeze,
Till not a ship its path could plough
Upon the slumbering seas ;
And thus did that old Sea-god sing
His prophecy of doom
" Vain Man ! ill-omened thou dost bring
Thine hostess to thy home,
Whom Greece shall seek with mighty host,
Conjured to overwhelm
Thy pleasures, bought at such a cost,
And thy ancestral realm.
Alas ! what strife round Xanthus' wave
Thy treachery shall bring !
What fiery funerals o'er the grave
Of Ilion and her king !
Now Pallas lays her olive by,
And grasps her shield and spear,
And mounts her chariot in the sky,
And wakes her rage for war.
In vain thy guardian goddess* care
Thy spirit may inspire ;
In vain thou comb'st thy curling hair,
Or wakest thy wanton lyre ;
In vain the shouts the lances' thrust
Or Ajax, thou may'st fly,
For, with thy long locks trailed in dust,
Adulterer ! thou shalt die !
Ulysses see, and Nestor grave
Thy hapless people scourge ;
And Sthenelus and Teucer brave
Thy flying footsteps urge :
228 . HORACE.
'Tis Sthenelus the reins can guide,
While noble Diomede,
Greater than Tydeus, at his side
Hunts for the adulterer's head ;
Whom thou shalt fly as flies the wind
In vale or woodland lone,
From the deep death-bark, heard behind,
Of wild wolf hastening on ;
With beating heart and bated breath,
O'er mountain and through grove
Was this the victory this the death
Thou promisedst thy love ?
Pelides' ships, Pelides' arm
O'er Phrygia's fated shore
For these thy deeds, the avenging storm
Eesistlessly shall pour ;
And after years of weary wars,
Shall wrap in funeral flame,
Unquenched by all her blood and tears,
My Ilion's very name."
BOOK I. ODE XI.
LEUCOK&, seek no more
By magic arts t' explore
How long a life our God has given to thee or me.
If we've winters yet in store ;
Or if this whose tempests roar
Across the Tyrrhene deep, is the last that we shall see.
Be cheerful wisdom thine ;
My goblet fill with wine ;
And shape thy hopes to suit the hour that hastes away ;
For while we speak, that hour
Is past beyond our power ;
So do not trust to-morrow, ~but seize upon to-day.
BOOK I. ODE IX.
SEE'ST thou not amid the skies
White with snow Soracte rise ;
While the forests on the plain
Scarce their hoary weight sustain ;
And congealed the waters stand
'Neath the frost's arresting hand.
Drive away the winter wild ;
On the hearths be fuel piled ;
And from out its sacred cell
Kept in Sabine vase so well
Generous bring thy four years' wine,
Wakener of the song divine.
Wisely leave the rest to Heaven,
Who, when warring winds have striven
With the forests or the main,
Bids their raging rest again.
Be not ever pondering
Over what the morn may bring.
Whether it be joy or pain
Wisely count it all as gain,
And, while age upon thy brow
Shall forbear to shed his snow,
Do not shun the dancers' feet,
Nor thy loved one's dear retreat.
Hasten to the plain or square ;
List the whisper, telling where,
"When the calm night rules above,
Thou may'st meet thy dearest love :
When the laugh round corner sly
Shall instruct thee where to spy :
When the wanton's feigned retreating
Still shall leave some pledge of meeting
Perhaps a ring or bracelet bright,
Snatched from arm or finger white.
BOOK I. ODE X.
FOR what does the poet to Phoebus pray
With new wine from his vessels flowing ?
Not for the flocks o'er Calabria that stray ;
Nor for corn in Sardinia growing ;
Nor prays he for ivory, or gold, or land
Which the Liris, gently gliding,
Would crumble away into fugitive sand
Down its silent waters sliding.
Let him gather the grapes who has planted the vine ;
Let the Merchant whom Jupiter favours,
His Syrian treasures exchange for wine
Which a golden goblet flavours :
Thrice in a season o'erpassing the sea,
Nor by waters or winds prevented,
While olives and mallows shall satisfy me,
With the lot fortune gives me contented.
Son of Satona ! oh grant me to taste
The goods thou hast placed before me ;
And a spirit undimmed, and an age undisgraced,
And a Harp with whose strains to adore thee !
BOOK I. ODE XIX.
THE mother of love and the father of wine
And passion resuming its throne,
Backward command me my mind to incline
And kindle the flame that seemed gone.
For Glycera warms
My heart with her charms
Whiter than Parian stone.
Her sweet arts inflame me, her countenance beams
Too bright to be gazed upon,
Till Venus, departing from Cyprus, seems
To rush upon me alone :
And no longer my verse
The deeds can rehearse
By Scythian or Parthian done.
Raise me an altar of living sod,
And crown it with garlands and bear
Wine undiluted, a drink for a god,
That Glycera, hearing my prayer,
May know I adore,
And be cruel no more,
But an answering passion declare.
There are doubtless many mistakes of sense and language except
the first. I had not, when I translated them, a Horace at hand, so was
forced to rely on memory. P. B. BRONTE.
232 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
The following is a note from Robert Montgomery
" Satan" Montgomery with whom De Quincey
had had some intimacy :
" LINCOLN COLLEGE, OXFORD,
"MY DEAR DE QUINCEY, You will do me a great
favour in accepting a copy of ' Oxford ' and my free
and unaffected confession of the pleasure and pride
I feel in being acquainted with the author of the
" May I venture to anticipate a line from you in
the course of a week? How happy I should be
could I fancy any page in 'Oxford' calculated to
touch or thrill a chord of memory in your heart,
linked with associations that reach back into other
years when you were (as Wordsworth says)
' An eager Novice robed in fluttering gown ! '
At all events, ever believe me, my dear De Quincey,
with great admiration, your very obliged
" With a copy of ' Oxford/ Blackwood's Parcel.
"Tn. DE QUINCEY, Esq.,
"7 Great Queen [King] Street, Edinburgh."
In later years, names still more familiar appear.
Here is one instance :
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 233
" BALLYSHANNON, IRELAND,
" nth of March '$1.
" SIR, Will you oblige me by accepting the ac-
companying volume? And pray allow me to use
the opportunity of saying that I have associated
respect and admiration with your name ever since
I became acquainted with it for it is delightful to
me to give so much expression, however unimportant
to you, of that feeling.
" I wish it were in my power to send (but the
thing is not in esse, but in posse) a copy of a
Second Edition of the Verses, ' thoroughly revised/
for the experience of the short time, during which
they have been standing in the market-place
and remarked upon by a few cobblers and others,
has opened my eyes to many things ; an effect
caused partly too, I hope, by regular advance in my
" I am a young man, not regularly educated,
living without personal intellectual intercourse in
this corner of Ireland, anxious to be sincere and to
improve. Should you think it worth while to send
me any observations of yours on my first literary
publication (I fear, too hastily put forth), it would
please me greatly. Believe me sincerely and respect-
" WILLIAM ALLINGHAM, Jun r .
" To THOS. DE QUINCEY, Esq."
234 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
And here is another :
" KNELLER HALL, ISLEWORTH,
"My DEAR SIR, I forward you with this a short
Eeview on the c Autobiography ' inserted on the first
of this month in a little magazine named the Educa-
tional Expositor. It is a liberty, I know, to criticize
any man's writings : a liberty to blame them, and
a still greater liberty to give them commendation.
The utmost apologies are therefore in this case what
I am bound to offer : but by a few words at the
close of your Preface I am encouraged to hope that
you will not look unkindly on any attempt, however
imperfect, to express sympathy not only with the
aim and the result, but with the mind that has
directed them in your writings.
" May I be allowed the additional liberty of ex-
pressing the high interest and expectation with which
many besides myself look forward to the appearance
of the second volume, and the Chapter entitled
Laxtonf I have the honour to be, dear Sir, yr.
obedt. Servant, F. T. PALGRAVE.
" T. DE QUINCEY, Esq."
The following is from an American gentleman who
had visited De Quincey at Lasswade :
" MANCHESTER STREET, MANCHESTER SQUARE,
"LONDON, Dec. 4, 1853.
"My DEAR SIR, When at Lasswade I promised
to write you, but have neglected it so long that it
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 235
is now hard to write at all. If neglect has been
long, remembrance has also been long ; so, late
acknowledgment carries in its heart its own
" Since my blessed visit to you, I have travelled
through the more interesting portions of Ireland,
Wales, and Central England. During the past few
weeks in London, I have been translating M. Cousin's
lectures on the True, the Beautiful, and the Good,
so have been abroad but little. The book will be
published in t\vo or three weeks by Messrs. Clark,
in Edinborough. Shall do myself the pleasure and
honor of sending the author of the ' Caesars ' a
11 Met Carlyle the other day by appointment, and
walked with him an hour or more. He was in a
merry humor. The lion was gentle enough, allowed
his terrible mane to be stroked with some pleasantries
about those ' eighteen millions of bores/ the long
nails of satire were withdrawn and his tread was
sweetly soft. In fact, I love Carlyle, have read him
thoroughly, and I think understand him well. Two
or three times I mischievously repeated to him one
of his own great sayings. He immediately said the
same thing in other words, adding humorously enough,
* As you say/
"I shall go to Paris in about two weeks. You
remarked to me that you should be there some time
during the winter. If I can be of any service to you
there, please command me.
" Give my regards to your daughters. Please
236 LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
remind one of them of that perverted quotation that
she showed me in Sir William Hamilton's book.
Very truly yours, 0. W. WIGHT.
DE QUINCEY, ESQ."
Knowing Mr. de Quincey's aversion to travel, I
was in doubt whether, in reading the above letter,
I was right in making the word which occurs in it
Paris. But so it was. Mrs. Baird Smith informs me
that it was one of the childlike foibles of her father
to allow himself to be interestedly enlisted in the
talk of his guests about visits to foreign places, and
that he would often advance to the point of speaking
as though it were possible for him to join his friends
in their excursions on the Continent many of the
historical places and scenes in which he much wished
to see. He had actually at one time made up his
mind to go with Mr. Wight who was himself a
literary man to Paris, just as he had made up
his mind to accompany Mr. J. T. Fields to many
places ; but he never actually set out on any of these
As an illustration of the pains De Quincey took to
satisfy these various correspondents by polite replies,
the following note may be given, a copy of which
was found docketed beside the letters to which it
"July 8, 1854.
" The gentleman, who has waited so long for an
Autograph, expresses by his patience a compliment
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 237
to myself far greater than any which I can flatter
myself with deserving. For this I thank him sin-
cerely. At the same time I am painfully sensible
how little I can seem to have met this courtesy on
his part by any corresponding expressions of cour-
tesy on my own. My delays must have appeared
unaccountable. Yet they are not so, but have
real grounds of palliation in facts notorious to my
friends. The first is this that through some acci-
dental oversight in the boyish stage of my education
I was never taught to make (or consequently to
mend) a pen.
" The second is this : I suffer now, and have long
suffered, from such a shattering of the nervous system
as causes a sense of distraction, and even of horror,
to connect itself with the manual act of writing or
indeed with any act requiring a close effort of atten-
tion. Hence it has arisen that, for some years, I
have transferred in all cases where the circumstances
allowed it all my duties of letter- writing to one of
my daughters ; that it is mainly accounts for the
delay and appearance of discourtesy, but with this I
trust any impression of wilful discourtesy will be
removed. THOMAS DE QUINCEY."
TWO LETTERS ON MR. DE QUINCEY S DEATH.
OUT of a considerable sheaf of letters written to the
family immediately after Mr. de Quincey's death
letters sympathetic, grateful, and consoling from
almost all parts of the world, from the United States,
from Canada, from British India and the West
Indies, we here limit ourselves to presenting two,
because both of the writers are well known, and had
enjoyed intimate intercourse with him, and both
remained on the most friendly terms with the family.
The first is Professor Lushington, who at the time
of Mr. de Quincey's death and burial was in the
midst of his most pressing labours of the session
connected with the Greek Chair in Glasgow. He
wrote as follows :
"GLASGOW COLLEGE, Dec. 13, '59.
" MY DEAR MRS. CRAIG, I am much obliged and
gratified by your kind letter in many ways. I thank
you very heartily for your wish that I sh d choose
one of your dear Father's books, and for what you
say of his regard for me, which I shall always re-
LETTERS ON DE QUINCEY'S DEATH. 239
member with gratitude, while I must feel that the
commendation you quote is far more than I merit.
I do not at present particularly recollect any book
that I should wish to have, but any one referring to
the subjects we used so often to talk about, mental
philosophy or the old English writers, would be
a highly prized memorial of him all the more if
there happened to be any notes by himself scattered
about the pages. There has been for some years in
my keeping here a box which belonged to him, filled, I
believe, mainly with books, among which one of mine
is included. What steps would you like me to take
about forwarding this box ? If you will let me know
I will do accordingly. I shall be in Edinbro' for a
few hours on Saturday, when I shall try to see you.
Thanks also for the details about the place of his
burial, which I shall look on with deep interest. As
yet I have not seen the notice of Dr. Begbie which
was to appear in the Scotsman perhaps it is deferred
for a day or two. I did not see the letter you
mention of Mr. Grinfield. With kindest regards to
Mr. Craig and your sisters, believe me ever yrs.
most sincerely, E. L. LUSHINGTON."
The second was Mr. James T. Fields of Boston,
who was then in London :
"LONDON, June yd, 1860.
" MY DEAR MRS. BAIRD SMITH, Thank you very
sincerely for your most kind letter of May 3oth. It
2 4 o LETTERS FROM STRANGERS.
is now our intention to leave town to-morrow, thank-
ful to get away from the fatigues of a London mouth
during the season. We shall go first to the Lakes,
and then fiud our way to Edinburgh for a day or
two. My wife will drop a note telling you when
we shall probably have the pleasure of meeting you
and your sisters at Lasswade. One of our most
cherished prospects on leaving home was the hope
of offering our bands for a hearty shake with the
De Quinceys. To find you at home is a great
surprise, but it greatly rejoices us that we are in
Europe while you are not in India. Miss Emily
too we shall be so glad to see. Mrs. Craig we would
go a long way to greet, but Ireland is too far off
for our very limited time. I had always looked
forward to hearing the sound of your father's voice
again. In my whole life I have never met a man
of genius who won upon my affectionate interest
more. He was so great a man, and yet so gentle
and kind ! As I walked with him to Eoslin he
talked with an eloquence I have never heard sur-
passed of the men he had lived among and the
scenes of his early days, till it seemed as if it were
sinful not to note down his wonderful sentences.
I hope some one has made a record of his daily talk,
for since Plato I cannot believe a mortal has equalled
him. You know how deeply his writings have
impressed the world, especially our American side
of it, but I think his conversation quite equal to
his printed pages. I can never forget my day at
Lasswade when I met you all at your own little
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS. 241
table in that pleasant cottage. Your father, when
we parted under the misty Scotch hills, spoke of you,
his children, with an affection I well remember as
most touching. Dear old man ! Some of the best
moments of my life I owe to him, the great Master
of English Prose.
"My wife joins me in most sincere regards to you
and your sister, and anticipates much pleasure in
making your acquaintance. I think of you as old
friends always, and long to see you again. Very
faithfully yours, JAMES T. FIELDS."
VOL. II. Q
THE "DE" IN DE FOE AND DE QUINCEY.
SOME very interesting points arise in the case of De Foe
and his adoption of the " De " in the name. In Mr. Lee's
valuable " Life and Uncollected Writings of De Foe " we
" Daniel Foe, or De Foe, as he chose afterwards to call
himself, was born in the Parish of St. Giles's, Cripplegate,
in the year 1661.
" The assertions of Oldmixon and Browne, and the con-
jectures of biographers, as to De Foe's reasons for altering
his name, appear to be without foundation. He was called
De Foe several years before the death of his venerated
father, who never used any other name than that of Foe.
The son was not a man to be ashamed of the surname of
his living parent, nor the True-born Englishman likely to
have been actuated by the vanity of assuming a Norman
prefix. His practice disproves the assertion, and shows
rather that the form of his signature was a matter of per-
sonal indifference, which continued to the end of his life.
It is true that he used the surname of De Foe, but I am
inclined to think that it began accidentally, or was adopted
for convenience, about 1703, to distinguish him from his
father. The latter from his age and experience, and the
f jrmer from his commanding ability, were both influential
members of the Dissenting interest in the City. They would
respectively be spoken of and addressed orally as Mr. Foe
and Mr. D. Foe. The name, as spoken, would in writing
become Mr. De Foe, and thus what originated in accident,
might be used for convenience, and become more or less
fixed and settled by time. The simple explanation is
favoured by the following proofs of De Foe's indifference
in the matter. His initials and name appear in various
forms in his works, subscribed to dedications, prefaces, &c.,
and this may be presumed to have been done by himself.
