THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THOMAS CARLYLE AND RALPH WALDO EMERSON 1834-1872
"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
CONTENTS OF VOLUME II
LXXVI. Emerson. Concord, 1 July, 1842. Remittance of L51.— Alcott.—Editorship of the Dial.—Projected essay on Poetry.— Stearns Wheeler.
LXXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 19 July, 1842. Acknowledgment of remittance.—Change of publishers.—Work on Cromwell.— Sterling.—Alcott.
LXXVIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 29 August, 1842. Impotence of speech.—Heart-sick for his own generation.—Transcendentalism of the Dial.
LXXIX. Emerson. Concord, 15 October, 1842. The coming book on Cromwell.—Alcott.—The Dial and its sins.—Booksellers' accounts.
LXXX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 17 November, 1842. Accounts.—Alcott.— Sect-founders.—Man the Reformer.—James Stephen.—Gambardella.
LXXXI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 11 March, 1843. Past and Present.— How to prevent pirated republication.—The Dial.—Alcott's English Tail.
LXXXII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 1 April, 1843. Copy of Past and Present forwarded.—Prospect of pirated edition.
LXXXIII. Emerson. Concord, 29 April, 1843. Carlyle's star.— Lectures on "New England" at Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.—Politics in Washington.—Past and Present.—Effect of cheap press in America.—Reprint of the book.—The Dial does not pay expenses.
Extract from Emerson's Diary concerning Past and Present.
LXXXIV. Carlyle. 27 August, 1843. Introduction of Mr. Macready.
LXXXV. Emerson. Concord, 30 October, 1843. Remittance of L25.— Piratical reprint of Past and Present.—E.P. Clark, a Carlylese, to be asked to take charge of accounts.—Henry James. —Ellery Channing's Poems.
LXXXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 31 October, 1843. Summer wanderings. —The Dial at the London Library.—Growth of Emerson's public in England.—Piratical reprint of his Essays in London.—of Past and Present in America.—Criticism of Carlyle in the Dial.—Dr. Russell.—Theodore Parker.—Book about Cromwell.— Commons Journals.
LXXXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 17 November, 1843. Receipt of L25.— E.P. Clark.—Henry James.—Channing's Poems.—Reverend W.H. Channing.—"Progress of the Species."—Emerson.—The Cromwell business.
LXXXVIII. Emerson. Concord, 31 December, 1843. Macready.— Railroad to Concord.—Margaret Fuller's Review of Sterling's Poems in the Dial.—Remittance of L32.
LXXXIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 31 January, 1844. Remittance received and made.—Criticism of Emerson by Gilfillan.—John Sterling.— Cromwell book.—Hexameters from Voss.
XC. Emerson. Concord, 29 February, 1844. Acknowledgment of remittance.—A new collection of Essays.—Faith in Writers as a class.—Remittance of L36.—Proposal concerning publication in America of Cromwell.
XCI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 April, 1844. Acknowledgment of remittance.—Piratical reprints.—Professor Ferrier.
XCII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 5 August, 1844. Fear for Sterling.— Tennyson.—Work on Cromwell frightful.
XCIII. Emerson. Concord, 1 September, 1844. Sends proof sheets of new book of Essays.—Sterling.
XCIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 29 September, 1844. Death of Sterling.
XCV. Emerson. Concord, 30 September, 1844. Remittance of L30— Sterling.—Tennyson.—Regrets having troubled Carlyle about proof-sheets.—Birth of Edward Emerson.—Purchase of land on Walden Pond.
XCVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 November, 1844. Thanks for remittance.—London edition of Essays, Second Series.— Criticism on them.
XCVII. Emerson. Concord, 31 December, 1844. Sterling's death.— London edition of Essays.—Carlyle's Preface and strictures.
XCVIII. Emerson. Concord, 31 January, 1845. Bargain about Miscellanies with Carey and Hart.—Portrait of Carlyle desired.—E.P. Clark's "Illustrations of Carlyle".
XCIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 16 February, 1845. Bargain with Carey & Co.—Portrait.—Emerson's public in England.—Work on Cromwell.
C. Emerson. Concord, 29 June, 1845. Death of Mr. Carey.— Portrait.—His own occupations.—Preparing to print Poems.— Lectures in prospect.
CI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 29 August, 1845. Cromwell's Letters and Speeches finished.—Nature of the book.—New book from Emerson welcome.—Imperfection of all modes of utterance.—Forbids further plague with booksellers.
CII. Emerson. Concord, 15 September, 1845. Payment sure from Carey and Hart.—Lectures on "Representative Men".
CIII. Emerson. Concord, 30 September, 1845. Congratulations on completion of Cromwell book.—Clark.
CIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 11 November, 1845. Cromwell book sent.— Visit to Scotland.—Changes there.—His mother.—Impatience with the times.—Weariness with the Cromwell book.—Visit to the Ashburtons.
CV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 January, 1846. Thanks to Mr. Hart, Mr. Furness, and others.—_Cromwell proves popular.—New letters of Cromwell.
CVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 February, 1846. Second edition of Cromwell.—Emerson to do what he will concerning republication.— Anti-Corn-Law.—Aristocracy and Millocracy.
CVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 March, 1846. Cromwell lumber.—Sheets of new edition sent.-Essay on Emerson in an Edinburgh Magazine.— Mr. Everett.—Jargon in Newspapers and Parliament.
CVIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 18 April, 1846. Arrangements concerning reprint of Cromwell.—Promise of Daguerrotype likeness.—Fifty years old.—Rides.—Emerson's voice wholly human.—Blessedness in work.
CIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 30 April, 1846. Photograph sent.— Arrangements with Wiley and Putnam for republication of Cromwell and other books.—Photographs of Emerson and himself. —Remembrance of Craigenputtock.
CX. Emerson. Concord, 14 May, 1846. Daguerrotype likeness.— Wood-lot on Walden Pond.
CXI. Emerson. Concord, 31 May, 1846. Photograph of Carlyle received.—One of himself sent in return.—Bargain with Wiley and Putnam.
CXII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 18 June, 1846. Bargain with Wiley and Putnam.—Emerson's photograph expected.
CXIII. Emerson. Concord, 15 July, 1846. Wiley and Putnam.— Dealings with booksellers.—Accounts.—E.P. Clark and his Illustrations of Carlyle's Writings.—Margaret Fuller going to Europe.
CXIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 17 July, 1846. Photograph of Emerson unsatisfactory.—Revision of his own books.—Spleen against books.—Going to Scotland.—Reading in American history.— Marshall and Sparks.—Michelet.—Beriah Green.
CXV. Emerson. Concord, 31 July, 1846. Thanks for copy of new edition of Cromwell.—Margaret Fuller.—Desires Carlyle to see her.
CXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 18 December, 1846. Long silence.— Disconsolate two months in Scotland.—Visit to Ireland.—A country cast into the melting-pot.—O'Connell.—Young Ireland.— Returned home sad.—Miss Fuller; estimate of her.—What she thought of Carlyle.—Emerson's Poems.
CXVII. Emerson. Concord, 31 January, 1847. Margaret Fuller's visit to Chelsea.—Speculates on going to England to lecture.— His Poems.
CXVIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 2 March, 1847. Visit to Hampshire.— Emerson's Poems.—Prospect of Emerson's Lectures in England.— Miss Fuller.
CXIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 18 March, 1847. Remittance received.— Alexander Ireland.—Advice concerning lectures.
CXX. Emerson. Concord, 30 April, 1847. Prospect of lecturing in England.—Works in garden and orchard.
CXXI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 18 May, 1847. Thoreau's Lecture on Carlyle.—Visit from E.R. Hoar.—Emerson's visit to England.
CXXII. Emerson. Concord, 4 June, 1847. Prospect of visit to England.—F.H. Hedge.
CXXIII. Emerson. Concord, 31 July, 1847. Visit to England decided upon.—Portrait of Sterling.
CXXIV. Carlyle. Rawdon, Yorkshire, 31 August, 1847. Journeyings.—Emerson's expected visit.—Hedge.—Dr. Jacobson.— Quaker hosts.
CXXV. Emerson. Concord, 30 September, 1847. Plans for England.
CXXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 15 October, 1847. Delay of Emerson's letter announcing his coming.—Welcome to Chelsea.
Emerson—Extracts from his Diary concerning Carlyle.
CXXVIl. Emerson. Manchester, 5 November, 1847. His reception and occupations.
CXXVIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 13 November, 1847. Messages.— Occupations.—Bancroft.
CXXIX. Carlyle. Chelsea., 30 November, 1847. Messages.—Mr. Forster, &c.
CXXX. Emerson. Manchester, 28 December, 1847. Message from Miss Fuller.—Hospitality shown him.—The English.
CXXXI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 30 December, 1847. The Pepolis.— Milnes.—Tennyson.—Idleness.—Visit to Hampshire.—Massachusetts Review.
CXXXII. Emerson. Ambleside, 26 February, 1848. At Miss Martineau's.—Wordsworth.—Proposed return to Chelsea.
CXXXIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 28 February, 1848. Welcome ready at Chelsea.—His own conditions.—The new French Republic.
CXXXIV. Emerson. Manchester, 2 March, 1848. Return to London.
CXXXV. Emerson. [London,] 19 June, 1848. Proposed call with Mrs. Crowe.
CXXXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 20 June, 1848. Mrs. Crowe.—Luncheon with the Duchess.
CXXXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 23 June, 1848. Invitation to dinner.
CXXXVIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 6 December, 1848. Long silence.— Questions concerning Indian meal.—Death of Charles Buller, and of Lord Ashburton's mother.—Neuberg and others.
CXXXIX. Emerson. Boston, 23 January, 1849. John Carlyle's translation of the Inferno.—Indian corn.—Clough's Bothie.
CXL. Carlyle. Chelsea, 19 April, 1849. Indian corn from Concord; trial of it, reflections upon it.—No writing at present.—Macaulay's History.—Political outlook.—Clough.— Sterling Club.
CXLI. Carlyle. Scotsbrig, 13 August, 1849. Indian corn again.— Tour in Ireland.—Letter from Miss Fuller.—Message to Thoreau.
CXLII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 19 July, 1850. A year's silence.— Latter Day Pamphlets.—Divergence from Emerson.—Representative Men.—Prescott lionized.
CXLIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 14 November, 1850. "Eighteen million bores."—Emerson on Latter Day Pamphlets.—Autumn Journey.— Disordered nerves.
CXLIV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 July, 1851. Appeal for news.—Life of Sterling.—Crystal Palace.—Bossu's Journal, Bartram's Travels.—Margaret Fuller.—Mazzini.—Dr. Carlyle.
CXLV. Emerson. Concord, 28 July, 1851. Story of the year.— Journey in the West.—Memoir of Margaret Fuller.—Life of Sterling.—English friends.
CXLVI. Carlyle. Great Malvern, 25 August, 1851. Life of Sterling.—Bossu's Journal.—Water-cure.—Twisleton.—Milnes married.—Tennyson.—Browning on Miss Fuller.
CXLVII. Emerson. Concord, 14 April, 1852. Browning's Reminiscences of Margaret Fuller.—Books on the Indians.—Life of Sterling.
CXLVIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 7 May, 1852. Correspondence must be revived.—Margaret Fuller.—Memoirs of her.
CXLIX. Emerson. Concord, May, 1852. Relations with Carlyle.— Carlyle's genius and his own.—Margaret Fuller.
CL. Carlyle. Chelsea, 25 June, 1852. Emerson and himself.— Reading about Frederick the Great.
CLI. Emerson. Concord, 19 April, 1853. Excuses for not writing.—Chapter on Fate.—Visit to the West.—Conditions of American life.—Clough.
CLII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 13 May, 1853. Blessing of letters from Emerson.—Coming on of old age.—Modern democracy.—Visit to Germany.—Still reading about Fritz.
CLIIa. Emerson. Concord, 10 August, 1853. Slowness to write.— Regret at Clough's return to England.—Miss Bacon.—Carlyle's visit to Germany.—Thackeray in America.—New York and its society.
CLIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 9 September, 1853. Regrets for old days.—Not left town.—A new top story.—Miss Bacon, her Quixotic enterprise.—Clough.—Thackeray.—To Concord?
CLIV. Emerson. Concord, 11 March, 1854. Laurence, the artist.— Reading Latter Day Pamphlets.—Death of Carlyle's, and of Emerson's mother.—Miss Bacon.—His English Notes.—Lecturing tour in the West.—Speed Frederick!
CLV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 April, 1854. Thankful for Emerson's letter.—Death of his mother.—Makes no way in Prussian History. —The insuperable difficulty with Frederick.—Literature in these days.—Emerson's picture of America.—Battle of Freedom and Slavery.—Emerson's book on England desired.—Miss Bacon.
CLVI. Emerson. Concord, 17 April, 1855. Excuses for not writing.—Unchanged feeling for Carlyle.—The American.—True measure of life.—Musings of indolence.
CLVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 13 May, 1855. Emerson's letters indispensable; his complete understanding of Carlyle.—A grim and lonely year.—Never had such a business as Frederick.— Frederick himself.—"Balaklava."—Persistence of the English.— Urges Emerson to print his book on England.
CLVIII. Emerson. Concord, 6 May, 1856. Letter-writing.—Leaves of Grass.—Mrs. —-.
CLIX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 20 July, 1856. Emerson's letter welcome.—Life a burden.—Going to Scotland.—Life of Frederick to go to press.—Mrs. —-.—Miss Bacon.—Browning.
CLX. Carlyle. The Gill, Cummertrees, Annan, 28 August, 1856. The debt of America to Emerson.—English Traits will be welcome.—Grateful for whatever Emerson may have said of himself.—In retreat in Annan.
CLXI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 2 December, 1856. Close of negotiations for printing a complete edition of his Works in America.— English Traits.—Its excellence.
CLXII. Emerson. Concord, 17 May, 1858. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Longworth.—Inquires for the Frederick.—Desires a liber veritatis.—Friendship of old gentlemen.
CLXIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 2 June, 1858. Emerson's letter and friends welcome.—First two volumes of Frederick just ready.— Ugliness of the job.—Occasional tone of Emerson in the Magazines.—Health.—Separation of Dickens from his wife.
CLXIII.* Carlyle. Chelsea, 9 April, 1859. Copy of Frederick sent to Emerson.—Nearly choked by the job.—Self-pity.— Emerson's speech on Burns.
CLXIV. Emerson. Concord, I May, 1859. Arrival of first volumes of Frederick.—Illusion of children.—His own children.—A correspondent of twenty-five years not to be disused.
Extracts from Emerson's Diary respecting the Frederick.
CLXV. Emerson. Concord, 16 April, 1860. Mr. O.W. Wight's new edition of the Miscellanies.—Sight at Toronto of two nephews of Carlyle.—Carlyle commended to the Gods.
CLXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 30 April, 1860. Encouragement from Emerson's words about Frederick.—Message to Mr. Wight.
CLXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 29 January, 1861. Emerson's Conduct of Life.—Still twelve months from end of his task; nearly worn out.
CLXVIII. Emerson. Concord, 16 April, 1861. Thanks for last note.—Frederick.
CLXIX. Emerson. Concord, 8 December, 1862. The third volume of Frederick.—The manner of it.—The war in America—Death of Clough.
CLXX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 8 March, 1864. Introduction of the Hon. Lyulph Stanley.—Mrs. Carlyle's ill-health.
CLXXI. Emerson. Concord, 26 September, 1864. Sympathy.—Fourth volume of Frederick.—Nature of the war in America—Mr. Stanley.
CLXXII. Carlyle. Annandale, Scotland, 14 June, 1865. Completion of Frederick.—Saunterings.—Stay in Annandale.—Mrs. Carlyle. —Photographs.—Mr. M.D. Conway.—The American Peacock.
CLXXIII. Emerson. Concord, 7 January, 1866. The last volumes of Friedrich.—America.—Conduct of Americans in war and in peace.— Photographs.—Little to tell of himself.
CLXXIV. Emerson. Concord, 16 May, 1866. Mrs. Carlyle's death.
CLXXV. Carlyle. Mentone, 27 January, 1867. Sad interval since last writing.—His condition.—Mrs. Carlye's death.—Solace in writing reminiscences.—Visit in Kent during summer.—Tennyson's Idyls.—Emerson's English Traits.—Mentone.
CLXXVI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 18 November, 1869. Long abeyance of correspondence.—Plan of bequeathing books to New England.— Emerson's counsel desired.—His own condition.
CLXXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 4 January, 1870. Arrangements respecting bequest of books to Harvard College.
CLXXVIII. Emerson. Concord, 23 January, 1870. Apologies for delay.—Writing new book.—Delight in proposed bequest.—Advice concerning.
CLXXIX. Carlyle. Melchet Court, Romsey, 14 February, 1870. Acknowledgment of letter.
CLXXX. Carlyle. Chelsea, 24 February, 1870. Ending of the Harvard business.
CLXXXI. Emerson. Concord, 21 March, 1870. Visit to President Eliot concerning the bequest to Harvard.—Reflections on the gift.—Speech about it to others.—Must renew correspondence.— His own children.
CLXXXII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 24 March, 1870. Possible delay of his last letter.—Society and Solitude not received.
CLXXXIII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 6 April, 1870. Emerson's letter received.—Thankful for the conclusion of the little Transaction.—Reflections on it.—Regrets that it has been spoken of.—Society and Solitude.—News from Concord.—The night cometh.
CLXXXIV. Emerson. Concord, 17 June, 1870. Excuses for delay in writing.—Lectures on Philosophy.—Steps taken to secure privacy in regard to bequest.—Chapman's Homer.—Error in address of books.—Report of Carlyle's coming to America.
CLXXXV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 28 September, 1870. Delay in receiving Emerson's last letter.—Correction of error in address of books.—Emerson's lectures.—Philosophies.—Too late for him to come to America.
CLXXXVI. Emerson. Concord, 15 October, 1870. The victim of miscellany.—Library Edition of Carlyle's Works received.— Invitation.—The privilege of genius.—E.R. Hoar.—J.M. Forbes.— The growing youth.—The Lowell race.
CLXXXVIa. Emerson. Concord, 10 April, 1871. Account of himself and his work.—Introduction to Plutarch's Morals.—Oration before the New England Society in New York.—Lectures at Cambridge.—Reprint of early writings.—About to go to California.
CLXXXVII. Carlyle. Chelsea, 4 June, 1871. Gap in correspondence.—Unfriendly winter.—Completion of Library Edition of his Works.—Significance of piracy of Emerson.— Conditions in America.—Anti-Anarchy.—J. Lee Bliss.—Finis of the Copper Captaincy.
CLXXXVIII. Emerson. Concord, 30 June, 1871. Return from California.—California.—The plains.—Brigham Young.—Lucy Garbett.—Carlyle's ill-health.
