THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THOMAS CARLYLE AND RALPH WALDO EMERSON
"To my friend I write a letter, and from him I receive a letter. It is a spiritual gift, worthy of him to give, and of me to receive."—Emerson
"What the writer did actually mean, the thing he then thought of, the thing he then was."—Carlyle
The trust of editing the following Correspondence, committed to me several years since by the writers, has been of easy fulfilment. The whole Correspondence, so far as it is known to exist, is here printed, with the exception of a few notes of introduction, and one or two essentially duplicate letters. I cannot but hope that some of the letters now missing may hereafter come to light.
In printing, a dash has been substituted here and there for a proper name, and some passages, mostly relating to details of business transactions, have been omitted. These omissions are distinctly designated. The punctuation and orthography of the original letters have been in the main exactly followed. I have thought best to print much concerning dealings with publishers, as illustrative of the material conditions of literature during the middle of the century, as well as of the relations of the two friends. The notes in the two volumes are mine.
My best thanks and those of the readers of this Correspondence are due to Mr. Moncure D. Conway, for his energetic and successful effort to recover some of Emerson's early letters which had fallen into strange hands. —Charles Eliot Norton
Cambridge, Massachusetts January 29, 1883
NOTE TO REVISED EDITION
The hope that some of the letters missing from it when this correspondence was first published might come to light, has been fulfilled by the recovery of thirteen letters of Carlyle, and of four of Emerson. Besides these, the rough drafts of one or two of Emerson's letters, of which the copies sent have gone astray, have been found. Comparatively few gaps in the Correspondence remain to be filled.
The letters and drafts of letters now first printed are those numbered as follows:—
Vol. I. XXXVI. Carlyle XLI. Emerson XLII. Carlyle XLVI. " XLVII. " LXVIII. "
Vol. II. C. Emerson CIV. Carlyle CV. " CVI. " CVII. " CVIII. " CIX. " CXII. " CXVI. " CXLIX. Emerson CLII. " CLXV. " CLXXXVI. "
Emerson's letter of 1 May, 1859 (CLXIV.), of which only fragments were printed in the former edition, is now printed complete, and the extract from his Diary accompanying it appears in the form in which it seems to have been sent to Carlyle.
December 31, 1884
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
Introduction. Emerson's early recognition of Carlyle's genius. —His visit at Craigenputtock, in 1833.—Extracts concerning it from letter of Carlyle, from letter of Emerson, and from English Traits.
I. Emerson. Boston, 14 May, 1834. First acquaintance with Carlyle's writings.—Visit to Craigenputtock.—Sartor Resartus, its contents, its diction.—Gift of Webster's Speeches and Sampson Reed's Growth of the Mind.
II. Carlyle. Chelsea, 12 August, 1834. Significance of Emerson's gift and visit.—Sampson Reed.—Webster.— Teufelsdrockh, its sorry reception.—Removal to London.—Article on the Diamond Necklace.—Preparation for book on the French Revolution.—Death of Coleridge.
III. Emerson. Concord, 20 November, 1834. Death of his brother Edward.—Consolation in Carlyle's friendship.—Pleasure in receiving stitched copy of Teufelsdrockh.—Goethe.— Swedenborgianism.—Of himself.—Hope of Carlyle's coming to America.—Gift of various publications.
IV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 February, 1835. Acknowledgments and inquiries.—Sympathy for death of Edward Emerson.—Unitarianism. —Emerson's position and pursuits.—Goethe.-Volume of French Revolution finished.—Condition of literature.—Lecturing in America.—Mrs. Austin.
V. Emerson. Concord, 12 March, 1835. Appreciation of Sartor. —Dr. Channing.—Prospect of Carlyle's visit to America.—His own approaching marriage.—Plan of a journal of Philosophy in Boston.—Encouragement of Carlyle.
VI. Emerson. Concord, 30 April, 1835. Apathy of English public toward Carlyle.—Hope of his visit to America.—Lectures and lecturers in Boston.—Estimate of receipts and expenses.—Esteem of Carlyle in America.
VII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 13 May, 1835. Emerson's marriage. —Astonishing reception of Teufelsdrockh in New England. —Boston Transcendentalism.—Destruction of manuscript of first volume of French Revolution.—Result of a year's life in London.—Wordsworth.—Southey.
VIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 27 June, 1835. Visit to America questionable.—John Carlyle.—Tired out with rewriting French Revolution.—A London rout.—O'Connell.—Longfellow.—Emerson and Unitarianism.
IX. Emerson. Concord, 7 October, 1835. Mrs. Child.—Public addresses.—Marriage.—Destruction of manuscript of French Revolution.—Notice of Sartor in North American Review. —Politics.—Charles Emerson.
X. Emerson. Concord, 8 April, 1836. Concern at Carlyle's silence.—American reprint of Sartor.—Carlyle's projected visit.—Lecturing in New England.
XI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 29 April, 1836. Weariness over French Revolution.—Visit to Scotland.—Charm of London.—Letter from James Freeman Clarke.—Article on Sartor in North American Review.—Quatrain from Voss.
XII. Emerson. Concord, 17 September,1836. Death of Charles Emerson.—Solicitude concerning Carlyle.—Urgency to him to come to Concord.—Sends Nature to him.—Reflections.
XIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 5 November, 1836. Charles Emerson's death.—Concord.—His own condition.—French Revolution almost ended.—Character of the book.—Weariness.—London and its people.—Plans for rest.—John Sterling.—Articles on Mirabeau and the Diamond Necklace.—Mill's London Review.—Thanks for American Teufelsdrockh.—Mrs. Carlyle.—Might and Right, Canst and Shalt.—Books about Goethe.
XIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 13 February, 1837. Teufelsdrockh in America and England.—Nature.—Miss Martineau on Emerson. —Mammon.—Completion of French Revolution.—Scheme of Lecturing in London.—America fading into the background.
XV. Emerson. Concord, 31 March, 1837. Receipt of the Mirabeau and Diamond Necklace.—Their substance and style.—Proof-sheet of French Revolution.—Society in America.—Renewed invitation. —Mrs. Carlyle.—His son Waldo.—Bronson Alcott.—Second edition of Sartor.
XVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 1 June, 1837. Lectures on German Literature.—Copy of French Revolution sent.—Review of himself in Christian Examiner.—George Ripley.—Miss Martineau and her book on America.—Plans.
XVII. Emerson. Concord, 13 September, 1837. The French Revolution.—Sale of Carlyle's books.—Lectures.
XVIII. Emerson. Concord, 2 November, 1837. Introduction given to Charles Sumner.—Reprint of French Revolution.—Lectures.
XIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 December, 1837. Visit to Scotland. —Mrs. Carlyle's ill-health.—His own need of rest.—John Sterling; his regard for Emerson.—Emerson's Oration on the American Scholar.—Proposed collection of his own Miscellanies.
XX. Emerson. Concord, 9 February, 1838. Lectures on Human Culture.—Carlyle's praise of his Oration.—John Sterling. —Reprint of French Revolution.—Profits from it.—American selection and edition of Carlyle's Miscellanies.
XXI. Emerson. Boston, 12 March, 1838. Sale of French Revolution.—Arrangements concerning American edition of Miscellanies.
XXII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 16 March, 1838. Prospect of cash from Yankee-land.—Poverty.—American and English reprints of Miscellanies.—Sterling's Crystals from a Cavern.—Miss Martineau on Emerson.—Lectures.—Plans.
XXIII. Emerson. Concord, 10 May, 1838. American edition of Miscellanies.—Invitation to Concord.—His means and mode of life.—Sterling.—Miss Martineau.—Carlyle's poverty.
XXIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 15 June, 1838. American French Revolution.—London edition of Teufelsdrockh.—Miscellanies. —Lectures, their money result.—Plans.—Emerson's Oration. —Mrs. Child's Philothea.
XXV. Emerson. Boston, 30 July, 1838. Encloses bill for L50. —Miscellanies published.
XXVI. Emerson. Concord, 6 August, 1838. Publication of Miscellanies.—Two more volumes proposed.—Orations at Theological School, Cambridge, and at Dartmouth College.—Carlyle desired in America.
XXVII. Carlyle. Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan, 25 September, 1838. Visit to his Mother.—Remittance from Emerson of L50.— Miscellanies again.—Another Course of Lectures.—Sterling.— Miss Martineau.
XXVIII. Emerson. Concord, 17 October, 1838. Business.—Outcry against address to Divinity College.—Injury to Carlyle's repute in America from association with him.—Article in Quarterly on German Religious Writers.—Sterling.
XXIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 7 November, 1838. Emerson's letters.— Dyspepsia.—Use of money from America.—Arrangements concerning publication of Miscellanies.—Emerson's Orations.—Tempest in a washbowl concerning Divinity School Address.—John Carlyle— Postscript by Mrs. Carlyle.
XXX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 15 November, 1838. Arrangements concerning Miscellanies.—Employments, outlooks.—Concord not forgotten, but Emerson to come first to England.—John Carlyle. —Miss Martineau and her books.
XXXI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 2 December, 1838. Arrival of American reprint of Miscellanies.—English and American bookselling.— Proposed second edition of French Revolution.—Reading Horace Walpole.—Sumner.—Dartmouth Oration.—Sterling.—Dwight's German Translations.
XXXII. Emerson. Concord, 13 January, 1839. Business.— Remittance of L100.—Lectures on Human Life.—Dr. Carlyle.
XXXIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 February, 1839. Acknowledgment of remittance.—Arrangements for new edition of French Revolution.—London.—Wish for quiet.—Ill-health.—Suggestion of writing on Cromwell.—Mr. Joseph Coolidge.—Divinity School Address.—Mrs. Carlyle.—Gladstone cites from Emerson in his Church and State.
XXXIV. Emerson. Concord, 15 March, 1839. Account of sales.— Second series of Miscellanies.—Ill wind raised by Address blown over.—Lectures.—Birth of daughter.—The Onyx Ring. —Alcott.
