Disinterested Patriotism:
Bishop Butler, Hazlitt and Coleridge’s Quarto Pamphlet of 1798


Michael John Kooy


(Coleridge Bulletin, New Series 21, Spring 2003, pp.55-65)


COLERIDGE AND HAZLITT are usually taken to represent two different faces of British romanticism: high church, conservative, elitist on the one hand and dissenting, radical, democratic on the other.  The fact that Coleridge seemed forever nervous about his Jacobin youth and Hazlitt always enchanted by it neatly points to the political divide that separates these two men.  I’d like to complicate that picture by focusing in this essay on their shared interest in the notion of disinterested patriotism.  Neither acknowledged it and, to my knowledge, it’s not been noticed by commentators, either.  That’s reason enough to consider it now, but in a year when Anglo-American military might has again been exercised abroad amid dissenting voices at home, it is particularly appropriate.

       There are three stages to my argument.  In the first, I describe what Coleridge and Hazlitt learned in 1798 from Bishop Butler’s Sermons, particularly his argument reconciling self-interest with benevolence, and how this argument surfaces in the most political of Coleridge’s conversation poems, ‘Fears in Solitude’ (1798).  In the second section, I survey how in subsequent years Coleridge and Hazlitt misinterpreted the poem to suit their own divergent interests: Coleridge tailored it to help establish his more respectable public image and Hazlitt to expose yet again Coleridge’s earlier radical sympathies.  Both ignored the suggestive ambiguities of the original.  Elsewhere, though, both write about patriotism in similar terms and this I argue is owing to their similar interest in Butler.  In the final section I compare a passage from The Friend with some of Hazlitt’s political essays, pointing out their similarities rather than their differences.


1.  Bishop Butler and ‘Fears in Solitude’, 1798

Of the many things Coleridge and Hazlitt spoke about during the latter’s visit to Nether Stowey in 1798 one was, predictably, Coleridge’s reading.  Twenty-five years later Hazlitt could still recall the details: David Hume’s Essays on Miracles, Robert South’s sermon Credat Judaeus Appella, George Berkeley’s Essay on Vision and Joseph Butler’s Sermons at the Rolls Chapel (1726).[1]  This last item, a work of moral philosophy arguing against psychological egoism, surprised Hazlitt, particularly as Coleridge rated it more highly than the work for which




Butler was widely known among dissenters, his rationalist defence of Christianity called the Analogy of Religion (1736).  Sceptical at first, the young Hazlitt read the Sermons and discovered that they confirmed his own conviction regarding ‘the Natural Disinterestedness of the Human Mind’.  It’s hard to know what Coleridge made of the account Hazlitt then gave of his own ‘metaphysical discovery’, his ‘proof’ that disinterested moral action was not only desirable but natural.  But by acquainting him with Butler, Coleridge had in any case at least emboldened Hazlitt to develop his theory; it eventually became the notion of imaginative ‘self-transcendence’ so often met with in his mature essays, later acknowledged by Coleridge himself.[2]

       Hazlitt’s interest in Butler is no secret, but for many years Coleridge’s was.  Perhaps this was because the influential John Muirhead, who must have overlooked Hazlitt’s essay, wrote in 1930 that Coleridge had simply not read Butler’s Sermons.[3]  With contrary evidence now in abundance, critics have begun to fill in the picture a little, most suggestively in John Lockridge’s account of the similarity in their arguments against the ethics of self-interest.[4]  Considering that in Coleridge’s view Butler was the only eighteenth-century moralist worth reading for his own sake, and not out of a contrary spirit, there is, I think, still more to be learned from their relationship.