Before 1703 I find only D. F. In that year Mr. De Foe
and Daniel De Foe. In the following year D. D. F., De
Foe, and Daniel De Foe. In 1705, D. F., and three auto-
graph letters, all addressed within a few months to the
Earl of Halifax, are successively signed D. Foe, De Foe,
Daniel De Foe. In 1709, D. F., De Foe, Daniel De Foe.
In 1 7 1 o, a letter to Dyer signed De Foe. Two autograpli
signatures by himself, in 1723 and 1727, and two of the
same dates by his daughter Hannah, are Daniel De Foe
and Hannah De Foe. Yet in 1729 a letter to his printer
is signed D. Foe, and the one to his son-in-law in 1730
is D. F."
It is, however, odd that the inconvenience out of which
Mr. Lee says the difference of the names arose did not
suggest itself or, at all events, find a practical remedy till
Daniel Defoe was forty- two years of age, having already
been in trade under the name of Foe both as hosier in
Cornhill, and as brick and tile maker at Tilbury ; and just
as odd that after his brick and tile business was brought to
an end in 1703, with the greatest loss to himself, he should
begin to use the form De Foe. It was when bis father
was in business and he was in business within a short dis-
tance of each other in the City of London that incon-
venient mistakes were most likely to arise, not after De
Foe had launched into the sea of public life and pamphlet
writing and authorship, and was not in such near neigh-
bourhood to his father. Mr. Lee's explanation, therefore,
loses all its force when facts and dates are carefully
attended to ; and it is certain as anything can be that the
accidental transference of the " D " initial for Daniel into
" De " of the surname would sooner have had effect, if its
origin had been such as Mr. Lee is inclined to hold.
We read that De Foe's grandfather was a man of means
in Northamptonshire, a landowner, who himself cultivated
a part, if not the whole, of his land ; and that he actually
kept a pack of hounds. My idea would be that in earlier
times the " De " had been used by the family, just as in
the case of " De " in De Quincey ; and that in the stormy
times of the Commonwealth it was dropped, and not
revived again while the male members of the family were
mostly engaged in trade butchers, hosiers, &c. ; and the
assumption of the " De " by De Foe just at the moment
when he escaped from association with trade has certainly
its own significance.
But it would appear that De Foe suffered insinuations
and insults on the ground of his Normanised name too.
For when he chanced to have a quarrel with journalists,
notably so in the case of Bead's Journal, they declined
to write his name De Foe, as he now did himself, and
dubbed him Foe. This is the way in which one series of
attacks is wound up :
" N.B. Foe is desired to declare whether he did not
authorise a certain publisher, not long ago, to come to Mr.
Eead, to desire a Cessation of all Personal Hostilities. If
so, why he treacherously breaks the articles," &c. (Lee,
vol. i. p. 300).
Mr. Lee proves that there was no treaty whose articles
could be broken, and that De Foe was not guilty of using
the phrases found in Mist's Journal which had roused
anew the ire of Eead.
Now, this insult was given to De Foe on the I oth October
1719? by which time the name of De Foe was in many ways
famous. The first volume of " Eobinson Crusoe " had been
published on the 2 5th April of that same year, and was at
once exhausted ; and a second published only seventeen days
after ; a third followed only twenty-five days later ; and a
fourth on the 8th of August. But still to Read's Journal he
is Foe ; " Mist's Author," " Mist's Man " (as the leading writer
of Mist's Journal), in one breath, abundantly showing the
animus ; for why else should it be only enemies who per-
sisted in using the Foe unless it was a term that might in
the reader's mind carry some latent sting, after he had
become so well and widely known as De Foe ? This style
of thing exactly reproduces and recalls to us Dr. Maginn's
" Quin Daisy," &c., &c., as well as the somewhat spiteful
and vulgar hints of some of his followers with respect to
the use of the " De " by De Quincey. So history repeats
itself even in so small a matter as this a matter in
which every man, if he has no dishonourable intention, is
free to do as he pleases.
ME. DE QUINCEY AND POETRY, MORE ESPECIALLY
THE POETRY OF POPE.
A recent writer on De Quincey has said : " I doubt
whether De Quincey really cared much for poetry as poetry ;
he liked philosophical poets : Milton, Wordsworth, Shake-
speare (inasmuch as Shakespeare was, as he said, the greatest
of philosophical poets), Pope even in a certain way " (the
italics are our own).
Now this, we confess, surprised, and even somewhat
shocked us, as being at once most erroneous and perverse.
Assuredly, as regards Pope, the words " in a certain way,"
should have been " in an -^certain way," as we shall con-
clusively show in a moment. But meanwhile, let us
ask, what of the Greek dramatists, ^Eschylus, Sophocles,
Euripides ? what of Homer ? Did De Quincey not relish
his hexameters ? And yet more emphatically, what of
Chaucer ? Was he, under any construction, a philoso-
phical poet, and did not De Quincey " like " him ?
Why, he even preferred him to Homer, declaring this pre-
ference in terms so strong as to be unmistakable, and to
seem exaggerated. " Show me a piece of Homer's handi-
work," he says, " that comes within a hundred leagues of
that divine Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, or of the
Knight's Tale, or of the Man of Law's Tale, or of the
Tale of the patient Griselda ? "
And then as to Milton : was it the philosophy on which
he laid stress when he wished to convict Dr. Johnson of
error and malice when the practical-minded Doctor declared
that the " Paradise Lost " was tedious ? No ; it was the
scenery ; the incidents, the processions of majestic imagina-
tions ; the pictures from near and far, from all the high places
of history and mythology from the "grandeur that was
Greece and the glory that was Kome ; " from India, Syria,
Babylon the great, Persia in its prime, Phoenicia in its zenith.
This is from one of the notes he added to his article on
Milton in defence of his position as a poet tedious or little
read, any more than the monumental work of any other
great classic is necessarily so :
a ln the older and larger poem ["Paradise Lost"], the
scenical opportunities are more colossal and more various.
Heaven opening to eject her rebellious children ; the un-
voyageable depths of ancient Chaos, with its ( anarch old,'
and its eternal war of wrecks ; these traversed by that great
leading angel that drew after him the third part of the
heavenly host : earliest paradise dawning upon the warrior-
angel out of this far-distant ' sea without shore ' of chaos ;
the dreadful phantoms of sin and death, prompted by secret
sympathy, and snuffing the distant scent of mortal change
on earth,' chasing the steps of their great progenitor
and sultan ; finally, the heart-freezing visions, shown and
narrated to Adam, of human misery, through vast successions
of shadowy generations ; all these scenical opportunities
offered in the < Paradise Lost ' become in the hands of the
mighty artist elements of undying grandeur not matched on
earth. The compass being so much narrower in the c Para-
dise Regained,' if no other reason operated, inevitably the
splendours are sown more thinly. But the great vision of
the temptation, the banquet in the wilderness, the wilderness
itself, the terrific pathos of the ruined archangel's speech,
6 'Tis true I am that spirit unfortunate,' &c. (the effect of
which, when connected with the stern unpitying answer, is
painfully to shock the reader) ; all these proclaim the ancient
skill and the ancient power. And, as regards the skill
naturally brightened by long practice, that succession of
great friezes which the Archangel unrolls in the pictures
of Athens, Rome, and Parthia, besides their native and
intrinsic beauty, have an unrivalled beauty of position
through the reflex illustration which reciprocally they give
Are these the words of a man who liked only philosophical
poets and did not care for poetry as poetry ?
Again, in the article on Roscoe's " Pope," when illus-
trating the difference between the literature of knowledge
and the literature of power, he writes : " What do you
learn from * Paradise Lost ' ? Nothing at all. What do
you learn from a cookery-book ? Something that you did
not know before in every paragraph. But would you there-
fore put the wretched cookery-book on a higher level of
estimation than the divine poem ? What you owe to
Milton is not any knowledge, of which a million separate
items are still but a million of advancing steps on the
same earthly level ; what you owe is power, that is, exercise
and expansion to your latent capacity of sympathy with the
infinite, where every pulse and each separate influx is a
long step upwards a step ascending as upon a Jacob's
ladder from earth to mysterious altitudes above the earth :
All the steps of knowledge, from first to last, carry you
further on the same plane, but could never raise you one
foot above your ancient level of earth; whereas, the very
first step in power is a flight is an ascending into another
element where earth is forgotten.
