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66 I am
Early in 1807,” Mr. S. says, “ I was confined by a violent fever. Several weeks I was delirious, and to my astonishment, when I recovered, Pitt was out of place, and Horne Tooke in Parliament. I did not resume the conduct of the Paper till the spring. The Paper suffered loss.”
The next letter, dated May, 1801, Keswick, speaks of ill health, and “ the habits of irresolution which are its worst consequences,” forbidding him to rely on himself. Mr. S. had solicited him to write, and offered terms, and it appears that he did form a new engagement for the Paper about that time. In a letter of September, 1801, he says, not so blinded by authorship as to believe that what I have done is at all adequate to the money I have received.” Mr. Stuart then produces letter with the postmark Bridgewater, of Jan. 19, 1802. These letters show, he says, that in July and October, 1800, in May, 1801, on the 30th of September, 1801, Coleridge was at Keswick, that in January, 1802, he was at Stowey, that he could not therefore have materially contributed to the success of The Morning Post.
66 In this last year, says Mr. Stuart, “ his Letters to Judge Fletcher, and on Mr. Fox, at Paris, were published.” The former were not published till 1814. The six letters appeared in The Courier on Sept. 20th, 29th, Oct. 21st, Nov. 2d, Dec. 3d, 6th, 9th, and 10th. The latter appeared on the 4th and 9th of Nov., 1802. Mr. Stuart speaks of it as a mistake in those who have supposed that the coolness of Fox to Sir James Mackintosh was occasioned by his ascribing this “ violent philippic,” as Lamb called it, to him (Sir James). “ On those to Judge Fletcher," he says, " and many other such essays, as being rather fit.for pamphlets than newspapers, I did not set much value. On this subject hear Coleridge himself in a letter dated June 4th, 1811, when he was engaged with Mr. Street. “ Freshness of effect belongs to a newspaper, and distinguishes it from a literary book : the former being the Zenith and the latter the Nadir, with a number of intermediate degrees, occupied by pamphlets, magazines, reviews, &c. Besides, in a daily paper, with advertisements proportioned to its large sale, what is deferred must four times in five be extinguished. A newspaper is a market for flowers and vegetables, rather than a 'granary or conservatory ; and the drawer of its Editor a common burial ground, not a catacomb for embalmed mummies, in which the defunct are preserved to serve in after times as medicines for the living.” This freshness of effect Coleridge scarcely ever gave to either The Morning Post or the Courier. He was occasionally in London during my time, in The Morning Post it is true, but he never gave the daily bread. He was mostly at Keswick.
A few months in 1800, and a few weeks in 1802, that was all the time he
ever wasted on The Morning Post, and as for The Courier, it accepted his proffered services as a favor done to him," &c. After speaking again of the former paper, he says,
6 I could give many more reasons for its rise than those I gave in my former letter, and among others I would include Coleridge's occasional writings, though to them I would not set down more than one hundredth part of the cause of success, much as I esteemed his writings and much as I would have given for a regular daily assistance by him. But he never wrote a thing I requested, and, I think I may add, he never wrote a thing I expected. In proof of this he promised me at my earnest and endless request, the character of Buonaparte, which he himself, at first of his own mere motion, had promised; he promised it leiter after letter, year after year, for ten years (last for The Courier), yet never wrote it. Could Coleridge and I place ourselves thirty-eight years back, and he be so far a man of business as to write three or four hours a day, there is nothing I would not pay for his assistance. I would take him into partnership” (which, I think, my Father would have declined), “ and I would enable him to make a large fortune. To write the leading paragraph of a newspaper I would prefer him to Mackintosh, Burke, or any man I ever heard of. His observations not only were confirmed by good sense, but displayed extensive knowledge, deep thought, and well grounded foresight ; they were so brilliantly ornamented, so classically delightful. They were the writings of a Scholar, a Gentleman, and a Statesman, without personal sarcasm or illiberality of any kind. But when Coleridge wrote in his study without being pressed, he wandered, and lost himself. He should always have had the printer's devil at his elbow with “ Sir, the printers want copy."