XXXV. Emerson. Concord, 19 March, 1839. Need of copy to fill out second series of Miscellanies.—John S. Dwight.
XXXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 13 April, 1839. Solicitude on account of Emerson's silence.—Gift to Mrs. Emerson.—Book business. —New edition of French Revolution.—New lectures.—Better circumstances, better health.—Arthur Buller urges a visit to America.—Milnes.—Emerson's growing popularity.
XXXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 17 April, 1839. Nothing in manuscript fit for Miscellanies.—Essay on Varnhagen.—Translation of Goethe's Mahrchen.—Cruthers and Jonson.—Dwight's book. —Lectures.—Discontent among working people.
XXXVIII. Emerson. Boston, 20 April, 1839. Proposals of publishers concerning French Revolution.—Introduction of Miss Sedgwick.
XXXIX. Emerson. Concord, 25 April, 1839. Account.—Sales of books.
XL. Emerson. Concord, 28 April, 1839. Proposals of publishers and accounts.
XLI. Emerson. Concord, 15 May, 1839. Arrangements with publishers.—Matter for completion of fourth volume of Miscellanies.—Stearns Wheelers faithful labor.—Arthur Buller's good witnessing.—Plans for Carlyle's visit to America. —Milnes.—Copy of Nature for him.
XLII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 29 May, 1839. Lectures happily over.— Sansculottism.—Horse must be had.—Extempore speaking an art.— Must lecture in America or write a book.—Wordsworth.—Sterling. —Messages.
XLIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 24 June, 1839. Delay in arrival of Miscellanies.—Custom-house rapacities.—Accounts..—No longer poor.—Emerson's work.—Miss Sedgwick.—Daniel Webster.—Proposed visit to Scotland.—Sinking of the Vengeur.
XLIV. Emerson. Concord, 4 July, 1839. Proof-sheet of new edition of French Revolution received.—Gift to Mrs. Emerson of engraving of Guido's Aurora.—Publishers' accounts.—Sterling.— Occupations.—Margaret Fuller.
XLV. Emerson. Concord, 8 August, 1839. Miscellanies sent. —Daniel Webster.—Alcott.—Thoreau.
XLVI. Carlyle. Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan, 4 September, 1839. Rusticating.—Arrival of Miscellanies.—Errata.—Reprint of Wilhelm Meister.—Estimate of the book.—Copies of French Revolution sent.—Eager expectation of Emerson's book.— Sterling.—Plans.
XLVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 December, 1839. Long silence.—Stay in Scotland.—Chartism.—Reprint of Miscellanies.—Stearns Wheeler.—Wilhelm Meister.—Boston steamers.—Speculations about Hegira into New England.—Visitor from America who had never seen Emerson.—Miss Martineau.—Silence and speech.— Sterling.—Southey.—No longer desperately poor.
XLVIII. Emerson. Concord, 12 December, 1839. Copies of French Revolution arrived.—Lectures on the Present Age.—Letter from Sterling, his paper on Carlyle.—Friends.
XLIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 6 January, 1840. Chartism.— Sterling.—Monckton Milnes, paper by him on Emerson.
L. Carlyle. Chelsea, 17 January, 1840. Export and import of books.—New editions.—Books sent to Emerson.—Cromwell as a subject for writing.—No appetite for lecturing.—Madame Necker on Emerson.
LI. Emerson. New York, 18 March, 1840. New York.—Loss of faith on entering cities.—Margaret Fuller to edit a journal.—Lectures on the Present Age.—His children.—Renewed invitation.
LII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 1 April, 1840. Count D'Orsay, his portrait of Carlyle.—Wages for books, due to Emerson.—Milnes's review.—Heraud.—Landor.—Lectures in prospect on Heroes and Hero-worship.
LIII. Emerson. Concord, 21 April, 1840. Introduction of Mr. Grinnell.—Chartism.—Reprint of it.—At work on a book.— Booksellers' accounts.—The Dial.—Alcott.
LIV. Emerson. Concord, 30 June, 1840. Wilhelm Meister received.—Landor.—Letter to Milnes.—Lithograph of Concord. —The Dial, No. 1.
LV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 2 July, 1840. Bibliopoliana.—Lectures about Great Men.—Lecturing in America.—Milnes and his Poems. —Controversial volume from Ripley.
LVI. Emerson. Concord, 30 August, 1840. Booksellers' accounts. —Faith cold concerning Carlyle's coming to America.— Transcendentalism and The Dial.—Social problems.—Character of his writing.—Charles Sumner.
LVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 26 September, 1840. Not to go to America for the present.—Heroes and Hero-Worship.—Journey on horseback.—Reading on Cromwell.—Dial No. 1.—Puseyism.—Dr. Sewell on Carlyle.—Landor.—Sterling.
LVIII. Emerson. Concord, 30 October, 1840. Booksellers' accounts.—Projects of social reform.—Studies unproductive. —Hopes to print a book of essays.
LIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 9 December, 1840. Booksellers' carelessness and accounts.—Puseyism.—Dial No. 2.—Goethe. —Miss Martineau's Hour and Man.—Working in Cromwellism.
LX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 21 February, 1841. To Mrs. Emerson.— London transmuted by her alchemy.—Hope of seeing Concord. —Miss Martineau.—Toussaint l'Ouverture.—Sheets of Heroes and Hero-worship sent to Emerson.
LXI. Emerson. Concord, 28 February, 1841. Accounts.—Essays soon to appear.—Lecture on Reform.
LXII. Emerson. Boston, 30 April, 1841. Remittance of L100.— Accounts.—Piratical reprint of Heroes and Hero-worship.— Dial No. 4.
LXIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 May, 1841. Visit to Milnes.—To his Mother.—Emerson's Essays.—His own condition.
LXIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 21 May, 1841. Acknowledgment of remittance of L100.—Unauthorized American reprint of Heroes and Hero-worship.—Improvement in circumstances.—Desire for solitude.—Article on Emerson in Fraser's Magazine.
LXV. Emerson. Concord, 30 May, 1841. Accounts.—Book by Jones Very.—Heroes and Hero-worship.—Thoreau.
LXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 25 June, 1841. Proposed stay at Annan. —Motives for it.—London reprint of Emerson's Essays.—Rio.
LXVII. Emerson. Concord, 31 July, 1841. London reprint of Essays.—Carlyle in his own land.—Writing an oration.
LXVIII. Carlyle. Newby, Annan, Scotland, 18 August, 1841. Speedy receipt of letter.—Stay in Scotland.—Seclusion and sadness.—Reprint of Emerson's Essays.—Shipwreck.
LXIX. Emerson. Concord, 30 October, 1841. Pleasure in English reprint of Essays.—Lectures on the Times.—Opportunities of the Lecture-room.—Accounts.
LXX. Emerson. Concord, 14 November, 1841. Remittance of L40.— His banker.—Gambardella.—Preparation for lectures on the Times.
LXXI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 19 November, 1841. Gambardella.— Lawrence's portrait.—Emerson's Essays in England.—Address at Waterville College.—The Dial.—Emerson's criticism on Landor.
LXXII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 6 December, 1841. Acknowledgment of remittance of L40.—American funds.—Landor.—Emerson's Lectures.
LXXIII. Emerson. New York, 28 February, 1842. Remittance of L48.—American investments.—Death of his son.—Alcott going to England.
LXXIV. Carlyle. Templand, 28 March, 1842. Sympathy, with Emerson.—Death of Mrs. Carlyle's mother.—At Templand to settle affairs.—Life there.—A book on Cromwell begun.
LXXV. Emerson. Concord, 31 March, 1842. Bereavement.—Alcott going to England.—Editorship of Dial.—Mr. Henry Lee.— Lectures in New York.
CORRESPONDENCE OF CARLYLE AND EMERSON
At the beginning of his "English Traits," Mr. Emerson, writing of his visit to England in 1833, when he was thirty years old, says that it was mainly the attraction of three or four writers, of whom Carlyle was one, that had led him to Europe. Carlyle's name was not then generally known, and it illustrates Emerson's mental attitude that he should have thus early recognized his genius, and felt sympathy with it.
The decade from 1820 to 1830 was a period of unusual dulness in English thought and imagination. All the great literary reputations belonged to the beginning of the century, Byron, Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, had said their say. The intellectual life of the new generation had not yet found expression. But toward the end of this time a series of articles, mostly on German literature, appearing in the Edinburgh and in the Foreign Quarterly Review, an essay on Burns, another on Voltaire, still more a paper entitled "Characteristics," displayed the hand of a master, and a spirit in full sympathy with the hitherto unexpressed tendencies and aspirations of its time, and capable of giving them expression. Here was a writer whose convictions were based upon principles, and whose words stood for realities. His power was slowly acknowledged. As yet Carlyle had received hardly a token of recognition from his contemporaries.
He was living solitary, poor, independent, in "desperate hope," at Craigenputtock. On August 24,1833, he makes entry in his Journal as follows: "I am left here the solitariest, stranded, most helpless creature that I have been for many years..... Nobody asks me to work at articles. The thing I want to write is quite other than an article... In all times there is a word which spoken to men; to the actual generation of men, would thrill their inmost soul. But the way to find that word? The way to speak it when found?" The next entry in his Journal shows that Carlyle had found the word. It is the name "Ralph Waldo Emerson," the record of Emerson's unexpected visit. "I shall never forget the visitor," wrote Mrs. Carlyle, long afterwards, "who years ago, in the Desert, descended on us, out of the clouds as it were, and made one day there look like enchantment for us, and left me weeping that it was only one day."