" The very highest work that has ever existed in the
literature of knowledge (say Sir Isaac Newton's Principia
or Kant's Kritique) is but a provisional work : a book upon
trial and sufferance ; whereas the feeblest works in the litera-
ture of power, surviving at all, survive as finished and un-
alterable among men. . . . The great moral, the last re-
sult of the ' Paradise Lost ' is once formally announced ; but
it teaches itself only by diffusing its lesson through the
entire poem in the total succession of events and purposes ;
and even this succession teaches it only when the whole is
gathered into a unity by a reflex act of meditation ; just as
the pulsation of the physical heart can exist only when ail
the parts in an animal system are locked into one organisa-
tion. To address the insulated understanding is to lay aside
the Prospero's robe of poetry."
And then as to Coleridge : it is, of course, open to any
critic to declare his opinion that it was the residuum of
philosophical thought in Coleridge's verse that De Quincey
admired, and that he never efficiently separated between the
poetry as poetry of Coleridge and the poetry plus philosophy
of Coleridge. But it has to be remembered that De Quincey 's
conviction of the appearance of a great poet was based
simply on " The Ancient Mariner," published in Words-
worth's volume as the work of an anonymous friend, and
that he deeply regretted that opium, in Coleridge's as in
his own case, had stimulated the metaphysical faculties at
the expense of the imaginative or poetical. Here are his
own words :
* * Nobody is happy under opium except for a very short
term of years. But in what way did that operate upon
his exertions as a writer ? We are of opinion that it killed
Coleridge as a poet. The ' harp of Quantock ' was silenced
for ever by the torment of opium ; but proportionately it
roused and stung by misery his metaphysical instincts into
more spasmodic life. Poetry can flourish only in the atmos-
phere of happiness. But subtle and perplexed investiga-
tions of difficult problems are amongst the commonest
resources for beguiling the sense of misery, and for this we
have the direct authority of Coleridge himself speculating
on his own case. In the beautiful though unequal ode
entitled ' Dejection,' stanza six, occurs the following
1 For not to think of what I needs must feel,
But to be still and patient all I can,
And haply by abstruse research to steal
From my own nature all the natural man,
This was my sole resource, my only plan,
Till that which suits a part infects the whole,
And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.'
" Considering the exquisite quality of some poems which
Coleridge has composed, nobody can grieve (or has grieved)
more than ourselves at seeing so beautiful a fountain choked
up with weeds. But had Coleridge been a happier man, it
is our fixed belief that we should have had far less of his
philosophy, and perhaps, but not certainly, might have had
more of his general literature."
And this suggests a point about De Quincey himself
that he, despite the opium, should have preserved so clear a
perception of poetry as poetry, and to the end was enabled
not only to dream his dream, but to record his phantasies
in such pieces as " The Daughter of Lebanon " and "The
Three Ladies of Sorrow," while all the time his intellect
was preternaturally active in logic, metaphysics, and political
economy, and most of the speculations that have at once
enticed and vexed the mind of man from the beginning.
It might, of course, be argued that De Quincey, in the
above-quoted passage, lays too much stress on "happiness,"
as the only atmosphere in which poetry can flourish. And
De Quincey's opponent here might cite Wordsworth's famous
" We poets in our youth begin in gladness,
But thereof comes in the end despondency and madness."
But Wordsworth is there speaking for the class whose high-
strung nervous phantasy had done something to undo them ;
for certainly this was not Wordsworth's own case, and that
very stanza also contains these lines :
" Of him who walked in glory and in joy
Behind his plough upon the mountain-side."
Possibly, too, the case of Milton might be cited here,
rolling his majestic metres in the midst of his personal
trials and his domestic miseries, when all seemed against
him national events, household j airings, his blindness, and
so much else. But Milton's muse, for all that, made an
atmosphere of joy for him in the very heart of life, and in
spite of his saddened circumstances. The fact that he could
sing remained ; and just as the darkened bowers, which the
trainers of the Harz find so essential in training, teach the
birds to concentrate themselves in their notes, and find glad-
ness in the sweet sounds they make when all is dark around
them, so it is with the poet ; and he is a poet or singer
because he can make this gladness for himself in the
fact that he can sing. If it had not been so, how
could Milton have sustained himself in his work and
constructed his grand oratorios ? He had no hope of
reward in coin of the realm; publishers were not besieg-
ing him for " copy " and for copyright, nor did it seem as if
the nation were waiting hushed for his numbers. What
sustained him then in his work ? It was the joy he had in
the doing of it the sense of youthful power and impulse,
the consciousness of creative fervour, the grand imaginings
that were their own reward, and made a glorious world
of his own around him, wherein he walked apart, if not
lonely as a star, like a star dwelling in its own radiance
and glad in the light it shed, whether men were ready to
witness it or not. It was this inward " light of joy " that
De Quincey meant this consciousness of power to interpret
and to express, in a word, to create the beautiful and minister
to the good and true ; for we cannot for one moment think
of De Quincey dwelling on a merely coarse, outward, sensible
happiness if such there can be, at such a moment, and in
such a connection ; but even if he did, whilst we should then
be compelled to range ourselves against him, his position
would still be in our favour as against the critic with whom
we are concerned ; for either form of happiness is opposed
to the metaphysical or abstractive temper. Opium, we may
add, taken in excess, disturbs the sense of creative function
at its very roots, annihilates the capacity of continuous and
joyous exertion; and translates the very abstractive func-
tions, which it preternaturally quickens, into a mere mode of
fitful escape from a misery which it has itself created. In
this sense, too, Milton's words are true : "To le weak is to
l>e miserable" Probably also George Eliot's lines in " Arm-
gart" may have, in the eyes of most readers, a very close
illustrative bearing here, we mean when she makes one
speak thus of her heroine :
" For herself,
She often wonders what her life had been
Without that voice for channel of her soul ;
She says it must ha\ 7 e leaped through all her limhs,
Made her a Msenad made her snatch a brand
And fire some forest that her rage might mount
In crashing roaring flames through half a laud,
Leaving her still and patient for a while.
' Poor wretch ! ' she says of any murderess,
' The world was cruel, and she could not sing ; '
I carry my revenges in my throat,
I love in singing and am loved again."
Coleridge himself was decisively of this opinion, if we may
judge from the fifth stanza of the ode on " Dejection : "
" This light, this glory, this fair, luminous mist,
This beautiful and beauty-making power,
Joy, virtuous Lady ! joy that ne'er was given
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour ;
Life and life's effluence, cloud at once and shower,
Joy, Lady ! is the spirit and the power
Which wedding Nature to us, gives in dower
A new earth and new heaven,
Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud
Joy is the sweet voice, joy the luminous cloud.
We in ourselves rejoice !
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colours or suffusion from that light.
There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress.
And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence fancy made me dreams of happiness ;
For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
And fruits and foliage not my own seemed mine.
But now afflictions bow me down to earth,
Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth ;
But oh ! each visitation
Suspends what Nature gave me at my birth,
My shaping spirit of imagination."
And then follow the lines which De Quincey has quoted,
wliich are imperfect and less emphatic without these pre-
Then as to Wordsworth : it is certainly not the philosophy
qua philosophy that De Quincey admires in " The Excur-
sion." That dissatisfies him. He finds fault with the episode
of Margaret because it has been so overlaid by the Solitary's
philosophy, and so also with the Sceptic. " Indirectly, be-
sides, it ought not to be overlooked that, as regards the
French Revolution, the whole college of philosophy in * The
Excursion' makes the same mistake that he [the Sceptic]
does. ... It is not easy to see how the Laureate can avoid
making some change in the constitution of his poem, were it
only to rescue his philosophers, and therefore his own philo-
sophy, from the imputation of precipitancy of judgment."
On account of the philosophy in " The Excursion " operating
to break up and disconnect, it was laid down that " The
Excursion " would live only as a series of fragments ; fol-
lowed by this most telling passage : " Not therefore in
' The Excursion ' must we look for that reversionary in-
fluence which awaits Wordsworth with posterity. It is the
vulgar superstition in behalf of big books and sounding
titles ; it is the weakness of supposing no book entitled
to be considered a power in the literature of the land, unless
physically it is weighty, that must have prevailed upon
Coleridge and others to undervalue, by comparison with the
direct philosophic poetry of Wordsworth, those minor poems
which are all short, but generally scintillating with gems
of far profounder truth. Let the reader understand, how-
ever, that by ' truth ' I understand not merely that truth
which takes the shape of a formal proposition, reducible to
' mood ' and ' figure,' but truth which suddenly strengthens
into solemnity an impression very feebly acknowledged
previously, or truth which suddenly unveils a connection
between objects always before regarded as irrelate and
independent." How then could it be said that De Quincey
preferred the philosophical to the purely imaginative poems
of Wordsworth ? In truth, De Quincey admired " The Ex-
cursion " in spite of its philosophy, and not because of it. It
was not merely that it was wrong, but that it was there, as
one might say in chemical phrase, unprecipitated. No ; what
De Quincey admired and liked in Wordsworth were these
four things : (i.) an eye for new aspects and new meanings
in Nature's shows and pomps, especially in the forms of
cloud architecture; (2.) his hold on, and interpretation of,
certain sentiments which poetry had heretofore greatly
overlooked or inadequately and perversely treated; (3.) his
hold on the permanent in human feeling ; and (4.) the
depth of his sympathy. ' ' The great distinction of Words-
worth," he says, " and the pledge of his increasing popularity,
is the extent of his sympathy with what is really permanent
in human feelings, and also the depth of his sympathy."
De Quincey therefore based his liking for Wordsworth, and
his conviction of his profound influence, on elements that
are opposed to philosophy, though they may be allied with
meditative moods, and may sometimes draw effect from them.
But even as to Pope, it was not as the philosophical poet,
moralist, or satirist that De Quincey liked or admired him,
but rather as the fanciful and inventive artist in such things
as " The Kape of the Lock," especially in the final form, with
its machinery of sylphs and gnomes, or as the painter of
human nature in emotive crises, as in the "Abelard and
Heloise." Let the writer from whom we quoted at the out-
set, and those who are inclined to swear by him, read that
portion of "Lord Carlisle on Pope," pp. 22 to 32 (author's
original edition), and they will see how little, when De
Quincey was free to wield his critical weapon and give verge
to personal opinion (which he hardly was in writing for the
" Encyclopaedia Britannica," though even there he takes care
to rebuke those who have very unreasonably fancied the
" Essay on Criticism " Pope's best performance, which he
there decides to be " The Eape of the Lock "), he gave
countenance to this statement, and certainly no support could
be found for it in the essay on Eoscoe's " Pope."
" Pope valued upon that scale [as an original philosopher
or philosophic moralist] is nobody ; or, in Newmarket lan-
guage, if ranked against Chrysippus, or Plato, or Aristotle,
or Epicurus, lie would be found 'nowhere/ He is there-
fore reduced at one blow to the level of a pulpit moralist.
. . . And in a function so exceedingly humble, philosophi-
cally considered, how could he pretend to precedency in
respect of anybody, unless it were the Amen Clerk or the
" In reality, however, the case is worse Whatever
service Pope may have meditated to the philosophy of morals,
he has certainly performed none. The direct contributions
which he offered to this philosophy in his ' Essay on Man,'
are not of a nature to satisfy any party ; because at present
the whole system may be read into different, and sometimes
into opposing meanings, according to the quality of the
integrations supplied for filling up the chasm in the chain
of development. The sort of service, however, expected
from Pope in such a field falls in better with the style of
his satires and moral epistles than of a work professedly
metaphysical. Here, however, most eminently it is that
the falseness and hypocrisy which besieged his satirical
career have made themselves manifest. . . . Untruly, there-
fore, was it ever fancied of Pope that he belonged, by his
classification, to the family of the Drydens. Dryden had
within him a principle of continuity, which was not satisfied
without lingering upon his own thoughts, brooding over
them, and oftentimes pursuing them through their unlinkirigs
with the sequaciousness (pardon a Coleridgean word) that
belongs to some process of creative nature, such as the un-
folding of a flower. But Pope was all jets and tongues of
flame ; all showers of scintillation and sparkle. Dryden
followed, genially, an impulse of his healthy nature. Pope
obeyed, spasmodically, an overmastering febrile paroxysm.
. . . Pope was habitually false in the quality of his thoughts,
always insincere, never by accident in earnest, and conse-
quently many times caught in ruinous self-contradiction.
The satires offend against philosophical truth more heavily
than the ' Essay on Man/ but not in the same way. . . .
The two brilliant poets [Horace and Pope] fluttered on
butterfly wings to the right and to the left, obeying no
VOL. II. R
guidance but that of some instant and fugitive sensibility
to some momentary phases of beauty. In this dream of
drunken eclecticism, and in the original possibility of such
an eclecticism, lay the ground of that enormous falsehood
which Pope practised from youth to age."
It was, therefore, not " in a certain way " that De Quin-
cey admired Pope as a philosophical poet, but " in a most
uncertain way," far more "in a certain way " does he
admire Pope in "The Rape of the Lock," &c., when Pope
tried to write poetry as poetry ; so that this critic is
doubly wrong wrong in what he positively asserts ; wrong
in what he omits ; wrong alike in what he sees and signalises
and in what he omits to see and to signalise ; wrong as to
the fact and wrong as to the criticism ; wrong both before
and behind, as one might say, and this surely is a sad plight
to put oneself in !
Thus, putting aside the point about Shakespeare
(" Shakespeare, inasmuch as Shakespeare was, as he said,
the greatest of philosophical poets ") on which much might
be said, we have advanced quite enough to show that this
writer's statement is not to be implicitly accepted, and is
likely to be misleading if accepted as an accurate, faithful,
or discriminating interpretation of Thomas de Quincey's
views of poets and poetry.
This same writer is wrong on one other point, and con-
tradictory on a second. He is wrong when he says that
De Quincey shifted his lodgings after his pecuniary troubles
had ceased. He did not ; and that is the very reason why
the cottage at Lasswade and 42 Lothian Street, Edinburgh,
are now so familiar to us. Then (2), while we are told that
" nobody can be held to have known De Quincey during his
later years " [were then Mr. Hill Burton, Professor Lushing-
ton, Mr. J. E. Findlay nobodies ? not to speak of the want
of gallantry in so ignoring De Quincey's daughters, or in
relegating them to the same rank], in another page we are
told this : " Indeed what we do hear [about De Quincey]
dates almost entirely from the last days of his life " the
legitimate inference from which, in the light of the other
statement, is not very complimentary to all or to any of those
who have told us anything regarding him.
THE SCEPTICISM OF KANT.
The last clause of Professor J. P. ISTichol's letter on
page 1 86 would be very obscure without some explanation.
In the second volume of De Quincey's " Collected Works "
appeared the Eeminiscences of " Samuel Taylor Coleridge,"
in which De Quincey took occasion to make some remarks
on the inconsistencies of points in Coleridge's philosophy
with the tenets of Unitarianism with which Coleridge was
credited ; and he passes on to illustrate the contradictions
that befall philosophers by citing the case of Kant, who,
in spite of much in his published works, was yet, he asserts,
apt in private conversation to express doubts as to the
inspiration of the Bible and the immortality of the soul.
Professor J. P. Nichol contributed to the Glasgow Uni-
versity Album for 1854 a few pages, calling in question
the assertions of De Quincey on this point, though in the
friendliest spirit, and asking him to give authorities and
set the matter thoroughly at rest. The following is
Professor Nichol's little paper, to which he has directed
De Quincey's attention in the letter :
Mr. de Quincey versus Immanuel Kant.
No reader of this Miscellany can require to be informed
that Mr. de Quincey is now engaged in revising and super-
intending the publication of his principal writings. Nor
is it needful that in sympathy with the whole literary
world we add our expression of congratulation, that this
2 6o APPENDIX.
admirable Writer and most interesting Man lias found
leisure and opportunity to complete and perfect a Monument
which will certainly be as enduring as any other that has
been erected by Genius in the present age. In the second
volume of the Selections, however, there is a paragraph
to which we venture to take grave exception, a paragraph
so very important that we feel persuaded Mr. de Quincey
will not be the last to recognise the propriety of this
formal and public request for his renewed attention to
the statement it contains. In pages 162, 163 is recorded
as follows :
" Who can read without indignation of Kant, that at
his own table, in social sincerity and confidential talk, let
him say what he would in his books, he exulted in the
prospect of absolute and ultimate annihilation ; that he
planted his glory in the grave, and was ambitious of rotting
for ever ! The King of Prussia, though a personal friend
of Kant's, found himself obliged to level his state-thunders
at some of his doctrines and terrified him in his advance :
else, I am persuaded that Kant would have formally de-
livered atheism from the Professor's Chair, and would have
enthroned the horrid Ghoulish creed (which privately he
professed) in the University of Konigsberg. It required
the artillery of a great King to make him pause ; his
menacing or warning letter to Kant is extant. The general
notion is, that the royal logic, applied so austerely to the
public conduct of Kant in the Professor's Chair, was of the
kind which rests its strength ' upon thirty legions.' My
own belief is, that the King had private information of
Kant's ultimate tendencies, as revealed in his table-talk."
It is very evident that an imputation so serious on the
memory of one of the greatest Thinkers in modern Europe
ought not to be sent abroad unless the grounds of it are
definite and above question. Now, we take leave to say
that, in the current and open literature of Germany
nothing authorising that imputation has up to the present
APPENDIX. 26 1
moment found a place. We have several biographies of
Kant ; and his metaphysical system was, from the hour of
its birth, subjected to much and even angry criticism ; but
neither in any reputable biography, nor in any decent
criticism known to us, have we been able to detect the
vestige of such a charge. The Critical Philosophy could
not escape, indeed, much vehement denunciation. It met
the fate of all grand innovations, being quite unacceptable
at first to a party in the German Churches. Pamphlets,
nothing tolerant either of Philosophy or philosophers, but
very fiery and furious, came in hordes from the press ; we
have sufficient experience, however, of the weight and
worth of such things, even in our own comparatively quiet
country, to deem it a matter of much consequence, although
sundry Pamphleteers of that cast may be known to have
associated Kant with Apollyon himself. A serious state-
ment by Mr. de Quincey is confessedly an affair of a
different order ; and we submit that he owes it to himself
as well as to Kant, and all the young minds whose
opinions his genius will yet influence to examine and
PRODUCE his Authorities. Will he forgive our recording
our own strong impression that the whole story of the
Ghoulish table-talk, and of the King of Prussia's letter,
may be found to have a certain undeniable family re-
semblance to the famous " Three Hack crows " ?
This conviction of ours rests not merely on what is
accepted in his own land regarding Kant personally, but
also on the nature of the Critical Philosophy, and the
character of the high intellect that evolved it. An
impression, indeed, was once afloat in this country that
Kant's system is, in so far, an Ideal one tending towards
the denial of Ontological Eealities ; but that has waned in
exact proportion as our insular Metaphysicians have ceased
to despise German Literature, and to refrain from under-
standing [ ? undervaluing] courses of thought originating
elsewhere than in some Scottish preserve. The mistake
arose in this wise. After achieving that memorable task,
for the accomplishment of which all modern Speculation
must ever be indebted to him, the task, namely, of vindi-
cating the authority of Absolute Truths by tracing them
to a dynamic force inherent in Mind itself, we asked how,
from the platform of Subjective KNOWLEDGE, can we reach
the height of objective BEING ? How from PSYCHOLOGY pass
to ONTOLOGY ? And, in discussing this the most thorny
and arduous problem within reach of the Human Eeason
we showed that, while there is one way by which the
transition can be effected, there is another by which it
cannot. By the speculative faculty, Kant said, we cannot
construct a requisite bridge ; it does not follow, because we
have a speculative longing for Unity that there must be
an objective unchangeable Substance corresponding to that
notion of Unity. The Speculative Faculty has merely to
recognise those controlling notions, as its own absolute Laws ;
and it is, in itself, complete and adequate to itself, irre-
spective of Externality. Now, this memorable Critique at
once discredited multitudes of paralogisms popularly current
and held by as satisfactory ; and as lack of ability to think
is usually accompanied by lack of courage, the terror went
abroad that " the foundations of Ontology " were being
quite removed by this remorseless destroyer of Konigsberg.
Terror blinds alike Intellect and Conscience. It was not
observed that Kant had really proposed and established for
evermore the surest foundation of Ontology. It may be,
that even he has not seen deep enough among the capacities
of the Speculative Faculty. It is not improbable that a
clearer view of certain Intuitions would remove a portion
of the difficulties which confronted him. But two aver-
ments may be hazarded. First, the difficulties in question
were not removed in his time, and still stand where he
found them stern as ever. And, secondly, there is a strong
a priori probability that we shall discern the Eealities of
Ontology easiest at least by aid of that portion of our
complex Nature on which these dread Eealities the most
directly act ; viz., our MORAL NATURE, or, as it was named
by Kant, the PRACTICAL EEASON. It has been alleged that
Kant, either shrinking from the consequences of his former
conclusions, or desirous to conciliate popular belief, sought
this outlet ; and that he proposed it, although it is clearly
discredited by the very considerations which swayed him
in the previous case. An averment of Irreflection or Ignor-
ance. The cases bear no resemblance. The Speculative
Faculty, acting in obedience to its own Laws, is, as we
have said, complete in itself; wherefore, it demands no
supplementing through Externality. The Practical Reason,
on the other hand, is essentially extra-regardant. It cannot
act at all, unless in relationship with other Minds, equal
and superior : its Laws presuppose an Ontology ; and thus
constrain our Belief in Ontology. Whether this reasoning
be sound or riot, assuredly it was earnestly put ; and we
have yet to learn that it has been overthrown.
In further exercise of that frankness any departure from
which Mr. de Quincey would consider the reverse of com-
plimentary, we protest also against the content of the ex-
pression, " let Mm say what he would in his books." Kant's
confidence in God and Immortality, in the Moral Attributes
and Responsibility of Man, was not, as presented by him-
self, the result of any questionable Speculation. It forms,
on the contrary, in its various modes, the ground of a fair
half of all his philosophic labours, witness the Critique of
the Practical Reason, the Metaphysic of Ethics, and his essay
on Religion. Were works like these nothing but an
" organised hypocrisy " ? Observe the amount involved in
so monstrous a charge ! Not merely the character of Kant
a great man who, through much worthy service, has left
on the world an obligation to protect his name ; but this
further, the untenable the impossible proposition, that any
illustrious Thinker, any human Spirit gifted with the ability
to explore new regions of Moral Truth, can be tainted by the
mean vice of insincerity. On the Socratic doctrine in its
broadest sense that Knowledge is identical with Virtue
we shall not at present dilate ; but we aver that this vice
of Insincerity is utterly inconsistent with the power to
advance one hair's-breadth among untrodden districts of
the Moral World. There is not an instance in History
that goes to contradict our averment ; nor is the ground of
it remote ; no man can discover new Moral Truth who does
not know Truth, and love it. A maxim at the root of all
the Teaching of Socrates as well as at that of One higher
still : let it be written with Pen of Iron on the heart of
every young Man who longs for insight and desires a guide !
Mr. de Quincey assuredly will not quote against us the
venerable name of BACON. Eesearch, honestly undertaken
and unremittingly pursued, is fast clearing away the false-
hoods that to the disgrace of what is called History
have so long obscured the lustre of one of England's
proudest possessions ; to us, d priori considerations ever
seemed sufficient. . . .
The Author of these exquisite Essays, which now that
they are being collected we shall henceforth frequently
enjoy, cannot feel surprised at our express claim of justice
at his hands on behalf of so marked a leader of European
Thought, or that we are unwilling to resign the character
of Kant. And yet further. Of Prejudice, inane Terror, and
the poorest Appreciation regarding Teutonic Philosophy)
there is still enough and to spare amongst us ; nor are there
wanting persons in the garb of Truth-seekers who, instead
of grieving lest imputations like the foregoing should have
even a shadow of foundation, receive them gladly, and
for the purpose of discrediting the Philosophy are pre-
pared eagerly to diffuse them. Now, without meaning
to stand answerable either for the whole or any special
part of the result of recent Continental Speculation, we
hold it a heavy misfortune that a course of Thought so
remarkable continues virtually disregarded among young
Men who aspire to be Teachers of the next generation ;
that, while History must describe it as a memorable phase
in the intellectual and moral unfolding of Humanity, they
consider it safe very nearly to ignore it. Alas ! it is not
thus that influence over the future may now be attained :
even Scotland is insular no longer. He w r ho would sway
Scotchmen henceforward must be able to sway Men ; and
no combatant ambitious to do service for Truth need per-
suade himself that he can correct error merely by resolving
not to comprehend it. With the counsel implied in these
sentences, and respectfully but earnestly as well as affec-
tionately commended, it is perhaps not unfitting that one
volume of the University Album should close. J. P. N.
