The Collected Letters, Volume 1


CHRONOLOGY; 1970; DOI: 10.1215/ed-01-chronology; CL 1: firstpage-01-lvii-lastpage-01-lxi



1758 James Carlyle, father of TC, born.

1767 Janet Carlyle, James Carlyle's first wife, born.

1771 September Margaret Aitken, James Carlyle's second wife and mother of TC, born.

1775 or 1776 4 April John Welsh, father of JWC, born at Craigenputtoch.

1782 15 December Grizel (Grace) Welsh, mother of JWC, born at Castlemains, Crawfurd.

1791 James Carlyle and Janet Carlyle marry.

1792 September John Carlyle of Cockermouth born. Death of Janet Carlyle.

1795 James Carlyle and Margaret Aitken marry.

4 December Thomas Carlyle born, in Arched House, Ecclefechan.

1797 Alexander Carlyle born.

1799 Janet Carlyle (I) born: dies in infancy.

1801 John Aitken Carlyle born.

14 July Jane Baillie Welsh born, in Haddington.

1802 Carlyle already reads widely, receives elementary schooling in Ecclefechan in languages and mathematics, and is tutored in Latin by a local minister.

1803 Margaret Carlyle born.

1805 James Carlyle born.

1806 Carlyle sent to Annan Academy to continue his schooling.

1808 Mary Carlyle born.

1809 November Carlyle, almost 14, walks to Edinburgh to begin his University studies. He follows the normal Arts curriculum, studying in his first session Humanity and Greek.

1810 Jean Carlyle born.

Carlyle returns to Edinburgh for his second session and studies Greek II, mathematics and logic. He meets Thomas Murray who provides (in his Autobiographical Notes) the first description of him.

1811 Summer Continues to study and excel in mathematics. Spends holidays in Ecclefechan.

November Returns to Edinburgh for third session, Studying Mathematics II, Greek III and moral philosophy.

1812 Summer Divides time between Edinburgh and Ecclefechan.

November Commences fourth session, studying natural philosophy, and Mathematics II a second time.

1813 Janet Carlyle (II) born. The Carlyle family now complete.

Summer Carlyle in Ecclefechan. Has now completed the normal arts course.

November Returns for a fifth session of study to prepare himself in Divinity Hall, University of Edinburgh, for self-directed study towards the ministry.

1814 March Preaches a sermon.

May Leaves University to begin teaching at Annan Academy.

Autumn Continues teaching there after vacation, also undertakes private tutoring.

Christmas Preaches trial sermon in Edinburgh.

1815 May The Carlyle family moves from Ecclefechan to Mainhill, a farm several miles away.

Summer Carlyle spends holidays in Mainhill.

Autumn Resumes Annan teaching.

Christmas Preaches second trial sermon in Edinburgh. Meets Edward Irving.

1816 Continues to teach in Annan.

Summer Offered teaching post in Kirkcaldy. Friendship with Edward Irving, who teaches at a rival school there, deepens.

November Commences teaching in Kirkcaldy.

1817 Spring Carlyle breaks off his connection with Divinity Hall, and renounces his intention of entering the ministry.

Summer Carlyle's mother is severely ill; family crisis.

August Carlyle, Irving and friends take a walking tour of the Trossachs and western Scotland during their holiday. Carlyle is mentioned in Professor Leslie's Elements of Geometry for having provided a solution. He writes a magazine article (not accepted), occasional contributions to the Dumfries and Galloway Courier, and miscellaneous poems.

1818 February Reads Gibbon's Decline and Fall, and attributes to it the weakening of his faith in Christianity.

July Has walking holiday with Irving in Scottish border country.

September Returns to Kirkcaldy. Is much interested in Margaret Gordon.

October Resumes schoolteaching, but soon resigns and follows Irving to Edinburgh.

November Lives off his savings and tutoring, while looking for literary employment.

At the University, studies natural history.

1819 Spring Learns German, mostly self-taught. Has some employment, principally in translating scientific papers for the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal.

