Coleridge at Highgate

John Beer


(Coleridge Bulletin, New Series 19, Spring 2002, pp30-40)



How was Coleridge’s relationship to the City changed by being led to take up residence for the last eighteen years of his life in Highgate?  This was, after all, a place which in his time was still connected loosely with London, yet also more like a village in its own right.

One point that may seem blindingly obvious, yet which is still worth lingering over, is that he had moved to a place that kept him in touch with the City, yet was now steeply uphill from it. Highgate Hill, which had almost succeeded in taking Dick Whittington away from London on an earlier occasion, was steep enough to be chosen later by Andrew Smith Hallidie, the pioneer responsible for the cable-hauled tram-cars in San Francisco, to make a similar experiment in Britain.[1] For our purposes, however, the main feature was simply that it made Highgate seem to stand above the city.   Several writers of the subsequent period  wrote of Coleridge as if he were now  in a lofty position, happily exalted above them.  John Sterling, for example, writing of the view from St Paul’s, argued that one need not give in to the illusion  that every one of the human beings beneath  was ‘to moral purposes, dead and decaying’:


…there may be even now moving among those undistinguished swarms below me, or dwelling upon that dim eminence that rises in the distance, some great and circular mind, accomplished in endowment, of all-embracing faculties, with a reason that pervades like light, and an imagination that embodies the essence of  all truth in the forms of all beauty, – even such a one as Coleridge, the brave, the charitable, the gentle, the pious, the mighty philosopher, the glorious poet.[2] 


By the mid-Victorian period Thomas Carlyle, Sterling’s biographer, was to use the very same point to initiate a more sardonic view of Coleridge’s situation:


Coleridge sat on the brow of Highgate Hill, in those years, looking down on London and its smoke-tumult, like a sage escaped from the inanity of life’s battle; attracting towards him the thoughts of innumerable brave souls still engaged there.


So he proceeded, lavishing praise on him for some of his qualities and acknowledging his high status for the young men of the time.  Only towards the end of the paragraph did  a new note tip the praise more decisively towards






…to the rising spirits of the young generation he had this dusky sublime character;  and sat there as a kind of  Magus, girt in mystery and enigma; his Dodona oak-grove (Mr Gilman’s house at Highgate) whispering strange things, uncertain whether oracles or jargon.


       As he begins to develop his picture of Coleridge’s privileged and even cosseted position, he utilizes the theme of Highgate’s loftiness to assist the picture, relating how the visitor might have been admitted to his own room, with its rearward view, which was ‘the chief view of all’:


A really charming outlook, in fine weather.  Close at hand, wide sweep of flowery leafy gardens, their few houses mostly hidden, the very chimney-pots veiled under blossomy umbrage, flowed gloriously down hill; gloriously issuing in wide-tufted undulating plain-country, rich in all charms of field and town.   Waving blooming country of the brightest green; dotted all over with handsome villas, handsome groves; crossed by roads and human traffic, here inaudible or heard only as a  musical hum: and behind all swam, under olive-tinted haze, the illimitable limitary ocean of London, with its domes and steeples definite in the sun, big Paul’s and the many memories attached to it hanging high over all.  Nowhere, of its kind, could you see a grander prospect on a bright summer day, with the set of the air going southward, - southward, and so draping with the city-smoke not you but the city…[3]


       There is a strange feature of this account, which it took me a long time to recognize.  Carlyle paints such a vivid picture of the scene, to which he nudges the reader with intimate gestures (‘He would stroll with you, sit in the pleasant rooms of the place—perhaps take you to his own peculiar room…’) that it comes as something as a surprise to realize that he never himself saw this view, in the form that he describes it, from Coleridge’s window.  By the time he visited the poet in 1823, the Gillmans had moved into The Grove, which at its back commands a very pastoral scene, leading in the direction of Hampstead Heath.  Only by looking across the village from the front of the house could one have seen more.  There was such a direct view of London from a house where Coleridge lived, but that was earlier, at Moreton House across the way, which the Gillmans left the year before.[4] Carlyle had evidently misremembered, just as his further reports sometimes fell short of total accuracy.  He took from the end of  Sterling’s account of his first conversation with Coleridge, for




example, the statement ‘Our interview lasted for three hours, during which he talked two hours and three quarters’, and used it as a text for an amusing disquisition on the drawback of listening at length to a virtual monologue (‘To sit as a passive bucket and be pumped into…can in the long-run be exhilarating to no creature…’); Sterling had not used the word ‘interview’, however, and Carlyle did not mention his next three sentences, in which he went on, ‘It would have been delightful to listen as attentively, and certainly as easy for him to speak just as well for the next forty-eight hours.  On the whole his conversation, or rather monologue, is by far the most interesting I ever heard or heard of.  Dr. Johnson’s talk, with which it is obvious to compare it, seems to me immeasurably inferior.’[5]

