April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO EDWARD CHAPMAN; 9 August 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490809-TC-EC-01; CL 24: 183-184


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan n. b. 9 Augt, 1849—

My dear Sir,

Here, on getting to anchor after my Irish roamings, I last night found the accompanying Letter;—to which let us confine our attention in the first place.

Miss Margaret Fuller is an American Lady, of ripe years, perhaps 40 and odd;1 deformed and lean in person, but full of ardent soul to the finger-ends; enthusiastic, resolute, eloquent; writes really strikingly and well, with a constant noble fire pervading all she says; style clear, brief and vivid; meaning high and true, tho' occasionally somewhat airy and vague. The Books that I have read of hers (which can be had at your Namesake's,2 I suppose) give me somewhat the notion of a spiritual Aurora Borealis. She is a great ally of Emerson's, but deeper in German and Foreign things than he; and indeed a much more vehement and self-reliant, not to say dogmatic, autocratic and practically positive character. She adores Mazzini; has lived in Rome, I think, these three years or more. Her Book,3 I have little doubt, will be a striking thing in its way; and, as she will probably be brief withal, I do not consider it quite unlikely that you also might find your account in it. But on that latter point, let me abstain from all shadow of judgement. I give you the truest account I can of the Lady and her talent; and bid you judge for yourself. She is, so far as I may note, considerably a higher-minded and cleverer woman than any of the Lady Lions yet on your Books; and if you and she could make any arrangement useful to both parties, I should be very glad indeed.

At all counts, pray read her Letter carefully over; look into her published Books if you think proper; ask me farther about any dark point you may think I can elucidate;—and on the whole, having made up your mind, be so good as write something definite to the address given there; and let me know what it is. And, above all, pray lose no time; for you perceive too much has been already lost. If Forster is with you, the case may be freely imparted to him, and sight of the Letter, which otherwise you perceive is a private one. Finally, if you had rather not write to Rome yourself (tho' that I think will save some days and otherwise answer better), write to me, and I will transmit. Item, to return Miss F.'s Letter when you have done with it. And that is all.

Is Cromwell come out yet? Tell me a word of that, please; for something depends on it. Yours always t[ruly]

T. Carlyle

E. Chapman Esq