1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Payne Collier

Henry Crabb Robinson, 16 June 1819; Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence (1870; 1872) 1:330.



I was much occupied by a scrape John Collier had got into. A few nights ago he reported that Mr. Hume had said in the House of Commons that Canning had risen above the sufferings of others by laughing at them. Bell being last night summoned before the House, John Collier gave himself up as the author, and was in consequence committed to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. Mr. Wynn moved that he should be committed to Newgate, but this was withdrawn in consequence of Collier's manly and becoming conduct. I was exceedingly alarmed lest this might hurt Collier with [John] Walter [of The Times], but, to my satisfaction, I found that Collier had raised himself in Walter's opinion; for, by his gentlemanly behaviour, he raised the character of the reporters, and he completely relieved Walter from the imputation of having altered the article. I called on Collier in the House of Commons prison; he was in good spirits. Mrs. Collier was there, and Walter came too, with [Thomas] Barnes. He wished Collier to lie in custody till the end of the session, but I differed in opinion, and corrected the petition, which was ultimately adopted. After a hasty dinner in Hall, I ran down to the House. Barnes procured me a place, and I stayed in the gallery till quite late. There was no opposition to Mr. W. Smith's motion for Collier's discharge. He was reprimanded by the Speaker, in strong unmeaning words.