At the time of this memorable visit Emerson was morally not less solitary than Carlyle; he was still less known; his name had been unheard by his host in the desert. But his voice was soon to become also the voice of a leader. With temperaments sharply contrasted, with traditions, inheritances, and circumstances radically different, with views of life and of the universe widely at variance, the souls of these two young men were yet in sympathy, for their characters were based upon the same foundation of principle. In their independence and their sincerity they were alike; they were united in their faith in spiritual truth, and their reverence for it. Their modes of thought of expression were not merely dissimilar, but divergent, and yet, though parted by an ever widening cleft of difference, they knew, as Carlyle said, that beneath it "the rock-strata, miles deep, united again, and their two souls were at one"
Two days after Emerson's visit Carlyle wrote to his mother:—
"Three little happinesses have befallen us: first, a piano-tuner, procured for five shillings and sixpence, has been here, entirely reforming the piano, so that I can hear a little music now, which does me no little good. Secondly, Major Irving, of Gribton, who used at this season of the year to live and shoot at Craigenvey, came in one day to us, and after some clatter offered us a rent of five pounds for the right to shoot here, and even tabled the cash that moment, and would not pocket it again. Money easilier won never sat in my pocket; money for delivering us from a great nuisance, for now I will tell every gunner applicant, 'I cannot, sir; it is let.' Our third happiness was the arrival of a certain young unknown friend, named Emerson, from Boston, in the United States, who turned aside so far from his British, French, and Italian travels to see me here! He had an introduction from Mill, and a Frenchman (Baron d'Eichthal's nephew) whom John knew at Rome. Of course we could do no other than welcome him; the rather as he seemed to be one of the most lovable creatures in himself we had ever looked on. He stayed till next day with us, and talked and heard talk to his heart's content, and left us all really sad to part with him. Jane says it is the first journey since Noah's Deluge undertaken to Craigenputtock for such a purpose. In any case, we had a cheerful day from it, and ought to be thankful."
On the next Sunday, a week after his visit, Emerson wrote the following account of it to his friend, Mr. Alexander Ireland.
"I found him one of the most simple and frank of men, and became acquainted with him at once. We walked over several miles of hills, and talked upon all the great questions that interest us most. The comfort of meeting a man is that he speaks sincerely; that he feels himself to be so rich, that he is above the meanness of pretending to knowledge which he has not, and Carlyle does not pretend to have solved the great problems, but rather to be an observer of their solution as it goes forward in the world. I asked him at what religious development the concluding passage in his piece in the Edinburgh Review upon German literature (say five years ago), and some passages in the piece called 'Characteristics,' pointed. He replied that he was not competent to state even to himself,—he waited rather to see. My own feeling was that I had met with men of far less power who had got greater insight into religious truth. He is, as you might guess from his papers, the most catholic of philosophers; he forgives and loves everybody, and wishes each to struggle on in his own place and arrive at his own ends. But his respect for eminent men, or rather his scale of eminence, is about the reverse of the popular scale. Scott, Mackintosh, Jeffrey, Gibbon,—even Bacon, —are no heroes of his; stranger yet, he hardly admires Socrates, the glory of the Greek world; but Burns, and Samuel Johnson, and Mirabeau, he said interested him, and I suppose whoever else has given himself with all his heart to a leading instinct, and has not calculated too much. But I cannot think of sketching even his opinions, or repeating his conversations here. I will cheerfully do it when you visit me here in America. He talks finely, seems to love the broad Scotch, and I loved him very much at once. I am afraid he finds his entire solitude tedious, but I could not help congratulating him upon his treasure in his wife, and I hope he will not leave the moors; 't is so much better for a man of letters to nurse himself in seclusion than to be filed down to the common level by the compliances and imitations of city society." *
——————- * Ralph Waldo Emerson. Recollections of his Visits to England By Alexander Ireland. London, 1882, p. 58. ——————
Twenty-three years later, in his "English Traits," Emerson once more describes his visit, and tells of his impressions of Carlyle.
"From Edinburgh I went to the Highlands. On my return I came from Glasgow to Dumfries, and being intent on delivering a letter which I had brought from Rome, inquired for Craigenputtock. It was a farm in Nithsdale, in the parish of Dunscore, sixteen miles distant. No public coach passed near it, so I took a private carriage from the inn. I found the house amid desolate heathery hills, where the lonely scholar nourished his mighty heart. Carlyle was a man from his youth, an author who did not need to hide from his readers, and as absolute a man of the world, unknown and exiled on that hill-farm, as if holding on his own terms what is best in London. He was tall and gaunt, with a cliff-like brow, self-possessed and holding his extraordinary powers of conversation in easy command; clinging to his northern accent with evident relish; full of lively anecdote, and with a streaming humor which floated everything he looked upon. His talk, playfully exalting the most familiar objects, put the companion at once into an acquaintance with his Lars and Lemurs, and it was very pleasant to learn what was predestined to be a pretty mythology. Few were the objects and lonely the man, 'not a person to speak to within sixteen miles, except the minister of Dunscore'; so that books inevitably made his topics.
"He had names of his own for all the matters familiar to his discourse. Blackwood's was the 'sand magazine'; Fraser's nearer approach to possibility of life was the 'mud magazine'; a piece of road near by that marked some failed enterprise was 'the grave of the last sixpence.' When too much praise of any genius annoyed him, he professed hugely to admire the talent shown by his pig. He had spent much time and contrivance in confining the poor beast to one enclosure in his Pen; but pig, by great strokes of judgment, had found out how to let a board down, and had foiled him. For all that, he still thought man the most plastic little fellow in the planet, and he liked Nero's death, Qualis artifex pereo! better than most history. He worships a man that will manifest any truth to him. At one time he had inquired and read a good deal about America. Landor's principle was mere rebellion, and that, he feared, was the American principle. The best thing he knew of that country was, that in it a man can have meat for his labor. He had read in Stewart's book, that when he inquired in a New York hotel for the Boots, he had been shown across the street, and had found Mungo in his own house dining on roast turkey.
"We talked of books. Plato he does not read, and he disparaged Socrates; and, when pressed, persisted in making Mirabeau a hero. Gibbon he called the splendid bridge from the old world to the new. His own reading had been multifarious. Tristram Shandy was one of his first books after Robinson Crusoe and Robertson's America, an early favorite. Rousseau's Confessions had discovered to him that he was not a dunce; and it was now ten years since he had learned German, by the advice of a man who told him he would find in that language what he wanted.
"He took despairing or satirical views of literature at this moment; recounted the incredible sums paid in one year by the great booksellers for puffing. Hence it comes that no newspaper is trusted now, no books are bought, and the booksellers are on the eve of bankruptcy.
"He still returned to English pauperism, the crowded country, the selfish abdication by public men of all that public persons should perform. 'Government should direct poor men what to do. Poor Irish folk come wandering over these moors; my dame makes it a rule to give to every son of Adam bread to eat, and supplies his wants to the next house. But here are thousands of acres which might give them all meat, and nobody to bid these poor Irish go to the moor and till it. They burned the stacks, and so found a way to force the rich people to attend to them.'
"We went out to walk over long hills, and looked at Criffel, then without his cap, and down into Wordsworth's country. There we sat down and talked of the immortality of the soul. It was not Carlyle's fault that we talked on that topic, for he has the natural disinclination of every nimble spirit to bruise itself against walls, and did not like to place himself where no step can be taken. But he was honest and true, and cognizant of the subtile links that bind ages together, and saw how every event affects all the future. 'Christ died on the tree that built Dunscore kirk yonder: that brought you and me together. Time has only a relative existence.'
"He was already turning his eyes towards London with a scholar's appreciation. London is the heart of the world, he said, wonderful only from the mass of human beings. He liked the huge machine. Each keeps its own round. The baker's boy brings muffins to the window at a fixed hour every day, and that is all the Londoner knows or wishes to know on the subject. But it turned out good men. He named certain individuals, especially one man of letters, his friend, the best mind he knew, whom London had well served."
Such is the record of the beginnings of the friendship between Carlyle and Emerson. What place this friendship held in the lives of both, the following Correspondence shows.
I. Emerson to Carlyle
Boston, Massachusetts, 14 May, 1884
My Dear Sir,—There are some purposes we delay long to execute simply because we have them more at heart than others, and such an one has been for many weeks, I may say months, my design of writing you an epistle.
Some chance wind of Fame blew your name to me, perhaps two years ago, as the author of papers which I had already distinguished (as indeed it was very easy to do) from the mass of English periodical criticism as by far the most original and profound essays of the day,—the works of a man of Faith as well as Intellect, sportive as well as learned, and who, belonging to the despairing and deriding class of philosophers, was not ashamed to hope and to speak sincerely. Like somebody in Wilhelm Meister, I said: This person has come under obligations to me and to all whom he has enlightened. He knows not how deeply I should grieve at his fall, if, in that exposed England where genius always hears the Devil's whisper, "All these kingdoms will I give thee," his virtue also should be an initial growth put off with age. When therefore I found myself in Europe, I went to your house only to say, "Faint not,—the word you utter is heard, though in the ends of the earth and by humblest men; it works, prevails." Drawn by strong regard to one of my teachers I went to see his person, and as he might say his environment at Craigenputtock. Yet it was to fulfil my duty, finish my mission, not with much hope of gratifying him,—in the spirit of "If I love you, what is that to you?" Well, it happened to me that I was delighted with my visit, justified to myself in my respect, and many a time upon the sea in my homeward voyage I remembered with joy the favored condition of my lonely philosopher, his happiest wedlock, his fortunate temper, his steadfast simplicity, his all means of happiness;—not that I had the remotest hope that he should so far depart from his theories as to expect happiness. On my arrival at home I rehearsed to several attentive ears what I had seen and heard, and they with joy received it.