“ So far then with regard to The Morning Post, which I finally left in August, 1803. Throughout the last year, during my most rapid success, Coleridge did not, I believe, write a line for me. Seven months afterwards I find Coleridge at Portsmouth, on his way to Malta.” Mr. Stuart proceeds to state that Mr. C. returned to England in the summer of 1806, that in 1807 he was engaged with his Play at Drury Lane Theatre, early in 1808 gave his lectures at the Royal Institution, at the end of that year began his plan of The Friend, which took him up till towards the end of 1809—iu 1811 proposed to write for The Courier on a salary. Mr. Stuart mentions that the Essays on the Spaniards were sent in the end of 1809 by Mr. Coleridge, as some return for sums he . had expended on his account, not on his (Mr. Stuart's) solicitation. He says that Mr. C. wrote in The Courier for his own convenience, his other literary projects having failed, and that he wrote for it against the will of Mr. Street, the Editor, who, in accepting his services, only yielded to
his (Mr. S.'s).suggestions. “ The Courier,” he says, “ required no assistance. It was, and had long been, the evening paper of the highest circulation.” In another letter, dated 7th September, 1835, he speaks thus: “ The Courier indeed sold 8000 daily for some years, but when Street and I purchased it at a good price in June, 1799, it sold nearly 2000, and had the reputation of selling more. It was the apostasy of The Sun in 1803, Street's good management, its early intelligence, and the importance of public events, that raised The Courier.” In the same letter he says,
“ Could Coleridge have written the leading paragraph daily his services would have been invaluable, but an occasional essay or two could produce little effect. It was early and ample accounts of domestic occurrences, as Trials, Executions, &c., &c.; exclusively early Irish news; the earliest French news; full Parliamentary Debates; Corn Riots in 1800 ; Procession proclaiming Peace; the attack on the King by Hatfield at the Theatre; the arrest of Arthur O'Connor, respecting which I was examined at the Privy Council : it was the earliest and fullest accounts of such things as these, while the other papers were negligent, that raised The Morning Post from 350, when I took it in August, 1795, to 4500, when I sold it in August, 1803, and then no other daily morning paper sold above 3000. It was unremitting attention and success in giving the best and earliest accounts of occurrences that made The Morning Post, and not the writings of any one, though good writing is always an important feature. I have known the Paper served more by a minute, picturesque, lively account of the ascension of a balloon than ever it was by any piece of writing. There is a great difli rence among newspapers in this respect. Most of the Sunday Papers, calling themselves Newspapers, have no news, only political essays, which are read by the working-classes, and which in those papers produce astonishing success. In other letters he says: reputation of the writings of any man, the mere reputation of them, would not serve, or in the very slightest degree serve, any daily newspaper.” “ Mackintosh's reputation as a political writer was then much higher than that of Coleridge, and he was my brother-in-law, known to. have written for the Paper, especially during one year (1795-6), and to be on good terms with me, yet I must confess that even to the reputation of his writing for the Paper I never ascribed any part of its success.”
It does not appear from Mr. Stuart how many essays in all Mr. Coleridge contributed to the Morning Post and the Courier. Mr. C. himself mentions several in the tenth chapter of this work. All these have been copied, and will be republished hereafter. I happen to possess also his contributions to The Courier in 1811. They are numerous, though not daily; if what I have form the complete set for that year,
which I have now no means of ascertaining. The critique on Bertram first appeared in that paper, I believe in 1816. Mr. Stuart admits that some of the poems published by Mr. C. in The Morning Post, before his going to Germany, made a great impression ;" that, on Mr. C.'s proposing a personally on the spot and by daily exertion to assist him in the conduct of the paper,” he “grasped at the engagement,” and
no doubt solicited” him “in the most earnest manner to enter upon it;" that his “ writings produced a greater effect in The Morning Post than any others.". In his letter of September 19, 1835,- Mr. S. says,
“ The most remarkable things Coleridge published in The Morning Post, were The Devil's Thoughts and the Character of Pitt. Each of these made a sensation, which any writings unconnected with the news of the day rarely did.” Elsewhere he says, “ Several hundred sheets extra were sold by them, and the paper was in demand for days and weeks afterwards. Coleridge promised a pair of portraits, Pitt and Buonaparte. I could not walk a hundred yards in the streets but I was stopped by inquiries, 'When shall we have Buonaparte ?' One of the most eager of these inquirers was Dr. Moore, author of Zeluco.” In the letter mentioned just above he says, “ At one time Coleridge engaged to write daily for The Courier on the news of the day, and he did attend very regularly and wrote ; but as it was in the spring, when the paper was overwhelmed with debates and advertisements (and Street always preferring news, and a short notice of it in a leading paragraph, to any writing, however brilliant), little or nothing that he wrote was inserted, from want of room.
