The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JAMES MARSHALL ; 5 January 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520105-TC-JMA-01; CL 27: 2-3


Chelsea, 5 jany, 1852—

Dear Marshall,

I will wish you, in Scotch and human fashion, “a right happy new year, and many of them”: your Letter at this season gives me opportunity of uttering such a sentiment, which lay otherwise alive tho' in the mute state, and did not owe its being to this present cause of its vocality. His Royal Highness,1 who is pleased to favour me with such a request, may be well assured I will omit no opportunity that may occur of recommending Weimar as a place for learning German. That surely is a character which it still well merits, and may still long merit. But I much fear, the going out of so many irreplaceable spiritual luminaries may have permanently dimmed it, nevertheless, in the fancy of the young generation; and that the tide of English Wandering, which is a most capricious idle frothy tide, subject to something much madder even than the Moon, may have, for a long while to come, set obstinately elsewhitherward. Alas, there are now no Goethe and Schiller, were a pilgrim never so wise; there are only the graves and haunts of Goethe and Schiller, which are a far other affair for him! And very few pilgrims are wise; most pilgrims are nearly without wisdom altogether, and will run to Homburg, to Kissingen, to Manheim, to Berlin, Coblentz, Katzenwellenbogen,2—attracted by the Cooks of Inns, by the conveniences of Steam carriage, by one knows not, and they know not, what,—in a very mad manner indeed! Once more, let it be considered certain that if I can do anything for Captain Horrocks,3 and for the dear little City of Weimar, it shall faithfully, on all opportunities, be done.

Your Russian Tour, since you are able to travel, and stand bugs and dirty beds, and other wants and sufferings, seems to me extremely enviable. Of all the countries in the world Russia is now the one I have the most curiosity about: evidently a grand country, peer of Saxondom and Yankeedoodledoodom, and with a great destiny ahead of it,—to which, even without “liberty of the press” (singular to say), it is rapidly, and grandly in the view of all men, advancing by inevitable law. Few Books, no such dull Book that I ever read, have entertained me more than Haxthausen's solid Farrago;4 which I resolutely struggled thro, last year; within few months I have been rereading from Castera, Took &c:5 what would one give for a fit true “Life of Peter the Great,” of “Catherine the Second,”—a work grander than any “epic,” equal rather to a bit of the Bible, were there any chance of the due man to do it! Alas, alas!—All Books on Russia I read; even Custine's,6 tho with horror and contempt, I read to the very end. STUMM liegt die Welt [The world lies silent]; truly human voices in it very rare tho' the chaffinches and sparrows, under the title of human, make such a twittering!— —

If I had, what was once in my possession, the old No of the Westminster Review, I would gladly send you that Critique of poor Sterling's;7 but I fear it is gone to Scotland and not easily recoverable. Hare's Book,8 when it stands reprinted, ought to be somewhere in Weimar?—About France, or the Brummagen Cromwell,9 I think little; perhaps even such a Cromwell is all they deserve, and also perhaps even he is better then none I confess I have rather laughed (tho' in a bitter manner) than wept over their catastrophe of the “900 talking attorneys”:10 God mend that species, I say always: God mend them; or failing that, then at least, Devil take them!—Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle

I send my best regards to Eckermann;11 begging him never to forget me quite, the pious honourable, brother-soul. Adieu