July 1836-December 1837

The Collected Letters, Volume 9


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 30 November 1836; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18361130-TC-AC-01; CL 9:96-98.


Chelsea, Wednesday [30 November 1836]—

My dear Alick,

I shall begin to believe in our good luck: nothing could be luckier than this. I had written the inclosed last night;1 and the Frank was all ready for closing, when just in the nick of time this morning comes your good and welcome Letter,2 which I can still acknowledge. Many thanks to you for it; for all the news you send me. It is a sad, obstructed Picture you give me; but a sincere one, a true one; that I can see. We must pluck up a heart, Boy; it will never do, that sort of existence: we must say to it, Thou must and thou shalt alter!3

I do not like to give you any such weighty advice: but really, looking at the matter with all deliberateness, I should say our worthy Brother John's plan was the feasible one.4 It is a country this, where as you say the Maker of Bread cannot get Bread to eat. It is a country smitten with a curse;—which will not free itself therefrom without still worse pangs! Why not say: I leave thee, in the name of God? America is not a country of strangers; it is a country of our Brothers. I individually seem to have more Friends there than here. Besides they are, as it were, building a Bridge over: there is little doubt but there will be Steamboats ere long, and a passage of not many days. There is soil, at any rate: God will give you bread, if you plough there, and man shall not snatch it away. What if before you are yet forty, while your strength is at its best, you should actually with one brave effort cut yourself loose! I advise you to consider it, with calmness, with courage; long and well.— Have nothing to do with Tom Grahame, and his clout of moss; hunger, hunger, nothing but hunger and toil lies there.5— If you think seriously of America, I will write to John Greig6 (I once spoke of him, he is from Moffat), a powerful man in New York State: he may be able to do you all a service. It seems to me I shall be there, one day, myself. God direct you! God go with us all, whithersoever our course lies.—— I am better today, a little farther; and have done a bit of a Task, with headache much subdued: I am now for out; in spite of the glar [mud]. Jane sends her kind remembrances and regards, especially to Jenny and the Bairns. God be with you, dear Brother.

T. Carlyle

That is my last letter out of America; that one from Emerson: one of the best people seemingly I have ever met with. You can read it, and give it to my Mother. His place is New England; you will find it in the Map.

Jane's headache too is improving today. Farewell again one and all of you!

This Frank is not restricted as to weight: a “Government Frank”; blessings on it!