3 March 2004
COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834). Autograph letter signed to Thomas Allsop, n.p., 8 October 1819, 3 pages, 4to, integral address panel (small seal tear affecting one word).
A letter of thanks written in a ferment of emotion at an unexpected gift of money: Coleridge renders in a confusion of detail his feelings at opening Allsop's letter ('I scarcely know what I am writing -- perhaps, I had better have delayed answering till my spirits were somewhat tranquillized'), recounting his several moments of 'reflecting -- I might almost say, mentally gazing' on Allsop's letter, followed by tears; he begs Allsop to tell him if the gift has stretched his means, but acknowledges that the money is 'more than merely useful, inasmuch as it has saved me from the necessity of abandoning a work of permanent character in order to waste myself in Magazines and Newspapers', promising to pay it back if he can, and ending with assurances of friendship.
Allsop had approached Coleridge after one of his lectures of 1818 at Fleur-de-Luce Court; they were to remain warm friends -- Coleridge described him as 'more than a Son to me' in a letter to Ann Gillman. The young businessman's present of £100 in this instance was one of a series of financial gifts by friends at this period, aimed at retrieving Coleridge's financial situation. After the writer's death, Allsop's Letters, Conversations and Recollections of S.T. Coleridge (1836) caused some embarrassment in its publication of allusions by Coleridge to Wordsworth, Southey and members of Coleridge's family.
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