       Coleridge’s earlier decision to take up residence in Moreton House had marked, of course, the major turning-point in his later career.  E.K.Chambers called his previous chapter ‘In the Depths’ and the one describing his new residence ‘Fair Haven’.  In recent years the visits to London had always taken  place with hotels and landladies and were often the scene of deep depressions concerning his prospects and his opium-taking.  In 1816, however, things had already taken an interesting turn, with Byron sufficiently enchanted by his poetry to recommend to his publisher John Murray that he issue the unfinished ‘Christabel’ and ‘Kubla Khan’; (the third of the poems ‘The Pains of Sleep’ was presumably included by Coleridge as an acknowledgment of his opium problem and as a counterpart to the record of his composition of ‘Kubla Khan’, suggesting awareness of the problems accompanying his subsequent addiction).

       This turn for the better also held good at Highgate. Coleridge became prolific in publication there, sometimes in addition turning his attention to practical affairs more than he had been accustomed to, even as a political journalist.  His pamphlets on children’s labour[6] were a notable example of what he could achieve in this way; in subsequent years he devoted such energies increasingly to local affairs, such as the future of Highgate School.

       One of the difficulties involved in painting a picture of Coleridge’s life in his new habitat is indeed that it may appear too untroubled: we do not have any extended contemporary descriptions that can be regarded as objective, so that apart from Carlyle’s pointed retrospect it is necessary to rely on Coleridge’s own letters and notebooks and on accounts that were written by members of the Gillman family.  First there was the Life by James Gillman himself, which, however, ran only to the first volume. How much of the second was actually produced is impossible to say since James died in 1839 and it seems likely that Anne Gillman herself decided to destroy whatever had been written – though many of the materials her husband had been drawing on, including Coleridge’s notebooks, survived.  The two other volumes, The Gillmans of Highgate (1898),




and Coleridge at Highgate (1925) were also written by members of the family: A.W.Gillman, son of James their son, and Lucy Watson, his sister.  Both were able to draw on the memories provided by their grandmother, both were characterized by noticeable piety.  Coleridge is presented throughout as a rather saintly figure, participating in a family life that was never, it seems, riven by dissension.  No doubt there is considerable truth in this, but one would like to have some disinterested corroboration.  What we do have are a few occasions when Coleridge slips a little from his normal vein of adulation of the Gillmans, as when he complained that in his attempts to complete Aids to Reflection he was ‘almost incapacitated from thinking of and doing anything as it ought to be done’ by Mrs Gillman’s ‘restless and interrogatory anxieties’, which meant that he must either ‘enter into the mock-indifference of a Quarrel’ or suffer himself to be ‘fidget-watched and “are you going on? – what are you doing now? Is this for the book?” &c &c, precisely as if I were Henry at his lesson.’[7]

       As one might expect, Charles Lamb could be a mischievous commentator on his friend’s new acquaintance.  This was all the more predictable from the fact that Gillman at first took his responsibilities very seriously and must have seen in Lamb, with his irreverence, someone who might undermine the discipline he was prescribing (on the patient’s own instructions) for the opium-addict.  Richard Holmes, among others, tells how Crabb Robinson, visiting Coleridge in July there and joined after a time by Lamb, who was no doubt hoping to pick up his friendship on much of its previous terms, found that after half an hour Gillman came into the room ‘very much with the air of a man who  meant we should understand him to mean: “Gentlemen it is time for you to go!”  We took the hint and Lamb said that he would never call again.’ Robinson remarked on the same occasion, however, ‘he seems to have profited already by the abstinence from opium etc. on which he lately lived, for I never saw him look so well.’[8]  The new regime was evidently working, and he was certainly to remain free from the worst effects of his addiction for the rest of his life.