In Liverpool I wrote to Mr. Fraser to send me Magazine, and I have now received four numbers of the Sartor Resartus, for whose light thanks evermore. I am glad that one living scholar is self-centred, and will be true to himself though none ever were before; who, as Montaigne says, "puts his ear close by himself, and holds his breath and listens." And none can be offended with the self-subsistency of one so catholic and jocund. And 't is good to have a new eye inspect our mouldy social forms, our politics, and schools, and religion. I say our, for it cannot have escaped you that a lecture upon these topics written for England may be read to America. Evermore thanks for the brave stand you have made for Spiritualism in these writings. But has literature any parallel to the oddity of the vehicle chosen to convey this treasure? I delight in the contents; the form, which my defective apprehension for a joke makes me not appreciate, I leave to your merry discretion. And yet did ever wise and philanthropic author use so defying a diction? As if society were not sufficiently shy of truth without providing it beforehand with an objection to the form. Can it be that this humor proceeds from a despair of finding a contemporary audience, and so the Prophet feels at liberty to utter his message in droll sounds. Did you not tell me, Mr. Thomas Carlyle, sitting upon one of your broad hills, that it was Jesus Christ built Dunscore Kirk yonder? If you love such sequences, then admit, as you will, that no poet is sent into the world before his time; that all the departed thinkers and actors have paved your way; that (at least when you surrender yourself) nations and ages do guide your pen, yes, and common goose-quills as well as your diamond graver. Believe then that harp and ear are formed by one revolution of the wheel; that men are waiting to hear your epical song; and so be pleased to skip those excursive involved glees, and give us the simple air, without the volley of variations. At least in some of your prefaces you should give us the theory of your rhetoric. I comprehend not why you should lavish in that spendthrift style of yours celestial truths. Bacon and Plato have something too solid to say than that they can afford to be humorists. You are dispensing that which is rarest, namely, the simplest truths,—truths which lie next to consciousness, and which only the Platos and Goethes perceive. I look for the hour with impatience when the vehicle will be worthy of the spirit,—when the word will be as simple, and so as resistless, as the thought,—and, in short, when your words will be one with things. I have no hope that you will find suddenly a large audience. Says not the sarcasm, "Truth hath the plague in his house"? Yet all men are potentially (as Mr. Coleridge would say) your audience, and if you will not in very Mephistophelism repel and defy them, shall be actually;* and whatever the great or the small may say about the charm of diabolism, a true and majestic genius can afford to despise it.
—————— * This year, 1882, seventy thousand copies of a sixpenny edition of Sartor Resartus have been sold. ——————-
I venture to amuse you with this homiletic criticism because it is the sense of uncritical truth seekers, to whom you are no more than Hecuba, whose instincts assure them that there is Wisdom in this grotesque Teutonic apocalyptic strain of yours, but that 't is hence hindered in its effect. And though with all my heart I would stand well with my Poet, yet if I offend I shall quietly retreat into my Universal relations, wherefrom I affectionately espy you as a man, myself as another.
And yet before I come to the end of my letter I may repent of my temerity and unsay my charge. For are not all our circlets of will as so many little eddies rounded in by the great Circle of Necessity, and could the Truth-speaker, perhaps now the best Thinker of the Saxon race, have written otherwise? And must not we say that Drunkenness is a virtue rather than that Cato has erred?
I wish I could gratify you with any pleasing news of the regeneration, education, prospects, of man in this continent. But your philanthropy is so patient, so far-sighted, that present evils give you less solicitude. In the last six years government in the United States has been fast becoming a job, like great charities. A most unfit person in the Presidency has been doing the worst things; and the worse he grew, the more popular. Now things seem to mend. Webster, a good man and as strong as if he were a sinner, begins to find himself the centre of a great and enlarging party and his eloquence incarnated and enacted by them; yet men dare not hope that the majority shall be suddenly unseated. I send herewith a volume of Webster's that you may see his speech on Foot's Resolutions, a speech which the Americans have never done praising. I have great doubts whether the book reaches you, as I know not my agents. I shall put with it the little book of my Swedenborgian druggist,* of whom I told you. And if, which is hardly to be hoped, any good book should be thrown out of our vortex of trade and politics, I shall not fail to give it the same direction.
——————— * Observations on the Growth of the Mind, by Sampson Reed, first published in 1825. A fifth edition of this thoughtful little treatise was published in 1865. Mr. Reed was a graduate of Harvard College in 1818; he died in 1880, at the age of eighty. ———————-
I need not tell you, my dear sir, what pleasure a letter from you would give me when you have a few moments to spare to so remote a friend. If any word in my letter should provoke you to a reply, I shall rejoice in my sauciness. I am spending the summer in the country, but my address is Boston, care of Barnard, Adams, & Co. Care of O. Rich, London. Please do make my affectionate respects to Mrs. Carlyle, whose kindness I shall always gratefully remember. I depend upon her intercession to insure your writing to me. May God grant you both his best blessing.
Your friend, R. Waldo Emerson
II. Carlyle to Emerson
5 Great Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London 12 August, 1834
My Dear Sir,—Some two weeks ago I received your kind gift from Fraser. To say that it was welcome would be saying little: is it not as a voice of affectionate remembrance, coming from beyond the Ocean waters, first decisively announcing for me that a whole New Continent exists,—that I too have part and lot there! "Not till we can think that here and there one is thinking of us, one is loving us, does this waste Earth become a peopled Garden." Among the figures I can recollect as visiting our Nithsdale hermitage,—all like Apparitions now, bringing with them airs from Heaven or else blasts from the other region,—there is perhaps not one of a more undoubtedly supernal character than yourself: so pure and still, with intents so charitable; and then vanishing too so soon into the azure Inane, as an Apparition should! Never has your Address in my Notebook met my eye but with a friendly influence. Judge if I am glad to know that there, in Infinite Space, you still hold by me.
I have read in both your books at leisure times, and now nearly finished the smaller one. He is a faithful thinker, that Swedenborgian Druggist of yours, with really deep ideas, who makes me too pause and think, were it only to consider what manner of man he must be, and what manner of thing, after all, Swedenborgianism must be. "Through the smallest window look well, and you can look out into the Infinite." Webster also I can recognize a sufficient, effectual man, whom one must wish well to, and prophesy well of. The sound of him is nowise poetic-rhythmic; it is clear, one-toned, you might say metallic, yet distinct, significant, not without melody. In his face, above all, I discern that "indignation" which, if it do not make "verses," makes useful way in the world. The higher such a man rises, the better pleased I shall be. And so here, looking over the water, let me repeat once more what I believe is already dimly the sentiment of all Englishmen, Cisoceanic and Transoceanic, that we and you are not two countries, and cannot for the life of us be; but only two parishes of one country, with such wholesome parish hospitalities, and dirty temporary parish feuds, as we see; both of which brave parishes Vivant! vivant! And among the glories of both be Yankee-doodle-doo, and the Felling of the Western Forest, proudly remembered; and for the rest, by way of parish constable, let each cheerfully take such George Washington or George Guelph as it can get, and bless Heaven! I am weary of hearing it said, "We love the Americans," "We wish well," &c., &c. What in God's name should we do else?
You thank me for Teufelsdrockh; how much more ought I to thank you for your hearty, genuine, though extravagant acknowledgment of it! Blessed is the voice that amid dispiritment, stupidity, and contradiction proclaims to us, Euge! Nothing ever was more ungenial than the soil this poor Teufelsdrockhish seed-corn has been thrown on here; none cries, Good speed to it; the sorriest nettle or hemlock seed, one would think, had been more welcome. For indeed our British periodical critics, and especially the public of Fraser's Magazine (which I believe I have now done with), exceed all speech; require not even contempt, only oblivion. Poor Teufelsdrockh!—Creature of mischance, miscalculation, and thousand-fold obstruction! Here nevertheless he is, as you see; has struggled across the Stygian marshes, and now, as a stitched pamphlet "for Friends," cannot be burnt or lost before his time. I send you one copy for your own behoof; three others you yourself can perhaps find fit readers for: as you spoke in the plural number, I thought there might be three; more would rather surprise me. From the British side of the water I have met simply one intelligent response,—clear, true, though almost enthusiastic as your own. My British Friend too is utterly a stranger, whose very name I know not, who did not print, but only write, and to an unknown third party.* Shall I say then, "In the mouth of two witnesses"? In any case, God be thanked, I am done with it; can wash my hands of it, and send it forth; sure that the Devil will get his full share of it, and not a whit more, clutch as he may. But as for you, my Transoceanic brothers, read this earnestly, for it was earnestly meant and written, and contains no voluntary falsehood of mine. For the rest, if you dislike it, say that I wrote it four years ago, and could not now so write it, and on the whole (as Fritz the Only said) "will do better another time." With regard to style and so forth, what you call your "saucy" objections are not only most intelligible to me, but welcome and instructive. You say well that I take up that attitude because I have no known public, am alone under the heavens, speaking into friendly or unfriendly space; add only, that I will not defend such attitude, that I call it questionable, tentative, and only the best that I, in these mad times, could conveniently hit upon. For you are to know, my view is that now at last we have lived to see all manner of Poetics and Rhetorics and Sermonics, and one may say generally all manner of Pulpits for addressing mankind from, as good as broken and abolished: alas, yes! if you have any earnest meaning which demands to be not only listened to, but believed and done, you cannot (at least I cannot) utter it there, but the sound sticks in my throat, as when a solemnity were felt to have become a mummery; and so one leaves the pasteboard coulisses, and three unities, and Blair's Lectures, quite behind; and feels only that there is nothing sacred, then, but the Speech of Man to believing Men! This, come what will, was, is, and forever must be sacred; and will one day, doubtless, anew environ itself with fit modes; with solemnities that are not mummeries. Meanwhile, however, is it not pitiable? For though Teufelsdrockh exclaims, "Pulpit! canst thou not make a pulpit by simply inverting the nearest tub?" yet, alas! he does not sufficiently reflect that it is still only a tub, that the most inspired utterance will come from it, inconceivable, misconceivable, to the million; questionable (not of ascertained significance) even to the few. Pity us therefore; and with your just shake of the head join a sympathetic, even a hopeful smile. Since I saw you I have been trying, am still trying, other methods, and shall surely get nearer the truth, as I honestly strive for it. Meanwhile, I know no method of much consequence, except that of believing, of being sincere: from Homer and the Bible down to the poorest Burns's Song, I find no other Art that promises to be perennial.
