April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN FORSTER; 2 October 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491002-TC-JF-01; CL 24: 261-262


Chelsea, 2 Octr, 1849—

Dear Forster,

Thank, and salutation. Here, sure enough, we are, both Wife and I; but in a most shattered condition; quite done up with Express Trains and other unutterable tumults, sleep obstinate not to come back (especially to the weaker of the two);—in short, there can no dining be so much as fancied in the liveliest imagination; and we must wait for Saturday, if you cannot come to us sooner. By all means come; we are greatly in want of news on all subjects personal and national, particular and universal; in want, still more, of the sight of friendly faces, with or without news.

Ask me little of Ireland; the passage thro' it and out of it is like a bit of the Flight of Satan thro' Chaos, when the Heavens had been closed on him, and the Earth was yet hardly made!1 No country such as that ever lay beneath the Sun before. The Universal IMPOSTURE (its own, and ours, and all the world's), quietly continued for two abominable Centuries or more, is fallen there into palpable downbreak, into flat bankruptcy (without certificate); and lies now the most detestably sordid mass of fetid ruin eyes ever saw, or thoughts ever dreamed of! Infandum, regina!2 Alas, how to “speak” of such a thing, is yet far from me. Human speech is very unfit for it just now!—

But have you read Duffy's Article in the last Nation? If not, by all means read it; nay you ought to notice it in next Examiner or whenever you have opportunity: it is the wisest word ever yet uttered upon Ireland by any Irishman within my hearing;—and “eloquent” too, with far other than rhetorical melody, with the tone of earnest sorrow and conviction. “A few workmen wanted”: that is the title; read it, reflect on it.3

And so till Saturday, if you cannot come sooner, Adieu dear Forster.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle