October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO THOMAS ERSKINE ; 28 February 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460228-TC-TE-01; CL 20: 127-128


Feb. 28, 1846.

I must not complain; I am bound to rejoice rather: but I did not so much need the new money I am to get; and I can honestly say the feeling of faithfulness to a hero's great memory and to my own small task in regard to that is nearly the only consideration that practically weighs with me. The unmusical or musical voice of critics, totally ignorant of the matter for most part, and of most insincere nature at any rate, gives me little pain and little pleasure any more. We shall be dead soon, and then it is only the fact of our work that will speak for us through all eternity. One thing I do recognise with much satisfaction, that the general verdict of our poor loose public seems to be that Oliver was a genuine man, and if so, surely to them a very surprising one.1 It will do them much good, poor bewildered blockheads, to understand that no great man was ever other; that this notion of theirs about “Machiavelism,” “Policy,” and so forth, is on the whole what one might call blasphemous—a real doctrine of devils.