CLXXXIX. Emerson. Concord, 4 September, 1871. Introduction of his son Edward.
CXC. Emerson. Baltimore, 5 January, 1872. Last instalment of Library Edition of Carlyle's Works received.—Felicitations on this completion.—Happiness in having been Carlyle's contemporary and friend.—Carlyle's perversities.—Proposes to "retire and read the authors."—Carlyle's talk.
CXCI. Carlyle. Chelsea, 2 April, 1872. Excuses for silence.— Ill-health.—Emerson's letter about the West.—Aspect and meaning of that Western World.—Ruskin.—Froude.—Write.
CORRESPONDENCE OF CARLYLE AND EMERSON
LXXVI. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 1 July, 1842
My Dear Carlyle,—I have lately received from our slow friends, James Munroe & Co., $246 on account of their sales of the Miscellanies,—and I enclose a bill of Exchange for L51, which cost $246.50. It is a long time since I sent you any sketch of the account itself, and indeed a long time since it was posted, as the booksellers say; but I will find a time and a clerk also for this.
I have had no word from you for a long space. You wrote me a letter from Scotland after the death of your wife's mother, and full of pity for me also; and since, I have heard nothing. I confide that all has gone well and prosperously with you; that the iron Puritan is emerging from the Past, in shape and stature as he lived; and you are recruited by sympathy and content with your picture; and that the sure repairs of time and love and active duty have brought peace to the orphan daughter's heart. My friend Alcott must also have visited you before this, and you have seen whether any relation could subsist betwixt men so differently excellent. His wife here has heard of his arrival on your coast,—no more.
I submitted to what seemed a necessity of petty literary patriotism,—I know not what else to call it,—and took charge of our thankless little Dial, here, without subscribers enough to pay even a publisher, much less any laborer; it has no penny for editor or contributor, nothing but abuse in the newspapers, or, at best, silence; but it serves as a sort of portfolio, to carry about a few poems or sentences which would otherwise be transcribed and circulated; and always we are waiting when somebody shall come and make it good. But I took it, as I said, and it took me, and a great deal of good time, to a small purpose. I am ashamed to compute how many hours and days these chores consume for me. I had it fully in my heart to write at large leisure in noble mornings opened by prayer or by readings of Plato or whomsoever else is dearest to the Morning Muse, a chapter on Poetry, for which all readings, all studies, are but preparation; but now it is July, and my chapter is rudest beginnings. Yet when I go out of doors in the summer night, and see how high the stars are, I am persuaded that there is time enough, here or somewhere, for all that I must do; and the good world manifests very little impatience.
Stearns Wheeler, the Cambridge tutor, a good Grecian, and the editor, you will remember, of your American Editions, is going to London in August probably, and on to Heidelberg, &c. He means, I believe, to spend two years in Germany, and will come to see you on his way; a man whose too facile and good-natured manners do some injustice to his virtues, to his great industry and real knowledge. He has been corresponding with your Tennyson, and editing his Poems here. My mother, my wife, my two little girls, are well; the youngest, Edith, is the comfort of my days. Peace and love be with you, with you both, and all that is yours.
—R. W. Emerson
In our present ignorance of Mr. Alcott's address I advised his wife to write to your care, as he was also charged to keep you informed of his place. You may therefore receive letters for him with this.
LXXVII. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, London, 19 July, 1842
My Dear Emerson,—Lest Opportunity again escape me, I will take her, this time, by the forelock, and write while the matter is still hot. You have been too long without hearing of me; far longer, at least, than I meant. Here is a second Letter from you, besides various intermediate Notes by the hands of Friends, since that Templand Letter of mine: the Letter arrived yesterday; my answer shall get under way today.
First under the head of business let it be authenticated that the Letter enclosed a Draft for L51; a new, unexpected munificence out of America; which is ever and anon dropping gifts upon me,— to be received, as indeed they partly are, like Manna dropped out of the sky; the gift of unseen Divinities! The last money I got from you changed itself in the usual soft manner from dollars into sovereigns, and was what they call "all right,"—all except the little Bill (of Eight Pounds and odds, I think) drawn on Fraser's Executors by Brown (Little and Brown?); which Bill the said Executors having refused for I know not what reason, I returned it to Brown with note of the dishonor done it, and so the sum still stands on his Books in our favor. Fraser's people are not now my Booksellers, except in the matter of your Essays and a second edition of Sartor; the other Books I got transferred to a certain pair of people named "Chapman and Hall, 186 Strand"; which operation, though (I understand) it was transacted with great and vehement reluctance on the part of the Fraser people, yet produced no quarrel between them and me, and they still forward parcels, &c., and are full of civility when I see them:—so that whether this had any effect or none in their treatment of Brown and his Bill I never knew; nor indeed, having as you explained it no concern with Brown's and their affairs, did I ever happen to inquire. I avoid all Booksellers; see them rarely, the blockheads; study never to think of them at all. Book-sales, reputation, profit, &c., &c.; all this at present is really of the nature of an encumbrance to me; which I study, not without success, to sweep almost altogether out of my head. One good is still possible to me in Life, one only: To screw a little more work out of myself, my miserable, despicable, yet living, acting, and so far imperial and celestial self; and this, God knows, is difficulty enough without any foreign one!
You ask after Cromwell: ask not of him; he is like to drive me mad. There he lies, shining clear enough to me, nay glowing, or painfully burning; but far down; sunk under two hundred years of Cant, Oblivion, Unbelief, and Triviality of every kind: through all which, and to the top of all which, what mortal industry or energy will avail to raise him! A thousand times I have rued that my poor activity ever took that direction. The likelihood still is that I may abandon the task undone. I have bored through the dreariest mountains of rubbish; I have visited Naseby Field, and how many other unintelligible fields and places; I have &c., &c.:—alas, what a talent have I for getting into the Impossible! Meanwhile my studies still proceed; I even take a ghoulish kind of pleasure in raking through these old bone-houses and burial-aisles now; I have the strangest fellowship with that huge Genius of DEATH (universal president there), and catch sometimes, through some chink or other, glimpses into blessed ulterior regions,—blessed, but as yet altogether silent. There is no use of writing of things past, unless they can be made in fact things present: not yesterday at all, but simply today and what it holds of fulfilment and of promises is ours: the dead ought to bury their dead, ought they not? In short, I am very unfortunate, and deserve your prayers,—in a quiet kind of way! If you lose tidings of me altogether, and never hear of me more,—consider simply that I have gone to my natal element, that the Mud Nymphs have sucked me in; as they have done several in their time!
Sterling was here about the time your Letters to him came: your American reprint of his pieces was naturally gratifying him much.* He seems getting yearly more restless; necessitated to find an outlet for himself, unable as yet to do it well. I think he will now write Review articles for a while; which craft is really, perhaps, the one he is fittest for hitherto. I love Sterling: a radiant creature; but very restless;—incapable either of rest or of effectual motion: aurora borealis and sheet lightning; which if it could but concentrate itself, as I [say] always—!—We had much talk; but, on the whole, even his talk is not much better for me than silence at present. Me miserum!
———— * "The Poetical Works of John Sterling," Philadelphia, 1842. ————
Directly about the time of Sterling's departure came Alcott, some two weeks after I had heard of his arrival on these shores. He has been twice here, at considerable length; the second time, all night. He is a genial, innocent, simple-hearted man, of much natural intelligence and goodness, with an air of rusticity, veracity, and dignity withal, which in many ways appeals to one. The good Alcott: with his long, lean face and figure, with his gray worn temples and mild radiant eyes; all bent on saving the world by a return to acorns and the golden age; he comes before one like a kind of venerable Don Quixote, whom nobody can even laugh at without loving!....
My poor Wife is still weak, overshadowed with sorrow: her loss is great, the loss almost as of the widow's mite; for except her good Mother she had almost no kindred left; and as for friends— they are not rife in this world.—God be thanked withal they are not entirely non-extant! Have I not a Friend, and Friends, though they too are in sorrow? Good be with you all.
By far the valuablest thing that Alcott brought me was the Newspaper report of Emerson's last Lectures in New York. Really a right wholesome thing; radiant, fresh as the morning; a thing worth reading; which accordingly I clipped from the Newspaper, and have in a state of assiduous circulation to the comfort of many.—I cannot bid you quit the Dial, though it, too, alas, is Antinomian somewhat! Perge, perge, nevertheless. —And so now an end.
LXXVIII. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, London, 29 August, 1842
My Dear. Emerson,—This, morning your new Letter, of the 15th August, has arrived;* exactly one fortnight old: thanks to the gods and steam-demons! I already, perhaps six weeks ago, answered your former Letter,—acknowledging the manna-gift of the L51, and other things; nor do I think the Letter can have been lost, for I remember putting it into the Post-Office myself. Today I am on the eve of an expedition into Suffolk, and full of petty business: however, I will throw you one word, were it only to lighten my own heart a little. You are a kind friend to me, and a precious;—and when I mourn over the impotence of Human Speech, and how each of us, speak or write as he will, has to stand dumb, cased up in his own unutterabilities, before his unutterable Brother, I feel always as if Emerson were the man I could soonest try to speak with,—were I within reach of him! Well; we must be content. A pen is a pen, and worth something; though it expresses about as much of a man's meaning perhaps as the stamping of a hoof will express of a horse's meaning; a very poor expression indeed!
————- * This letter of 15th August is missing. ————-
Your bibliopolic advice about Cromwell or my next Book shall be carefully attended, if I live ever to write another Book! But I have again got down into primeval Night; and live alone and mute with the Manes, as you say; uncertain whether I shall ever more see day. I am partly ashamed of myself; but cannot help it. One of my grand difficulties I suspect to be that I cannot write two Books at once; cannot be in the seventeenth century and in the nineteenth at one and the same moment; a feat which excels even that of the Irishman's bird: "Nobody but a bird can be in two places at once!" For my heart is sick and sore in behalf of my own poor generation; nay, I feel withal as if the one hope of help for it consisted in the possibility of new Cromwells and new Puritans: thus do the two centuries stand related to me, the seventeenth worthless except precisely in so far as it can be made the nineteenth; and yet let anybody try that enterprise! Heaven help me.—I believe at least that I ought to hold my tongue; more especially at present.
Thanks for asking me to write you a word in the Dial. Had such a purpose struck me long ago, there have been many things passing through my head,—march-marching as they ever do, in long drawn, scandalous Falstaff-regiments (a man ashamed to be seen passing through Coventry with such a set!)—some one of which, snatched out of the ragged rank, and dressed and drilled a little, might perhaps fitly have been saved from Chaos, and sent to the Dial. In future we shall be on the outlook. I love your Dial, and yet it is with a kind of shudder. You seem to me in danger of dividing yourselves from the Fact of this present Universe, in which alone, ugly as it is, can I find any anchorage, and soaring away after Ideas, Beliefs, Revelations, and such like,—into perilous altitudes, as I think; beyond the curve of perpetual frost, for one thing! I know not how to utter what impression you give me; take the above as some stamping of the fore-hoof. Surely I could wish you returned into your own poor nineteenth century, its follies and maladies, its blind or half-blind, but gigantic toilings, its laughter and its tears, and trying to evolve in some measure the hidden Godlike that lies in it;—that seems to me the kind of feat for literary men. Alas, it is so easy to screw one's self up into high and ever higher altitudes of Transcendentalism, and see nothing under one but the everlasting snows of Himmalayah, the Earth shrinking to a Planet, and the indigo firmament sowing itself with daylight stars; easy for you, for me: but whither does it lead? I dread always, To inanity and mere injuring of the lungs!—"Stamp, Stamp, Stamp!"— Well, I do believe, for one thing, a man has no right to say to his own generation, turning quite away from it, "Be damned!" It is the whole Past and the whole Future, this same cotton-spinning, dollar-hunting, canting and shrieking, very wretched generation of ours. Come back into it, I tell you;—and so for the present will "stamp" no more....
Adieu, my friend; I must not add a word more. My Wife is out on a visit; it is to bring her back that I am now setting forth for Suffolk. I hope to see Ely too, and St. Ives, and Huntingdon, and various Cromwelliana. My blessings on the Concord Household now and always. Commend me expressly to your Wife and your Mother. Farewell, dear friend.
LXXIX. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 15 October, 1842
My Dear Carlyle,—I am in your debt for at least two letters since I sent you any word. I should be well content to receive one of these stringent epistles of bark and steel and mellow wine with every day's post, but as there is no hope that more will be sent without my writing to signify that these have come, I hereby certify that I love you well and prize all your messages. I read with special interest what you say of these English studies, and I doubt not the Book is in steady progress again. We shall see what change the changed position of the author will make in the book. The first History expected its public; the second is written to an expecting people. The tone of the first was proud,—to defiance; we will see if applauses have mitigated the master's temper. This time he has a hero, and we shall have a sort of standard to try, by the hero who fights, the hero who writes. Well; may grand and friendly spirits assist the work in all hours; may impulses and presences from that profound world which makes and embraces the whole of humanity, keep your feet on the Mount of Vision which commands the Centuries, and the book shall be an indispensable Benefit to men, which is the surest fame. Let me know all that can be told of your progress in it. You shall see in the last Dial a certain shadow or mask of yours, "another Richmond," who has read your lectures and profited thereby.* Alcott sent me the paper from London, but I do not know the name of the writer.
As for Alcott, you have discharged your conscience of him manfully and knightly; I absolve you well... He is a great man and was made for what is greatest, but I now fear that he has already touched what best he can, and through his more than a prophet's egotism, and the absence of all useful reconciling talents, will bring nothing to pass, and be but a voice in the wilderness. As you do not seem to have seen in him his pure and noble intellect, I fear that it lies under some new and denser clouds.
———— * An article on Cromwell, in the Dial for October, 1842. ————
For the Dial and its sins, I have no defence to set up. We write as we can, and we know very little about it. If the direction of these speculations is to be deplored, it is yet a fact for literary history, that all the bright boys and girls in New England, quite ignorant of each other, take the world so, and come and make confession to fathers and mothers,—the boys that they do not wish to go into trade, the girls that they do not like morning calls and evening parties. They are all religious, but hate the churches; they reject all the ways of living of other men, but have none to offer in their stead. Perhaps, one of these days, a great Yankee shall come, who will easily do the unknown deed.
The booksellers have sent me accounts lately, but—I know not why—no money. Little and Brown from January to July had sold very few books. I inquired of them concerning the bill of exchange on Fraser's Estate, which you mention, and they said it had not been returned to them, but only some information, as I think, demanded by Fraser's administrator, which they had sent, and, as they heard nothing again, they suppose that it is allowed and paid to you. Inform me on this matter.
Munroe & Co. allow some credits, but charge more debits for binding, &c., and also allege few sales in the hard times. I have got a good friend of yours, a banking man, to promise that he will sift all the account and see if the booksellers have kept their promises. But I have never yet got all the papers in readiness for him. I am looking to see if I have matter for new lectures, having left behind me last spring some half-promises in New York. If you can remember it, tell me who writes about Loyola and Xavier in the Edinburgh. Sterling's papers—if he is near you—are all in Mr. Russell's hands.* I played my part of Fadladeen with great rigor, and sent my results to Russell, but have not now written to J. S.
————— * Mr. A.L. Russell, who had been instrumental in procuring the American edition of Sterling's Poetical Works. ————-
LXXX. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, London, 19 November, 1842
My Dear Emerson,—Your Letter finds me here today; busied with many things, but not likely to be soon more at leisure; wherefore I may as well give myself the pleasure of answering it on the spot. The Fraser Bill by Brown and Little has come all right; the Dumfries Banker apprises me lately that he has got the cash into his hands. Pray do not pester yourself with these Bookseller unintelligibilities: I suppose their accounts are all reasonably correct, the cheating, such as it is, done according to rule: what signifies it at any rate? I am no longer in any vital want of money; alas, the want that presses far heavier on me is a want of faculty, a want of sense; and the feeling of that renders one comparatively very indifferent to money! I reflect many times that the wealth of the Indies, the fame of ten Shakespeares or ten Mahomets, would at bottom do me no good at all. Let us leave these poor slaves of the Ingot and slaves of the Lamp to their own courses,—within a certain extent of halter!
What you say of Alcott seems to me altogether just. He is a man who has got into the Highest intellectual region,—if that be the Highest (though in that too there are many stages) wherein a man can believe and discern for himself, without need of help from any other, and even in opposition to all others: but I consider him entirely unlikely to accomplish anything considerable, except some kind of crabbed, semi-perverse, though still manful existence of his own; which indeed is no despicable thing. His "more than prophetic egoism,"—alas, yes! It is of such material that Thebaid Eremites, Sect-founders, and all manner of cross-grained fanatical monstrosities have fashioned themselves, —in very high, and in the highest regions, for that matter. Sect-founders withal are a class I do not like. No truly great man, from Jesus Christ downwards, as I often say, ever founded a Sect,—I mean wilfully intended founding one. What a view must a man have of this Universe, who thinks "he can swallow it all," who is not doubly and trebly happy that he can keep it from swallowing him! On the whole, I sometimes hope we have now done with Fanatics and Agonistic Posture-makers in this poor world: it will be an immense improvement on the Past; and the "New Ideas," as Alcott calls them, will prosper greatly the better on that account! The old gloomy Gothic Cathedrals were good; but the great blue Dome that hangs over all is better than any Cologne one.—On the whole, do not tell the good Alcott a word of all this; but let him love me as he can, and live on vegetables in peace; as I, living partly on vegetables, will continue to love him!
The best thing Alcott did while he staid among us was to circulate some copies of your Man the Reformer.* I did not get a copy; I applied for one, so soon as I knew the right fountain; but Alcott, I think, was already gone. And now mark,—for this I think is a novelty, if you do not already know it: Certain Radicals have reprinted your Essay in Lancashire, and it is freely circulating there, and here, as a cheap pamphlet, with excellent acceptance so far as I discern. Various Newspaper reviews of it have come athwart me: all favorable, but all too shallow for sending to you. I myself consider it a truly excellent utterance; one of the best words you have ever spoken. Speak many more such. And whosoever will distort them into any "vegetable" or other crotchet,—let it be at his own peril; for the word itself is true; and will have to make itself a fact therefore; though not a distracted abortive fact, I hope! Words of that kind are not born into Facts in the seventh month; well if they see the light full-grown (they and their adjuncts) in the second century; for old Time is a most deliberate breeder!—But to speak without figure, I have been very much delighted with the clearness, simplicity, quiet energy and veracity of this discourse; and also with the fact of its spontaneous appearance here among us. The prime mover of the Printing, I find, is one Thomas Ballantyne, editor of a Manchester Newspaper, a very good, cheery little fellow, once a Paisley weaver as he informs me,—a great admirer of all worthy things.
