The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 15 December 1819; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18191215-TC-JAC-01; CL 1:214-215.


Edinr, 15th December 1819—

My dear Jack,

Your cold has, I trust, by this time entirely left you. From experience, I know it to be a vile distemper, and the parent of many others. You must take particular care of wet or even damp feet, as your throat, for a while, will be more than usually liable to such affections.

Your writing mends apace; and your progress in the Latin seems to be very rapid. At the end of your Rudiments you will find several pages of the new testament in latin; it is as good for reading as any thing you can get in the interim. About two or three weeks hence I expect you will be ready for Cornelius Nepos.1 There is a little copy of it, about the house which you may look for and try; but if you like, upon examining it, I shall send you a late edition of the work with notes and a little dictionary at the end. It is much easier to read in that shape: indeed if I had not been obliged, to write Jardine about a book of his in my possession, and to pack boxes &c in such a monstrous hurry, I would have gone over to David Brown's2 and got it for you this night. Persevere my lad, and [when] I return to Annandale let me find an expert latinist. I am glad you ha[ve] attacked Hume. Your remarks are just as far as I can determine. Egbert, Alfred & Harold were men of note in their own times. Alfred particularly must have been a great man: but he lived in a fabulous age. Do you remember Canute, and Leolf the robber who killed the King (Edmond?) at his own table? After the bastard of Normandy William the (Conquisitor, acquirer, falsely called) conqueror, the narrative becomes more and more interesting.3

I have scarce got time to try on the clothes yet. I suppose however, they will do well enough. What tempted the man to send radiated buttons. The waistcoat and gaiters can come next time.— I send you Johnston's letter,4 to read for the benefit of the house. You will send it back next time the Carrier comes: and you need not shew it to any one, except the Bogside people or any of his relations if they require it. Poor James! he has had a fearful passage to the new hemisphere. May he be happy in it, as his innocent, honest mind deserves! You may send the letter back when you have done with it. I have not yet written an answer; because the Halifax mail does not leave London till the first Wednesday of January.

I am in a great haste; so you must excuse brevity & blunders. Believe me to be,

My dear Jack, / Your affectionate brother, /

Thomas Carlyle—

Make my compliments to all the brethren & sisters at home. Why do they not send me their copies?