The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO JOHN STUART MILL ; 31 January 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380100-TC-JSM-01; CL 10: 14-15


[late Jan.–early March 1838]

My dear Mill,

Unluckily or luckily this notion of writing on the Working Classes has in the interim died away in me; and I have altogether lost it for the present. I have got upon Thuycidides, Johannes Müller, the Crusades, and a whole course of objects connected with my Lectures; sufficient to occupy me abundantly till that fatal time come.1 We will commit my Discourse on the Working Classes2 once more to the chapter of chances.

I do not know that my train of argument would have specially led me to insist on the question you allude to: but if it had—! In fact it were a right cheerful thing for me could I get to see that general improvement were going on there; and I think I should in that case wash my hands of Radicalism forever and a day. Ah me, it is a bitter mockery to talk of “improvement” to the men I have known! Ebenezer Elliot is with me; Machinery, and Population increasing 1200 a day, are with me. Francis Place is against me, a man entitled to be heard. As to “Commissioners” and their evidence I do verily take it all to be worth almost nothing in that matter;3 your answer is according to your question, and your questionee,— “as the fool thinks the bell clinks,”4 and all things whatsoever can be demonstrated if you choose your man.

Have you got Michaud's Hist. des Croisades, or any likely Book on that subject?5 I fear you have not a Voss's Homer?6 I must come and ransack your Bookshelves again some day.

Believe me faithfully yours, / T. Carlyle.