The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO THOMSON AND HARPER ; 22 February 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500222-TC-TAH-01; CL 25: 31


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea London, 22 feby, 1850—


Your announcement very much surprises me, not surely in an unpleasant way; and I beg in the mean time to thank you very cordially, you and my other young Friends in Aberdeen, for the honour you are doing me.1 The Election to a merely formal Office, I suppose, may go this way or that, without momentous consequences but the fact that ingenuous young souls in your University, in poor old Scotland far away, are loyally disposed to me, and willing to testify that feeling by such methods as they have,—this is already a possession, of a valuable and to me almost of an affecting nature, which I shall not have to part with.

With the Election itself I must not in the least interfere, for or against. In respect of personally visiting Aberdeen, too, I am constrained to say that travelling is at all times very untowardly to me, and that at present there are some special causes rather detaining me here;—on the whole, that if there be no real duty, but only a formal or ceremonial one, to be done in Aberdeen, I had much better not come; but that if there do appear some real fraction of duty to be done, in the event of my Election, I will certainly make an effort to come. More I cannot say at present.

And so, with many thanks and kind regards, I remain,


Your most Obedt /

T. Carlyle

To Mrss. Thomson & Harper / &c Aberdeen University—

I calculate you will beat down that money-account, too, and vanquish it yourself, which will be best any way. But if you cannot, if you find it beating you, you know always where there is help.