July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JOHN CHILDS ; 25 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480125-TC-JCHI-01; CL 22: 231-232


Chelsea, 25 jany, 1848

My dear Sir,

I am deeply concerned to hear how just an excuse you have for your non-appearance here. Alas, we are all born to troubles, even as the sparks fly upwards:1 troubles that take the shape of sorrows, of affectionate grief, are, if the painfullest, yet the sacredest; and, as you say, we must not repine under them. A little while, and they will all have ended.

Of the Cromwell Letters I do not find that I have anything more to say.2 I have already said, and publicly put my name to it, That I without shadow of hesitation believe them to be genuine; and that they came to me in such and such a way. To assert this a second time could not add to the credibility of it. The only reassertion I mean to make is that of introducing the Thirty-five Letters, as an Appendix, into any Third Edition I may live to see of that Book on Cromwell. This, unless quite other arguments than any I have yet heard of be adduced,—indeed I may say, unless a miracle could be proved to have befallen me,—I shall without scruple do. For as to that poor stuff about modern phrases, “cravats,” “stand no nonsenses” &c &c, I confess a whole cartload of it, against the other indubitable facts of the case, is worth simply nothing at all to me;—means merely that one of the darkest, most ignorant, bewildered and impatient men in England has miscopied; or else (which I consider far likelier hitherto) that such Critics do not in the least know what is modern,—and have an unrestrainable tendency to think and say and write things foolish and not wise! In fine the whole controversy seems to me inexpressibly idle; and I, for my share, have no interest in it at all.— If you look in the Examiner Newspaper of the week before last (to which add that of last week by way of corollary), you will find a very rational article on the subject; none other have I seen that is worthy of better than lighting one's pipe by the earliest opportunity.

Oliver Cromwell's great Life is too serious and indeed sacred a subject with me to induce any jesting or poor hoaxing, as if indeed I had at all a tendency that way. Landor's Pamphlet itself, which I detected at the second sentence, was too afflictive to me to be read farther.3 Oh what a set of long-eared mortals inhabit this world!

Believe me, Dear Sir / Yours always truly / T. Carlyle