       Lamb relented in the course of time, and so no doubt did Gillman, relaxing his attitude to those who had known his patient longer.  At the same time, gossip circulated.  Coleridge was not really free, it was suggested, but obtaining supplies quietly from a dealer in Tottenham Court Road.  Southey suggested that the Gillmans had now used their position to secure power over their inmate. An alternative story was put about: that he had actually converted Gillman to opium and that the two of them were now happily indulging together up at Highgate.  The favourite version, however, was that Gillman’s boy was accustomed to procure the drug for Coleridge, weekly, when he went to Town for other medicines.  A.W. Gillman, naturally anxious to prove that the cure administered by his grandfather had been complete, was delighted when he was later able to get hold of the boy in question, still living in




Highgate, who stated ‘that he lived for a long while with Mr Gillman and that “he never procured any opium for Mr Coleridge, nor did he ever hear of his alleged habit of taking it” ’ – though he did recall the extraordinary amount of snuff that he consumed.[9]  That seemed to settle the matter very satisfactorily so far as A.W. Gillman was concerned: he was able to affirm that it had all clearly been a nasty smear and Coleridge really had been cured by his grandfather.  Unfortunately, however, he had not probed quite far enough, and in checking whether or not Coleridge had been able to gain supplies from his old haunts in central London he had been ignoring the potentialities of his own village.  Many years later a memoir turned up, written by Seymour Porter, who had been the teenage son of the independent minister at Highgate and worked as assistant to the local chemist in Highgate, T.H.Dunn, in a business close to The Grove.[10]  Porter revealed how, at least from the 1820s, when he suffered various problems and worries, Coleridge obtained supplies from Dunn: several notes ordering more and one or two letters about the account that was being run up were to survive and be included in the Letters.  One of them,[11] mentioning a sum of £25, was accompanied by the injunction  ‘Destroy this instantly’ – an excellent  method, as we all know, of ensuring that a letter will be preserved for posterity.

       How much did the Gillmans know of this?  There was a falling-out in 1824 during which Coleridge went off to live for a week with Thomas Allsop, only to be brought back by James Gillman after Anne, it seems, had intervened, and it is likely that the problem had to do with discovery on Gillman’s part that Coleridge was getting surreptitious supplies, coupled with impatience that he was taking so long to complete his Aids to Reflection.  Anne herself, according to Porter, went personally to Dunn to reproach him for being willing to supply their house-mate, though she was not successful: the last of his letters to Dunn about his account was dated as late as 1833, the year before his death.  At all events, the matter was patched up and it seems that Gillman became reconciled to living with a Coleridge who in spite of his efforts to break himself of the habit was continuing to indulge in a dosage far smaller than that which he had taken at the height of his addiction.  This was not, after all, an isolated case: the much-respected William Wilberforce continued to take the drug through a long lifetime.  It is also worth mentioning that during his last illness Gillman administered laudanum as an analgesic by hypodermic injection, a method which, according to Richard Holmes,[12] was still a  rare procedure

       What then were his exact relations with his hosts?.  With James Gillman he was soon discussing medical affairs, and in the early period assisted with the composition of a ‘Treatise on Scrofula’ for which James was to have contributed his specialist knowledge in the hope of winning a professional




prize and which eventually burgeoned into Coleridge’s own ‘Hints towards the Formation of a More Comprehensive Theory of Life’.[13]  There were many subsequent letters and conversations between them, in which scientific questions played a significant role.  Anne Gillman and he meanwhile evidently formed one of the platonic emotional attachments that he seems to have needed throughout his life.  When he went to Highgate he was still recovering from his love for Sara Hutchinson.  Six years after her withdrawal, in December 1816, he found himself writing her name in a notebook: “ASRA. Written as of yore.  Christmas 1816, ASRA.  Does the Past live with me alone?  Coleridge.”  The next year, unexpectedly, they met again, when she accompanied Wordsworth on a visit to London.  We know little about this meeting (apart from the fact that Keats may have mistaken her for Wordsworth’s daughter on that occasion) but the ice was evidently broken sufficiently for a further encounter in Ramsgate a few years later – the occasion, incidentally, for her to report how he smothered the baby of the house with kisses, remarking that he had been ‘wishing for a baby to kiss, which was the next best thing to Bathing in the Sea’ – kisses which ‘though she endured them with patience’, she went on, ‘did not, her Mother observed, give her as much satisfaction as those of a younger Beau’.[14]

       The impression one carries away is that the amicable meetings with Sara had the realistic effect of impressing on Coleridge a painful awareness that his love was over: he did not write of her again directly at this time, and his subsequent poems were about the death of love. ‘The Pang more sharp than All’ may reflect her attitude as he had then experienced it:


…neither scorn nor hate did it devise,

But sad compassion and atoning zeal!


