July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO WILLIAM HANNA ; 22 November 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471122-TC-WH-01; CL 22: 165-166


Chelsea, 22 Novr, 1847—

My dear Sir,

Unfortunately I possess no Letters of the late Dr Chalmers; indeed, except one small Note appointing the time of his last visit to me, I do not think I ever had the honour to receive any.1 That small Note itself has fallen aside, for the moment; perhaps has been given away as an Autograph. On this side therefore I regret that I can do nothing for you.

Of the visit alluded to it is natural that we retain a quite peculiar remembrance here.2 The venerable man sat with us about an hour; it was five-and-twenty years since I had last seen him face to face; with my Wife, too, much had changed since their last meeting: impressive circumstances for an interview with any one;—and we both of us had to remark, when this ended, that hardly ever in our lives had we seen so beautiful an Old Man! From such Old Men came the titles Signor, Priest, and other names of honour found in all nations; when the world was of other temper than it now is! In few days more, came solemn news that Death had set its seal on all this, and transfigured it for us into the Eternal. As a mournfully beautiful, and indeed intrinsically sacred thing, it remains to us henceforth. — —

I would gladly help in your Review if I could; for its tendencies, so far as I can note them in my remoteness from all the controversial and other transitory circumstances of the matter, are such as I well sympathize with. But, as you remark, my hand is quite out in the reviewing department; and how to resume the business, under existing conditions, is very questionable. Not for the want of enough to say; alas, no: but, by my own blame or the world's, I get ever farther turned away from all manner of beaten highways with their turnpikes; and am forced to seek an ulterior goal, by intricate paths, where the blessings of companionship are not to be expected in my time.

However, I do sometimes think of certain utterances which might take effect by the vehicle of a Review perhaps as well as otherwise: if it be so decided, and I find that my ideas, on any subject pressing me to write of it in that way could at all suit with your conditions, it will give me real pleasure; I will think the matter over; and you may depend upon it, if occasion do at any time serve, I shall not forget you.3

My Wife joins me in affectionate remembrances to Mrs Hanna;4 in true wishes to you both, now and always. Yours very sincerely

T. Carlyle