January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 4 May 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590504-TC-JAC-01; CL 35: 84-85


Chelsea, 4 May, 1859—

Dear Brother,—You need not give yourself much or any farther bother abt Dunlop's1 affair, except to shake him and it handsomely loose again. The Glaisters-Blackmark Territory2 in question is scarcely worth any money at all; and to my (ignorant) fancy it wd almost be a question whether if a gift were made of it, the prize wd be worth fencing with dry-dike, on such terms as mine wd be!—— It were of course rather good that the two Properties were bounded by the Highway,3 now that there is one; and a few pounds wd not be grudged by me for that object;4 but I think they wd require to be very few, as that is the waste of wastes according to all recollection I have of it! Act on that view,—suppressing the emphasis used here; whh indeed even abstinence from farther action will sufftly do, if otherwise advisable. Unbeschreiblich ruhig [inexpressibly quiet] we may remain under this offer of increased dominions in the Planet Earth!—

On comparing notes, I find this Dunlop will be the Half-Brother of the once famous and always rather likeable “Teeger Wull”5 (who died, a rough Eremite, in Canada, some years ago);—who always esteemed this relative at a very low figure (“Canting, hardhearted, hypocritical sneak,” said the plain-spoken Tiger, and wd have no trade with him more or less);—whether justly or not we need not trouble ourselves inquiring: he can rest on the above basis, his Proposal & he.

Jane continues slowly improving, in spite of the weather; has been out a little in the Drawing room these two days,—always on the sofa, close wrapt; and able to read light matter at intervals.

Did not I send you Mill's Essay on Liberty? I meant it; and do not now find the Book here.6 In my life I have never read a serious ingenious clear logical Essay7 with more perfect and profound dissent from the basis it rests upon, and most of the conclusions it arrives at. Very strange to me indeed; a curious monition to me what a world we are in! As if it were a sin to control, or coerce into better methods, human swine in any way;—as if the greater and the more universal the “liberty” of human creatures of the Swine genus, the more fatal all-destructive and intolerable were not the “Slavery” the few human creatures of the man genus are thereby thrown into, and kept groaning powerless under.8 Ach Gott im Himmel!

Tomorrow, if I have time to wrap it, you shall have Buckle's Io-Paean [high praise] upon Mill,9—not read by me but guessed to be the loudest30-ass power utterance yet heard on the subject.— Adieu, in haste. T. Carlyle