He concludes


O worse than all!  O pang all pangs above

Is Kindness counterfeiting absent Love!


It sounds like a sad critique.  Even in the summer before he died, he could still include the image of a ‘sod-built seat of camomile’, which he had earlier associated with her, in a poem entitled ‘Love’s Apparition and Evanishment’, but which goes on to conclude with the lines


In vain we supplicate the Powers above;

There is no resurrection for the Love

That, nursed in tenderest care, yet fades away

In the chill’d heart by gradual self-decay.




In the end, it seems, his own love had also died, recognizing her lack of reciprocation; the loss haunts many of these last poems.  Apart from this we hear little further.  Lamb  kept up with her as an occasional correspondent and even hatched a plan that included bringing the two of them together for a Ramsgate visit, though he wrote to her sadly in 1823, ‘Time – as was said of one of us – toils after us in vain.  I am afraid that our co-visit with Coleridge was a dream.  I shall not get away before the end (or middle) of June, and then you will be frog-hopping at Boulogne.  And besides’ (he added mischievously) ‘I think the Gilmans would scarce trust him with us, I have a malicious knack at cutting of apron strings.’[15]

       Sara herself said nothing on the subject, though her references to him, which in the middle years tended to side with the Wordsworths’ criticism of his conduct, were affectionate after they had met again; and he for his part was to direct in his will that a small, plain gold mourning ring should be left to her, the only woman among four of his friends selected for such a gift.  There is also a touching note in the comment on the post-mortem that followed her mention of his death to a friend in 1834: ‘poor dear Coleridge is gone. He was opened – the disease was at his heart.’

       The Gillmans, not surprisingly, were deeply affected by his death – particularly Anne.  While the indications in the notebooks and letters suggest that she was always rather nervous and anxious, the portrait we have shows her to have been a pretty woman also.  She was thrown a good deal into Coleridge’s company, particularly since her husband was a very busy medical man, but there was no suggestion of impropriety, even though they often spent periods together in Ramsgate each autumn while James continued his work.  This was no bar, nevertheless, to uninformed gossip, as Lamb reported in one of his letters.  He told how he had been dining with a clergyman, an old member of Christ’s Hospital, who had inveighed against C.’s moral character.  When Lamb protested, he asked in reply whether it was not very well known that Coleridge was at that very moment living in a state of open adultery with Mrs Gillman at Highgate?  Lamb went on to say that nothing he could say after that could destroy the deep-rooted conviction of everyone present that this must indeed be the case, commenting ‘Such it is if Ladies will go gadding about with other people’s husbands at watering places.’[16]

       The matter is not simply a black and white one, of course, since Coleridge seems always to have needed to have an emotional relationship of some kind with any affectionate woman with whom he had extended dealings, and there was certainly a sentimental attachment of that kind at work here.  This comes out in the manuscript of the poem ‘Work without Hope’, which in his notebook forms part of a letter evidently addressed to Anne in 1825.  It was headed ‘The Alone most Dear   a complaint of Jacob to Rachel as in the tenth year of his Service he saw in her, or fancied that he saw Symptoms of




Alienation.’  Against this Mrs Gillman later wrote, ‘It was fancy’.[17]