       The matter of timing is particularly relevant.  Coleridge first read Butler sometime around 1795, when he read excerpts of the Analogy in Joseph Priestley’s An History of the Corruptions of Christianity.  Three years later he was still excited enough by the Analogy, still Unitarian enough perhaps, to propose an edition to be co-edited with John Prior Estlin.[5]  It must have been, then, between mid February (the date of his letter to Estlin) and late May (when Hazlitt arrived for his three-week visit) that Coleridge finally discovered the Sermons, to his evident delight.  Coleridge’s reading of Butler’s Sermons in the spring of 1798 coincided with a number of literary achievements: not only the completion of the Lyrical Ballads but also a number of poems explicitly on political themes, like ‘Fears in Solitude’ and ‘Recantation: An Ode’ (later ‘France: An Ode’), written in April following the French invasion of Switzerland.  These two poems, with ‘Frost at Midnight’, were published by Joseph Johnson later that year as a slim quarto pamphlet called Fears in Solitude




In that volume of poems, Coleridge, dissatisfied with but not entirely disillusioned by radical politics, tried to prove his loyalty to king and country without entirely abandoning the universal benevolence aspired to by all good Dissenters.  By most accounts Fears in Solitude vacillates uncontrollably between rival versions of patriotic allegiance, between nationalism and benevolence, between Edmund Burke and Richard Price.  The inconclusive political posturing of that volume is symptomatic of Coleridge’s reluctance at this time to commit himself to an identifiable political cause, as Nicholas Roe, Tim Fulford and Paul Magnuson have pointed out.[6]  His patriotic ‘double talk’, as Magnuson calls it, is understandable, but hardly estimable.  But such dithering did allow Coleridge to consider the excesses of rival kinds of patriotism and to suggest, in a rather roundabout way, the potential benefits of taking a path somewhere in between.  For Karl Kroeber, ‘Fears in Solitude’ represents a form of ‘topographical patriotism’, in which loyalty to one’s country is imagined to be not an ideological formation but instead one that is ‘fundamentally sensual’, shaped by the ‘experience of sensations bestowed upon each of us by our native land’.[7]  Taking his cue from Kroeber, Peter Larkin has argued that Coleridge employs such ‘ecological modesty’ to challenge the primacy of political discourse (and as Angela Esterhammer has shown, the particular object of his critique is revolutionary rhetoric).[8]  I’d like to suggest that the imagined form of patriotism in the poem is derived from Butler.  The Sermons offered Coleridge in 1798 a whole new way of thinking about the domestic affections, patriotism and universal benevolence untainted, for him, by either political radicalism or orthodoxy. In the spirit of Butler’s Sermons, Coleridge tried to develop a kind of disinterested patriotism, a self-conscious and self-scrutinising commitment to the national interest that could nevertheless cross national boundaries.

       The Sermons contain a radically new approach to moral philosophy.  To summarise, Butler argues that moral life is not a matter of submitting to the apparently arbitrary legislation of God, remote and indiscernible, but rather a question of acting in accordance with, in his words, ‘the system of our nature’.  Doing good consists not in obeying an external, objective law but in acting in harmony with an internal, created law, our human nature.  But what exactly is ‘the system’ of human nature, ‘the inward frame of man’, according to which we should act?  Previous moral philosophers, according to Butler, treated human nature in reductive terms.  Hobbes and later Mandeville, for example,




insisted that we are motivated by only self-interest.  Butler argues, by contrast, that our motivations are complex: we have desires centred upon ourselves but on others, too, and these are every bit as natural.  But if the psychological hedonists get it wrong, so too do the moral sense philosophers.  Shaftesbury, and later Hutcheson, emphasised our capacity for benevolent, disinterested action, but disregarded the need for self-preservation.  Butler argues that moral activity consists of an on-going negotiation between self-interest and benevolence, both of which are part of the larger ‘system of our nature’. He insists that, from the perspective of this system, these two commitments are not mutually exclusive, for it is often in our own interest to act benevolently just as desiring our own individual happiness can, in the long run, benefit the community.

