The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN CHAPMAN ; 6 June 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530606-TC-JCH-01; CL 28: 162-163


Chelsea, 6 June, 1853—

Dear Sir,

I have read the Letters, and some part of the Article: I find things are in an unsatisfactory condition between Fn.1 and you.

The Article, it clearly appears to me, will not do in its present state: and yet the general tenor of it is probably true, as conceived in the Writer's mind; and there are many good, lively and searching observations in it, which it might be profitable both for the Wr Review and for the Public of England to be partakers of, just now. These, and in general the services and cooperation of Fn, I should be sorry that you lost.

At the same time, it must be owned, this Article, consisting wholly of invective, and taking no sympathetic consideration of the Per-Contra side, is actually (one may say) unjust to the poor Parsons; and an impartial reader, however heartily he start in the business, and applaud the details as it goes on, gets gradually disaffected; and longs for some quiet place of survey, on higher ground than the Writer ever assumes, or at least ever dwells on. The whole matter grows at last too like a “railing accusation,”—which tone those that best sympathize in the accusation itself will not be among the last to take offence at.

I could fancy a dextrous swift Editor cutting out pieces of this Article, and introducing here and there a modifying paragraph of more solid matter,—which, like additional slices of bacon introduced into the superabundant mustard (if you can excuse that figure), might bring out a comfortable result after all! But where is that thrice-dextrous deepseeing “Able Editor?” And besides, perhaps the trouble would be too great.

You and Fn ought not to fly asunder; not, if you can help it, at least not till you have ascertained that there is no method of going together. By Letter you will not be able to negotiate anything about this Article or about others. In an interview, continued at discretion, you might get to the bottom of the affair,—if it chanced to have any bottom.— I have sealed up the Mss &c in its cover; and the whole lies here under your address, ready for any messenger you may send for it.

I ought to say in conclusion that all this, of firing light or heavy shot into modern Orthodoxy, Battles of Churches, Creeds of Christendom &c &c is, to me as an individual, heartily uninteresting, and even sad and distressing, tho' I know it is necessary and has to be. The “triangular duel” of Holyoakism,2 Pantheism & Pottheism I consider to be a confused inevitability; but am, for myself, quite over the hills and far away from it, and prefer much more so to abide.—Believe me

Yours very truly /

T. Carlyle.