       He did not, so far as we know, walk with Mrs Gillman in Highgate, where he was often to be seen strolling in places such as the local poplar avenue.[18] He might be followed there by the local children, for whose benefit he was  well known to carry a supply of sweets,[19] filling them sometimes with terror and amusement as they bowled their hoops; he was also fond of haranguing any listener whom he could captivate, such as the baker’s boy – to whom he was heard on one occasion asserting, ‘I never knew a man good because he was religious, but I have known one religious because he was good.’[20]  Seymour Porter, already mentioned as Dunn’s assistant, was delighted to have encountered Coleridge outside the shop as Lord Byron’s cortège passed up the hill in 1824 and to have heard the ‘strain of marvellous eloquence’ in which he pronounced a spontaneous funeral oration.[21] The local ambience also produced some unexpected side-benefits.  For many years Highgate had provided a home at Cromwell House for one of London’s Jewish families and so become a centre for others.  Hyman Hurwitz, who ran a Jewish boarding school nearby at Church House, and was in time to be appointed to a chair of  Hebrew Language and Literature at the newly formed University College of London, became a friend with whom he could enjoy many discussions, particularly on such linguistic matters.

       The frequency of Coleridge’s references to Hurwitz in these later years, and the comparative infrequency of such references to local Christian clergymen raises interesting questions concerning his religious practice, or non-practice, at Highgate. For some years he had been deeply absorbed in a study of Swedenbogianism, as a number of letters to his friend C. A. Tulk, M. P., make clear, and he showed a lively interest in other sects, particularly when their concerns touched his at some point; so far as Anglicanism was concerned, however, the person he knew best was the Reverend Samuel Mence, who was master of Cholmeley’s Free Grammar School and served as parish clergyman in the chapel there before the church of St Michael and all Angels was consecrated just across the way from The Grove in 1832 to provide a regular Anglican place of worship – when he became its first incumbent.  Mence gave help when Coleridge  needed support for protests against Hartley’s loss of his Oxford fellowship and was a good local friend, but there is little or no sign that he was an intimate acquaintance.  In a notebook entry Coleridge discusses the views of ‘two neighbor Ministers’, one of whom was probably Mence.  Neither, he thought, had fully considered the difference between the National Church and the Ecclesia, or Spiritual community.[22] 




       His hosts the Gillmans appear to have been in the main conventional, God-fearing people who probably went to Church every Sunday (whatever James’s private views may have been), but whether or not Coleridge normally accompanied them is far from clear.  Throughout the period he was thinking increasingly about religion, yet unless he was quietly going to church each Sunday in a way that seemed so natural that even the sermon was not thought worth commenting on (uncharacteristic behaviour, one would have thought} he practised his religion mainly by thinking and writing rather than through observance of official rites.  The main exceptions are furnished by his strong interest in Edward Irving, whom Gillman drove him to hear preach at the Scotch Chapel in Hatton Garden in 1823, and his praise of a sermon (‘the very best sermon the best delivered, I ever heard’) in 1829 by Edward Bather, whom he probably heard at Highgate, since he was a friend of Mence.[23]

       It is a strange paradox, then, that someone who was to be remembered as one of the most voluble defenders of the Church of England at the time seems to have paid so little attention to the duty of communal worship or indeed to know where his own efforts might properly be directed.  On one occasion, at least, however, he emerged into the open as a practising member of the Anglican Church, writing in 1827 of his re-engagement:


…Christmas day.  Received the Sacrament – for the first time since my first year at Jesus College/ Christ is gracious even to the Laborer that cometh to his Vineyard at the eleventh hour – 33 years absent from my Master’s Table/ – – Yet I humbly hope that spiritually I have fed on the Flesh & Blood the Strength and the life of the Son of God in his divine Humanity, during the latter years–.  The administration & Communion Service of our Church is solemn & affecting – & very far to be preferred both to the Romish, which may excite awe & wonder in such as believe the real transmutation of the Bread & Wine, but assuredly no individual comfort or support – and to the few among our Dissenters who practice what to the shame of our Church the great majority of our Clergymen teach – & cold and flat the ceremonial is – as how can it be otherwise, when the Eucharist is considered as a mere and very forced metaphor for the mere purpose of reminding the Partakers of a single event, the sensible crucifixion of Jesus? – and without any connection with that most vital mystery revealed in John VI, of which the Eucharist is at once Symbol & instance –  Compared with either the Romish or the Dissenting Service our’s is a subject of gratitude with me – Yet I cannot but think it capable of great improvement, both for the impression on the affections & for edification in knowlege – & it’s being disjoined from the Love-supper, I think a great misfortune/ – But this is a necessary consequence of a sterile National Church – i.e., a National Church that is merely such, instead of comprehending a




Christian Church in it’s inmost concentric circle.[24]


Coleridge’s developed mind here reveals something of the range of its complexity.  At the centre is its familiar mediating stance: analyzing the failure of the extremes it embodies and arguing for a more satisfactory position that avoids both.  Yet he cannot rest in that, for he misses gifts both of the head and of the heart – whether the intellectual positions that he would like to establish or the cultivation of the affections that the Eucharist viewed as a true Love feast would foster.  It is a lack equivalent to that touched on in the comment on his neighbouring clergy – and the word ‘sterile’ looks back to his days in the Quantocks and the mountains of Cumbria, when an emphasis on the nature of true life had been more central to his philosophy, before he embarked on the process that had led to the brow of Highgate Hill.

       In spite of his growing reconciliation with the Anglican church, culminating in the publication of his short treatise On the Constitution of the Church and State in 1829, there are further signs of his concern that support for the National Church should be supplemented by awareness of the distinction between that and the Ecclesia.  Indeed, at one point in his notebooks he records his difficulty in finding anywhere a religious body with whom he might feel at home:


Am I or is the non-existence of a Christian Community, in fault –  – God knows how much I feel the want of Church Fellowship!  But where can I find it?  Among the Methodists?  Vide the Cuts & Frontispieces to the Methodist, Arminian  Evangelical &c Magazines.  The Quakers? – I want the heart of Oak – & here is the Rind & Bark in wondrous preservation, counterfeiting a tree to the very life/ – .   The  C. of Eng? – the Churches, and Chapels? O yes, I can go to a Church, & so I can to a theatre – & go out again – & know as much as my fellow-goers in the one as in the other – – the Moravians? – if any where, among them.  Yet—but I will talk to Dr Oakley.  But I fear, that every fancy is tolerated among them but the fancy of free enquiry and the free use of the Understanding on subjects that belong to the Understanding – I fear, a wilful Stupor with the sacrifice of Reason under the name of Faith, instead of a Faith higher than Reason because it includes it as one of it’s Co-partners—I fear the Tyranny of Dogmas.[25]


       The longing for something he can properly call ‘fellowship’ remains as strong as it has ever been, but equally potent is the need for the activity of an ‘Inquiring Spirit’, to use the phrase that Coleridge had applied to himself, so that it remained doubtful whether any institutionalized religion would ever be adequate to his needs.  The Gillmans might be friends of the Mences and part




of the Highgate elite, but with the development of medical science James himself, as a surgeon, also knew well enough the physical human demands that were becoming steadily more evident in their time.  For many years Coleridge had followed the discussion of such questions avidly, and the possibility of resolving the implicit problem of the relationship between the physically organic and the moral will that was assuming centre stage remained one of his hopes.  In a note to Mence, asking him to assist with the problems of one of the local parishioners, he recorded his faith: ‘The facts both of Physiology and Pathology lead to one and the same conclusion – viz. that in some way or other the Will is the obscure Radical of the Vital Power’.[26]  If the challenges of science were to be met as the century drew on, the need to establish this would of course become central.  If, on the other hand, the will itself was admitted to be enslaved to organic needs religion itself would be in danger of losing its supremacy.  Apart from his Christian concerns at Highgate, therefore, these longer-standing questions continued to dog him, though he remained confident that the belief in the human will that he shared with Immanuel Kant would see mankind through – however weak his own had sometimes proved to be.  He was also sure that the necessary knowledge for this could be discovered and preserved if one were sufficiently enlightened and intellectually strenuous .  Accordingly, when death finally approached, while at first he asked to be left alone for  ‘meditations on his Redeemer’,[27] within a day or two his intellect had resumed its sway as he urgently pressed the need that his followers and friends should strive above all things to sustain the crucial distinction that he wanted to establish in his formulation of the Trinity:


…first of all is the Absolute Good whose self-affirmation is the ‘I am,’ as the eternal reality in itself and the ground and source of all other reality.  And next, that in this idea nevertheless a distinctivity is to be carefully preserved, as manifested in the person of the Logos by whom that reality is communicated to all other beings.[28]


       His urgent sense of the necessity to keep alive, at one and the same time, both existential self-affirmation and ready communication was not only a distillation of all he had learned over the years but embodied implicitly the need to maintain a balanced view that he had absorbed from his eighteenth-century predecessors.  A similar concession to their rational attitudes may be traced in his final insistence that in spite of his sufferings his mind was remaining essentially clear – while Romantic liveliness once again leavened the appeal to a reason that was truly enlightened in his very last words of all: ‘I could even be witty’.[29]

[1] It was opened in 1884 and ran, apart from one long interruption following an accident, until 1909.  In Coleridge’s time there was evidently a regular coach service between the Fox and Crown and Holborn, as we know, for instance, from a playful story about Charles Lamb: see A.W. Gillman, The Gillmans of Highgate (1898) p. 12.

