August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON; 18 March 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470318-TC-RWE-01; CL 21:185-187.


Chelsea, 18 March, 1847—

Dear Emerson,—Yesterday morning, setting out to breakfast with Richard Milnes (Milnes's breakfast is a thing you will yet have to experience) I met, by the sunny shore of the Thames, a benevolent Son of Adam in blue coat & red collar, who thrust into my hand a Letter from you. A truly miraculous Son of Adam in red collar, in the sunny Spring morning!— The Bill of Seventeen Pounds is already far on its way to Dumfries, there to be kneaded into gold by the due artists: today is American Post-day; and already, in huge hurry about many things, I am scribbling you some word of answer.1 I have written, as you bade me, a long dull positive Letter to Mr Clark, which pray give to him when once you have read and sealed it: let me hope you will find the worthy man ready to undertake, and to proceed, without further bother to either of us; or that failing him, you will find some other (the approximately best in your circle) to set about the work, as real work,—and so let us have our hands washed of it. Very possible (tho' I really have no cause to think it probable) the Wiley people may mean to pay me with large admixture of chaff among their wheat; very possible too there may be no way of preventing it: but to do the approximately best we can for preventing it,—this is a clear duty; this let us do, this by your help one good time; and then, “with unspeakable composure,”2 leave the outcome to the gods! The outcome will not kill us, either way, then,—thanks to Heaven.

The night before Milnes's morning, I had furthermore seen your Manchester Correspondent, Ireland,—an old Edinr acquaintance too, as I found. A solid, dark, broad, rather heavy man; full of energy, and broad sagacity and practicality;3—infinitely well affected to the man Emerson too. It was our clear opinion that you might come at any time with ample assurance of “succeeding,” so far as wages went, and otherwise; that you ought to come, and must, and would,—as he, Ireland, would farther write to you.4 There is only one thing I have to add of my own, and beg you to bear in mind,—a date merely. Videlicet, That the time for lecturing to the London West-End, I was given everywhere to understand, is from the latter end of April (or say April altogether) to the end of May: this is a fixed statistic fact, all men told me: of this you are in all arrangements to keep mind. For it will actually do your heart good to look into the faces, and speak into minds, of really Aristocratic Persons,—being one yourself, you Sinner,—and perhaps indeed this will be the greatest of all the novelties that await you in your voyage. Not to be seen, I believe, at least never seen by me in any perfection, except in London only.

From April to the end of May; during those weeks you must be here, and free: remember that date. Will you come in Winter then, next Winter,—or when? Ireland professed to know you by the Photograph too; which I never yet can.5—— I wrote by last Packet: enough here. Your friend Cunningham has not presented himself;6 shall be right welcome when he does,—as all that in the least belong to you may well hope to be. Adieu. Our love to you all. Ever yours

T. Carlyle