August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES ; 17 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420817-TC-RMM-01; CL 15: 23-24


Chelsea, 17 Augt, 1842—

Dear Milnes,

I cannot find the slightest trace of the respectable Macarthy's1 odd Volume here; nor any recollection that I ever either had it, or missed it while reading the others;—nor in short any guess what can possibly have become of it. My theory is that it never was in my hands; I do not discern any conceivable history for it otherwise. If Fortune and farther search bring me on any trace of it, you shall directly know.

I have made a Tour in the Netherlands, of thirty hours extent, since I wrote to you: literally a fact! Spring Rice took me in one of his Revenue Cutters;—a voyage really worth making. The doll gods and gingerbread idolatries of that people, with the fruit of long centuries of industry and healthy victorious energy growing up beside all that, were very striking to me. Les braves Belges [The worthy Belgians]! They are a Deutsch [German] people; I could read their language when I saw it printed: but the educated of them all affect to be a kind of mongrel French, and go about in moustachios and sugarloaf hats,—the blockheads!2 They have still a remnant of quasi-worship among them (respectabler perhaps than our remnant of “sincere-cant”), and crowds of the nastiest ugly fat Priests, whom you could not occasionally divest yourself of a horrible passing desire to slaughter, and cure as bacon!

What a melancholy and strange thing is that Chartist hunger-insurrection in your end of the Island!3 What a country is it where the Governing Class turns a deaf ear to all considerations, and will hear nothing till it hear the actual alarum-bell droning; see nothing till it see Swing's fires blazing!4 I declare myself made very sad with these things; it seems to me a long tract of black and ever blacker days is beginning for England. A man ought not to vote for Corn-Laws; hang it, no!— But I will not quarrel with Richard Milnes let him vote for what he may. O Peel, Peel!— O Carlyle, Carlyle, for it is thou too, and all the world!

Ever yours affectionately /

T. Carlyle