[2] John Sterling, ‘Travels of Theodore Elbert’: collected  in his Essays and Tales (1848) p. 9.

[3] Life of John Sterling (1850) chapter viii.

[4] It is hard to account for the anomaly, but it may be that Basil Montagu, who accompanied Carlyle to The Grove but who had known Coleridge  for much longer, had described the view from Moreton House so vividly that Carlyle remembered it as part of what he himself had seen.  See also my Romantic Influences, pp.163 and n, for his bewilderment, during a visit to Highgate many years later, as he tried to discover exactly where the house was at which he and Coleridge had met .

[5] From Julius Hare’s ‘Life of the Author’ in Essays and Tales by John Sterling (1848) p. xxv. Sterling’s account reads ‘I was in his company about three hours…’ rather than speaking of an ‘interview’.  Hare’s earlier statement ‘’When an opportunity occurred, he sought out the old man in his oracular shrine at Highgate’ evidently prompted a good deal in Carlyle’s critique, including his sarcastic reference to the ‘Dodona oak-grove’.

[6] See Essays on his Own Times (CC) II, III and Shorter Works and Fragments (CC) 714-51.

[7] Coleridge, Collected Letters, ed. E.L. Griggs  (6 volumes, Oxford 1956-71) (hereafter CL) V 411.

[8] Henry Crabb Robinson on  Books and their Authors, ed. E. J. Morley (1938) , I 185.

[9] A.W. Gillman, op. cit. 15.

[10] Collected in  Seamus Perry,  S. T. Coleridge: Interviews and Recollections (2000) pp. 185-8.

[11] Probably from May 1824: CL V 362.

[12] Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections (1998) p.559.

[13] For a full account of this tangled project see the Shorter Works and Fragments (CC 11) I 454-6.

[14] Letters of Sara Hutchinson , ed. Kathleen Coburn, (Toronto, 1954)  pp. 263-4

[15] Letters of Charles Lamb, ed. E. V. Lucas  (1935)  II 382.

[16] CL V 513n.

[17] See The Notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Kathleen Coburn (1959 – ) (hereafter CN), IV 5192 and n.  For Coleridge, the love of Jacob for Rachel (Genesis, chapter 29) was love in its ideal form (see ibid., 4848, 5184 and n).

[18] A. G. L’Estrange, The Literary Life of William Harness (1871) pp. 143-4, collected in Perry, op. cit.,  184-5.  The trees immediately outside The Grove appear to have been chestnuts. 

[19] Lucy Watson, Coleridge at Highgate (1925) p.53

[20] L’Estrange, loc. cit.

[21] Perry, op. cit., 186-7

[22]  See CN IV 5398, where he discusses the opinions of  his ‘two neighbor Ministers L. and N.’  In her note the editor identifies these two as Samuel Mence and the Reverend E. Lewis of the Baptist Chuch in Southwood Lane; I am not sure about the second identification, however, since in neither case do the sentiments cited read as those of a dissenting clergyman.

[23] CL V 280, VI 816.

[24] Ibid., V 5703 (NB 36.ff 32v).Quoted in part by J.R.Barth,  Coleridge and Christian Doctrine (Cambridge, Mass., 1969) pp. 178-9 nn.

[25] Ibid., V 5704.  In connection with his possible exemption of Moravianism, cf. his brother James’s response to someone who had accused him of being a Jacobin:  ‘’No! Samuel is not a Jacobin—he is a hot-headed Moravian!’  Table Talk, (Collected Works) I 310.

[26] CL V 406.

[27] Ibid., VI 991;

[28] Quoted by Lucy Watson, op. cit.,158, from J.A.Heraud’s posthumous oration.

[29] Ibid., 992.