January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO THE HON. SECRETARIES OF THE MANCHESTER ATHENAEUM ; 26 January 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430126-TC-HSMA-01; CL 16: 32-33


Chelsea, 26 jany, 1843—


I had the honour, several days ago, to receive your invitation to the Annual Meeting of the Athenaeum; for which I can now only return my thanks and regrets. The state of my arrangements here rendered it impossible for me to come; and, in some accidental confusion, your Note itself has been lost, so that I have too long neglected even to reply. Pray accept my excuses; attribute my delay to something better than neglect.

Your Institution, if I rightly understand it, is one to which all rational men will wish success. To provide the working people with a Place of Reunion, where they might enjoy books, perhaps music, recreation, instruction; and at all events, what is dearest to all men, the society and sight of one another: this is a thing of palpable utility, a thing at once possible and greatly needed;—it is a thousand pities this were not brought to pass, straightway, in all working Towns! I have regretted much, in looking at your great Manchester, and its thousand-fold industries and conquests, that I could not find, in some quarter of it, a hundred acres of green ground with trees on it, for the summer holidays and evenings of your all-conquering industrious men; and for winter-season and bad weather quite another sort of social meeting-places than the Gin-shops offered!— May all this, and much else, be amended. May good and best speed attend you and your benevolent associates in your attempts to amend some part of it.

I remain, with thanks and good wishes,

Yours very truly /

T. Carlyle