————- * In his Diary, July 26, 1834, Carlyle writes—"In the midst of innumerable discouragements, all men indifferent or finding fault, let me mention two small circumstances that are comfortable. The first is a letter from some nameless Irishman in Cork to another here, (Fraser read it to me without names,) actually containing a true and one of the friendliest possible recognitions of me. One mortal, then, says I am not utterly wrong. Blessings on him for it! The second is a letter I got today from Emerson, of Boston in America; sincere, not baseless, of most exaggerated estimation. Precious is man to man." Fifteen years later, in his Reminiscences of My Irish Journey, he enters, under date of July 16, 1849: "Near eleven o'clock [at night] announces himself 'Father O'Shea'! (who I thought had been dead); to my astonishment enter a little gray-haired, intelligent-and-bred-looking man, with much gesticulation, boundless loyal welcome, red with dinner and some wine, engages that we are to meet tomorrow,—and again with explosions of welcomes goes his way. This Father O'Shea, some fifteen years ago, had been, with Emerson of America, one of the two sons of Adam who encouraged poor bookseller Fraser, and didn't discourage him, to go on with Teufelsdrockh. I had often remembered him since; had not long before re-inquired his name, but understood somehow that he was dead—and now." ———————-
But now quitting theoretics, let me explain what you long to know, how it is that I date from London. Yes, my friend, it is even so: Craigenputtock now stands solitary in the wilderness, with none but an old woman and foolish grouse-destroyers in it; and we for the last ten weeks, after a fierce universal disruption, are here with our household gods. Censure not; I came to London for the best of all reasons,—to seek bread and work. So it literally stands; and so do I literally stand with the hugest, gloomiest Future before me, which in all sane moments I good-humoredly defy. A strange element this, and I as good as an Alien in it. I care not for Radicalism, for Toryism, for Church, Tithes, or the "Confusion" of useful Knowledge. Much as I can speak and hear, I am alone, alone. My brave Father, now victorious from his toil, was wont to pray in evening worship: "Might we say, We are not alone, for God is with us!" Amen! Amen!
I brought a manuscript with me of another curious sort, entitled The Diamond Necklace. Perhaps it will be printed soon as an Article, or even as a separate Booklet,—a queer production, which you shall see. Finally, I am busy, constantly studying with my whole might for a Book on the French Revolution. It is part of my creed that the Only Poetry is History, could we tell it right. This truth (if it prove one) I have not yet got to the limitations of; and shall in no way except by trying it in practice. The story of the Necklace was the first attempt at an experiment.
My sheet is nearly done; and I have still to complain of you for telling me nothing of yourself except that you are in the country. Believe that I want to know much and all. My wife too remembers you with unmixed friendliness; bids me send you her kindest wishes. Understand too that your old bed stands in a new room here, and the old welcome at the door. Surely we shall see you in London one day. Or who knows but Mahomet may go to the mountain? It occasionally rises like a mad prophetic dream in me, that I might end in the Western Woods!
From Germany I get letters, messages, and even visits; but now no tidings, no influences, of moment. Goethe's Posthumous Works are all published; and Radicalism (poor hungry, yet inevitable Radicalism!) is the order of the day. The like, and even more, from France. Gustave d'Eichthal (did you hear?) has gone over to Greece, and become some kind of Manager under King Otho.*
—————- * Gustave d'Eichthal, whose acquaintance Emerson had made at Rome, and who had given him an introduction to Carlyle, was one of a family of rich Jewish bankers at Paris. He was an ardent follower of Saint-Simon, and an associate of Enfantin. After the dispersion of the Saint-Simonians in 1832, he traveled much, and continued to devote himself to the improvement of society. —————
Continue to love me, you and my other friends; and as packets sail so swiftly, let me know it frequently. All good be with you!
Most faithfully, T. Carlyle
Coleridge, as you doubtless hear, is gone. How great a Possibility, how small a realized Result! They are delivering Orations about him, and emitting other kinds of froth, ut mos est. What hurt can it do?
III. Emerson to Carlyle *
Concord, Mass., 20 November, 1834
My Dear Sir,—Your letter, which I received last week, made a bright light in a solitary and saddened place. I had quite recently received the news of the death of a brother** in the island of Porto Rico, whose loss to me will be a lifelong sorrow. As he passes out of sight, come to me visible as well as spiritual tokens of a fraternal friendliness which, by its own law, transcends the tedious barriers of custom and nation; and opens its way to the heart. This is a true consolation, and I thanked my jealous [Greek] for the godsend so significantly timed. It, for the moment, realizes the hope to which I have clung with both hands, through each disappointment, that I might converse with a man whose ear of faith was not stopped, and whose argument I could not predict. May I use the word, "I thank my God whenever I call you to remembrance."
————— * This letter was printed in the Athenaeum, London, June 24, 1882. It, as well as three others which appeared in the same journal, is now reprinted, through the courtesy of its editor, from the original.
** Edward Bliss Emerson, his next younger brother, "brother of the brief but blazing star," of whom Emerson wrote In Memoriam:—
"There is no record left on earth, Save in tablets of the heart, Of the rich, inherent worth, Of the grace that on him shone, Of eloquent lips, of joyful wit; He could not frame a word unfit, An act unworthy to be done.
On his young promise Beauty smiled, Drew his free homage unbeguiled, And prosperous Age held out his hand, And richly his large future planned, And troops of friends enjoyed the tide,— All, all was given, and only health denied." —————
I receive with great pleasure the wonderful Professor now that first the decent limbs of Osiris are collected.* We greet him well to Cape Cod and Boston Bay. The rigid laws of matter prohibit that the soul imprisoned within the strait edges of these types should add one syllable thereto, or we had adjured the Sage by every name of veneration to take possession by so much as a Salve! of his Western World, but he remained inexorable for any new communications.
——————- * The four copies of Sartor which Carlyle had sent were a "stitched pamphlet," with a title-page bearing the words: "Sartor Resartus: in Three Books. Reprinted for Friends, from Fraser's Magazine. London, 1834." ——————-
I feel like congratulating you upon the cold welcome which you say Teufelsdrockh* has met. As it is not earthly happy, it is marked of a high sacred sort. I like it a great deal better than ever, and before it was all published I had eaten nearly all my words of objection. But do not think it shall lack a present popularity. That it should not be known seems possible, for if a memoir of Laplace had been thrown into that muck-heap of Fraser's Magazine, who would be the wiser? But this has too much wit and imagination not to strike a class who would not care for it as a faithful mirror of this very Hour. But you know the proverb, "To be fortunate, be not too wise." The great men of the day are on a plane so low as to be thoroughly intelligible to the vulgar. Nevertheless, as God maketh the world forevermore, whatever the devils may seem to do, so the thoughts of the best minds always become the last opinion of Society. Truth is ever born in a manger, but is compensated by living till it has all souls for its kingdom. Far, far better seems to me the unpopularity of this Philosophical Poem (shall I call it?) than the adulation that followed your eminent friend Goethe. With him I am becoming better acquainted, but mine must be a qualified admiration. It is a singular piece of good-nature in you to apotheosize him. I cannot but regard it as his misfortune, with conspicuous bad influence on his genius, that velvet life he led. What incongruity for genius, whose fit ornaments and reliefs are poverty and hatred, to repose fifty years on chairs of state and what pity that his Duke did not cut off his head to save him from the mean end (forgive) of retiring from the municipal incense "to arrange tastefully his gifts and medals"! Then the Puritan in me accepts no apology for bad morals in such as he. We can tolerate vice in a splendid nature whilst that nature is battling with the brute majority in defence of some human principle. The sympathy his manhood and his misfortunes call out adopts even his faults; but genius pampered, acknowledged, crowned, can only retain our sympathy by turning the same force once expended against outward enemies now against inward, and carrying forward and planting the standard of Oromasdes so many leagues farther on into the envious Dark. Failing this, it loses its nature and becomes talent, according to the definition,—mere skill in attaining vulgar ends. A certain wonderful friend of mine said that "a false priest is the falsest of false things." But what makes the priest? A cassock? O Diogenes! Or the power (and thence the call) to teach man's duties as they flow from the Superhuman? Is not he who perceives and proclaims the Superhumanities, he who has once intelligently pronounced the words "Self-Renouncement," "Invisible Leader," "Heavenly Powers of Sorrow," and so on, forever the liege of the same?
—————— * Emerson uniformly spells this name "Teufelsdroch." ——————
Then to write luxuriously is not the same thing as to live so, but a new and worse offence. It implies an intellectual defect also, the not perceiving that the present corrupt condition of human nature (which condition this harlot muse helps to perpetuate) is a temporary or superficial state. The good word lasts forever: the impure word can only buoy itself in the gross gas that now envelops us, and will sink altogether to ground as that works itself clear in the everlasting effort of God.
May I not call it temporary? for when I ascend into the pure region of truth (or under my undermost garment, as Epictetus and Teufelsdrockh would say), I see that to abide inviolate, although all men fall away from it; yea, though the whole generation of Adam should be healed as a sore off the face of the creation. So, my friend, live Socrates and Milton, those starch Puritans, for evermore! Strange is it to me that you should not sympathize (yet so you said) with Socrates, so ironical, so true, and who "tramped in the mire with wooden shoes whenever they would force him into the clouds." I seem to see him offering the hand to you across the ages which some time you will grasp.
I am glad you like Sampson Reed, and that he has inspired some curiosity respecting his Church. Swedenborgianism, if you should be fortunate in your first meetings, has many points of attraction for you: for instance, this article, "The poetry of the Old Church is the reality of the New," which is to be literally understood, for they esteem, in common with all the Trismegisti, the Natural World as strictly the symbol or exponent of the Spiritual, and part for part; the animals to be the incarnations of certain affections; and scarce a popular expression esteemed figurative, but they affirm to be the simplest statement of fact. Then is their whole theory of social relations—both in and out of the body—most philosophical, and, though at variance with the popular theology, self-evident. It is only when they come to their descriptive theism, if I may say so, and then to their drollest heaven, and to some autocratic not moral decrees of God, that the mythus loses me. In general, too, they receive the fable instead of the moral of their Aesop. They are to me, however, deeply interesting, as a sect which I think must contribute more than all other sects to the new faith which must arise out of all.
You express a desire to know something of myself. Account me "a drop in the ocean seeking another drop," or God-ward, striving to keep so true a sphericity as to receive the due ray from every point of the concave heaven. Since my return home, I have been left very much at leisure. It were long to tell all my speculations on my profession and my doings thereon; but, possessing my liberty, I am determined to keep it, at the risk of uselessness (which risk God can very well abide), until such duties offer themselves as I can with integrity discharge. One thing I believe,—that Utterance is place enough: and should I attain through any inward revelation to a more clear perception of my assigned task, I shall embrace it with joy and praise. I shall not esteem it a low place, for instance, if I could strengthen your hands by true expressions of the hope and pleasure which your writings communicate to me and to some of my countrymen. Yet the best poem of the Poet is his own mind, and more even than in any of the works I rejoice in the promise of the workman. Now I am only reading and musing, and when I have any news to tell of myself, you shall hear them.
