January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 22 November 1829; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18291122-TC-JAC-01; CL 5:36-38.


Craigenputtoch, Sunday Night [22 November 1829].

My Dear Jack,

I have a piece of good news for you, which, as there is an opportunity for Dumfries tomorrow, I lose no time in transmitting.

Mrs Montagu has sent a Letter,1 apparently without loss of time, for it answers the other precisely in a week: I forward you some Extracts from it, meaning to send the whole, if you wish it, on Wednesday:

“I have written,” she says, “to Mrs Badams, her Husband being in Liverpool, and have desired from her a speedy reply to this simple question: ‘Has any Physician stepped into the vacancy which Badams mentioned to me as having occurred at Warwick?’— Her answer is all that can be wanted; ‘for I did not seek to unsettle your worthy Brother by any communication of such a spirit-troubling nature’ [as the former was]2 ‘without a serious communication3 with Badams, who viewed the matter in every light, and agreed with Mr Montagu and myself that Dr Carlyle had every prospect4 of succeeding. This adventure will also be carried on at less risk than in London, where a man's abilities are rated by his equipage and,[’] &c &c xxxx5, “In a small inexpensive town like Warwick, where persons can look coolly into the merit6 of a man, Dr Carlyle would be appreciated according to his deserts; and the neighbourhood of a well-frequented Watering-Place would extend the sphere of his practice, and place him above any little Cabal in the aforesaid small town. Birmingham itself is not particularly well furnished with medical merit; and a clever man might be often called in, in difficult cases, as Badams admitted.

“Your Brother has also a good name: if he had been Jackson, or Thomson, or Johnson, or any of the ‘sons of little men,’7 at so fashionable a place as Leamington, a year or two more of difficulty might have been expected: but ‘Carlyle,’ a name already connected with literary and medical celebrity,—there is healing in the very sound of it.— Will you give our united kind regards to the Doctor, and tell him that we have room for him here in our house, and that he has already found a place in our hearts, that Place, which you,” &c &c8

This is all, dear Doctor, that relates in any measure to you and the Warwick enterprize; which you hereby see wears a rather smiling face. If Goave is still sedulously active at the Post-Office, you may have this sheet before Wednesday, and tell us by Rob what you purpose. I think, clearly enough, there is nothing to be done, but pack forthwith, and set off, at least to look at it with your own eyes. You might write to Andrew Anderson9 directly that you are coming (I will try to get you his address on Wednesday); from thence find out Badams, who cannot always loiter in Liverpool, and after close practical survey of the ground, pitch your tent on it, or march farther, or retrace your steps as you saw good. For my share I think it a very fair opening; and one which I should rejoice to see filled by your person rather than another's.

It is late tonight; so I say no more but in case of accidents, will enclose the letter for you on Wednesday; now that I think of it, your wishes on that subject cannot be known in time. And so good night for the present!

Jane left me today for Templand, after pining in hope deferr[ed]10 for a week; and I am left all alone. My Schiller has not actually [halted] but a languor was observable in his movements; and a tougher [effort] will be necessary.

I have spent all the night with Alick and Mary in their house, as their guest to “tea and supper.” They are quite well; and unite with me in best hopes and wishes for this Warwick business.

How is our Father? Write with some minuteness; and tell me about Mag and my Mother. My best love to all and every one! I am ever,

Your affectionate Brother, /

Thomas Carlyle