COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor -- Colquhoun, Patrick (1745-1820). Treatise on Indigence. London: J. Hatchard, 1806.
8° (223 x 135mm). Folding letterpress table. Extra-illustrtated with bound-in engraved portrait of Colquhoun, and tipped-in portrait of Coleridge. (Front blank and title both slightly dust-soiled, portrait laid down on verso of front blank, quire g loose.) Uncut in original blue boards (rebacked in cloth), blue morocco-backed case by Jason Macdonald, New York. Provenance: S.T. Coleridge (his autograph note on front free endpaper and 4 marginalia over 5 pages of text, each piece signed with initials) -- [Thomas Poole] -- [? Herbert Coleridge] -- [Richard Herne Shepherd (see his article, 'Coleridge's Notes on Colquhoun,' Philobiblion, I (1862), pp. 65-66)] -- purchased from James F. Drake, New York, 23 February 1939, $70.
COLERIDGE'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, WITH AN EXTENDED AUTOGRAPH NOTE ON POVERTY OF MAGNIFICENT ELOQUENCE (pp. 8-9). This is the only one of Colquhoun's many pamphlets on trade, liquor traffic, poor relief and police questions known to have belonged to Coleridge. It is a particularly interesting work, the table giving a statistical summary of 'the national income and state of society.' Coleridge's introductory note, signed with initials, states: 'There appear to be many and important exceptions to several of the doctrines of properties advanced in this treatise; yet it is an excellent book spite of these exceptions.' In the opening pages, Colquhoun attempts to make a fundamental distinction between poverty and indigence, concluding (p.8): 'Indigence therefore, and not poverty is the evil.' This is a statement which Coleridge will only accept, 'if the present state of general intellect and morals be supposed a fair average of the capabilities of society ... For mark, the defininition of poverty is insidious -- he is not a poor [man], whose subsistence depends on constant industry, but he whose bare wants cannot be supplied without such unceasing bodily labor from the hour of waking to that of sleeping, as precludes all improvement of mind -- & makes the intellectual faculties to the majority of mankind as useless a boon as pictures to the blind. Such a man is poor indeed: for he has been robbed by his unnatural guardians of the very house-loom of his human nature, stripped of the furniture of his soul. S.T.C. See Milton's Comus, line 765 to 779.'
Coleridge takes issue with Colquhoun's view that wages are lower in the north (p. 15). In the areas he knows, 'the wages are much higher ... & the labourers do not work nearly so hard.' He asks (p. 103) how the poor can be patriotic when they cannot even afford to read newspapers bearing stamp duty. Against a paragraph about friendly societies (p. 111), he stresses the need for political decisions to be made by those who have a 'love' and 'understanding of liberty,' and who are 'capable of perceiving the vast importance of indirect as well as general consequences, and of balancing them against particular immediate conveniences and inconveniences.' A HIGHLY-IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY. Coffman C132; Goldsmiths' 19292; Kress B5028.