Now as to the welcome hint that you might come to America, it shall be to me a joyful hope. Come and found a new Academy that shall be church and school and Parnassus, as a true Poet's house should be. I dare not say that wit has better chance here than in England of winning world-wages, but it can always live, and it can scarce find competition. Indeed, indeed, you shall have the continent to yourself were it only as Crusoe was king. If you cared to read literary lectures, our people have vast curiosity, and the apparatus is very easy to set agoing. Such 'pulpit' as you pleased to erect would at least find no hindrance in the building. A friend of mine and of yours remarked, when I expressed the wish that you would come here, "that people were not here, as in England, sacramented to organized schools of opinion, but were a far more convertible audience." If at all you can think of coming here, I would send you any and all particulars of information with cheerfulest speed.
I have written a very long letter, yet have said nothing of much that I would say upon chapters of the Sartor. I must keep that, and the thoughts I had upon 'poetry in history',' for another letter, or (might it be!) for a dialogue face to face.
Let me not fail of The Diamond Necklace. I found three greedy receivers of Teufelsdrockh, who also radiate its light. For the sake of your knowing what manner of men you move, I send you two pieces writ by one of them, Frederic Henry Hedge, the article on Swedenborg and that on Phrenology. And as you like Sampson Reed, here are one or two more of his papers. Do read them. And since you study French history do not fail to look at our Yankee portrait of Lafayette. Present my best remembrances to Mrs. Carlyle, whom that stern and blessed solitude has armed and sublimed out of all reach of the littleness and unreason of London. If I thought we could win her to the American shore, I would send her the story of those godly women, the contemporaries of John Knox's daughter, who came out hither to enjoy the worship of God amidst wild men and wild beasts.
Your friend and servant, R. Waldo Emerson
IV. Carlyle to Emerson
5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London 3 February, 1835
My Dear Sir,—I owe you a speedy answer as well as a grateful one; for, in spite of the swift ships of the Americans, our communings pass too slowly. Your letter, written in November, did not reach me till a few days ago; your Books or Papers have not yet come,—though the ever-punctual Rich, I can hope, will now soon get them for me. He showed me his way-bill or invoice, and the consignment of these friendly effects "to another gentleman," and undertook with an air of great fidelity to bring all to a right bearing. On the whole, as the Atlantic is so broad and deep, ought we not rather to esteem it a beneficent miracle that messages can arrive at all; that a little slip of paper will skim over all these weltering floods, and other inextricable confusions, and come at last, in the hand of the Twopenny Postman, safe to your lurking-place, like green leaf in the bill of Noah's Dove? Let us be grateful for mercies; let us use them while they are granted us. Time was when "they that feared the Lord spake often one to another." A friendly thought is the purest gift that man can afford to man. "Speech" also, they say, "is cheerfuler than light itself."
The date of your letter gives me unhappily no idea but that of Space and Time. As you know my whereabout, will you throw a little light on your own? I can imagine Boston, and have often seen the musket volleys on Bunker Hill; but in this new spot there is nothing for me save sky and earth, the chance of retirement, peace, and winter seclusion. Alas! I can too well fancy one other thing: the bereavement you allude to, the sorrow that will so long be painful before it can become merely sad and sacred. Brothers, especially in these days, are much to us: had one no brother, one could hardly understand what it was to have a Friend; they are the Friends whom Nature chose for us; Society and Fortune, as things now go, are scarcely compatible with Friendship, and contrive to get along, miserably enough, without it. Yet sorrow not above measure for him that is gone. He is, in very deed and truth, with God,—where you and I both are. What a thin film it is that divides the Living from the Dead! In still nights, as Jean Paul says, "the limbs of my Buried Ones touched cold on my soul, and drove away its blots, as dead hands heal eruptions of the skin." Let us turn back into Life.
That you sit there bethinking yourself, and have yet taken no course of activity, and can without inward or outward hurt so sit, is on the whole rather pleasing news to me. It is a great truth which you say, that Providence can well afford to have one sit: another great truth which you feel without saying it is that a course wherein clear faith cannot go with you may be worse than none; if clear faith go never so slightly against it, then it is certainly worse than none. To speak with perhaps ill-bred candor, I like as well to fancy you not preaching to Unitarians a Gospel after their heart. I will say farther, that you are the only man I ever met with of that persuasion whom I could unobstructedly like. The others that I have seen were all a kind of halfway-house characters, who, I thought, should, if they had not wanted courage, have ended in unbelief; in "faint possible Theism," which I like considerably worse than Atheism. Such, I could not but feel, deserve the fate they find here; the bat fate: to be killed among the rats as a bird, among the birds as a rat.... Nay, who knows but it is doubts of the like kind in your own mind that keep you for a time inactive even now? For the rest, that you have liberty to choose by your own will merely, is a great blessing: too rare for those that could use it so well; nay, often it is difficult to use. But till ill health of body or of mind warns you that the moving, not the sitting, position is essential, sit still, contented in conscience; understanding well that no man, that God only knows what we are working, and will show it one day; that such and such a one, who filled the whole Earth with his hammering and troweling, and would not let men pass for his rubbish, turns out to have built of mere coagulated froth, and vanishes with his edifice, traceless, silently, or amid hootings illimitable; while again that other still man, by the word of his mouth, by the very look of his face, was scattering influences, as seeds are scattered, "to be found flourishing as a banyan grove after a thousand years." I beg your pardon for all this preaching, if it be superfluous impute it to no miserable motive.
Your objections to Goethe are very natural, and even bring you nearer me: nevertheless, I am by no means sure that it were not your wisdom, at this moment, to set about learning the German Language, with a view towards studying him mainly! I do not assert this; but the truth of it would not surprise me. Believe me, it is impossible you can be more a Puritan than I; nay, I often feel as if I were far too much so: but John Knox himself, could he have seen the peaceable impregnable fidelity of that man's mind, and how to him also Duty was infinite,—Knox would have passed on, wondering not reproaching. But I will tell you in a word why I like Goethe: his is the only healthy mind, of any extent, that I have discovered in Europe for long generations; it was he that first convincingly proclaimed to me (convincingly, for I saw it done): Behold, even in this scandalous Sceptico-Epicurean generation, when all is gone but hunger and cant, it is still possible that Man be a Man! For which last Evangel, the confirmation and rehabilitation of all other Evangels whatsoever, how can I be too grateful? On the whole, I suspect you yet know only Goethe the Heathen (Ethnic); but you will know Goethe the Christian by and by, and like that one far better. Rich showed me a Compilation* in green cloth boards that you had beckoned across the water: pray read the fourth volume of that, and let a man of your clearness of feeling say whether that was a Parasite or a Prophet.—And then as to "misery" and the other dark ground on which you love to see genius paint itself,—alas! consider whether misery is not ill health too; also whether good fortune is not worse to bear than bad; and on the whole whether the glorious serene summer is not greater than the wildest hurricane,—as Light, the Naturalists say, is stronger a thousand times than Lightning. And so I appeal to Philip sober;—and indeed have hardly said as much about Goethe since I saw you, for nothing reigns here but twilight delusion (falser for the time than midnight darkness) on that subject, and I feel that the most suffer nothing thereby, having properly nothing or little to do with such a matter but with you, who are not "seeking recipes for happiness," but something far higher, it is not so, and therefore I have spoken and appealed; and hope the new curiosity, if I have awakened any, will do you no mischief.
—————— * Obviously Carlyle's Specimens of German Romance, of which the fourth volume was devoted to Goethe. ——————
But now as to myself; for you will grumble at a sheet of speculation sent so far: I am here still, as Rob Roy was on Glasgow Bridge, biding tryste; busy extremely, with work that will not profit me at all in some senses; suffering rather in health and nerves; and still with nothing like dawn on any quarter of my horizon. The Diamond Necklace has not been printed, but will be, were this French Revolution out; which latter, however, drags itself along in a way that would fill your benevolent heart with pity. I am for three small volumes now, and have one done. It is the dreadfulest labor (with these nerves, this liver) I ever undertook; all is so inaccurate, superficial, vague, in the numberless books I consult; and without accuracy at least, what other good is possible? Add to this that I have no hope about the thing, except only that I shall be done with it: I can reasonably expect nothing from any considerable class here, but at best to be scolded and reproached; perhaps to be left standing "on my own basis," without note or comment of any kind, save from the Bookseller, who will lose his printing. The hope I have however is sure: if life is lent me, I shall be done with the business; I will write this "History of Sansculottism," the notablest phenomenon I meet with since the time of the Crusades or earlier; after which my part is played. As for the future, I heed it little when so busy; but it often seems to me as if one thing were becoming indisputable: that I must seek another craft than literature for these years that may remain to me. Surely, I often say, if ever man had a finger-of-Providence shown him, thou hast it; literature will neither yield thee bread, nor a stomach to digest bread with: quit it in God's name, shouldst thou take spade and mattock instead. The truth is, I believe literature to be as good as dead and gone in all parts of Europe at this moment, and nothing but hungry Revolt and Radicalism appointed us for perhaps three generations; I do not see how a man can honestly live by writing in another dialect than that, in England at least; so that if you determine on not living dishonestly, it will behove you to look several things full in the face, and ascertain what is what with some distinctness. I suffer also terribly from the solitary existence I have all along had; it is becoming a kind of passion with me, to feel myself among my brothers. And then, How? Alas! I care not a doit for Radicalism, nay I feel it to be a wretched necessity, unfit for me; Conservatism being not unfit only but false for me: yet these two are the grand Categories under which all English spiritual activity that so much as thinks remuneration possible must range itself. I look around accordingly on a most wonderful vortex of things; and pray to God only, that as my day, is so my strength may be. What will come out of it is wholly uncertain: for I have possibilities too; the possibilities of London are far from exhausted yet: I have a brave brother, who invites me to come and be quiet with him in Rome; a brave friend (known to you) who opens the door of a new Western world,—and so we will stand considering and consulting, at least till the Book be over. Are all these things interesting to you? I know they are.
