The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH ; 25 February 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530225-TC-AHC-01; CL 28: 53-55


Chelsea, 25 feby 1853—

Dear Clough,

Today the American Mail goes; and I must despatch to you without delay the inclosed Piece of Paper, which was emphatically committed to me yesterday for that end: it shall go,—tho', for want of time, almost nothing along with it.

Your last little pleasant Note was, in a day or two, forwarded to The Grange; where, as may be inferred, it found warm reception: in fact the magnanimous Lady has been writing and negociating, with the new Powers, on your behalf; and yesterday she says, “it will be one of her happiest days” when she can announce to you that something has offered itself worth your accepting, and returning for. Meanwhile, here is a segment of Lord Granville's last Note to her Ladyship, containing an express promise to do his duty when the time does come:1—and this, however matters go, if you consider all the origins and tendencies of this, seems really worth sending, and cannot be other than a possession to you.

In spite of your own notions and remonstrances,—if it be in spite of them,—you perceive it is taken for granted, by your friends, that you are certainly to come home when the opportunity arrives. If this is really contrary to your own deliberate insight, of course they cannot bring you in the vi et armis [with force and arms]2 way; but the expression of their wishes and fixed determinations on that head must also be conceded them. And that also must have its weight with you in the final decision. In fact, I cannot see what career America is likely to offer that can surpass the outlook rational enough for you here, should certain probable contingencies arrive;—and I, for one, will continue to assert that England and old friends have a better right to you than America and new.—— However, no doubt you will deliberate well; and do what is wisest when the time comes.

Our history here has not been important since I wrote last; and of all historians I have the least ability to specify what it particularly was or is. I sit at home, over wretched old German Books, the stupidest in Nature; and know nothing that happens, or instantly forget it:—I believe the sudden violent frost we have had, in the heel of the softest winter ever known, is really our notablest occurence. Last Sunday I saw innumerable multitudes skating on the Serpentine;3—and now we are in the convulsive agonies of a February thaw; and shall have mud enough before Spring comes to hand.— Our new Parliament is busy debating, but I hear nothing of it; not the “emancipation of the Jews,” even, can rouse me from my political torpor; I say, “Be it, then, as Demiurgus Russell, and the National Palaver, will!”4 Hudson has got into Chancery, or something like it; and evil tongues are again loose on him,—“poor dumb brute,” as the Scotch say, when an animal is getting punished!5

Mazzini's “Insurrection” is not quite so wretched, it wd appear, as the picture given of it in the Newspapers; that is to say, Mi. has extenuating circumstances, “incalculable accidents” &c &c to alledge for himself: but in any case, the transaction is clearly definable as insane; and, I shd suppose, must have quite ruined the political significance of poor Mi.—6 not to me a very lamentable result; and if it would annihilate his political activity as well, one might call it a welcome one.

Adieu, dear Clough: no man had ever such a pen;—and the time too is up and more! Send me some farther word about New England and yourself, when a good hour comes. Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle