1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


CHRONOLOGY; 2001; DOI: 10.1215/ed-29-chronology; CL 29: firstpage-29-xxiii-lastpage-29-xxvii


1854 January. After settling his mother's affairs at Scotsbrig, TC returns to London (2). Émile Montégut sends TC books and materials, particularly on Voltaire. TC consults Neuberg about the Illinois bonds, once thought worthless, which are sent to Charles Butler to manage (11, 17). Restless and unhappy after his mother's death, TC turns to clearing things up before working on Frederick, seeing no one but Chorley and Neuberg (13). Without the responsibility for his mother, Dr. John Carlyle takes up translating Dante's Purgatorio, encouraged by TC. TC thanks Varnhagen von Ense for his gift of Bülows Leben (15). JWC writes to discourage Mary Smith from even thinking of being “assistant to a literary lady” (16).

February. TC tells Neuberg that he is tempted to give up Frederick (3). He writes to Lord Ashburton about Ashburton's ideas on education (9). Henry Inglis, John Ricardo, and G. H. Lewes all call at Cheyne Row. TC ignores begging letters, feels low in spirits, and says he gets on badly with his work. Isabella Carlyle's sister, Martha Park, dies of cancer (28).

March. William Allingham sends JWC his poems, which she warmly praises. TC is interested in the Northcote-Trevelyan report on Civil Service recruitment (1). JWC writes to say that she has met her cousin, Janet Pringle (3). “Burns” is published in Chapman & Hall's “Reading for Travellers” (4). TC reads Henry Drummond on the fate of Christianity, and, “deducting ‘Christ’ &c,” approves. TC tells John Carlyle that Anthony Sterling has called: he is to be Gen. Colin Campbell's Brigade-Major in the Crimea (6). TC thanks Hugh Miller for his My Schools and Schoolmasters (9). Decorating of TC's new attic room is finally to be completed by papering (14). TC tells Lady Ashburton, “I am totally solitary here; delving and shovelling, in a painful, silent, not in a patient manner” (20).

April. John Wilson dies (3). TC acknowledges books from Montégut (4). He writes to Alick in Canada after a long silence, which he blames on troubles arising from their mother's death (8), and he acknowledges, with pleasure, Emerson's resumption of correspondence after a long silence (8). TC acts to help Allingham return to the Customs Service, from which he had resigned (16). The Carlyles are invited to Addiscombe for Easter (18–28), but Lady Ashburton's cold meant that they stay from just 20 to 24, including a visit to Sydenham (23) to see the reerected Crystal Palace. Charles Redwood dies (21).

May. TC writes David Laing about a national exhibition of Scottish portraits in 1855 (3). The Carlyles have dinner with the Procters (6); JWC sees in Mrs. Montagu “the pagan grandeur” of old age and writes of the Ruskins' separation (9). They also meet there the Dickenses, and the Noels, who are invited to tea at the Carlyles with Kinglake and Tom Taylor (13). The Carlyles call on Lockhart, finding him ill (15). TC admits that the attic study is “a most perfect failure” (11); he first uses it when he drafts the inscription for his mother's grave (16). TC tells John Carlyle (23) that the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland were considering TC's suggestions for the national exhibition in 1855 (22). The Rev. Thomas Wilson, for whom TC had found a post as tutor in Weimar, is prospering; TC circulates a leaflet advertising his school in Weimar (31).

June. Neuberg offers to go to the British Museum for TC (4). Lockhart calls (5). Dr. John Carlyle and Phoebe arrive in London (9). The Crystal Palace reopens (10). Nero escapes and is found (14). TC rejoices that he is to see his “Principessa nobilissima, carissima,” Lady Ashburton, the next day (15). TC writes to Gavan Duffy, afraid they are losing contact (22). Neuberg starts helping TC again (22) and calls regularly by appointment. JWC and TC at Addiscombe (24–25).

July. TC declines Spring Rice's offer of a sea trip (4). He asks Sir Frederick Madden for a quiet room in the British Museum to consult the Mitchell papers (10) but is refused. The Twisletons call (10). Geraldine Jewsbury has decided to move to London (13). G. H. Lewes and Marian Evans leave for Germany together (20). TC thanks Neuberg for fair-copying his “Prinzenraub” (27).

August. James Hannay calls (2). Dickens publishes Hard Times, dedicated to TC (7). Neuberg and TC continue the research on Frederick. Lord de Grey offers TC the use of his family papers. Phoebe Carlyle is ill following a railway accident (17) and dies after a miscarriage (26); Geraldine Jewsbury, now lodging nearby, helps JWC. Phoebe is buried in Brompton Cemetery (30).

September. Neuberg leaves for Germany. John Carlyle takes his stepsons to Leamington. Erasmus Darwin has dysentery, but recovers (15). Mary Mills, Grace Welsh's former servant, dies. The Ashburtons are in Scotland. Lady Sandwich calls (17) and Lord and Lady Goderich visit (23) Cheyne Row. Lord Clarendon gives TC permission to research in the State Paper Office (28).

