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May 8 1812: Coleridge Tries to Fill the Lecture Hall

On  May 8, 1812, Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes to his friend and newspaper editor Daniel Stuart sending him tickets so he can bring a group to fill up the hall when he gives his lectures. Coleridge's lectures are only four days away and Coleridge is worried that he cannot sell tickets and an empty hall will make a "ridiculous appearance". The tickets were for six lectures, at One Guinea, and each ticket was signed by the lecturer. Coleridge wants him to bring as "many ladies as possible; but gentlemen if you cannot muster ladies." Coleridge's letter is reproduced below:
TO DANIEL STUART.
May 8, 1812.
My dear Stuart, — I send you seven or eight tickets, entreating you, if pre-engagements or your health does not preclude it, to bring a group with you; as many ladies as possible; but gentlemen if you cannot muster ladies — for else I shall not only have been left in the lurch as to the actual receipts by my great patrons (the five hundred half-promised are likely to shrink below fifty) but shall absolutely make a ridiculous appearance.The tickets are transferable. If you can find occasion for more, pray send for them to me, as (what it really will be) a favour done to myself.
I am anxious to see you, and to learn how far Bath has improved or (to use a fashionable slang phrase) disimproved your health. Sir James and Lady Mackintosh are I hear at Bath Hotel, Jermyn Street. Do you think it will be taken amiss if I enclosed two or three tickets and cards with my respectful congratulations on his safe return. I abhor the doing anything that could be even interpreted into servility, and yet feel increasingly the necessity of not neglecting the courtesies of life. . . .
God bless you, my dear sir, and your obliged and affectionate friend,
S. T. Coleridge.

P. S. Mr. Morgan has left his card for you.


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