————— * "A Lecture read before the Mechanics' Apprentices' Library Association, Boston, January 25, 1841." —————
My paper is so fast failing, let me tell you of the writer on Loyola. He is a James Stephen, Head Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office,—that is to say, I believe, real governor of the British Colonies, so far as they have any governing. He is of Wilberforce's creed, of Wilberforce's kin; a man past middle age, yet still in full vigor; reckoned an enormous fellow for "despatch of business," &c., especially by Taylor (van Artevelde) and others who are with him or under him in Downing Street.... I regard the man as standing on the confines of Genius and Dilettantism,—a man of many really good qualities, and excellent at the despatch of business. There we will leave him. —A Mrs. Lee of Brookline near you has made a pleasant Book about Jean Paul, chiefly by excerpting.* I am sorry to find Gunderode & Co. a decided weariness!** Cromwell—Cromwell? Do not mention such a word, if you love me! And yet—Farewell, my Friend, tonight!
Yours ever, T. Carlyle
I will apprise Sterling before long: he is at Falmouth, and well; urging me much to start a Periodical here!
Gambardella promises to become a real Painter; there is a glow of real fire in the wild southern man: next to no articulate intellect or the like, but of inarticulate much, or I mistake. He has tried to paint me for you; but cannot, he says!
————- * "Life of Jean Paul Frederic Richter. Compiled from various Sources. Together with his Autobiography. Translated from the German." In Two Volumes. Boston, 1842. This book, which is one of the best in English concerning Jean Paul, was the work of the late Mrs. Thomas (Eliza Buckminster) Lee.
** In the Dial, for January, 1842, is an article by Miss Fuller on "Bettine Brentano and Gunderode,"—a decided weariness. The Canoness Gunderode was a friend of Bettine's, older and not much wiser than herself. ————-
LXXXI. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, London, 11 March, 1848
Dear Emerson,—I know not whose turn it is to write; though a suspicion has long attended me that it was yours, and above all an indisputable wish that you would do it: but this present is a cursory line, all on business,—and as usual all on business of my own.
I have finished a Book, and just set the Printer to it; one solid volume (rather bigger than one of the French Revolution Volumes, as I compute); it is a somewhat fiery and questionable "Tract for the Times," not by a Puseyite, which the terrible aspect of things here has forced from me,—I know not whether as preliminary to Oliver or not; but it had gradually grown to be the preliminary of anything possible for me: so there it is written; and I am a very sick, but withal a comparatively very free man. The Title of the thing is to be Past and Present: it is divided into Four Books, "Book I. Proem," "Book II. The Ancient Monk," "Book III. The Modern Worker," and "Book IV. Horoscope" (or some such thing):—the size of it I guessed at above.
The practical business, accordingly, is: How to cut out that New York scoundrel, who fancies that because there is no gallows it is permitted to steal? I have a distinct desire to do that;— altogether apart from the money to be gained thereby. A friend's goodness ought not to be frustrated by a scoundrel destitute of gallows.—You told me long since how to do the operation; and here, according to the best way I had of fitting your scheme into my materials, is my way of attempting it.
The Book will not be out here for six good weeks from this date; it could be kept back for a week or two longer, if that were indispensable: but I hope it may not. In three weeks, half of it will be printed; I, in the meanwhile, get a correct manuscript Copy of the latter half made ready: joining the printed sheets and this manuscript, your Bookseller will have a three weeks' start of any rival, if I instantly despatch the Parcel to him. Will this do? this with the announcement of the Title as given above? Pray write to me straightway, and say. Your answer will be here before we can publish; and the Packet of Proof-sheets and Manuscript may go off whether there be word from you or none.—And so enough of Past and Present. And indeed enough of all things, for my haste is excessive in these hours.
The last Dial came to me about three weeks ago as a Post-Letter, charged something like a guinea of postage, if I remember; so it had to be rejected, and I have not yet seen that Number; but will when my leeway is once brought up a little again. The two preceding Numbers were, to a marked extent, more like life than anything I had seen before of the Dial. There was not indeed anything, except the Emersonian Papers alone, which I know by the first ring of them on the tympanum of the mind, that I properly speaking liked; but there was much that I did not dislike, and did half like; and I say, "I fausto pede; that will decidedly do better!" By the bye, it were as well if you kept rather a strict outlook on Alcott and his English Tail,—I mean so far as we here have any business with it. Bottomless imbeciles ought not to be seen in company with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who has already men listening to him on this side of the water. The "Tail" has an individual or two of that genus,—and the rest is mainly yet undecided. For example, I knew old —- myself; and can testify, if you will believe me, that few greater blockheads (if "blockhead" may mean "exasperated imbecile" and the ninth part of a thinker) broke the world's bread in his day. Have a care of such! I say always to myself, —and to you, which you forgive me.
Adieu, my dear Emerson. May a good Genius guide you; for you are alone, alone; and have a steep pilgrimage to make,— leading high, if you do not slip or stumble!
Ever your affectionate, T. Carlyle
LXXXII. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, 1 April, 1843
My Dear Carlyle,—Along with this Letter there will go from Liverpool, on the 4th instant, the promised Parcel, complete Copy of the Book called Past and Present, of which you already had two simultaneous announcements.* The name of the Steam Packet, I understand, is the "Britannia." I have addressed the Parcel to the care of "Messrs. Little and Brown, Booksellers, Boston," with your name atop: I calculate it will arrive safe enough.
————- * The letter making the second announcement, being very similar to the preceding, is omitted. ————-
About one hundred pages of the Manuscript Copy have proved superfluous, the text being there also in a printed shape; I had misestimated the Printer's velocity; I was anxious too that there should be no failure as to time. The Manuscript is very indifferent in that section of it; the damage therefore is smaller: your press-corrector can acquaint himself with the hand, &c. by means of it. A poor young governess, confined to a horizontal posture, and many sad thoughts, by a disease of the spine, was our artist in that part of the business: her writing is none of the distinctest; but it was a work of Charity to give it her. I hope the thing is all as correct as I could make it. I do not bethink me of anything farther I have to add in the way of explanation.
In fact, my prophecy rather is at present that the gibbetless thief at New York, will beat us after all! Never mind if be do. To say truth, I myself shall almost be glad: there has been a botheration in this anxious arrangement of parts correcting of scrawly manuscript copies of what you never wished to read more, and insane terror withal of having your own Manuscript burnt or lost,—that has exceeded my computation. Not to speak of this trouble in which I involve you, my Friend; which, I truly declare, makes me ashamed! True one is bound to resist the Devil in all shapes; if a man come to steal from you, you will put on what locks and padlocks are at hand, and not on the whole say, "Steal, then!" But if the locks prove insufficient, and the thief do break through,—that side of the alternative also will suit you very well; and, with perhaps a faint prayer for gibbets when they are necessary, you will say to him, next time, "Macte virtute, my man."
All is in a whirl with me here today; no other topic but this very poor one can be entered upon. I hope for a letter from your own hand soon, and some news about still more interesting matters.
Adieu, my Friend; I feel still as if, in several senses, you stood alone with me under the sky at present!*
—————- * The signature to this letter has been cut off. —————-
LXXXIII. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 29 April, 1843
My Dear Carlyle,—It is a pleasure to set your name once more at the head of a sheet. It signifies how much gladness, how much wealth of being, that the good, wise, man-cheering, man-helping friend, though unseen, lives there yonder, just out of sight. Your star burns there just below our eastern horizon, and fills the lower and upper air with splendid and splendescent auroras. By some refraction which new lenses or else steamships shall operate, shall I not yet one day see again the disk of benign Phosphorus? It is a solid joy to me, that whilst you work for all, you work for me and with me, even if I have little to write, and seldom write your name.
Since I last wrote to you, I found it needful, if only for the household's sake, to set some new lectures in order, and go to new congregations of men. I live so much alone, shrinking almost cowardly from the contact of worldly and public men, that I need more than others to quit home sometimes, and roll with the river of travelers, and live in hotels. I went to Baltimore, where I had an invitation, and read two lectures on New England. On my return, I stopped at Philadelphia, and, my Course being now grown to four lectures, read them there. At New York, my snowball was larger, and I read five lectures on New England. 1. Religion; 2. Trade; 3. Genius, Manners and Customs; 4. Recent literary and spiritual influences from abroad; 5. Domestic spiritual history.—Perhaps I have not quite done with them yet, but may make them the block of a new and somewhat larger structure for Boston, next winter. The newspaper reports of them in New York were such offensive misstatements, that I could not send you, as I wished, a sketch. Between my two speeches at Baltimore, I went to Washington, thirty-seven miles, and spent four days. The two poles of an enormous political battery, galvanic coil on coil, self-increased by series on series of plates from Mexico to Canada, and from the sea westward to the Rocky Mountains, here meet and play, and make the air electric and violent. Yet one feels how little, more than how much, man is represented there. I think, in the higher societies of the Universe, it will turn out that the angels are molecules, as the devils were always Titans, since the dulness of the world needs such mountainous demonstration, and the virtue is so modest and concentrating.
