The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON ; 2 August 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380802-TC-JJGW-01; CL 10: 141-142


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea / 2nd August 1838

Dear Sir

Accept my best thanks for your gift of Em Swedenborg's work,1 and for the kind sentiments you entertain towards me. That an earnest fellow man recognizes an earnest meaning in us, and with brotherly heart wishes us success in our special course of endeavour: this is a true benefit, one of the truest and purest we can receive in this world. Alas, each man, enveloped in his own peculiarities and confused tortuosities, is in great part hidden from all men; seen only of the maker of men! It is much if we can discern here and there darkly as thro tumults and vapour, that here also is a brother struggling whither we struggle; and call to him from the distance, “Good speed to thee also!”

Hitherto I have known nearly nothing of Swedenborg; or indeed I might say less than nothing, having been wont to picture him as an amiable but inane visionary with affections quite out of proportion to his insights; from whom nothing was to be learned. It is so we judge of extraordinary men. But I have been rebuked already: a little Book by one Sampson Reed of Boston in New England which some friend sent hither,2 taught me that a Swedenborgian might have thoughts of the calmest sort on the deepest things; that in short I did not know Swedenborg, and ought to be ready to know him.

I hope to find due leisure for studying this Book of yours before many days. I engage to read it with my best attention. Meanwhile, soliciting a continuance of your goodwill

I remain / Dear Sir / Yours with thanks

T. Carlyle