October. TC makes his first visit to the State Paper Office (3). Feeling solitary, he steadily works at Frederick and arranges for Robert Tait to photograph the Ashburtons' copy of Pesnes's picture of Frederick as “The Little Drummer.” The Carlyles unavailingly invite Delia Bacon to stay while she looks for lodgings (4). Lord Ashburton takes away TC's shaving gear (8); TC stops shaving (9). TC arranges the engraving of Phoebe's gravestone for John Carlyle (17). TC writes a letter of support to Lewes in the face of rumors about Lewes's leaving his wife. Tait takes more photographs. Thomas Woolner calls (19); so do Professor J. S. Blackie, Neuberg, and the Wedgwoods (22). TC thanks William Bell Scott for his poems. Tait starts painting his first portrait of TC (28).

November. The Carlyles dine at the Lowes' (3). TC declines an invitation to lecture in New York “next winter” (7). JWC “miserable” about the Crimean War (7). TC visits Windsor Castle to look at the collection of prints in the Royal Library and meets Prince Albert (8). Work continues on the attic study, and TC is “banished” for a week (24).

December. Repairs to the study are finished (1). Ellen Twisleton visits JWC (1) before going to Paris. Eckermann dies (3). TC is nominated (in opposition to Disraeli) as a candidate for the rectorship at Glasgow University, but after controversy both names are withdrawn. After keeping to the house with a cold, JWC plans a visit to the Grange without TC, but the visit is postponed indefinitely. JWC has been sent a MS by Reichenbach to place in a journal and asks Neuberg's help (22). There are calls from Professor Vaughan and from Thomas Ballantyne, who is to edit a selection from Carlyle for Chapman (22); another selection is being prepared in Germany. On the anniversary of his mother's death, TC occupies himself writing to his sister Jean and walking, and JWC takes an omnibus into the city (25). John Carlyle is at Clifton with two of his stepsons. JWC still sends money to Mary Russell for Margaret Hiddlestone and others (30). “The Prinzenraub” appears in the Westminster Review. Isabella Irving, Edward's widow, dies (28).

1855 January. The Carlyles spend a quiet new year. Eliza Snowden visits JWC with news of Isabella Irving's death. Neuberg continues his regular Sunday visits. TC thanks Robert Tait for his copies of portraits of Luther's parents (15). Coventry Patmore and Thomas Woolner are invited to call (18). JWC writes to the Donaldsons in Haddington, pleased that they had liked a picture of TC before he grew his beard (19). TC thanks Ruskin for his Stones of Venice, 2 and 3, and invites him to visit (23). Thomas Carlyle the advocate dies (28). TC goes to one of Milnes's breakfasts along with the Bunsens, Thirlwall, and Layard (29); he thanks Alexander Gilchrist for his life of William Etty (30).

February. TC asks Harriet Grote if she has books on Voltaire's life to borrow (8). With Neuberg's help, work steadily continues on Frederick, though TC laments Lady Ashburton's absence and continues being very critical about the Crimean War (8). JWC writes her “BUDGET of a Femme incomprise” about her domestic finances, which leads to an improvement in them (12). TC writes to Lord Ashburton about some of Ashburton's writings on political economy (14). Forster and Darwin invited to dine (19). TC calls often on John Carlyle, now staying nearby. The winter is exceptionally cold.

March. TC refuses an invitation to stand for rector of Edinburgh University (1). There is deep gloom at the Crimean news. Robert Tait is busy with photographs of TC's mother's portrait, which TC then distributes to his brothers and sisters. JWC drives out with Erskine (23) and lunches with Mrs. Farrer (24). TC thanks Gerald Massey for his War Waits (23). About this time Major David Davidson leaves his card at Cheyne Row, and JWC happily writes to him. JWC chaperones Jewsbury to a soirée at the Milnes's.

April. The Twisletons, Elizabeth Gaskell, the Wedgwoods, Darwin, and Geraldine Jewsbury at Cheyne Row for the evening (4). TC writes about the date of their mother's birth to Janet Hanning (8) and others in the family. He writes to Alexander Herzen, the Russian radical exiled in London (13). John Carlyle goes to Edinburgh for surgery. TC is ecstatic at an invitation to visit Lady Ashburton (13). He writes scathingly about Napoleon III, who was in London on an official visit (13, 20). He begins to be saddled with the affair of raising support for the Lowe sisters, one of whom was Dr. Johnson's goddaughter (22), and with John Forster's help he devotes himself to the matter for months to come. Ellen Twisleton visits JWC while Edward goes upstairs to TC (30).

May. TC sends Forster a draft memorial about the Lowes to be sent to the prime minister. John Carlyle returns from Scotland (6). TC is visited by A. H. Clough (6) and has a “great Dinner” to attend with Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale, the guest of honor (11); he reports to Emerson on his own progress and that of the war (13). He writes to an American correspondent about international copyright (14). The Lowes are helped by Miss Burdett Coutts (17). TC writes to Arthur Helps about Helps's new book, The Spanish Conquest in America (17). Laing sends him the proofs of TC's proposal for a national exhibition of Scottish portraits (20). He writes to Ruskin (23), and mentions the Administrative Reform movement to Forster (30). JWC has lunch with the Twisletons (30).

June. TC writes again to Helps (2). He advises Delia Bacon on publishers and gives her a supporting letter (7). JWC invites David Davidson to dinner with Tennyson on 14 (9). TC and Forster continue earnest work for the Lowe appeal (15); they plan to send a public appeal to the Times if other methods fail. TC continues sending Neuberg research questions (19, 22). TC visited by Joseph Howe. TC looks forward to a holiday, “cannot quite yet be” (27), and he and JWC arrange to visit Ruskin at Denmark Hill “next week” (29). TC tells Lady Ashburton, “I wish you were here” (30).