August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 30 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580630-TC-RWE-01; CL 33: 262


Cummertrees, Scotland (for Chelsea London) 30 june, 1858—

Dear Emerson,

I do not remember if, while you were among us, you heard much of Mr Scott, or made any personal acquaintance with him: but the truth is, he has been conclusively known, this long while, to a select and ever-widening circle as one of the few distinguished thinkers of his time; a man of real intellect, earnestness, originality, and depth;—prevented (or perhaps preserved), by intricacies of position, by uncertain health, and other causes (merits, many of them) from being known so universally as he might well one day still be, and as many persons not worth naming along with him already are, in our loud time. He by no means tells all his secrets at once; but it is certain he has his secret, many curious secrets, abstrusely wrestled for, as he came thus far; and so much as he will impart of them, I have always considered to be extremely well worth listening to, and taking with me. His utterance, by Lecture or otherwise, which the cursory hearer considers free and felicitous in a high degree, will strike the considerate ear as still more remarkable by the much it hints at as being left unsaid.

Circumstances, of a legitimate nature, not an illegitimate as is commoner, bring him to lecture among you this Autumn; and if, by countenance, by good advice, by honest human welcome to a scene whh you know and whh he does not, you can in any way smooth the road for him, I doubt not, for my sake, for his, and for your own, it will be of the nature of a pleasure to you.

Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle