April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 10 December 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441210-TC-EF-01; CL 18: 280-281


Chelsea, 10 Decr 1844—

Dear Fitzgerald,

Thanks for your Copy of the Letter. It was, as you surmised, one of Dawson Turner's;1 but this is more of a facsimile—worth having too.

At Kimbolton2 I should think there must be Papers well worth sorting, if there were any one to do it. The first Earl of Manchester is in the centre of matters all thro' the reign of James, and to the Long Parlt time, when his Son comes into play,—who was one of the “Five Members” (or rather a “Sixth” member he, being already in the House of Lords); who was Oliver's Superior Officer till 1645;—all along one of the most conspicuous men of those times.3 I have seen many of his Letters in the Museum &c; and the hand is very easily read. I know no Family in all England half as worthy at present of having itself brought forth into daylight as that of the Montagues, of which this Duke of Manchester is now the head.4 But alas it cannot be done, I suppose. They will get some wretched twaddling ignoramus to do it, if they ever try to get anybody;—and he will do it like a Quack; in a way worthy to be burnt. It is very sad; but that has been the lot of the English Aristocracy that have Historical names, for a long while back. There is no Book more mournful to me than Collins's Peerage!5 I could sit down and weep in it, as in a Slaughterhouse of Heroisms. The accursed Blockhead; representative and outcome of millions of Block-heads and Blockheadisms, sad “consummate flower” of unutterable woes to us!

It is possible some Letters of Oliver to the second Earl of Manchester may lie in those Kimbolton repositories: of course if anybody can fish me out one or a number, it will be twice and three times welcome. But I hardly expect it.

Rejoice you in the Country; sung to sleep by the voice of the Sea.6 London is frightful; full of dust, storm and frost; jingling with tenfold noise, all being hard as iron; nothing but bluenosed cabmen in dreadful “comforters”—a bluenosed ugly population generally, all the women and their carriages being imprisoned by the cold. We have almost forgotten that there ever was any Sun; any sky except a hideous Coverlid woven out of coal-soot and every unclean emanation. I liken Piccadilly often, in my thoughts as I rush along, to———I will not say what locality!

Per me si va nella Città Dolente!7 Today there has been no daylight at all; the Heavens have fairly surrendered. I have sat with candles all day.

Ever yours truly /

T. Carlyle