Coleridge, Henry Nelson (DNB00)

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COLERIDGE, HENRY NELSON (1798–1843), nephew of Samuel Taylor Coleridge [q. v.], and son of Colonel James Coleridge of Ottery St. Mary, was born on 25 Oct. 1798. He was educated at Eton and at King's College, Cambridge, of which he became a fellow. In 1825 he accompanied his uncle, William Hart Coleridge [q. v.], the bishop of Barbados, to the West Indies, and described his excursion in a bright and lively little book, 'Six Months in the West Indies in 1825,' published anonymously in the following year. In 1826 he was called to the bar, and in 1829 married his cousin Sara [q. v.], daughter of the poet. He was the author, as appears from Southey's correspondence, of 'The Life of Swing, a pamphlet called forth by the rick-burning disturbances of 1830, which went through several editions. In the same year he published an introduction to Homer, the first of a contemplated series on the Greek poets, which was not continued further. He became Coleridge's literary executor on the death of the latter in 1834, and the short remainder of his life was chiefly devoted to the fulfilment of this trust. Coleridge's 'Literary Remains,' 'Aids to Reflection,' and 'Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit' were edited by him. His most signal service, however, was the preservation of Coleridge s 'Table Talk,' which he had taken down from his lips during a series of years, and of which he published in 1835 'such parts as seem fit for present publication.' How much was withheld we do not know. The work is accompanied by an eloquent preface, vindicating Coleridge's conversation from the charge of obscurity, and his literary character from the charge of plagiarism. Henry Nelson Coleridge died on 26 Jan. 1843, after long suffering from a spinal complaint. He was lecturer on equity to the Incorporated Law Society, and contributed several articles to the 'Quarterly Review.' He is described as singularly bright and animated when in health, which the general character of his writings tends to confirm. His son Herbert is separately noticed.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. vol. xx.; Memoirs and Letters of Sara Coleridge.]

R. G.