       But if human nature is so complex, how do we know in a given situation whether we are acting in accordance with it?  Ideally self-interest and benevolence are complimentary, but how do I know when I’m being wrongfully selfish or, for that matter, wrongfully benevolent?  Butler answers this by appealing to the conscience.  It is a part of the system of our nature, but on a higher plane; through our conscience we’re able to reflect upon and adjudicate among the various desires that come into play at any given moment.  It is legislator and judge:


there is a superior principle of reflection or conscience in every man, which distinguishes between the internal principles of his heart, as well as his external actions: which passes judgement upon himself and them; pronounces determinately some actions to be in themselves just, right, good; others to be in themselves evil, wrong, unjust…  It is by this faculty, natural to man, that he is a moral agent, that he is a law to himself.[9]


Butler’s conscience is not merely a faculty of sentiment or of the affections (a moral sense), nor a rational principle of moral judgement (reason), nor is it only the co-operation of both (though of course both are involved).  The conscience is a faculty of mind separate from all others, divinely given yet independent of God, authoritative in its own right.

       What might this mean for patriotism?  Extending Butler’s account of moral life into the public arena, one would observe, first of all, that there is no conflict, prima facie, between serving one’s own country (self-interest) and seeking the well-being of another (benevolence), since both impulses are natural, both part of ‘the system of our nature’.  Still, we need to exercise vigilance because, as in everyday moral life, too much of either can be detrimental.  There are, too, other considerations to be taken account of, like historical contingencies, geography and locality, all of which make demands upon the patriot.  Here, then, the conscience plays its part, adjudicating among




different public claims.

       With Butler in mind, what does ‘Fears in Solitude’ look like?  With its criticism of the horrors of war, emphasis on fraternity and the exposure of militaristic ideology, the poem begins clearly enough as a critique of the excessive self-interest upon which militaristic patriotism depends: ‘[we have] gone forth/And borne to distant tribes slavery and pangs,/And, deadlier far, our vices …’ (50-2); and: ‘Secure from actual warfare, we have lov’d /To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war!/Alas!  for ages ignorant of all/It’s ghastlier workings’ (89-92).[10]  Above all, such patriotism depends on a willed failure to imagine the cost of war in terms of bodily damage: ‘As if the soldier died without a wound;/As if the fibres of this godlike fame/Were gor’d without a pang; as if the wretch,/Who fell in battle doing bloody deeds,/Pass’d off to heaven, translated and not kill’d’ (118-22).  But later Coleridge replaces the critique of self-interest with a call to arms: Britons must now defend themselves (‘Stand forth!  Be men! repel an impious foe’, 140).  Patriotic action is now justified as a matter of self-interest, which is deemed only natural, given the threat of military invasion.  But it must be tempered by humility: ‘may we return/Not with a drunken triumph, but with fear,/Repenting of the wrongs with which we stung/So fierce a foe to frenzy! (151-4).  The return homeward at the end of the poem, away from ‘bodings that have well neigh wearied me’ (212), seems a facile response to the difficult patriotic position the poem has been advancing.  But if this isn’t a satisfying solution to the public crisis, I don’t think it is meant to be.  In the Stoic moral tradition of Butler present here, prescriptive solutions are not sought for, normative values not expressed; the balance between self-interest and benevolence is continuously negotiated according to contingencies as they arise.  The disinterested patriotism suggested by ‘Fears in Solitude’ is not a static position but rather as a strategy for approaching complex political issues where strict rules do not apply.  The goal is to balance loyalty with self-criticism, local allegiance with a benevolent interest in the ‘foe’.

