August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 18 March 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470318-TC-AC-01; CL 21:181-183.


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea London, 18 March, 1847

My dear Brother,— We yesterday received your Brantford Newspaper, dated about a month ago; a very welcome sign, with its two strokes: I forwarded the cover of it with a little Note to our Mother; today I am to send the Paper, which may be worth twopence to her, the sum that will carry it anywhither within our bounds here. The cost for bringing it to us was exactly one halfpenny. Pray do not neglect another such, direct to Scotsbrig or hither, when you cannot write.— We had news some time ago that your Liverpool Box had arrived;1 which gave us great satisfaction. Today being the American-mail day, I will, tho' in very great hurry, send along with the last Courier a small word of writing.

Our good old Mother, thanks be to Heaven, is still reported well: at Jack's departure she went to Dumfries; and there still continues; doing very well, they say; with Jenny, who has a nice little quiet place, looking out on a Roper's field, near the Courthouse,—near the Craigenputtoch end of Maxwelltown. From this our Mother goes down daily to Jean's at the bottom of Assembly street; talks with them, reads anything, newspaper or other, that is going; and, as I said already, is reported to do very well in her way. Good dear old Mother! We can do little for her: but we can all thank God that he has given us such a Mother, and still continues her with us. The winter, which has been very hard, is now at last gone, and we have bright South-western weather; which also will do her good.

Jack, as I believe he informed you, is come up to Town again; looking a shade grayer than before; but otherwise brisk and hearty; “touring about” in the old style; has no very special business that I see, but doubtless enjoys the change after a long absence. His project is, in a vague manner, To take up house, in some neat way, with our Mother and Jenny, somewhere about Dumfries, and do what medical practice he likes, gratis:—really one of his most rational projects; but you know he is very difficult to tackle, and so will probably consume yet a long time in speculating!— I am myself at present writing nothing, almost uncertain whether I shall ever write more (for indeed I am getting old, and disgusted with many things), yet not without plenty to do, in the inner man of me and otherwise.

This year far excels in dark difficulty all that the British Nation ever saw: fierce actual STARVATION stalks thro' Ireland, our rulers quite unable to meet it, and kills I believe literally his hundreds every day; and no relief is yet visible; nay I rather think it will be over into Scotland and England before all ends yet: in Scotland, in our own Annandale, it would already have been, had not the resource of the Railway labour (which will end by and by) been there. A terrible account to settle! In Ireland, we heard yesterday, the people do undoubtedly refuse even to till their land for this year (our landlords will take it all, say they),—they wall themselves into their cabins (for burial is not always to be had), and there silently lie down to die!2 The Govt has given them 11 millions; had really better have given them nothing at all; but told their scandalous landlords to go among them, and give,—guidance and other things! What it is to end in none knows.— Dear Brother, be courageous there, and diligent and content. May God bless you all always. Our love to all the Bairns. Ever yours

T. C.