April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 3 April 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440403-TC-RWE-01; CL 18: 7-8


Chelsea, 3 April, 1844—

Dear Emerson,

Till within five minutes of the limit of my time, I had forgotten that this was the third of the Month;1 that I had a Letter to write acknowledging even money! Take the acknowledgement, given in all haste, not without a gratitude that will last longer: the 36 pounds and odd shillings came safe in your Letter; a new unlooked-for Gift.2 America, I think, is like an amiable family teapot; you think it is all out long since, and lo, the valuable implement yields you another cup, and another! Many thanks to you, who are the heart of America to me.

Republishing for one's friend's sake, I find on consulting my Bookseller, is out here; we have Pirates waiting for every American thing of mark, as you have for every British: to the tender mercies of these, on both sides, I fancy the business must be committed. They do good too; as all does, even carrion: they send you faster abroad, if the world have any use for you;—oftenest it only thinks it has. Your Essays, the Pirated Essays make an ugly yellow tatter of a Pamphlet price 1/6; but the edition is all sold, I understand: and even Nickisson has not entirely ceased to sell. The same Pirate who pounced upon you made an attempt the other day on my poor Life of Schiller,3 but I put the due spoke in his wheel. They have sent me Lowell's Poems; they are bringing out Jean Paul's Life &c &c; the hungry canaille [scoundrels]. It is strange that men should feel themselves so entirely at liberty to steal, simply because there is no gallows to hang them for doing it.4——— Your new Book will be eagerly waited for by that class of persons; and also by another class which is daily increasing here.5

The only other thing I am “not to forget” is that of the Essay on Consciousness in Blackwood. The writer of those Papers is one Ferrier, a Nephew of the Edinburgh Miss Ferrier who wrote Marriage and some other Novels; nephew also of Professor Wilson (Christopher North), and married to one of his Daughters.6 A man of perhaps five-and-thirty; I remember him in boyhood, while he was boarded with an Annandale Clergyman;7 I have seen him since manhood, and liked him well: a solid, square visaged dark kind of man, more like your Theodore Parker than any mutual specimen I can recollect. He got the usual education of an Edinburgh Advocate; but found no practice at the Bar, nor sought any with due anxiety, I believe; addicted himself to logical meditations;—became, the other year, Professor of Universal History or some such thing in the Edinburgh University, and lectures with hardly any audience: a certain young public wanted me to be that Professor there,8 but I knew better.— Is this enough about Ferrier?

I will not add another word; the time being past, irretrievable except by half-running!

Write us your Book; and be well and happy always!

[signature cut away]