Of this he repeatedly complained to me, saying that he would not continue to receive a salary without rendering services. I answered, · Wait till Parliament is up; we shall then have ample room, and shall be obliged to you for all you can give us. When Parliament rose Coleridge disappeared, or at least discontinued his services."
The time here spoken of was in June, 1811. In April he had proposed to Mr. Stuart a particular plan of writing for The Courier, and, on May 5, he writes to that gentleman, that he had stated and particularized this proposal to Mr. Street, and “ found a full and, in all appearance, a warm assent.” Mr. Street, he says, “ expressed himself highly pleased, both at the thought of my assistance in general, and with the specific plan of assistance. There was no doubt, he said, that it would be of great service to the paper."
Mr. Stuart has been offended at Mr. Coleridge's saying that he ployed the prime and manhood of his intellect in these labors,” namely, for the Papers ; that they “ added nothing to his fortune or reputation;" that the “industry of the week supplied the necessities of the week.” This he has considered as a reproach to himself, and an unjust one. It was
not-Mr. Stuart himself saw that it was not-so intended ; Mr. Coleridge's only object was, to show that he had not altogether suffered his talents to “rust away without any efficient exertion for his own good or that of his fellow-creatures ;" that he had labored more than would appear from the number and size of the books he had produced, and, in whatever he wrote, had aimed not merely to supply his own temporal wants, but to benefit his readers by bringing high principles in view. “For, while cabbage-stalks rot in dunghills," says he, in a letter to the late Editor of The Morning Post, “I will never write what, or for what, I do not think right. All that prudence can justify is not to write what at certain times one may yet think.” But Mr. Stuart thought that the Public would draw inferences from Mr. C.'s language injurious to himself, though it was not meant of him; and hence he gave the details which I have thought it right to bring forward. I have no doubt that Mr. Coleridge had an exaggerated impression of the amount of his labors for The Morning Post and The Courier, and that when he said that he had raised the sale of the former from a low number to 7000 daily, he mistook the sale of the latter, which, Mr. Stuart admits, may have been 7000 per day in 1811, when he wrote for it constantly, with that of The Morning Post, which never sold above 4500. Mr. Stuart says truly, “Coleridge had a defective memory, from want of interest in common things;" and of this he brings forward a strong instance. I think my Father's example and experience go to prove that newspaper reading must ever be more or less injurious to the public mind; high and careful writing for the daily journal will never answer: who could furnish noble views and a refined moral commentary on public events and occurrences every day of the week, or even every other day, and obtain a proportionale recompense ? On the other hand, a coarse or low sort of writing on the important subjects, with which the journal deals, must do mischief. No one will deny that the character of Mr. C.'s articles was such as he has described ; he would naturally be more alive to marks of the impression made by what he wrote in particular than any one else, even the Editor ; and men are apt to judge of their labors by intensity as much as by quantity. He, perhaps, expended more thought on some of those essays, of which Mr. Street and even Mr. Stuart thought lightly, than would have served to furnish a large amount of ordinary serviceable matter. Mr. Stuart observes, “ He never had a prime and manhood of intellect in the sense in which he speaks of it in the Lit. Biography. He had, indeed, the great mind, the great powers, but he could not use them for the press with regularity and vigor. He was
4 “ He never could write a thing that was immediately required of him," says Mr. S., in the Gentleman's Magazine, of May, 1838.
“ The thought