       Coleridge makes this point explicitly in a little-known college commemoration sermon written one year later.  His defence of the domestic affections, in open acknowledgement of Butler’s influence, is a useful gloss on ‘Fears in Solitude’.  Citing the preface to Butler’s Sermons, specifically his notion of ‘the system of our Nature’, Coleridge professes to cherish ‘the affections of Patriotism, Gratitude, Reverence of our Forefathers’ which form a part of it:


The opinion of the wisest Ancients, that Virtue consists in following Nature is safe and well founded, if by the word Nature we understand not any single Appetite, Affection, Passion or Quality, but the system of our Nature/ that is, those Relations and Correspondencies, which these several Parts bear, each to all, and all to each: and they who




would trust to the Impulses without acknowledging the paramount Authority of Reason, and they who tolerate nought but Reason, do both alike confound final with efficient Causes.[11]


The rhetoric here appears Burkean, but the terms actually come from Butler.  In terms of patriotism, Coleridge’s point is that the impulse to love our country, that blind, irrational patriotism that seeks one’s own good at any cost, what we might call self-interested patriotism, is an extreme as much to be avoided as the reasoned universal benevolence, which scorns parochial attachments.

       It is significant, I think, that reviewers of Fears in Solitude in the liberal press, unlike the later Coleridge, Hazlitt, and most commentators since, did not see a contradiction between the critical and the loyalist attitudes in the poem; the liberal Monthly Review and Joseph Johnson’s Analytic Review quoted lines describing both.  The Monthly Review article praised ‘Fears in Solitude’ for the ‘serious, pointed, and suitable exhortation’ in Coleridge’s call for Britons to repent of war-mongering and likewise for its description of the French, ‘such as must animate Britons, were the enemy to attempt an invasion of us’.[12]  What seems clear to the reviewer, perhaps less so to us, is that liberal opinion was anxious to construe patriotism as loyalty to an idea of Britain and not to existing government or even institutions. The Analytic Review states explicitly that the poet’s ability to criticise government war policy while remaining loyal to British values proves ‘that an adherence to the measures of administration is not the necessary consequence of an ardent love for the constitution.’[13]  That is, you can love your country without loving its leaders.  The reviews specifically praise Coleridge’s ‘patriotic enthusiasm’.

       This line of reasoning is characteristic of parties and individuals opposed to Tory policy in the 1790s: the Whigs’ patriotism was described in terms of the constitutional gains of the Glorious Revolution and that of radicals and Dissenters in terms of the agenda for religious toleration and constitutional reform.  This loyalty was the basis for armed national self-defence as much as for criticism of illiberal policy.  As Hugh Cunningham has shown, contrary to the widespread assumption that conservative politics had monopolised patriotic discourse during the years of the Anglo-French conflict, liberal opinion also employed it to articulate a critical distance from chauvinistic foreign policy, even during times of threatened invasion (one notable instance of the latter is William Frend’s pamphlet, Patriotism, published in 1803).[14]  What the two reviewers recognise in the volume – and why they can quote diverse passages of ‘Fears in Solitude’ without contradiction—is this kind of




disinterested patriotism, that is, a commitment to the interests of one’s country grounded in a higher commitment to common humanity.  This higher ground sanctions love of country while at the same time allows one to criticise it and, further, to sympathise with those outside the national sphere, even in fact with enemies.


2.  Polarization

But while early liberal reviews of Fears in Solitude did not find the volume’s patriotism equivocal, later Coleridge and Hazlitt did, and each quoted its title poem selectively as evidence of different kinds of political allegiance.  Let’s take Coleridge first.  In the ten years after writing the poems, Coleridge came more and more to regard his 1798 collection as a valuable tool in establishing his own independent but patriotic voice as a political moralist.  He quoted lines from the title poem in his 1802 essay ‘Once a Jacobin Always a Jacobin’, signalling his and the Morning Post’s support for war preparations.[15]  After Malta Coleridge returned to the collection again.  He picked up a copy while visiting the Beaumonts at Coleorton in January 1807 and left notes in the margin complaining of his unjust handling at the hands of The Anti-Jacobin Review (PW I.1: 474).  And he made use of the poem in The Friend.  The first essay begins with a long quotation of Burke denouncing unconsidered parliamentary reforms (the condemnation of ‘hot reformations’ will be The Friend’s major theme), and then immediately shifts to more personal ground.  Still smarting from the slanderous press allegations of 1798 and 1799 that he’d abandoned his ‘native Country’ and left his children fatherless and wife destitute, Coleridge seeks to prove his patriotism by quoting, again, from ‘Fears in Solitude’: ‘O native Britain!  O my Mother Isle!/How should’st thou be aught else but dear and holy/To me, who from thy seas and rocky shores,/Thy quiet fields, thy streams and wooded Hills/Have drunk in all my intellectual life…’[16] Coleridge quoted 65 such lines and his patriotic credentials seemed unassailable.  But he could only achieve this result by suppressing some of the ambiguities of the earlier version.  Here, for instance, is Coleridge in 1798 urging his countrymen to resist invaders while avoiding triumphalism:


