October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO C. G. DUFFY ; 12 March 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460312-TC-CGD-01; CL 20: 140-142


Chelsea, 12 March, 1846

My dear Sir,

I have received the Annotated Sheets this day;1 and am abundantly sensible of the trouble you have taken,—in reference especially to such a matter, which many good feelings in you, in the twilight we yet look at it under, call upon you to hate and not to love! In spite of all obstructions, my fixed hope is, that just men, Irish and English, will yet see it as God the Maker saw it; which I think will really be a very point gained for all of us, on both sides of the Water. It is not every day that the Supreme Powers send any Missionary, clad in light or clad in lightning, into a Country, to act and speak a True Thing there:—and the sooner all of us get to understand, to the bottom, what it was that he acted and spoke, it will most infallibly be the better every way! Nations, and men, that cannot understand Heaven's Message, because (which very often happens) it is not agreeable to them,—alas, the sum of all National and Human sins lies there; and our frightful doom is, “To follow the message of the other place, then!”— — I believe you to be a good man, and one of the Chosen of Ireland, or I would not write these things to you. Certainly if you could abolish the scene of Portnadown Bridge,2 and other such, out of my mind, you would do me a real kindness; and indeed it is mostly gone, or altogether gone, out of the memory of England, fierce as it once stood there: but out of the memory of Ireland it ought never to go—Oh no, not till Ireland be very much other than it yet is! And a just and faithful Son of Ireland has something quite other to do with it than tell his countrymen to forget it.

I also find, on evidence which you will see by and by, that the Wexford ‘200 women,’ the ‘massacre’ at Tredah,3 and indeed any massacre at all on Cromwell's part,—is indisputable Fable; and can do nothing but mischief till it vanish from all heads and tongues. You, I believe, are individually as far lifted above the rubbish of Papistry as I am above that of Protestantry;— and might understand, by much meditating, what it was that Cromwell (a man also lifted far above all “rubbish,” in his time) did mean, and the eternal Heaven along with him, in Ireland:—if you cannot, there is no other Irishman yet born, I suppose, that can;—and we shall have to wait for him; perhaps with terrible penalties for his not being here!

Some friendly critic upbraids me, on one of those sheets, That I do not admit the Irish to be a Nation. Really and truly that is the fact. I cannot find that the Irish were in 1641, are now, or until they conquer all the English, ever again can be, “a Nation,” anything but an integral constituent Part of a Nation,4—any more than the Scotch Highlands can, than the Parish of Kensington can. Alas, the Laws of Nature in regard to such matters (what used to be called God's Laws) are very difft indeed from those written down in Books of Sentiment;—as many a poor Polander, and the like, finds to his cost!— — Nay, do not stamp this Note under your feet:—or at least pick it up again; and read my thanks, my real regard for you—and best wishes in all things.

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle

The Printer I believe has most of the ‘Irish Campaign’ in types: but I will profit carefully by your corrections still.5