August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO WILLIAM GRAHAM ; 29 March 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440329-TC-WG-01; CL 17: 322


Chelsea, 29 March, 1844.

Dear Mr. Graham,

Here is Clow's letter back again; thanks to you for it, and for your own kind and truthful utterance to me. I am kept in the extremity of haste in this horrid treadmill of a place, and must reply by half a line. Clow's conduct to your good Brother1 his benefactor, was not good, at least not at all good-looking: nevertheless I would not have you resent it; the habits of Annandale farmers as to writing are at all times inconceivably sluggish; they have a horror of the pen, which is often a very untrue index of their feelings: on the whole I suppose Clow's own account of the business is the correct one; a matter to be sorry for, not to be angry at. Write to him when you are in the vein, in spite of all!

Your accounts of yourself and of interests very dear to you in America and elsewhere are far from satisfactory to me! Your poor Brother, after his toilsome pilgrimage, seems sinking amid painful obstructions,—like a spent steed, life arrives painfully at the goal. What can we say? You have this one comfort if his sickness be to death, that he has lived,—that he has been a real man, not an empty dishonest phantasm; and that he goes to his Maker, who has done and will do all things well. Never lament for the embarrassed young people; to young strong persons embarrassment is but school-exercise; poverty is often the greatest blessing, actually such, tho' we poor slaves generally feel sure that it is the one curse—slaves as we are!

As for yourself, my dear friend, I really must enter my protest against this melancholy looking back and bodeful looking forward; I decidedly bid you give it over! Whatsoever thy hand to do, Do that with all thy might.2—and leave the issues calmly to God. It is man's sole wisdom, and was, and will be. Do not dig into the depths of the grave; they are wisely hidden from us, we know them not. You call yourself very healthy; but I call all this the extremity of ill health, unhealthiness of the mind;—drag yourself away from it!— God bless you always!

T. Carlyle.