January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


TC TO JOHN STUART MILL; 1 June 1835; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18350601-TC-JSM-01; CL 8:125-127.


Chelsea, Monday [1 June 1835]—

My Dear Mill,

I apply to you this morning for advice and help in regard to a new matter; very confident that you will put forth all your strength for me, be the result something or nothing.

On Saturday I accidentally heard from Molesworth that Roebuck's Education Committee (of which Sir W. is a member) was to meet on Tuesday (tomorrow), for the purpose of recommending “a Commission”: this seemed to be all that was yet fixed on; it was all at least that I could learn about it.1

You are not ignorant I think of my individual views as to that matter; my great wish to be employed in such a business; my feeling that it is almost the only business I could with perfect heartiness and any considerable appliance of faculty employ myself on here. What the nature and modes of it are I cannot pretend to know, at present, almost at all; or indeed whether my pretending to it were not a sheer solecism: so dark is my whole London environment to me; so inexperienced am I in the ways of public men and things. This only is clear to me: that there must probably be faculty in me equal to that of an average Commissioner; that I could work faithfully and even zealously in this task; finally that I have pressing need of some such task here,—and indeed, if I find none such, am not without serious thoughts of bundling,2 and trying other climates and other circumstances. This last point I will explain when we meet.

What then can you do? Perhaps you might go to Roebuck, or to whoever else is suitable in your circle, and ascertain two things: what the precise nature of this appointment of Education Commissioner will be, the duties expected &c &c; secondly the mode of nominating to it, by whom, on what grounds and the like.3 This once clear to you, the whole would be moderately clear: you know me pretty well, and knowing this thing pretty well, you could bring us in apposition, see how we suited.— I have mentioned the matter to Charles Buller only; who engages with great readiness to do all he can for me (speak to Lord John Russel[l]4 in my behalf); and is meanwhile charged like you to gather knowledge about the thing, and give me advice. I shall probably see him on Thursday night (when you too I think are to be there): but whether we shall have time to speak of that is not very certain for that occasion.

I write in great haste; but I daresay you make out what I mean: pray turn it over in your mind, and let me have it back from you in a more organic shape. As Napoleon says I find myself “in a new position,”5 and am not the expertest in changing positions: however, the old position must be changed, do it as I may. Help me, my good friends!

Can you come hither on Wednesday night? We are to be at home.—Ever faithfully,

T. Carlyle.

Hannah More6 came; but I cannot buckle to it now: I do not even cut up the leaves that needless expense be not incurred. The Book is of that species that threatens one reading it with locked-jaw: yet we have three Editions. Fearful and wonderful!