October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO C. G. DUFFY ; 22 July 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460722-TC-CGD-01; CL 20: 256-257


Chelsea, 22 july, 1846—

My dear Sir,

I am just about escaping out of London, for a little movement and free summer air, of which I have rather need at present for more reasons than one: tomorrow afternoon I expect to be in Lancashire with some friends, where my Wife now is; the sea-breezes and the instantaneous total change of scene will be good so far as they go. My next goal, for another rest of longer or shorter continuance, must be my native place, Dumfriesshire on the other side of the Solway Frith, where I must aim to be about the first week of August.

One of my intermediate projects was a short flight over to Ireland; upon which I wish to consult you at present. A swift Steamer, I know, takes one over any evening (or I believe, morning) with the Mail bags: there is Dublin to be looked at for a day or two, there is “Conciliation Hall”1 to be seen, once; there you are to be seen, and talked with, oftener than once if you like:—many other things no doubt; but this is nearly all of definite that rises on me at present, and this, if other things go right, will abundantly suffice. In Dublin, and all places, I get nothing but pain out of noise and display; and insist, even at the expense of some breaches of politeness, on remaining altogether private; strictly incognito,—if there is any need of putting an “IN” to it, which sometimes (for poor mortals are very prurient, and run after Pickwicks and all manner of rubbish) I have found there was.— From Dublin I could get along, by such route as seemed pleasantest, to Belfast; and then on the proper day a Steamer puts me down at Annan, on the Scotch Border,—my old School-place; within six miles of the smoke of my Mother's cottage; very well known to me, all dead and a few living things, when once I am at Annan!—

This is the extent of my project; which may or may not become an action,—though I do hope and wish in the affirmative at present. What part of it chiefly depends on you is, to say whether or not you are in Dublin; how a sight of Conciliation Hall (I want nothing more but a sight with somebody to give me the names) in full work is to be obtained; and what else, if anything, you could recommend to the notice of a very abstruse and lonesome stranger taking a two-days glimpse of such a place. Do this for me if you please, so soon as you find an hour of leisure: my address is “Mrs Paulet's, Seaforth House, Liverpool,”—whither also if you could make your people send the Nation till new notice, it would save a little time and trouble to certain parties. But that latter point is, of course, not important.

Mr O'Connell, I am not much concerned to find, is somewhat palpably deserting “Repeal”;2 and getting into a truer relation, I suppose, towards the earnest men of Ireland, who do mean what they talk. I cannot say any man's word that I hear from your side of the water gives me anything like an unmixed satisfaction, except for most part your own: there is a candid clear manfulness, simplicity and truth in the things you write for your people (at least I impute them to you), which seems to me the grain of blessed unnoticed wheat among those whirlwinds of noisy chaff,—which afflict me as they pass on their way to Chaos, their fated inevitable way; but the wheat, I say to myself, will grow! So be it.—— Expecting a word from you soon / Yours always truly

T. Carlyle