The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 27 August 1827; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18270827-TC-JAC-01; CL 4:249-250.


Comley Bank, Monday night [27 August 1827].

My Dear Jack— … Almost the only really good thing I have ever done in this world was the helping you forward to knowledge; which, believe me, you will yet find to be no worthless or sorrowful attainment; for however human nature may cavil and complain in its impatience, this culture1 is and continues the one greatest blessing which can fall to the lot of any man. Nay, I may say, if we speak of true culture, which, however, does not always dwell in colleges nor is always excluded from poor moorland huts, it is the only blessing which an immortal mortal would strive for.

But I must pause. The tidings of Alick's intention2 do not surprise me much, and certainly do not grieve me in any wise. If it make himself happier, it will make the whole arrangement lighter to us all. Jane, too, is very glad at it; for the difficulty of settling Alick's manner of existing in the house had not a little perplexed her. I shall expect to hear from him, and soon to see him.

Of our own selves expect nothing strange. All is as it should be, at least as it was. Jeffrey has sent me a note requesting the Opus Majus3 by the middle of next month, and enclosing a draft of twenty guineas for the article on Richter. You may conceive whether I am in a hurry, for I have not yet put pen to paper! I have merely been reading Horn,4 somewhat of Fichte, Schelling, etc., and have not yet shaped the thing into any form. Jeffrey is to call here one of these days: I saw him at Craigcrook for a few minutes, and found the little fellow friendlier than ever. I have written the Erwiederung [letter of response] to Weimar, and by this time I suppose it is in the middle of the German Ocean, if not already at Cuxhaven.— You see I am over with it! Excuse abruptness, error, and even stupidity.— I am ever your affectionate Brother,

T. Carlyle