January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 7 February 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420207-TC-AC-01; CL 14: 38-39


Chelsea, Monday, 7 feby 1842

Dear Alick,—Here is a much smaller piece of paper than even the last! But I have a pair of stamps to send you;—and will add my salutations with the new week.

Last Saturday being in great haste, and no stamps here, I took your Letter in my pocket, hastily flung it in as I passed an office; and reflected about a quarter of an hour after, with a kind of “shock,” that I had forgotten to frank it; nay that I had come out with a new pair of trowsers on, and no purse in them, and so could not have franked it! The consequence is, I do in all law and reason owe you twopence; and so here are the two stamps; which I beg you will accept, as they are sent, with a kind of solemn smile!

Jack dined with us yesterday, as usual; in good health and heart, tho' grumbling about the “absurdity” of his Patient, of his wearisome task, &c

A new edition of the last Book (on Heroes) is required; and I have a much better offer for it than ever Fraser gave or would have given. Fraser gave me poor £75 for the first edition, which is far the best usually, and a new man now offers me £100 for the second. Of course nobody shall get it for less. I am even thinking to try if I cannot get all my Books taken out of the drivelling hands in which they now lie, forcing their own sale, not in the least assisted by their salesman, who nevertheless swallows some three-fourths of the whole produce for his trouble! We shall see about it.— I find myself, one way and another, several hundred pounds poorer than I expected to be at this date;1 so that the new £100 is a welcome enough supply just now. Independent of it I was not in any strait or anxiety about money (thank Heaven for that!)—but Mall must be kept in shaft too, and that is a business of perpetual cost here.

Peel, it is thought, will make an effectual operation on the Corn Laws; whereby some improvement of trade seems possible before long. He is not going to work in Emigration just at present;2 and I suppose is right,—for the radicals are all set against it, and say always, “Why banish us to seek food? Let us seek food freely where we are, and try that!” They will try it accordingly; and not prosper in it, as I guess; and then Emigration will be welcomer.— The distress of the people of Britain this winter, I believe, excels all that they have ever known before. One does not see so much of it immediately in this quarter, or indeed in this City at all; but I believe it is deep and desperate enough here too. The Spital-Fields Weavers live far on the opposite side of City, seven miles from us and more; of them we hear only thro' the Newspapers, like you. But here at Chelsea, for the first time, I notice the garden palings torn up this winter and stolen for fuel,—a bitter symptom, for the people in general are very honest. Poor creatures!—

Jean at a3 Dumfries had a Letter giving some account of what our Prussian Majesty was like, that day. If you have any curiosity, you will see it I doubt not.

Our Mother, it seems, is coming home soon. I wish I heard she were home, and well.— Perhaps you have seen that Letter of Johnstone the Schoolmaster:4 it is a curious document! I am told his Book is by no means without worth.

Our Dame here salutes you all. Remember me to Jenny, to Jane and Tom,—the smaller branches are somewhat indistinct to me. I have written four times as much as I meant. Adieu, dear Brother.— Your affecte— T. Carlyle