This passage which Professor J. P. Nichol animadverts
upon in the section of the " Literary Reminiscences "
headed " Samuel Taylor Coleridge," follows a paragraph
in which De Quincey contrasts the great constructive powers
of Coleridge with those of the same order which were so
weak, as he holds, in Kant. With that weakness De
Quincey connects a tendency to scepticism, allied with a
lack of love, faith, humility, self-distrust, child-like docility,
so pronouncedly features of Coleridge's character ; and then
follows the paragraph quoted by Professor Nichol. But in
the article on " Kant in his Miscellaneous Essays," origin-
ally published in Blaclcwood's Magazine in August 1830, in
the form of a letter to Christopher North, he had written :
" It must not be concealed that Kant is an enemy to
Christianity. Not content with the privilege of speaking
in an infidel tone, and with philosophic liberty, he mani-
festly thinks of Christianity with enmity nay, with spite.
/ will never believe that Kant was capable (as some have
represented him) of ridiculing in conversation the hopes of
immortality ; for that is both incredible for itself, and in
contradiction to many passages in his writings. But that he
was mean and little-minded in his hatred to Christianity is
certain. Nor is it at all unintelligible that, philosopher as
he was, and compelled to do homage, therefore, unwilling
homage, to the purity and holiness which so transcendently
belong to the Christian morals (a subject which he could
not decline or evade, having himself treated that part of
philosophy with such emphatic truth and grandeur), after
confessing, as, in fact, he did, its superiority to the Stoic
morality, which certainly approaches nearest to the Christian
in uncompromising rigour of principle, it is still not unin-
telligible that he should harbour enmity to Christianity
as an entire scheme of religious philosophy. Though at
first sight startling, I repeat that this coexistence of two
opposite states of feeling with regard to Christianity is no
But the letter of the King of Prussia and Kant's reply
to it were real enough, and in this article De Quincey gives
a translation of the former and a kind of resuwit of the
latter ; so that Professor J. P. Nichol was quite wrong
when he expressed the conviction that they would be found
of the same order as the " Three Black Crows." It is clear
that Kant's relation to Christianity was not exactly what
Professor Nichol would fain have made it out to be. And
it would seern that, whereas in August 1830 De Quincey
was inclined to doubt what had been said of Kant's dis-
belief in immortality as expressed in his table-talk, by
1854 he .had convinced himself that it was well attested :
hence there was no necessity for further investigation or
further argument. So far as we are aware, he did not
publicly take any notice of Professor J. P. Nichol's paper ;
nor did he himself reprint in his " Collected Works "
the paper on " Kant in his Miscellaneous Essays " from
Blackwood for August 1830, else probably he would in
notes to that essay have made some reply to the stric-
tures of Professor Nichol in the Glasgow University Album
PROFESSOR JOHN NICHOL'S EARLY WRITINGS.
The contributions of Professor John Nichol, then a
student in Glasgow, to which his father refers in the
letter directing De Quincey's attention to them, are cer-
tainly remarkable alike as regards originality and felicity
of form for so young a man. Both under his initials and
under the pseudonyms of " Isis " and " Basalt " he con-
tributed, and in each of the contributions we detect traces
of great promise such traces as would lead one to expect
later such a work as "Hannibal."
" Psammenitus," indeed, is, in our opinion, a poem of
considerable finish arid fancy. It is in blank verse, with
perhaps a suggestion of Tennyson's influence, yet is original
and happy in phrase here and there. It tells the story of
of the descent of Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, on Psammenitus,
to wrest from him the throne of Egypt. The poem opens
with some fine lines on Egypt :
" Deep-shrouded Egypt, lone, mysterious land ;
A land of mingled shrines and palaces,
Where the stern shades of Death o'ershadowing,
Subdues the pillar and the pomp of life,
And mellows all things to a dreadful calm :
There greatness moulders slow the tombs of kings
Are their own most enduring monument.
Still Ammon rules across the desert sands
That melt away beyond the dreary waste,
But all the empire of the land has passed.
No longer do the shafts of triumph speed
From conquering chariots of avenging chiefs ;
And now no more the sound of Memnon's voice
Wakes up the far glad music of the Vale ',
No more ascending from the hills of Thebes
Is incense curling upwards to the Gods,
No longer now from congregated crowds
The clang of symbols unto Isis sounds ;
Silent the hum of worshippers, and low
In crumbling ruins, stately temples rest."
"DIKE NECESSITY" LED TO WRITING FOR
When severe or satirical remarks are made on the lack
of practicality in De Quincey, and on the constant scrapes
and embarrassments in which he found himself, some lack
of insight is shown into the whole bearings of the case.
Had De Quincey been practical, and careful to invest even
his small fortune with skill, not to speak of judicious cal-
culation, instead of making gifts and spending injudiciously,
he would in all probability have passed through life a
very amiable and respected gentleman, famed for his
extensive knowledge, his power in conversation, and his
out-of-the-way reading. But he would not have troubled
the world with any of his lucubrations. He had none of
the itch of writing which pursues some people. He was
content to live and to enjoy. His intellectual faculties
and sympathies would at all times have found exercise, as
well as his quaint and gentle humour ; but he would never
probably have joined the army of writers for the press. Pos-
sibly his superabundant thought and fancy and felicity of
expression might have found some scope in letters to his
friends and acquaintances ; and possibly these might have
been gathered together by some intimate or admirer ;
the world would have laughed over the extravagances, the
paradoxes, and the gentle raillery which thus he would
have fired off'; but his fame would only have been short-
lived. Unless, indeed, he had met with some friend who
had had the sagacity to become his alter ego, and treasure
up his table-talk Boswell-like more especially in those
early hours when, if in congenial and appreciative society,
his discourse was said to be brilliant and novel beyond
expression. He himself repeatedly confesses that he wrote
only under the spur of necessity. " Failing which case of
dire necessity," he confesses at one place, " I believe that
I should never have written a line for the press." To the
necessities, therefore, we owe what we have.
EARLY DOUBTS OF DE QUINCEY'S STRICT
ADHERENCE TO FACT.
It would appear that doubts of a similar tenor to those
recently expressed were cast on sundry points in the " Con-
fessions " when first published doubts which, it may be,
De Quincey had in his rnind when he replied to James
Montgomery's remarks ; but he made no particular reference
to them then. Five-and-twenty years after, however, in the
third instalment of the " Suspiria de Profundis " in Hack-
wood's Magazine for July 1845, p. 49, he referred to them
at some length and with some humour also. He writes :
" I saw in one journal an intimation that the incidents
in the preliminary narrative were possibly without foun-
dation. To such an expression of mere gratuitous malig-
nity, as it happened to be supported by no one argument
except a remark, apparently absurd, but certainly false, I
did not condescend to answer. In reality the possibility
had never occurred to me that any person of judgment
would seriously suspect me of taking liberties with that
part of the work, since, though no one of the parties
concerned but myself stood in so central a position to
the circumstances as to be acquainted with all of them,
many were acquainted with each separate section of the
Memoir. Relays of witnesses might have been summoned
to mount guard, as it were, upon the accuracy of each
particular in the whole succession of incidents ; and some
of these people had an interest, more or less strong, in
exposing any deviation from the strictest letter of the truth,
had it been in their power to do so. It is now (1845)
twenty-two years since I saw the objection here alluded to ;
and, in saying that I did not condescend to notice it, the
reader must not find any reason for taxing me with a blame-
able haughtiness. But every man is entitled to be haughty
2 70 APPENDIX.
when his veracity is impeached, and, still more, when it is
impeached by a dishonest objection, or, if not that, by an
objection which argues a carelessness of attention almost
amounting to dishonesty, in a case where it was meant to
sustain an imputation of falsehood. Let a man read care-
lessly, if he will, but not when he is meaning to use his
reading for a purpose of wounding another man's honour.
Having thus, by twenty-two years' silence, sufficiently ex-
pressed my contempt for the slander, I now feel myself
at liberty to draw it into notice for the sake, inter alia, of
showing in how rash a spirit malignity often works."
And then he proceeds to show that certain of the features
in his description of the house in the street off Oxford
Street where lived the shady attorney who allowed him a
gratuitous lodging there had been missed, and this made
the ground of fastening on him a charge that he had said
the house was in Oxford Street, and that no house answer-
ing to the description could be found in Oxford Street.
