October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO SIR ROBERT PEEL ; 19 June 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460619-TC-SRP-01; CL 20: 211-212


Chelsea, 19 june, 1846—


Will you be pleased to accept from a very private citizen of the Community this Copy of a Book,1 which he has been engaged in putting together, while you our most conspicuous citizen were victoriously labouring in quite other work. Labour, so far as it is true, and sanctionable by the Supreme Worker and World-Founder, may claim brotherhood with labour; the great work and the little are alike definable as an extricating of the true from its imprisonment amid the false; a victorious evoking of order and fact from disorder and semblance of fact. In any case, citizens who feel grateful to a citizen are permitted and enjoined to testify that feeling, each in such manner as he can. Let this poor labour of mine be a small testimony of that sort to a late great and valiant labour of yours, and claim reception as such.

The Book, should you ever find leisure to read and master it, may perhaps have interest for you;—may perhaps, who knows, have admonition, exhortation; in various ways, instruction and encouragement for yet other labours which England, in a voiceless but most impressive manner, still expects and demands of you! The authentic words and actings of the noblest Governor England ever had may well have interest for all Governors of England; may well be, as all “Scripture” is, as all genuine words and actings are, “profitable,”—profitable for reproof, for correction, and for edifying and strengthening withal!—

Hansard's Debates2 are not a kind of literature I have been familiar with; nor indeed is the Arena they proceed from much other than a distress to me in these times. Loud-sounding clamour, and rhetorical vocables, not grounded on fact, not even on belief of fact,—one knows from of old whither all that, and what depends on it, is bound! But by and by, as I believe, all England will say, what already many a one begins to feel, that whatever were the spoken unveracities in Parliament,—and they are many on all hands, lamentable to gods and men,—here has a great veracity been done in Parliament, considerably our greatest for many years past; a strenuous, courageous and manful thing,—to which all of us that so see it are bound to give our loyal recognition and such furtherance as we can.3

I have the honour to be

Sir, / Your obliged Fellow-citizen and very humble Servant,

Thomas Carlyle

To the Right Hon. Sir Robert Peel, Bart
&c &c &c