The Collected Letters, Volume 12


CHRONOLOGY ; 1985; DOI: 10.1215/ed-12-chronology; CL 12: firstpage-12-xiii-lastpage-12-xiv


1840 January. 10: Penny post begins and more frequent, shorter letters are possible. Sends sheets of Chartism to Emerson. By 17: Fraser at work on a “second edition” of Chartism. Its reception. TC reading extensively in Scandinavian literature and bewailing the lack of good lending libraries.

February. Dr. John Carlyle to Ireland with his mentally disturbed patient William Ogilby. TC avoids wedding procession of Queen Victoria (10th). 21: the Carlyles attend the theater with Mazzini. Fraser produces his accounts.

March. TC riding daily while he plans new lectures on heroes; meets and describes Dickens, Lord and Lady Holland, and Lord Morpeth.

April. 1: TC attends London Library meeting arranged by Milnes and, though working hard on lectures, enthusiastically canvasses his friends. 3: asks Thomas Wilson to arrange his new series of lectures. 8: evening with Leigh Hunt and John Hunter. 10: second prospectus for London Library issued. 12: sends first reply to Geraldine Jewsbury, and begins to sketch out lectures that are completed by the end of the month. Miscellanies and the second impression of Chartism published.

May. “Lectures on Heroes” (on 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22 May), immensely successful. TC decides to rewrite them for publication. Progress with the London Library.

June. Rewriting of lectures; two finished this month. Weather hot, and Citoyenne much used for riding in the countryside. Committee meeting about the London Library (19th), and then the main public meeting (24th) at which TC makes a well-received speech. Angry letter written to the Times but not published. Irksome summons for jury duty (29th–30th).

July. Third lecture finished by mid-month; meets Lucretia Mott and American feminist anti-slavery delegates; a deputation of radical weavers from Paisley tries to enlist TC's public support. Sterling in London, in poor health. Plans fall through for a riding holiday with Cavaignac to Cambridge and the Cromwell country. Herman Merivale's astringent assessment published in Edinburgh Review. Fourth lecture finished.

August. TC rides to Leatherhead (2nd), holidays with Bullers, then on to Herstmonceux to J. Hare. Enjoys fresh air and visit to the Sussex coast despite hot weather; returns Citoyenne to the Marshalls (11th); continues revision of lectures. Tennyson visits the Carlyles.

September. Heroes and Hero-Worship completed (3rd). TC, bored and restless, considers and rejects plans to visit Scotland, and stays at home to read about the Cromwellian period and review Heintze's translation of Burns for the Examiner of 27th. Books supplied by Forster and by friends from Cambridge University. William Sewell's review appears in the Quarterly.

October. Continues reading about Cromwell. JWC maintains lively friendships with Fanny Wedgwood, Erasmus Darwin, Forster, and Mrs. Macready. TC restlessly searching for a subject. JWC tries to help by persuading Fraser to publish Heroes, but it is not published till 1841. The Carlyles' household shattered by the drunken outburst of their servant Helen Mitchell. TC borrows books from Lockhart. He mentions that he had declined to apply for the chair of rhetoric at Edinburgh.

November. Continues intensive reading. Fraser returns manuscript of Heroes; offer of £50 from Saunders & Otley rejected.

December. Another irksome jury duty. London Library committee meets and invites applications for post of librarian. TC sends a second copy of the Miscellanies to Mrs. Emerson, and sees Mill after a long interval. Reading hard on the Cromwellian period.