                                   make yourselves pure!

Stand forth! be men! repel an impious foe

                                   … And O! may we return

Not in a drunken triumph, but with fear,

Repenting of the wrongs, with which we stung

So fierce a foe to frenzy!                                       (PW II.1: 600)


But in 1809 the call to arms is less ambiguous.  Instead of ‘pure’ the patriot army is counselled to be ‘strong’; it should return not with ‘fear’ but ‘awe’; its




enemy is not a ‘foe’ but a ‘race’:


                                   make yourselves strong,

Stand forth, be men, repel an impious race

                                   … And O!  may we return

Not in a drunken triumph, but with awe,

Repenting of the wrongs, with which we stung

So fierce a race to frenzy!                                                 (Friend 2: 24)


The effect is to elevate the British patriots, now in awe of their own deeds, and to belittle the French invaders, a ‘race’ that is presumably genetically hostile.  The poem now reflects Coleridge’s increasingly bellicose politics.  But the fact remains that he had to work carefully and selectively in order to achieve the reading of the poem he required.

       Coleridge continued to republish Fears in Solitude after 1809.  He had the three poems, with some revisions, included in the Poetical Register, 1808-9 (published 1812) and took the unusual, though not entirely unprecedented, step of having an edition of the three poems printed privately in the same year for personal circulation.  Coleridge then sent copies to friends and admirers like Southey, Lamb, Fanny Godwin, William Hood, Mrs. Calvert and Miss Hillier.  The message was clear: with revisions muting much of the discontent in the poems, the volume was to be read as confirmation of Coleridge’s long-standing support of the establishment.

       None of this could fool Hazlitt.  All Coleridge’s attempts to fashion a certain kind of reading of his 1798 collection, one that suggested loyalty to British national interest and opposition to Jacobinism and France (whatever Coleridge might say of individual parliamentarians), all the revisions and emendations, could not darken in Hazlitt’s mind the memory of Coleridge’s 1798 irritation with Pitt, his suspicion of power, and above all hostility to war.  Immediately following the publication of Sibylline Leaves and Biographia Literaria in the summer of 1817, Hazlitt published a short article in the Morning Chronicle entitled ‘ENGLAND in 1798’.  It included 60 of the most liberal lines from ‘Fears in Solitude’, including the following unpatriotic malediction:


                                   … evil days

Are coming on us, O my countrymen!

And what if all-avenging Providence,

Strong and retributive, should make us know

The meaning of our words; force us to feel

The desolation and the agony

Of our fierce doings!


And at the point in the poem when Coleridge admits that he has been deemed an enemy of his country, Hazlitt remarks: ‘That he might be deemed so no longer, Mr.COLERIDGE soon after became passionate for war himself; and




‘swell’d the war-woop’ in the Morning Post’ (Hazlitt, Works 7: 219).