But I must not delay to acknowledge the arrival of your Book. It came ten or eleven days ago, in the "Britannia," with the three letters of different dates announcing it.—I have read the superfluous hundred pages of manuscript, and find it only too popular. Beside its abundance of brilliant points and proverbs, there is a deep, steady tide taking in, either by hope or by fear, all the great classes of society,—and the philosophic minority also, by the powerful lights which are shed on the phenomenon. It is true contemporary history, which other books are not, and you have fairly set solid London city aloft, afloat in bright mirage in the air. I quarrel only with the popular assumption, which is perhaps a condition of the Humor itself, that the state of society is a new state, and was not the same thing in the days of Rabelais and of Aristophanes, as of Carlyle. Orators always allow something to masses, out of love to their own art, whilst austere philosophy will only know the particles. This were of no importance, if the historian did not so come to mix himself in some manner with his erring and grieving nations, and so saddens the picture; for health is always private and original, and its essence is in its unmixableness.—But this Book, with all its affluence of wit, of insight, and of daring hints, is born for a longevity which I will not now compute.—In one respect, as I hinted above, it is only too good, so sure of success, I mean, that you are no longer secure of any respect to your property in our freebooting America.
You must know that the cheap press has, within a few months, made a total change in our book markets. Every English book of any name or credit is instantly converted into a newspaper or coarse pamphlet, and hawked by a hundred boys in the streets of all of our cities for 25, 18, or 12 cents; Dickens's Notes for 12 cents, Blackwood's Magazine for 18 cents, and so on. Three or four great New York and Philadelphia printing-houses do this work, with hot competition. One prints Bulwer's novel yesterday, for 35 cents; and already, in twenty-four hours, another has a coarser edition of it for 18 cents, in all thoroughfares.—What to do with my sealed parcel of manuscripts and proofs? No bookseller would in these perilous circumstances offer a dollar for my precious parcel. I inquired of the lawyers whether I could not by a copyright protect my edition from piracy until an English copy arrived, and so secure a sale of a few weeks. They said, no; yet advised the taking a certificate of copyright, that we might try the case if we wished. After much consulting and balancing for a few hours, I decided to print, as heretofore, on our own account, an edition, but cheap, to make the temptation less, to retail at seventy-five cents. I print fifteen hundred copies, and announce to the public that it is your edition, and all good men must buy this. I have written to the great Reprinters, namely to Park Benjamin, and to the Harpers, of New York, to request their forbearance; and have engaged Little and Brown to publish, because, I think, they have something more of weight with Booksellers, and are a little less likely to be invaded than Munroe. If we sell a thousand copies at seventy-five cents, it will only yield you about two hundred dollars; if we should be invaded, we can then afford to sell the other five hundred copies at twenty-five cents, without loss. In thus doing, I involve you in some risk; but it was the best course that occurred.—Hitherto, the Miscellanies have not been reprinted in the cheap forms; and in the last year, James Munroe & Co. have sold few copies; all books but the cheapest being unsold in the hard times; something has however accrued to your credit there. J.M. & Co. fear that, if the new book is pirated at New York and the pirate prospers, instantly the Miscellanies will be plundered. We will hope better, or at least exult in that which remains, to wit, a Worth unplunderable, yet infinitely communicable.
I have hardly space left to say what I would concerning the Dial. I heartily hoped I had done with it, when lately our poor, good, publishing Miss Peabody,... wrote me that its subscription would not pay its expenses (we all writing for love). But certain friends are very unwilling it should die, and I a little unwilling, though very unwilling to be the life of it, as editor. And now that you are safely through your book, and before the greater Sequel rushes to its conclusion, send me, I pray you, that short chapter which hovers yet in the limbo of contingency, in solid letters and points. Let it be, if that is readiest, a criticism on the Dial, and this too Elysian race, not blood, and yet not ichor.—Let Jane Carlyle be on my part, and, watchful of his hours, urge the poet in the golden one. I think to send you a duplicate of the last number of the Dial by Mr. Mann,* who with his bride (sister of the above-mentioned Miss Peabody) is going to London and so to Prussia. He is little known to me, but greatly valued as a philanthropist in this State. I must go to work a little more methodically this summer, and let something grow to a tree in my wide straggling shrubbery. With your letters came a letter from Sterling, who was too noble to allude to his books and manuscript sent hither, and which Russell all this time has delayed to print; I know not why, but discouraged, I suppose, in these times by booksellers. I must know precisely, and write presently to J.S.
Farewell. R.W. Emerson**
—————- * The late Horace Mann.
** The following passages from Emerson's Diary relating to Past and Present seem to have been written a few days after the preceding letter:—"How many things this book of Carlyle gives us to think! It is a brave grappling with the problem of the times, no luxurious holding aloof, as is the custom of men of letters, who are usually bachelors and not husbands in the state, but Literature here has thrown off his gown and descended into the open lists. The gods are come among us in the likeness of men. An honest Iliad of English woes. Who is he that can trust himself in the fray? Only such as cannot be familiarized, but nearest seen and touched is not seen and touched, but remains inviolate, inaccessible, because a higher interest, the politics of a higher sphere, bring him here and environ him, as the Ambassador carries his country with him. Love protects him from profanation. What a book this in its relation to English privileged estates! How shall Queen Victoria read this? how the Primate and Bishops of England? how the Lords? how the Colleges? how the rich? and how the poor? Here is a book as full of treason as an egg is full of meat, and every lord and lordship and high form and ceremony of English conservatism tossed like a football into the air, and kept in the air with merciless rebounds and kicks, and yet not a word in the book is punishable by statute. The wit has eluded all official zeal, and yet these dire jokes, these cunning thrusts,—this flaming sword of cherubim waved high in air illuminates the whole horizon and shows to the eyes of the Universe every wound it inflicts. Worst of all for the party attacked, it bereaves them beforehand of all sympathy by anticipating the plea of poetic and humane conservation and impressing the reader with the conviction that Carlyle himself has the truest love for everything old and excellent, and a genuine respect for the basis of truth in those whom he exposes. Gulliver among the Lilliputians...
"Carlyle must write thus or nohow, like a drunken man who can run, but cannot walk. What a man's book is that! no prudences, no compromises, but a thorough independence. A masterly criticism on the times. Fault perhaps the excess of importance given to the circumstance of today. The poet is here for this, to dwarf and destroy all merely temporary circumstance, and to glorify the perpetual circumstance of men, e.g. dwarf British Debt and raise Nature and social life.
"But everything must be done well once; even bulletins and almanacs must have one excellent and immortal bulletin and almanac. So let Carlyle's be the immortal newspaper." —————
LXXXIV. Carlyle to Emerson
27 August, 1843
Dear Emerson,—The bearer of this is Mr. Macready, our celebrated Actor, now on a journey to America, who wishes to know you. In the pauses of a feverish occupation which he strives honestly to make a noble one, this Artist, become once more a man, would like well to meet here and there a true American man. He loves Heroes as few do; and can recognize them, you will find, whether they have on the Cothurnus or not. I recommend him to you; bid you forward him as you have opportunity, in this department of his pilgrimage.
Mr. Macready's deserts to the English Drama are notable here to all the world; but his dignified, generous, and every-way honorable deportment in private life is known fully, I believe, only to a few friends. I have often said, looking at him as a manager of great London theatres, "This Man, presiding over the unstablest, most chaotic province of English things, is the one public man among us who has dared to take his stand on what he understood to be the truth, and expect victory from that: he puts to shame our Bishops and Archbishops." It is literally so.
With continued kind wishes, yours as of old. T. Carlyle
LXXXV. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 30 October, 1843
My Dear Friend,—I seize the occasion of having this morsel of paper for twenty-five pounds sterling from the booksellers to send you, (and which fail not to find enclosed, as clerks say,) to inquire whether you still exist in Chelsea, London, and what is the reason that my generous correspondent has become dumb for weary months. I must go far back to resume my thread. I think in April last I received your Manuscript, &c. of the Book, which I forthwith proceeded to print, after some perplexing debate with the booksellers, as I fully informed you in my letter of April or beginning of May. Since that time I have had no line or word from you. I must think that my letter did not reach you, or that you have written what has never come to me. I assure myself that no harm has befallen you, not only because you do not live in a corner, and what chances in your dwelling will come at least to my ears, but because I have read with great pleasure the story of Dr. Francia,* which gave the best report of your health and vivacity.
————— * Carlyle's article on Dr. Francia in the Foreign Quarterly Review, No. 62. Reprinted in his Miscellanies. —————
I wrote you in April or May an account of the new state of things which the cheap press has wrought in our book market, and specially what difficulties it put in the way of our edition of Past and Present. For a few weeks I believed that the letters I had written to the principal New York and Philadelphia booksellers, and the Preface, had succeeded in repelling the pirates. But in the fourth or fifth week appeared a mean edition in New York, published by one Collyer (an unknown person and supposed to be a mask of some other bookseller), sold for twelve and one half cents, and of this wretched copy several thousands were sold, whilst our seventy-five cents edition went off slower. There was no remedy, and we must be content that there was no expense from our edition, which before September had paid all its cost, and since that time has been earning a little, I believe. I am not fairly entitled to an account of the book from the publishers until the 1st of January.... I have never yet done what I have thought this other last week seriously to do, namely, to charge the good and faithful E.P. Clark, a man of accounts as he is a cashier in a bank, with the total auditing and analyzing of these accounts of yours. My hesitation has grown from the imperfect materials which I have to offer him to make up so long a story. But he is a good man, and, do you know it? a Carlylese of that intensity that I have often heard he has collected a sort of album of several volumes, containing illustrations of every kind, historical, critical, &c., to the Sartor. I must go to Boston and challenge him. Once when I asked him, he seemed willing to assume it. No more of accounts tonight.
