1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO REV. JOHN LLEWELYN DAVIES; 13 March 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550313-TC-JLD-01; CL 29: 271-272


CHELSEA, 13 March 1855.


I very well remember you, and the good I got of your beautiful Plato;1 and I am truly obliged by your continued tolerance and kindly regard to me ever since. It is not much that one man can do for another: but the good will of worthy men is precious to a man, in all sorts of circumstances.

We of this Nation have indeed got into deep sloughs of disgraceful confusion;—and infinitely deeper lie ahead, I doubt, unless we can bethink ourselves in time (which is not likely, according to the present omens), and manage to do far other, in the way of reformation, than change ministries, and sit on Roebuck Committees about Mr Filder and Lord Raglan.2 Looking back to what we once were, and round on what we are; to what the Ancestral Heroisms and beneficent Providences had done for us, and to what we have, in the last two centuries, done for ourselves, in the train of all that:—I often think we have a really terrible account to settle with the Supreme Powers; who are now at last beginning to demand payment of us, and will have it to the last farthing, as their wont is! I think we have been more tolerant of Hypocrisy (which God Almighty chiefly hates), and have had more of it (of the “quiet” sort) to tolerate, than perhaps any Nation ancient or modern. If that is the case,—this Balaklava business is but a small matter to others that are coming.

Madder phenomenon than this Turk war, when I consider how we got into it, and with whom, and for whom, and how we have carried it on hitherto, never presented itself (in my opinion) to the eye of a thinking Englishman;—a rare species, I fear, just at present, and at any rate a silent one!

Thank God, we have each of us his own bit of work to do, and can do something of that, if we stand faithfully to it: which ought to be, at all times, and at the present time too, a sufficiently viaticum and support in our pilgrimage.

Believe me, Dear Sir, yours with sincere regards,