October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO JOHN STUART MILL; 18 August 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340818-TC-JSM-01; CL 7:275-276.


Chelsea, Monday [18 August 1834].

My Dear Mill,

A not undeserving man, whom, I think, you have seen here, or heard me speak of by the name of Tom Holcroft, is setting out for Paris; and wishes to employ his few weeks of residence there in acquiring some knowledge of French things; especially things Political and Journalistic; having, as I gather, some views of corresponding with some English Newspaper or other during his absence. He is not one whose qualifications can reflect lustre on our side of the water; but also they will not reflect disgrace; for he means well, has strong lineaments of character, if not a character itself; on the whole, wants culture rather than faculty; and being a man I believe of manful demeanour, in rather a peculiar position, and to me in particular extremely obliging ever since I first saw him, he interests me a little.

I have given him a Note to Duveyrier,1 noting his claims as Holcroft the Dramatist's son, and Mercier the Conventionist's grandson;2 not without misgivings lest it come to nothing; for I do not so much as know Duveyrier's address. This latter deficiency at least I imagine you can supply. Holcroft lives No 13 Clifford's Inn. If you pass along Fleet-street (which I am not sure of) tomorrow morning, perhaps you could leave a Note addressed to him with the requisite indication: I am to be there at 11 o'clock, not after 11, and can complete Duveyrier's superscription as needful. The Porter of Clifford's Inn, close by St Dunstan's Church, will take the Note. If you do not pass that way, the Twopenny Postman will. Observe only that Tom goes off on Wednesday morning, and be not too late. If you had any Parcel or message to carry, doubtless he would be happy to take charge of it. So much for this.

I despatch the Carrier only today for the Books. All last week I was if not idle too differently engaged: with mere English matters, with Burns, even with Hannah More! The French business grows darker and darker upon me: dark as was chaos. Ach Gott!

A copy of Teufelsdröckh was ma[r]ked for you; another for Mrs Taylor; I hope the man sent them. As Byron said of his club-foot: Dinna speak o't!3

Am I not to see you soon?

Ever affectionately /

T. Carlyle.