As for America and Lecturing, it is a thing I do sometimes turn over, but never yet with any seriousness. What your friend says of the people being more persuadable, so far, as having no Tithe-controversy, &c., &c. will go, I can most readily understand it. But apart from that, I should rather fancy America mainly a new Commercial England, with a fuller pantry,—little more or little less. The same unquenchable, almost frightfully unresting spirit of endeavor, directed (woe is me!) to the making of money, or money's worth; namely, food finer and finer, and gigmanic renown higher and higher: nay, must not your gigmanity be a purse-gigmanity, some half-shade worse than a purse-and-pedigree one? Or perhaps it is not a whit worse; only rougher, more substantial; on the whole better? At all events ours is fast becoming identical with it; for the pedigree ingredient is as near as may be gone: Gagnez de l'argent, et ne vous faites pas pendre, this is very nearly the whole Law, first Table and second. So that you see, when I set foot on American land, it will be on no Utopia; but on a conditional piece of ground where some things are to be expected and other things not. I may say, on the other hand, that Lecturing (or I would rather it were speaking) is a thing I have always had some hankering after: it seems to me I could really swim in that element, were I once thrown into it; that in fact it would develop several things in me which struggle violently for development. The great want I have towards such an enterprise is one you may guess at: want of a rubric, of a title to name my speech by. Could any one but appoint me Lecturing Professor of Teufelsdrockh's science,— "Things in general"! To discourse of Poets and Poetry in the Hazlitt style, or talk stuff about the Spirit of the Age, were most unedifying: one knows not what to call himself. However, there is no doubt that were the child born it might be christened; wherefore I will really request you to take the business into your consideration, and give me in the most rigorous sober manner you can some scheme of it. How many Discourses; what Towns; the probable Expenses, the probable net Income, the Time, &c., &c.: all that you can suppose a man wholly ignorant might want to know about it. America I should like well enough to visit, much as I should another part of my native country: it is, as you see, distinctly possible that such a thing might be; we will keep it hanging, to solace ourselves with it, till the time decide.
Have I involved you in double postage by this loquacity? or What is your American rule? I did not intend it when I began; but today my confusion of head is very great and words must be multiplied with only a given quantity of meaning.
My wife, who is just gone out to spend the day with a certain "celebrated Mrs. Austin," (called also the "celebrated Translatress of Puckler-Muskau,") charged me very specially to send you her love, her good wishes and thanks: I assure you there is no hypocrisy in that. She votes often for taking the Transatlantic scheme into contemplation; declares farther that my Book and Books must and will indisputably prosper (at some future era), and takes the world beside me—as a good wife and daughter of John Knox should. Speaking of "celebrated" persons here, let me mention that I have learned by stern experience, as children do with fire, to keep in general quite out of the way of celebrated persons, more especially celebrated women. This Mrs. Austin, who is half ruined by celebrity (of a kind), is the only woman I have seen not wholly ruined by it. Men, strong men, I have seen die of it, or go mad by it. Good fortune is far worse than bad!
Will you write with all despatch, my dear sir; fancy me a fellow-wayfarer, who cordially bids you God-speed, and would fain keep in sight of you, within sound of you.
Yours with great sincerity, T. Carlyle
V. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 12 March, 1838
My Dear Sir,—I am glad of the opportunity of Mr. Barnard's* visit to say health and peace be with you. I esteem it the best sign that has shone in my little section of space for many days, that some thirty or more intelligent persons understand and highly appreciate the Sartor. Dr. Channing sent to me for it the other day, and I have since heard that he had read it with great interest. As soon as I go into town I shall see him and measure his love. I know his genius does not and cannot engage your attention much. He possesses the mysterious endowment of natural eloquence, whose effect, however intense, is limited, of course, to personal communication. I can see myself that his writings, without his voice, may be meagre and feeble. But please love his catholicism, that at his age can relish the Sartor, born and inveterated as he is in old books. Moreover, he lay awake all night, he told my friend last week, because he had learned in the evening that some young men proposed to issue a journal, to be called The Transcendentalist, as the organ of a spiritual philosophy. So much for our gossip of today.
————- * Mr. Henry Barnard, of Hartford, Connecticut, to whom Emerson had given a note of introduction to Carlyle. ————-
But my errand is yet to tell. Some friends here are very desirous that Mr. Fraser should send out to a bookseller here fifty or a hundred copies of the Sartor. So many we want very much; they would be sold at once. If we knew that two or three hundred would be taken up, we should reprint it now. But we think it better to satisfy the known inquirers for the book first, and when they have extended the demand for it, then to reproduce it, a naturalized Yankee. The lovers of Teufelsdrockh here are sufficiently enthusiastic. I am an icicle to them. They think England must be blind and deaf if the Professor makes no more impression there than yet appears. I, with the most affectionate wishes for Thomas Carlyle's fame, am mainly bent on securing the medicinal virtues of his book for my young neighbors. The good people think he overpraises Goethe. There I give him up to their wrath. But I bid them mark his unsleeping moral sentiment; that every other moralist occasionally nods, becomes complaisant and traditional; but this man is without interval on the side of equity and humanity! I am grieved for you, O wise friend, that you cannot put in your own contemptuous disclaimer of such puritanical pleas as are set up for you; but each creature and Levite must do after his kind.
Yet do not imagine that I will hurt you in this unseen domain of yours by any Boswellism. Every suffrage you get here is fairly your own. Nobody is coaxed to admire you, and you have won friends whom I should be proud to show you, and honorable women not a few. And cannot you renew and confirm your suggestion touching your appearance in this continent? Ah, if I could give your intimation the binding force of an oracular word!—in a few months, please God, at most, I shall have wife, house, and home wherewith and wherein to return your former hospitality. And if I could draw my prophet and his prophetess to brighten and immortalize my lodge, and make it the window through which for a summer you should look out on a field which Columbus and Berkeley and Lafayette did not scorn to sow, my sun should shine clearer and life would promise something better than peace. There is a part of ethics, or in Schleiermacher's distribution it might be physics, which possesses all attraction for me; to wit, the compensations of the Universe, the equality and the coexistence of action and reaction, that all prayers are granted, that every debt is paid. And the skill with which the great All maketh clean work as it goes along, leaves no rag, consumes its smoke,— will I hope make a chapter in your thesis.
I intimated above that we aspire to have a work on the First Philosophy in Boston. I hope, or wish rather. Those that are forward in it debate upon the name. I doubt not in the least its reception if the material that should fill it existed. Through the thickest understanding will the reason throw itself instantly into relation with the truth that is its object, whenever that appears. But how seldom is the pure loadstone produced! Faith and love are apt to be spasmodic in the best minds: Men live on the brink of mysteries and harmonies into which yet they never enter, and with their hand on the door-latch they die outside. Always excepting my wonderful Professor, who among the living has thrown any memorable truths into circulation? So live and rejoice and work, my friend, and God you aid, for the profit of many more than your mortal eyes shall see. Especially seek with recruited and never-tired vision to bring back yet higher and truer report from your Mount of Communion of the Spirit that dwells there and creates all. Have you received a letter from me with a pamphlet sent in December? Fail not, I beg of you, to remember me to Mrs. Carlyle.
Can you not have some Sartors sent? Hilliard, Gray, & Co. are the best publishers in Boston. Or Mr. Rich has connections with Burdett in Boston.
Yours with respect and affection, R. Waldo Emerson
VI. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 30 April, 1835
My Dear Sir,—I received your letter of the 3d of February on the 20th instant, and am sorry that hitherto we have not been able to command a more mercantile promptitude in the transmission of these light sheets. If desire of a letter before it arrived, or gladness when it came, could speed its journey, I should have it the day it was written. But, being come, it makes me sad and glad by turns. I admire at the alleged state of your English reading public without comprehending it, and with a hoping scepticism touching the facts. I hear my Prophet deplore, as his predecessors did, the deaf ear and the gross heart of his people, and threaten to shut his lips; but, happily, this he cannot do, any more than could they. The word of the Lord will be spoken. But I shall not much grieve that the English people and you are not of the same mind if that apathy or antipathy can by any means be the occasion of your visiting America. The hope of this is so pleasant to me, that I have thought of little else for the week past, and having conferred with some friends on the matter, I shall try, in obedience to your request, to give you a statement of our capabilities, without indulging my penchant for the favorable side. Your picture of America is faithful enough: yet Boston contains some genuine taste for literature, and a good deal of traditional reverence for it. For a few years past, we have had, every winter, several courses of lectures, scientific, political, miscellaneous, and even some purely literary, which were well attended. Some lectures on Shakespeare were crowded; and even I found much indulgence in reading, last winter, some Biographical Lectures, which were meant for theories or portraits of Luther, Michelangelo, Milton, George Fox, Burke. These courses are really given under the auspices of Societies, as "Natural History Society," "Mechanics' Institutes," "Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," &c., &c., and the fee to the lecturer is inconsiderable, usually $20 for each lecture. But in a few instances individuals have undertaken courses of lectures, and have been well paid. Dr. Spurzheim* received probably $3,000 in the few months that he lived here. Mr. Silliman, a Professor of Yale College, has lately received something more than that for a course of fifteen or sixteen lectures on Geology. Private projects of this sort are, however, always attended with a degree of uncertainty. The favor of my townsmen is often sudden and spasmodic, and Mr. Silliman, who has had more success than ever any before him, might not find a handful of hearers another winter. But it is the opinion of many friends whose judgment I value, that a person of so many claims upon the ear and imagination of our fashionable populace as the "author of the Life of Schiller," "the reviewer of Burns's Life," the live "contributor to the Edinburgh and Foreign Reviews," nay, the "worshipful Teufelsdrockh," the "personal friend of Goethe," would, for at least one season, batter down opposition, and command all ears on whatever topic pleased him, and that, quite independently of the merit of his lectures, merely for so many names' sake.
—————- * The memory of Dr. Spurzheim has faded, but his name is still known to men of science on both sides of the Atlantic as that of the most ardent and accomplished advocate of the doctrine of Phrenology. He came to the United States in 1832 to advance the cause he had at heart, but he had been only a short time in the country when he died at Boston of a fever. ——————-
But the subject, you say, does not yet define itself. Whilst it is "gathering to a god," we who wait will only say, that we know enough here of Goethe and Schiller to have some interest in German literature. A respectable German here, Dr. Follen, has given lectures to a good class upon Schiller. I am quite sure that Goethe's name would now stimulate the curiosity of scores of persons. On English literature, a much larger class would have some preparedness. But whatever topics you might choose, I need not say you must leave under them scope for your narrative and pictorial powers; yes, and space to let out all the length of all the reins of your eloquence of moral sentiment. What "Lay Sermons" might you not preach! or methinks "Lectures on Europe" were a sea big enough for you to swim in. The only condition our adolescent ear insists upon is, that the English as it is spoken by the unlearned shall be the bridge between our teacher and our tympanum.
Income and Expenses.—All our lectures are usually delivered in the same hall, built for the purpose. It will hold 1,200 persons; 900 are thought a large assembly. The expenses of rent, lights, doorkeeper, &c. for this hall, would be $12 each lecture. The price of $3 is the least that might be demanded for a single ticket of admission to the course,—perhaps $4; $5 for a ticket admitting a gentleman and lady. So let us suppose we have 900 persons paying $3 each, or $2,700. If it should happen, as did in Prof. Silliman's case, that many more than 900 tickets were sold, it would be easy to give the course in the day and in the evening, an expedient sometimes practised to divide an audience, and because it is a great convenience to many to choose their time. If the lectures succeed in Boston, their success is insured at Salem, a town thirteen miles off, with a population of 15,000. They might, perhaps, be repeated at Cambridge, three miles from Boston, and probably at Philadelphia, thirty-six hours distant.
At New York anything literary has hitherto had no favor. The lectures might be fifteen or sixteen in number, of about an hour each. They might be delivered, one or two in each week. And if they met with sudden success, it would be easy to carry on the course simultaneously at Salem, and Cambridge, and in the city. They must be delivered in the winter.
Another plan suggested in addition to this. A gentleman here is giving a course of lectures on English literature to a private class of ladies, at $10 to each subscriber. There is no doubt, were you so disposed, you might turn to account any writings in the bottom of your portfolio, by reading lectures to such a class, or, still better, by speaking.
Expense of Living.—You may travel in this country for $4 to $4.50 a day. You may board in Boston in a "gigmanic" style for $8 per week, including all domestic expenses. Eight dollars per week is the board paid by the permanent residents at the Tremont House,—probably the best hotel in North America. There, and at the best hotels in New York, the lodger for a few days pays at the rate of $1.50 per day. Twice eight dollars would provide a gentleman and lady with board, chamber, and private parlor, at a fashionable boardinghouse. In the country, of course, the expenses are two thirds less. These are rates of expense where economy is not studied. I think the Liverpool and New York packets demand $150 of the passenger, and their accommodations are perfect. (N.B.—I set down all sums in dollars. You may commonly reckon a pound sterling worth $4.80.) "The man is certain of success," say those I talk with, "for one winter, but not afterwards." That supposes no extraordinary merit in the lectures, and only regards you in your leonine aspect. However, it was suggested that, if Mr. C. would undertake a Journal of which we have talked much, but which we have never yet produced, he would do us great service, and we feel some confidence that it could be made to secure him a support. It is that project which I mentioned to you in a letter by Mr. Barnard,—a book to be called The Transcendentalist, or The Spiritual Inquirer, or the like, and of which F.H. Hedge* was to be editor. Those who are most interested in it designed to make gratuitous contributions to its pages, until its success could be assured. Hedge is just leaving our neighborhood to be settled as a minister two hundred and fifty miles off, in Maine, and entreats that you will edit the journal. He will write, and I please myself with thinking I shall be able to write under such auspices. Then you might (though I know not the laws respecting literary property) collect some of your own writings and reprint them here. I think the Sartor would now be sure of a sale. Your Life of Schiller, and Wilhelm Meister, have been long reprinted here. At worst, if you wholly disliked us, and preferred Old England to New, you can judge of the suggestion of a knowing man, that you might see Niagara, get a new stock of health, and pay all your expenses by printing in England a book of travels in America.
————— *Now the Rev. Dr. Hedge, late Professor of German and of Ecclesiastical History in Harvard College. ——————
I wish you to know that we do not depend for your eclat on your being already known to rich men here. You are not. Nothing has ever been published here designating you by name. But Dr. Channing reads and respects you. That is a fact of importance to our project. Several clergymen, Messrs. Frothingham, Ripley, Francis, all of them scholars and Spiritualists, (some of them, unluckily, called Unitarian,) love you dearly, and will work heartily in your behalf. Mr. Frothing ham, a worthy and accomplished man, more like Erasmus than Luther, said to me on parting, the other day, "You cannot express in terms too extravagant my desire that he should come." George Ripley, having heard, through your letter to me, that nobody in England had responded to the Sartor, had secretly written you a most reverential letter, which, by dint of coaxing, be read to me, though he said there was but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. I prayed him, though I thought the letter did him no justice, save to his heart, to send you it or another; and he says he will. He is a very able young man, even if his letter should not show it.* He said he could, and would, bring many persons to hear you, and you should be sure of his utmost aid. Dr. Bradford, a medical man, is of good courage. Mr. Loring,** a lawyer, said,"—Invite Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle to spend a couple of months at my house," (I assured him I was too selfish for that,) "and if our people," he said, "cannot find out his worth, I will subscribe, with, others, to make him whole of any expense he shall incur in coming." Hedge promised more than he ought. There are several persons beside, known to me, who feel a warm interest in this thing. Mr. Furness, a popular and excellent minister in Philadelphia, at whose house Harriet Martineau was spending a few days, I learned the other day "was feeding Miss Martineau with the Sartor." And here some of the best women I know are warm friends of yours, and are much of Mrs. Carlyle's opinion when she says, Your books shall prosper.
—————- * Emerson's estimate of Mr. Ripley was justified as the years went on. His Life, by Mr. Octavius Frothingham,—like his father, "a worthy and accomplished, man," but more like Luther than Erasmus,—forms one of the most attractive volumes of the series of Lives of American Men of Letters.
** The late Ellis Gray Loring, a man of high character, well esteemed in his profession, and widely respected. —————
On the other hand, I make no doubt you shall be sure of some opposition. Andrews Norton, one of our best heads, once a theological professor, and a destroying critic, lives upon a rich estate at Cambridge, and frigidly excludes the Diderot paper from a Select Journal edited by him, with the remark, "Another paper of the Teufelsdrockh School." The University perhaps, and much that is conservative in literature and religion, I apprehend, will give you its cordial opposition, and what eccentricity can be collected from the Obituary Notice on Goethe, or from the Sartor, shall be mustered to demolish you. Nor yet do I feel quite certain of this. If we get a good tide with us, we shall sweep away the whole inertia, which is the whole force of these gentlemen, except Norton. That you do not like the Unitarians will never hurt you at all, if possibly you do like the Calvinists. If you have any friendly relations to your native Church, fail not to bring a letter from a Scottish Calvinist to a Calvinist here, and your fortune is made. But that were too good to happen.
Since things are so, can you not, my dear sir, finish your new work and cross the great water in September or October, and try the experiment of a winter in America? I cannot but think that if we do not make out a case strong enough to make you build your house, at least you should pitch your tent among us. The country is, as you say, worth visiting, and to give much pleasure to a few persons will be some inducement to you. I am afraid to press this matter. To me, as you can divine, it would be an unspeakable comfort; and the more, that I hope before that time so far to settle my own affairs as to have a wife and a house to receive you. Tell Mrs. Carlyle, with my affectionate regards, that some friends whom she does not yet know do hope with me to have her company for the next winter at our house, and shall not cease to hope it until you come.
I have many things to say upon the topics of your letter, but my letter is already so immeasurably long, it must stop. Long as it is, I regret I have not more facts. Dr. Channing is in New York, or I think, despite your negligence of him, I should have visited him on account of his interest in you. Could you see him you would like him. I shall write you immediately on learning anything new bearing on this business. I intended to have despatched this letter a day or two sooner, that it might go by the packet of the 1st of May from New York. Now it will go by that of the 8th, and ought to reach you in thirty days. Send me your thoughts upon it as soon as you can. I jalouse of that new book. I fear its success may mar my project.
Yours affectionately, R. Waldo Emerson
VII. Carlyle to Emerson
5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London 13 May, 1835
Thanks, my kind friend, for the news you again send me. Good news, good new friends; nothing that is not good comes to me across these waters. As if the "Golden West" seen by Poets were no longer a mere optical phenomenon, but growing a reality, and coining itself into solid blessings! To me it seems very strange; as indeed generally this whole Existence here below more and more does.
We have seen your Barnard: a most modest, intelligent, compact, hopeful-looking man, who will not revisit you without conquests from his expedition hither. We expect to see much more of him; to instruct him, to learn of him: especially about that real-imaginary locality of "Concord," where a kindly-speaking voice lives incarnated, there is much to learn.
That you will take to yourself a wife is the cheerfulest tidings you could send us. It is in no wise meet for man to be alone; and indeed the beneficent Heavens, in creating Eve, did mercifully guard against that. May it prove blessed, this new arrangement! I delight to prophesy for you peaceful days in it; peaceful, not idle; filled rather with that best activity which is the stillest. To the future, or perhaps at this hour actual Mrs. Emerson, will you offer true wishes from two British Friends; who have not seen her with their eyes, but whose thoughts need not be strangers to the Home she will make for you. Nay, you add the most chivalrous summons: which who knows but one day we may actually stir ourselves to obey! It may hover for the present among the gentlest of our day-dreams; mild-lustrous; an impossible possibility. May all go well with you, my worthy Countryman, Kinsman, and brother Man!