I send you by this ship a volume of translations from Dante, by Doctor Parsons of Boston, a practising dentist and the son of a dentist. It is his gift to you. Lately went Henry James to you with a letter from me. He is a fine companion from his intelligence, valor, and worth, and is and has been a very beneficent person as I learn. He carried a volume of poems from my friend and nearest neighbor, W. Ellery Channing, whereof give me, I pray you, the best opinion you can. I am determined he shall be a poet, and you must find him such.* I have too many things to tell you to begin at the end of this sheet, which after all this waiting I have been compelled to scribble in a corner, with company waiting for me. Send me instant word of yourself if you love me, and of those whom you love, and so God keep you and yours.
—R. Waldo Emerson
————— * In the second number of the Dial, in October, 1840, Emerson had published, under the title of "New Poetry," an article warmly commending Mr. Channing's then unpublished poems. —————
LXXXVI. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, London, 31 October, 1843
My Dear Emerson,—It is a long weary time since I have had the satisfaction of the smallest dialogue with you. The blame is all my own; the reasons would be difficult to give,—alas, they are properly no-reasons, children not of Something, but of mere Idleness, Confusion, Inaction, Inarticulation, of Nothing in short! Let us leave them there, and profit by the hour which yet is.
I ran away from London into Bristol and, South Wales, when the heats grew violent, at the end of June. South Wales, North Wales, Lancashire, Scotland: I roved about everywhere seeking some Jacob's-pillow on which to lay my head, and dream of things heavenly;—yes, that at bottom was my modest prayer, though I disguised it from myself and the result was, I could find no pillow at all; but sank into ever meaner restlessness, blacker and blacker biliary gloom, and returned in the beginning of September thoroughly eclipsed and worn out, probably the weariest of all men living under the sky. Sure enough I have a fatal talent of converting all Nature into Preternaturalism for myself: a truly horrible Phantasm-Reality it is to me; what of heavenly radiances it has, blended in close neighborhood, in intimate union, with the hideousness of Death and Chaos;—a very ghastly business indeed! On the whole, it is better to hold one's peace about it. I flung myself down on sofas here,—for my little Wife had trimmed up our little dwelling-place into quite glorious order in my absence, and I had only to lie down: there, in reading books, and other make-believe employments, I could at least keep silence, which was an infinite relief. Nay, gradually, as indeed I anticipated, the black vortexes and deluges have subsided; and now that it is past, I begin to feel myself better for my travels after all. For one thing, articulate speech having returned to me,—you see what use I make of it.
On the table of the London Library, voted in by some unknown benefactor whom I found afterwards to be Richard Milnes, there lay one thing highly gratifying to me: the last two Numbers of the Dial. It is to be one of our Periodicals henceforth; the current Number lies on the Table till the next arrive; then the former goes to the Binder; we have already, in a bound volume, all of it that Emerson has had the editing of. This is right. Nay, in Edinburgh, and indeed wherever ingenuous inquisitive minds were met with, I have to report that the said Emerson could number a select and most loving public; select, and I should say fast growing: for good and indifferent reasons it may behove the man to assure himself of this. Farther, to the horror of poor Nickerson (Bookseller Fraser's Successor), a certain scoundrel interloper here has reprinted Emerson's Essays on grayish paper, to be sold at two shillings,—distracting Nickerson with the fear of change! I was glad at this, if also angry: it indicates several things. Nickerson has taken his measures, will reduce the price of his remaining copies; indeed, he informs me the best part of his edition was already sold, and he has even some color of money due from England to Emerson through me! With pride enough will I transmit this mournful, noble peculium: and after that, as I perceive, such chivalrous international doings must cease between us. Past and Present, some one told me, was, in spite of all your precautions, straightway sent forth in modest gray, and your benevolent speculation ruined. Here too, you see, it is the same. Such chivalries, therefore, are now impossible; for myself I say, "Well, let them cease; thank God they once were, the Memory of that can never cease with us!"
In this last Number of the Dial which by the bye your Bookseller never forwarded to me, I found one little Essay, a criticism on myself,* which, if it should do me mischief, may the gods forgive you for! It is considerably the most dangerous thing I have read for some years. A decided likeness of myself recognizable in it, as in the celestial mirror of a friend's heart; but so enlarged, exaggerated, all transfigured,—the most delicious, the most dangerous thing! Well, I suppose I must try to assimilate it also, to turn it also to good, if I be able. Eulogies, dyslogies, in which one finds no features of one's own natural face, are easily dealt with; easily left unread, as stuff for lighting fires, such is the insipidity, the wearisome nonentity of pabulum like that: but here is another sort of matter! "The beautifulest piece of criticism I have read for many a day," says every one that speaks of it. May the gods forgive you!—I have purchased a copy for three shillings, and sent it to my Mother: one of the indubitablest benefits I could think of in regard to it.
————- * A criticism by Emerson of Past and Present, in the Dial for July, 1843. It embodies a great part of the extract from Emerson's Diary given in a preceding note, and is well worth reading in full for its appreciation of Carlyle's powers and defects. ————-
There have been two friends of yours here in these very days: Dr. Russell, just returning from Paris; Mr. Parker, just bound thither.* We have seen them rather oftener than common, Sterling being in town withal. They are the best figures of strangers we have had for a long time; possessions, both of them, to fall in with in this pilgrimage of life. Russell carries friendliness in his eyes, a most courteous, modest, intelligent man; an English intelligence too, as I read, the best of it lying unspoken, not as a logic but as an instinct. Parker is a most hardy, compact, clever little fellow, full of decisive utterance, with humor and good humor; whom I like much. They shine like suns, these two, amid multitudes of watery comets and tenebrific constellations, too sorrowful without such admixture on occasion!
—————— * Dr. Le Baron Russell; Theodore Parker. ——————
As for myself, dear Emerson, you must ask me no questions till— alas, till I know not when! After four weary years of the most unreadable reading, the painfulest poking and delving, I have come at last to the conclusion—that I must write a Book on Cromwell; that there is no rest for me till I do it. This point fixed, another is not less fixed hitherto, That a Book on Cromwell is impossible. Literally so: you would weep for me if you saw how, between these two adamantine certainties, I am whirled and tumbled. God only knows what will become of me in the business. Patience, Patience!
By the bye, do you know a "Massachusetts Historical Society," and a James Bowdoin, seemingly of Boston? In "Vol. II. third series" of their Collections, lately I met with a disappointment almost ludicrous. Bowdoin, in a kind of dancing, embarrassed style, gives long-winded, painfully minute account of certain precious volumes, containing "Notes of the Long Parliament," which now stand in the New York Library; poises them in his assaying balance, speculates, prophesies, inquires concerning them: to me it was like news of the lost Decades of Livy. Good Heavens, it soon became manifest that these precious Volumes are nothing whatever but a wretched broken old dead manuscript copy of part of our printed Commons Journals! printed since 1745, and known to all barbers! If the Historical Society desired it, any Member of Parliament could procure them the whole stock, Lords and Commons, a wheelbarrowful or more, with no cost but the carriage. Every Member has the right to demand a copy, and few do it, few will let such a mass cross their door-threshold! This of Bowdoin's is a platitude of some magnitude.—Adieu, dear Emerson. Rest not, haste not; you have work to do.
LXXXVII. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, London, 17 November, 1843
Dear Emerson,—About this time probably you will be reading a Letter I hurried off for you by Dr. Russell in the last steamer; and your friendly anxieties will partly be set at rest. Had I kept silence so very long? I knew it was a long while; but my vague remorse had kept no date! It behoves me now to write again without delay; to certify with all distinctness that I have safely received your Letter of the 30th October, safely the Bill for L25 it contained;—that you are a brave, friendly man, of most serene, beneficient way of life; and that I—God help me!—
By all means appoint this Mr. Clark to the honorary office of Account-keeper—if he will accept it! By Parker's list of questions from him, and by earlier reminiscences recalled on that occasion, I can discern that he is a man of lynx eyesight, of an all-investigating curiosity: if he will accept this sublime appointment, it will be the clearest case of elective affinity. Accounts to you must be horrible; as they are to me: indeed, I seldom read beyond the last line of them, if I can find the last; and one of the insupportabilities of Bookseller Accounts is that nobody but a wizard, or regular adept in such matters, can tell where the last line, and final net result of the whole accursed babblement, is to be found! By all means solicit Clark;—at all events, do you give it up, I pray you, and let the Booksellers do their own wise way. It really is not material; let the poor fellows have length of halter. Every new Bill from America comes to me like a kind of heavenly miracle; a reaping where I never sowed, and did not expect to reap: the quantity of it is a thing I can never bring in question.—For your English account with Nickerson I can yet say nothing more; perhaps about Newyear's-day the poor man will enable me to say something. I hear however that the Pirate has sold off, or nearly so, his Two-shillings edition of the Essays, and is preparing to print another; this, directly in the teeth of Cash and double-entry book-keeping, I take to be good news.
James is a very good fellow, better and better as we see him more. Something shy and skittish in the man; but a brave heart intrinsically, with sound, earnest sense, with plenty of insight and even humor. He confirms an observation of mine, which indeed I find is hundreds of years old, that a stammering man is never a worthless one. Physiology can tell you why. It is an excess of delicacy, excess of sensibility to the presence of his fellow-creature, that makes him stammer. Hammond l'Estrange says, "Who ever heard of a stammering man that was a fool?" Really there is something in that.—James is now off to the Isle of Wight; will see Sterling at Ventnor there; see whether such an Isle or France will suit better for a winter residence.
W.E. Channing's Poems are also a kind gift from you. I have read the pieces you had cut up for me: worthy indeed of reading! That Poem on Death is the utterance of a valiant, noble heart, which in rhyme or prose I shall expect more news of by and by. But at bottom "Poetry" is a most suspicious affair for me at present! You cannot fancy the oceans of Twaddle that human Creatures emit upon me, in these times; as if, when the lines had a jingle in them, a Nothing could be Something, and the point were gained! It is becoming a horror to me,—as all speech without meaning more and more is. I said to Richard Milnes, "Now in honesty what is the use of putting your accusative before the verb, and otherwise entangling the syntax; if there really is an image of any object, thought, or thing within you, for God's sake let me have it the shortest way, and I will so cheerfully excuse the omission of the jingle at the end: cannot I do without that!"—Milnes answered, "Ah, my dear fellow, it is because we have no thought, or almost none; a little thought goes a great way when you put it into rhyme!" Let a man try to the very uttermost to speak what he means, before singing is had recourse to. Singing, in our curt English speech, contrived expressly and almost exclusively for "despatch of business," is terribly difficult. Alfred Tennyson, alone of our time, has proved it to be possible in some measure. If Channing will persist in melting such obdurate speech into music he shall have my true wishes,—my augury that it will take an enormous heat from him!—Another Channing,* whom I once saw here, sends me a Progress-of-the-Species Periodical from New York. Ach Gott! These people and their affairs seem all "melting" rapidly enough, into thaw-slush or one knows not what. Considerable madness is visible in them. Stare super antiquas vias: "No," they say, "we cannot stand, or walk, or do any good whatever there; by God's blessing, we will fly,—will not you!— here goes!" And their flight, it is as the flight of the unwinged,—of oxen endeavoring to fly with the "wings" of an ox! By such flying, universally practised, the "ancient ways" are really like to become very deep before long. In short, I am terribly sick of all that;—and wish it would stay at home at Fruitland, or where there is good pasture for it. Friend Emerson, alone of all voices, out of America, has sphere-music in him for me,—alone of them all hitherto; and is a prophecy and sure dayspring in the East; immeasurably cheering to me. God long prosper him; keep him duly apart from that bottomless hubbub which is not, at all cheering! And so ends my Litany for this day.
———— * The Reverend William Henry Channing. ————
The Cromwell business, though I punch daily at it with all manner of levers, remains immovable as Ailsa Crag. Heaven alone knows what I shall do with it. I see and say to myself, It is heroical; Troy Town was probably not a more heroic business; and this belongs to thee, to thy own people,—must it be dead forever?—Perhaps yes,—and kill me too into the bargain. Really I think it very shocking that we run to Greece, to Italy, to &c., &c., and leave all at home lying buried as a nonentity. Were I absolute Sovereign and Chief Pontiff here, there should be a study of the Old English ages first of all. I will pit Odin against any Jupiter of them; find Sea-kings that would have given Jason a Roland for his Oliver! We are, as you sometimes say, a book-ridden people,—a phantom-ridden people.—All this small household is well; salutes you and yours with love old and new. Accept this hasty messenger; accept my friendliest farewell, dear Emerson.
Yours ever, T. Carlyle
LXXXVIII. Emerson to Carlyle
Concord, 31 December, 1843
My Dear Friend,—I have had two good letters from you, and it is fully my turn to write, so you shall have a token on this latest day of the year. I rejoice in this good will you bear to so many friends of mine,—if they will go to you, you must thank yourself. Best when you are mutually contented. I wished lately I might serve Mr. Macready, who sent me your letter.—I called on him and introduced him to Sam G. Ward, my friend and the best man in the city, and, besides all his personal merits, a master of all the offices of hospitality. Ward was to keep himself informed of Macready's times, and bring me to him when there was opportunity. But he stayed but a few days in Boston, and, Ward said, was in very good hands, and promised to see us when he returns by and by. I saw him in Hamlet, but should much prefer to see him as Macready.
I must try to entice Mr. Macready out here into my pines and alder bushes. Just now the moon is shining on snow-drifts, four, five, and six feet high, but, before his return, they will melt; and already this my not native but ancestral village, which I came to live in nearly ten years ago because it was the quietest of farming towns, and off the road, is found to lie on the directest line of road from Boston to Montreal, a railroad is a-building through our secretest woodlands, and, tomorrow morning, our people go to Boston in two hours instead of three, and, next June, in one. This petty revolution in our country matters was very odious to me when it began, but it is hard to resist the joy of all one's neighbors, and I must be contented to be carted like a chattel in the cars and be glad to see the forest fall. This rushing on your journey is plainly a capital invention for our spacious America, but it is more dignified and man-like to walk barefoot.—But do you not see that we are getting to be neighbors? a day from London to Liverpool; twelve or eleven to Boston; and an hour to Concord; and you have owed me a visit these ten years.
I mean to send with your January Dial a copy of the number for Sterling, as it contains a review of his tragedy and poems, by Margaret Fuller. I have not yet seen the article, and the lady affirms that it is very bad, as she was ill all the time she was writing; but I hope and believe better. She, Margaret Fuller, is an admirable person, whose writing gives feeble account of her. But I was to say that I shall send this Dial for J.S. to your care, as I know not the way to the Isle of Wight.
Enclosed in this letter I send a bill of exchange for L32 8s. 2d. payable by Baring & Co. It happens to represent an exact balance on Munroe's books, and that slow mortal should have paid it before. I have not yet got to Clark, I who am a slow mortal, but have my eye fixed on him. Remember me and mine with kindest salutations to your wife and brother.
Ever yours, R.W. Emerson
LXXXIX. Carlyle to Emerson
Chelsea, 31 January, 1844
Dear Emerson, Some ten days ago came your Letter with a new Draft of L32 and odd money in it: all safe; the Draft now gone into the City to ripen into gold and silver, the Letter to be acknowledged by some hasty response now and here. America, I say to myself looking at these money drafts, is a strange place; the highest comes out of it and the lowest! Sydney Smith is singing dolefully about doleful American repudiation, "disowning of the soft impeachment"; and here on the other hand is an American man, in virtue of whom America has become definable withal as a place from which fall heavenly manna-showers upon certain men, at certain seasons of history, when perhaps manna-showers were not the unneedfulest things!—We will take the good and the evil, here as elsewhere, and heartily bless Heaven.
But now for the Draft at the top of this leaf. One Colman,* a kind of Agricultural Missionary, much in vogue here at present, has given it me; it is Emerson's, the net produce hitherto (all but two cents) of Emerson's Essays. I enclose farther the Bookseller's hieroglyph papers; unintelligible as all such are; but sent over to you for scrutiny by the expert. I gather only that there are some Five Hundred and odd of the dear-priced edition sold, some Two Hundred and odd still to sell, which the Bookseller says are (in spite of pirates) slowly selling; and that the half profit upon the whole adventure up to this date has been L24 15s. 11d. sterling,—equal, as I am taught, at $4.88 per pound sterling, to $121.02, for which, all but the cents, here is a draft on Boston, payable at sight. Pray have yourself straightway paid; that if there be any mistake or delay I may rectify it while time yet is.—I add, for the intelligence of the Bookseller-Papers, that Fraser, with whom the bargain originally stood, was succeeded by Nickerson; these are the names of the parties. And so, dear Friend; accept this munificent sum of Money; and expect a blessing with it if good wishes from the heart of man can give one. So much for that.
————- * The Reverend Henry Colman. ————-
Did you receive a Dumfries Newspaper with a criticism in it? The author is one Gilfillan, a young Dissenting Minister in Dundee; a person of great talent, ingenuousness, enthusiasm, and other virtues; whose position as a Preacher of bare old Calvinism under penalty of death sometimes makes me tremble for him. He has written in that same Newspaper about all the notablest men of his time; Godwin, Corn-law Elliott and I know not all whom: if he publish the Book, I will take care to send it you.* I saw the man for the first time last autumn, at Dumfries; as I said, his being a Calvinist Dissenting Minister, economically fixed, and spiritually with such germinations in him, forces me to be very reserved to him.
—————- * The sketches were published the next year in a volume under the title of The Gallery of Literary Portraits. —————-
John Sterling's Dial shall be forwarded to Ventnor in the Isle of Wight, whenever it arrives. He was here, as probably I told you, about two months ago, the old unresting brilliantly radiating man. He is now much richer in money than he was, and poorer by the loss of a good Mother and good Wife: I understand he is building himself a brave house, and also busy writing a poem. He flings too much "sheet-lightning" and unrest into me when we meet in these low moods of mine; and yet one always longs for him back again: "No doing with him or without him," the dog!
My thrice unfortunate Book on Cromwell,—it is a real descent to Hades, to Golgotha and Chaos! I feel oftenest as if it were possibler to die one's self than to bring it into life. Besides, my health is in general altogether despicable, my "spirits" equal to those of the ninth part of a dyspeptic tailor! One needs to be able to go on in all kinds of spirits, in climate sunny or sunless, or it will never do. The planet Earth, says Voss,—take four hexameters from Voss:
Journeys this Earth, her eye on a Sun, through the heavenly spaces; Joyous in radiance, or joyless by fits and swallowed in tempests; Falters not, alters not, equal advancing, home at the due hour: So thou, weather-proof, constant, may, equal with day, March!
I have not a moment more tonight;—and besides am inclined to write unprofitables if I persist. Adieu, my friend; all blessings be with you always.