       Here we have Coleridge and Hazlitt quoting the same little quarto pamphlet, the same poem in fact, for exactly opposite reasons: Coleridge to enforce an idea of his loyalty to Britain and Hazlitt to prove, again, that Coleridge had in recent years defected from his earlier liberal views.  But if Coleridge had to change key words and ignore whole passages of the poem to make his point, so too did Hazlitt.  His Morning Chronicle article cites only the poem’s anti-war passages, ignoring descriptions of landscape and liberty that form so obviously a part of the poem’s argument.  It also ignores the argument in the Biographia Literaria where Coleridge accounts for his opposition in the 1790s to the war with revolutionary France.  Hazlitt’s half-hearted attempt to read ‘Fears in Solitude’ as another Wat Tyler never really gets off the ground (how could it when the offending piece had been republished by the poet himself?).  But it is still a very significant measure of the poem.  Recently republished in the Sibylline Leaves, Coleridge’s ‘Fears in Solitude’ still retained for this, one of his most sensitive readers, radical resonance.  And was Hazlitt so far off?  After all, in 1798 reviewers in the conservative British Critic, Critical Review and Monthly Mirror had all bristled at Coleridge’s perceived prejudice against his own country: none of them thought he had really switched sides (Reiman, A: 127, 311, 686-7).  Perhaps Hazlitt was justified, too, in suggesting that Coleridge in 1817 seemed blind to the possibility that his warning against British triumphalism in 1798 was entirely appropriate in a country celebrating the victory at Waterloo.  Hazlitt’s Morning Chronicle essay could hardly embarrass Coleridge.  But when in the following year later Coleridge put together his ‘rifacciamento’ of The Friend the 60 lines from ‘Fears in Solitude’ were kept safely out.

       My point is simply that in the twenty years since Fears in Solitude was first published, two incompatible versions and interpretations were put forward as true: loyalty poetry on the one hand and radical poetry on the other.  For Coleridge the poems were a self-conscious dismissal of his early radicalism and for Hazlitt they were a continuation of it, a last gasp of Dissent in the face of the forces of legitimacy.


3.  Reconciliation

That’s not the end of the story, though.  Odd as it may sound, in the Coleridge after 1798, the Coleridge we have come to associate with increasingly intransigent loyalty (just as he and Hazlitt have led us to believe), it is possible to detect a continued commitment to disinterested patriotism.  I don’t mean to attribute to Coleridge a worked out theory, or even a consistently applied view.  Rather, I’d like to suggest that a notion of patriotism as the balance between self-interest and benevolence, modelled on Butler’s ethics, crops up at significant moments in Coleridge’s political writings.  It appears, for instance, in arguments in favour of peace in the Morning Post essays of 1799, and in the arguments in support of Spanish resistance to Napoleon in 1809.  The most




obvious instance is in The Friend, no. 24 (February 1810):


Even in cases of actual injury and just alarm, the Patriot sets bounds to the reprisal of national vengeance, and contents himself with such securities as are compatible with the welfare, though not with the ambitious projects of the Nation, whose aggressions had given the provocation: for as Patriotism inspires no super-human faculties, neither can it dictate any conduct which would require such.  He is too conscious of his own ignorance of the future, to dare extend his calculations into remote periods; nor, because he is a Statesman, arrogates to himself the cares of Providence, and the government of the World.  How does he know, but that the very Independence and consequent Virtues of the Nation, which in the anger of cowardice he would fain reduce to absolute insignificance, and rob even of its’ ancient Name, may in some future emergence be the destined Guardians of his own Country; and that the power, which now alarms, may hereafter protect and preserve it.  (Friend 2: 325, 1: 296-7)


Patriots, according to this account, are as interested in their own cultural and political identity as in those of their enemy.  In another instance of Butlerian compromise between self-interest and benevolence, Coleridge calls patriots to defend their own country without utterly destroying the culture of the enemy. It is hard to believe Coleridge wrote this at the height of the war with Napoleonic France: it is hard to believe that Coleridge could ever care about the ‘independence’ and ‘virtues’ of France, let alone admit that they might one day be ‘the destined Guardians of his own Country’.  It is hard to believe that Coleridge could preach restraint to the enemies of Napoleon acting in ‘the anger of cowardice’ well before they had secured a major victory.  And yet he did, and such double-mindedness is the direct implication of the disinterested patriotism Coleridge is here defining.  Such flexibility coincides with Coleridge’s view of international relations: a degree of competition among independent states guarantees stability for all.  This is a clear instance of how this notion of disinterested patriotism, first explored in the 1798 pamphlet, accompanies Coleridge’s political thinking in even his more chauvinistic periods and proof, too, that he was not always the war-monger that Hazlitt says he was.

       And what about Hazlitt?  Is Coleridge’s disinterested patriotism so different from his?  The Morning Chronicle in December 1813 carried a long attack by Hazlitt on the chauvinism that characterized mainstream conservative opinion, epitomized, in this case, by Edward Sterling.  Hazlitt called it ‘exclusive patriotism’:


We mean by it… not that patriotism which implies a preference of the rights and welfare of our own country, but that which professes to annihilate and proscribe the rights of others—not that patriotism which supposes us to be the creatures of circumstance, habit, and




affection, but that which divests us of the character of reasonable beings—which fantastically makes our interests or prejudices the sole measure of right and wrong to other nations, and constitutes us sole arbiters of the empire of the world—in short, which, under the affectation of an overweening anxiety for the welfare of our own country, excludes even the shadow of a pretension to common sense, justice, and humanity. (Hazlitt, Works 7: 50)


It’s really the exclusivity of such patriotism that angers Hazlitt, and this, it turns out, is what is wrong with universal benevolence as well, that cosmopolitanism that denies the importance of local attachment.  Each, Hazlitt goes on to explain,


is an exclusive system, and is therefore unfitted for the nature of man, who is a mixed being, made up of various principles, faculties, and feelings.  All these are good in their place and degree, as well as the affections that spring from them—natural affection, patriotism, benevolence: it is only exclusive selfishness, exclusive patriotism, exclusive philanthropy, that are inconsistent with the order of Providence, and destructive of the nature of man. (Works 7: 65-6)


The presence of Butler in this passage is clearly felt: the rejection of extremes, the balancing of self-interest with disinterestedness, the love of one’s country with the love of humanity, realised in on-going negotiations and shaped according to present need.

       And it’s not a new theme.  A few years earlier, in his 1806 pamphlet Advice to a Patriot Hazlitt similarly distinguished between a healthy love of one’s country (‘to wish well to it; to oppose every measure inconsistent with its welfare, etc.’) and ‘a false kind of patriotism’ that expressed itself in ‘the blast of war’ (Works 1: 95).  As later, Hazlitt here praised local attachment, the ‘steady enthusiasm’ of the citizen, as opposed to the short-lived loyalty of the mercenary, and the ‘spirit of resistance’ in the face of invasion.  And, as later, he warned against excess: ‘before we can plead generous indignation and an uncontrollable love of justice in excuse for our rashness and impudence, it must be clear that pride, revenge, and the lust of domination have had no share in producing this ardent concern for the rights and liberties of mankind’ (Works 1: 104-5).  There is not much difference between this and Coleridge’s admonition in the Friend essay: ‘the Patriot sets bounds to the reprisal of national vengeance, and contents himself with such securities as are compatible with the welfare…of the Nation, whose aggressions had given the provocation’.  Both were advocating disinterested patriotism, balancing domestic loyalty on the one hand with understanding of the enemy on the other.  Both were convinced that disinterested benevolence is as natural a passion as self-interest.  Hazlitt and Coleridge had more in common than either was ever willing to admit.  After all, they had both read Butler in 1798.

[1]    William Hazlitt, ‘My First Acquaintance with Poets’, in Works, ed. P. P. Howe, 21 vols. (London: Dent, 1930-34), 17: 113; see also 17: 121 and ‘Memorabilia of Mr. Coleridge’, 20: 216.

[2]    Lay Sermons, ed. R. J. White (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), 187n.

[3]    See Uttara Natarajan, Hazlitt and the Reach of Sense: Criticism, Morals and the Metaphysics of Power (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998), 78-84; John Muirhead, Coleridge as Philosopher (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1930), 139.  F. J. A. Hort had earlier made the same assumption in ‘Coleridge’, Cambridge Essays, 4 vols. (London: J. W. Parker, 1855-8), 2: 336-7.

[4]     Coleridge the Moralist (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), 203-5, 213-5, 218-20. Ernest Campbell Mossner gathered together this evidence in ‘Coleridge and Bishop Butler’, Philosophical Review, 45 (1936), 206-8; see also Thomas McFarland, Coleridge and the Pantheist Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 360-1 n43.  Coleridge annotated the Analogy—see Marginalia, ed. by H. J. Jackson and George Walley, 6 vols. (London: Routledge and Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980-2001), 1: 867—though this book and his copy of the Sermons are lost; see Notebooks, ed. Kathleen Coburn, et al., 5 vols. (London: Routledge, 1957-2002), 2: 3145 and Chester L. Shaver and Alice C. Shaver, Wordsworth’s Library Catalogue (New York: Garland, 1979), 320-1.  In 1801 Coleridge named Butler as one of the ‘three great Metaphysicians which this Country has produced’, in Collected Letters, ed. Earl Leslie Griggs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956-71), 2: 703.  See also Table Talk, ed. Carl Woodring, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 1:107-8.

[5]       Lectures 1795: On Politics and Religion, ed. by Lewis Patton and Peter Mann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 204 n3, and CL 1: 285-6.

[6]     Nicholas Roe, Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 263-8; Timothy Fulford, Landscape, Liberty and Authority: Poetry, Criticism and Politics from Thomson to Wordsworth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 220-43; Paul Magnuson, ‘The Shaping of “Fears in Solitude”, in Coleridge’s Theory of Imagination Today, ed. Christine Gallant (New York: AMS Press, 1989), 197-210, and Reading Public Romanticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 67-94.

[7]     Karl Kroeber, ‘Coleridge’s “Fears”: Problems in Patriotic Poetry’, Clio 7 (1978) 364.

[8]     Peter Larkin, ‘“Fears in Solitude”: Reading (from) the Dell’, The Wordsworth Circle, 22 (1991) 14; Angela Esterhammer, The Romantic Perfomative: Language and Action in British and German Romanticism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), chapter 4. For a recent reassessment of the way the poem represents war, see Mark Rawlinson, ‘Invasion!  Coleridge, the Defence of Britain and the Cultivation of the Public’s Fear’, in Romantic Wars: Studies in Culture and Conflict, 1793-1822, ed. Philip Shaw (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 110-37.

[9]     The Works of Bishop Butler, ed. J. H. Bernard, 2 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1900), 1:45.

[10]    My source is the reading text from Poetical Works, ed. J. C. C. Mays, 6 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), I.i: 470-7.

[11]    Shorter Works and Fragments, ed. H. J. Jackson and J. R. de J. Jackson, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 1: 95-6.

[12]    [Christopher Lake Moody], rev. of Fears in Solitude, Monthly Review, 2nd series, 29 (May 1799) 43-7; repr. in The Romantics Reviewed, ed. Donald H. Reiman, 10 vols. (New York and London, 1972), A: 710-12.

[13]    [D.M.S.], rev. of Fears in Solitude…, Analytic Review, 28 (Dec 1798), 590-2, repr. in Reiman, A: 10-11.

[14]    Hugh Cunningham, ‘The Language of Patriotism: 1750-1914’, History Workshop Journal, 12 (1981) 8-33. Anything in Magnusson?

[15]    Essays on His Times, ed. David. V. Erdman, 3 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), 1: 367.

[16]    The Friend, ed. Barbara Rooke, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 2: 24.