August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO WILLIAM NICHOL; 8 October 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18461008-TC-WN-01; CL 21:71.


Chelsea, 8 Octr, 1846—

Dear Sir,

I am just honoured by your Invitation to attend the Opening of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution; which certainly I do esteem an honour, and should be very glad to profit by, if I could. Some weeks ago I was myself in Scotland; so friendly a message, had it still found me there, might well have tempted me to take advantage of it. But at present the distance, the impediments, the miscellaneous difficulties are too great; and I must, with reluctance, deny myself that satisfaction.

Let me beg you to express to the Directors my regret and acknowledgements; my assurances that none can wish better to their honourable Enterprise, or would more gladly promote the essential interests of it, should that ever lie in my power.

Surely such Institutions do contain in them an aim which is worthy of all encouragement from every one: if their methods and procedure hitherto are chargeable with any want of wisdom, they that are “wise” should come and shew them better! I suppose the day of plain speaking, instead of idle complimenting, in regard to that and to other graver matters, to be really on the advance;—and in the meanwhile Experience itself, to men who clearly know their aim and strenuously endeavour after it, is by degrees an infallible Teacher.

With good wishes and good auguries, thanking heartily, I remain

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle

W. Nichol Esq, Secy &c