The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JAMES GARTH MARSHALL ; 7 December 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18411207-TC-JGM-01; CL 13: 316-317


Chelsea, 7 Decr 1841—

My dear Marshall,

Many thanks for your new Letter; for your printed missives too, the last set of which arrived duly some days ago. I have read them all. In your own Addresses I rejoice to find a tone of right hearty earnest[ness], out of which, one way or other, good will not fail to come. The thing stated in them is true; the manner of stating it too has a real truth in it,—I mean a real honesty and humanity.

None of the others please me much. Hamer Stansfield speaks like a commonplace radical;1 in a hardheaded, but altogether coarse, harsh and shortsighted way: if his opinion be true, That all men are hungry Egoists, that “supply and demand” is the ultimate gospel, and the Soul of Man nothing other than the Stomach of Man,—then I say our miseries are irremediable, and we may as well at once lie down and die, without more of useless noise about it! BENTHAMISM, in all shapes, has had its say out now; and men, during the last ten years, have looked earnestly for the “do” of it; and found no “do”; alas, no verb that kind in its vocabulary: wherefore let it withdraw in Heaven's name,—or talk only in remote quarters, very remote indeed.

As for Holland,2 no more perfect ass has come across me for a long while: loud, unmelodious, stupid; altogether of a supreme stupidity. Yet he too means at bottom something; and even, in his darkness and insolent platitude, is groping towards a great thing. I told you once, we must have industrial barons, of a quite new suitable sort; workers loyally related to their taskmasters,—related in God (as we may well say); not related in Mammon alone! This will be the real aristocracy, in place of the sham one; a thing far from us, alas; but infallibly arriving for us;—infallibly, as I think, unless we are to go to wreck altogether.3 This the poor ass Holland has some feeling of, in a most dim manner; and he brays accordingly: “The Corn-Law and the Suffrage are by no means the solution of the matter.”

In fact I feel myself surprised at the entire faith you all seem to have in Suffrage; I for my own share having so very little! What is the importance of modes of electing till there be a man here and there worthy of being elected? If mere carrion exist in the market, what matter how it is weighed out? A people that has nothing to elect but Humes, O'Connells4 and such like, is welcome to elect them in what way it pleases or can!— It gives me real pain to have no faith at all in extension of suffrage at present.— Yet I heartily honor you who do pursue it, while it is your conviction. Across that pursuit too, I discern all manner of tendencies in you, which have my entire sympathy, which seem to me the best and truest. Persist, persist!

Your Brother the Member called here the other day; he told me Her Majesty was to be godmother to the new man-child.5 Vive la reine [Long live the queen]!

With many good wishes for you and yours, I remain always,

Most sincerely, /

T. Carlyle