Spends summer vacation in Mainhill.

19 September Jane Welsh's father dies.

Autumn Carlyle returns to Edinburgh, and continues his work of translating and tutoring. He enrolls in Scots Law classes at University, but soon loses interest.

1820 January Writes review of Pictet's theory of gravitation and offers it to Jeffrey. Not accepted, it disappears without a trace.

March Romance with Margaret Gordon in Kirkcaldy ends. Her last letter is dated June.

Summer Carlyle lives at Mainhill.

October Goes to Yorkshire to be interviewed for a residential tutorship, which he refuses.

Winter Lives at Edinburgh, with occasional visits to Irving in Glasgow. Writes biographies and articles for Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, and translates part of Schiller's Thirty-Years War.

1821 Continues to produce translations and write articles.

Late May Meets Jane Welsh in Haddington.

October Publishes his first original article, a review of Joanna Baillie's Metrical Legends in the New Edinburgh Review.

December Irving moves to London to begin career as a brilliantly fashionable preacher and public figure.

1822 January Carlyle is offered, and refuses, editorship of a Dundee newspaper.

Spring Irving secures Carlyle a tutoring post with the Buller family, and with it Carlyle achieves security and financial independence for the first time.

April Carlyle publishes first article on German literature, a review of a translation of Faust in the New Edinburgh Review.

Summer Completes his translation of Legendre's Elements of Geometry for David Brewster, whose name appeared on the title-page when the volume was published in 1824.

August Has the “Everlasting No” experience in Leith Walk, Edinburgh.

George IV visits Edinburgh. In disgust, Carlyle leaves the city for Mainhill.

Autumn Is offered, and refuses, mathematical teaching post at Sandhurst.

1823 Spring Begins biography of Schiller, and translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. Moves with Bullers to Kinnaird House, Perthshire.

July Spends holidays in Dumfriesshire.

October Edward Irving marries.

December In Edinburgh, Carlyle consults a doctor about his health and digestion which have become seriously upset, probably through overwork.

1824 Publishes Schiller serially in London Magazine.

Spring Spends holidays in Mainhill.

June Leaves for first visit to London, partly at instigation of Bullers, partly because of Irving.

July Gives up position as tutor of the Buller boys. Visits John Badams in Birmingham and receives health treatment.

September Visits Dover with Irving and Stracheys.

October Goes to Paris and environs for a brief holiday.

Goethe writes to Carlyle, in response to the gift of a copy of Carlyle's translation of Meister, published and sent off in June.

November Carlyle returns to London.

1825 March Publishes Schiller in book form.

Returns to Ecclefechan.

April Returns to Edinburgh.

May Carlyle and several of the family move to Hoddam Hill. He translates works for his German Romance.

September Jane Welsh visits the Carlyles in Hoddam Hill, and the marriage seems a certainty.

1826 Carlyle is offered a publishing partnership and an editorship in Edinburgh. Refuses both.

January Visits Edinburgh.

May The Carlyle family moves to Scotsbrig.

June Mrs. Welsh rents the Comely Bank home in Edinburgh.

September Carlyle completes German Romance.

17 October Carlyle and Jane Welsh are married in Templand, Thornhill. They travel to Edinburgh and settle at Comely Bank, where they meet important people and entertain them on Wednesday evenings.

1827 January Carlyle publishes German Romance.

Spring Carlyle begins (but never finishes) Wotton Reinfred, an autobiographical novel.

February Meets Francis Jeffrey, with whom a friendship is soon formed.

April Carlyle visits in Dumfriesshire.

June Publishes first Edinburgh Review article: “Jean Paul Friedrich Richter.”

Autumn Is candidate for chairs at University of St. Andrews and at the new University of London but is disappointed in both.

1828 Spring Visits Dumfriesshire.

May Irving visits Edinburgh, preaching to packed churches.

The Carlyles leave Edinburgh and settle in Craigenputtoch.

October The Jeffreys visit them there.

December Carlyle publishes “Burns” in the Edinburgh Review.