The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO RICHARD OWEN ; 9 May 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530509-TC-RO-01; CL 28: 130-131


Chelsea, 9 May, 1853

Dear Owen,

Here is an Extract of a Letter just received (after a long interval) from Emerson in America:1 if the man Mitchell2 ever come athwart you, pray bear it in mind.

— —“One other American you may meet, Mr O. M. Mitchell, of Cincinnati, an astronomer, who is a good specimen of Western energy. He is an excellent observer (in his Observatory), and an inventor of telegraphic clock &c; known to your Airey and Adams.3 He visits London now on behalf of a Railroad Company in Ohio,—which has made him rich. He knows the Missisippi4 River;—and if you have opportunity to say to Mr Owen, or Mr Forbes, or other Somerset-House gentlemen,5 that our Mitchell is a Lecturer of very considerable talent, and should be heard at Albemarle Street,6 I think you will please him and them. He sent, or his friends sent, to me for” &c &c.

This is all my message about Mitchell; whom perhaps you have not heard of in London, any more than I; and who perhaps (it appears) has gone his ways again before this.7 If he ever do appear in your sphere of things, however, and have not yet gone his ways, then pray remember this notice, and consider it (according to Emerson's wont) an exact one, counterpart of the Mitchell fact—and decide that Albemarle Street may have something to do with it, or can have nothing, according as that other fact may be. If the man really has a capacity of telling mankind about the Missisippi Valley and its pigs and rattlesnakes and Indian Corn and adipocere [waxy fat], in an authentic and not too wordy manner, “I guess” he might be worth hearing in Albemarle Street for an hour.— A good American man Emerson, thro' me an indifferent British one, has hereby bequeathed his case to you.

I never saw more of you after that night in the Athenaeum; but I always calculate you will turn up by and by, with good omens, nevertheless. I am sunk very deep in multiplied confusion [two words missing] this long while; and sinking ever deeper; likely to get finally out of sight (I often think), and safe beyond soundings at last!—

Yours with true regards always

T. Carlyle

Professor Owen

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