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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton, [17 February 1823]

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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Produced by CATH
[p.m. February 17, 1823.]

MY dear Sir—I have read quite through the ponderous folio of G. F. I think Sewell has been judicious in omitting certain parts, as for instance where G. F. has revealed to him the natures of all the creatures in their names, as Adam had. He luckily turns aside from that compendious study of natural history, which might have superseded Buffon, to his proper spiritual pursuits, only just hinting what a philosopher he might have been. The ominous passage is near the beginning of the Book. It is clear he means a physical knowledge, without trope or figure. Also, pretences to miraculous healing and the like are more frequent than I should have suspected from the epitome in Sewell. He is nevertheless a great spiritual man, and I feel very much obliged by your procuring me the Loan of it. How I like the Quaker phrases—though I think they were hardly completed till Woolman. A pretty little manual of Quaker language (with an endeavour to explain them) might be gathered out of his Book. Could not you do it? I have read through G. F. without finding any explanation of the term first volume in the title page. It takes in all, both his life and his death. Are there more Last words of him? Pray, how may I venture to return it to Mr. Shewell at Ipswich? I fear to send such a Treasure by a Stage Coach. Not that I am afraid of the Coachman or the Guard reading it. But it might be lost. Can you put me in a way of sending it in safety? The kind hearted owner trusted it to me for six months. I think I was about as many days in getting through it, and I do not think that I skipt a word of it. I have quoted G. F. in my Quaker’s meeting, as having said he was “lifted up in spirit” (which I felt at the time to be not a Quaker phrase), “and the Judge and Jury were as dead men under his feet.” I find no such words in his Journal, and I did not get them from Sewell, and the latter sentence I am sure I did not mean to invent. I must have put some other Quaker’s words into his mouth. Is it a fatality in me, that every thing I touch turns into a Lye? I once quoted two Lines from a translation of Dante, which Hazlitt very greatly admired, and quoted in a Book as proof of the stupendous power of that poet, but no such lines are to be found in the translation, which has been searched for the purpose. I must have dreamed them, for I am quite certain I did not forge them knowingly. What a misfortune to have a Lying
memory.—Yes, I have seen
Miss Coleridge, and wish I had just such a—daughter. God love her—to think that she should have had to toil thro’ five octavos of that cursed (I forget I write to a Quaker) Abbeypony History, and then to abridge them to 3, and all for £113. At her years, to be doing stupid Jesuits’ Latin into English, when she should be reading or writing Romances. Heaven send her Uncle do not breed her up a Quarterly Reviewer!—which reminds me, that he has spoken very respectfully of you in the last number, which is the next thing to having a Review all to one’s self. Your description of Mr. Mitford’s place makes me long for a pippin and some carraways and a cup of sack in his orchard, when the sweets of the night come in.

C. Lamb.