" Meantime, it happens," he goes on, " that, although the
true house was most obscurely indicated, any house what-
ever in Oxford Street was most luminously excluded. In
all the immensity of London there was but one single street
could be challenged by an attentive reader of the Confes-
sions as peremptorily not the street of the attorney's house
and that one was Oxford Street ; for, in speaking of my
own renewed acquaintance with the outside of this house,
I used some expression implying that, in order to make
such a visit of reconnaissance, I had turned aside from
Oxford Street. The matter is a perfect trifle in itself, but it
is no trifle in a question affecting a writer's accuracy. ... I
may now mention the Herod being dead whose persecu-
tions I have reason to fear that the house in question
stands in Greek Street, on the west, and is the house on that
side nearest to Soho Square, but without looking into the
square. This it was hardly safe to mention at the date of
the published Confessions. It was my private opinion,
indeed, that there were twenty-five chances to one of my
friend the attorney having been by that time hanged. But
then this argued inversely : one chance to twenty-five that
my friend might be unhanged, and knocking about the
streets of London ; in which case it would have been a
perfect God-send to him that here lay an opening (of my
contrivance, not his) for requesting the opinion of a jury
on the amount of solatium due to his wounded feelings
in an action on the passage in the Confessions. To have
indicated even the street would have been enough.
Because there could surely be but one such Grecian in
Greek Street, or but one that realised the conditions of
that unknown quantity. There was also a separate danger,
not absolutely so laughable as it sounds. Me there was
little chance that the attorney should meet; but my book he
might easily have met (supposing always that the warrant
of Sus. per coll. had not yet on his own account travelled
down to Newgate). For he was literary, admired litera-
ture ; and, as a lawyer, he wrote on some subjects fluently :
might he not publish his Confessions ? Or, which would
be worse, a supplement to mine printed so as exactly
to match ? In which case I should have had the same
Affliction that Gibbon the historian dreaded so much, viz.,
that of seeing a refutation of himself, and his own answer
to the refutation, all bound up in one and the same self-
combating volume. Besides, he would have cross-examined
me before the public in Old Bailey style : no story, the
most straightforward that ever was told, could be sure to
stand that. And my readers might be left in a state of
painful doubt whether he might not, after all, have been a
model of suffering innocence I (to say the kindest thing
possible) plagued with the natural treacheries of a school-
boy's memory. ... I never succeeded in tracing his steps
through the wilderness of London until some years back,
when I ascertained that he was dead.' r
The letters we have been able to give in this volume,
indeed, are decisive on the points with which they deal ;
and the presumption is, that, had complete collections of
letters existed, every point in detail however strange
would have been confirmed by contemporary testimony.
REFERENCES TO LORD SLIGO'S LETTERS IN THE
The letters printed in the first volume from the Marquis
of Sligo have an interest for students of literature and
lovers of De Quincey over and above the testimony they
afford of his truthfulness in narration. They form a part
of that very parcel of letters which he tells us in the
" Confessions " he carried about with him, during his sad
novitiate in London, and presented to the money-lending
Jews and their attorneys as proofs of his identity. The
passage in which he states these facts we may here
" To this Jew [Dell] and to other advertising money-
lenders [some of whom were, I believe, also Jews] I had
introduced myself with an account of my expectations,
which account, on examining my father's will at Doctor's
Commons, they had ascertained to be correct. The person
fehere mentioned as the second son of was found to
have all the claims [or more than all] that I had stated,
but one question still remained which the faces of the Jews
pretty significantly suggested was I that person ? This
doubt had never occurred to me as a possible one ; I had
rather feared whenever my Jewish friends scrutinised me
keenly that I might be too well known to be that person,
and that some scheme might be passing in their minds for
entrapping me, and selling me to my guardians. It was
strange to me to find my own self, materialiter considered
(so I expressed it, for I doated on logical accuracy of dis-
tinctions), accused, or at least suspected, of counterfeiting
my own self formaliter considered. However, to satisfy
their scruples, I took the only course in my power. Whilst
I was in Wales I had received various letters from young
friends ; these I produced, for I carried them constantly in
my pocket, being, indeed, by this time almost the only
relics of my personal incumbrances (excepting the clothes I
wore, which I had not in one way or other disposed of.
Most of these letters were from the Earl of [Altamont],
who was at that time my chief (or rather only) confidential
friend. These letters were dated from Eton. I had also
some from the Marquis of [Sligo], his father, who, though
absorbed in agricultural pursuits, yet having been an
Etonian himself, and as good a scholar as a nobleman needs
to be, still retained an affection for classical studies and for
youthful scholars. He had, accordingly, from the time that
I was fifteen, corresponded with me ; sometimes upon the
great improvements which he had made or was meditating
in the counties of M and 81 since I had been
there ; sometimes upon the merits of a Latin poet, at
other times suggesting subjects on which he wished me to
CORRIGENDA ON THE MEMOIR OF DE QUINCEY.
The perusal 'of letters in this later " find " of materials
has led to correction of two errors in the Memoir, which,
so far as we are aware, have passed unnoticed :
i^ At p. 37 of Eevised Edition, line 2 from top,
" Ballinasloe " should be " Ballinrobe."
2. At p. 76 of Revised Edition, lines 7 and 10
from bottom, " contempt " should be " contem-
And a printer's error :
3. At p. 426, line 5 from top, " scientific " should be
(Ballinasloe is twice referred to in the former page, and
VOL. II. S
repeated at top of p. 37 would imply going backward
instead of forward to breakfast.)
The Mr. Oliver White referred to at p. 293 of Memoir
is the same person as Mr. 0. W. Wight from whom a
letter is quoted on pp. 238240 of vol. ii. of this work.
And the latter is the correct designation.
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BEING LETTERS AND OTHER RECORDS HERE FIRST PUB-
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THESE volumes include letters to De Quincey from his mother
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The work is handsomely printed, in two volumes, and is
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at BEDFORD STREET, LONDON, AY.C.
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In Volumes, Crown 8vo.
POSTHUMOUS WORKS OF
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SUSPIRIA DE PROFUNDIS.
WITH OTHER ESSAYS,
CRITICAL, HISTORICAL, BIOGRAPHICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL,
IMAGINATIVE, AND HUMOROUS.
CONVERSATION AND COLERIDGE.
\WITH OTHER ESSAYS.
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THE above posthumous works of Thomas De Quincey will
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ARABIC AUTHORS: A Manual of Arabian
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Author of "Early Ideas," "Persian Portraits," &c. In
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THE GENTLE ART OF MAKING ENEMIES
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THE PASSION PLAY AT OBERAMMERGAU,
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Canon of Westminster, &c. &c. In One Volume, small
4to, 2s. 6d.
Spectator. " Among the many accounts that have been written
this year of ' The Passion Play,' one of the most picturesque, the most
interesting, and the most reasonable, is this sketch of Archdeacon
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have, and by those who have not, visited Oberammergau."
THE GARDEN'S STORY; or, Pleasures and
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Scotsman. "Deserves every recommendation that a pleasant-
looking page can give it ; for it deals with a charming subject in a
charming manner. Mr. Ellwanger talks delightfully, with instruc-
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THE LIFE OF HENRIK IBSEN. By HENRIK
JAEGER. Translated by CLARA. BELL. With the Verse
done into English from the Norwegian Original by
EDMUND GOSSE. In One Volume, crown 8vo, 6s.
St. James's Gazette. " Admirably translated. Deserves a cordial
and emphatic welcome."
Guardian. " Ibsen's dramas at present enjoy a considerable vogue,
and their admirers will rejoice to fiud full descriptions and criticisms
in Mr. Jaeger's book."
Academy. "We welcome it heartily. An unqualified boon to
the many English students of Ibsen."
COMMUNICATIONS ON A REMEDY FOR
TUBERCULOSIS. By Professor ROBERT KOCH, Berlin.
Authorised Translation. 8vo, Wrapper, is. ; or Limp
Cloth, is. 6d.
From The Times, leading article, November 17, 1890: "It has
been acknowledged, at any time during the last year or two, that the
discovery of a cure for tuberculosis was not only possible but even
likely ; and that which is now announced comes with the highest
recommendations and from the most trustworthy source."
IDLE MUSINGS: Essays in Social Mosaic.
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Loving Deeds," &c. &c. In One Volume, crown 8vo, 6s.
Saturday Review. "Light, brief, and bright are the 'essays in
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trivial with a good deal of dexterity and a profusion of illustrations."
Graphic. "Pleasantly written, will serve admirably to wile away
an idle half-hour or two."
IVY AND PASSION FLOWER: Poems. By
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Scotsman. " Will be read with pleasure."
Woman. "There is a delicacy of touch and simplicity about the
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Musical World. "The poems are delicate specimens of art, grace-
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VERSES. By GERTRUDE HALL. i2mo, 33. 6d.
Musical World. "Interesting volume of verse."
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