July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JOHN CHILDS ; 24 March 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480324-TC-JCHI-01; CL 22: 279-280


Chelsea, 24 March, 1848—

My dear Sir,

Many thanks to you. If it is not too much trouble, I shall be very glad to have those Cromwell Letters from your hand. I shall need to get them some way or other; and your Copy, it would seem, is of the original edition. They have been reprinted in the Athenaeum, in which form I got a glance of them, one day, in the London Library; but not in that or in any form have I yet got a reading of them, much less a Copy, tho' of course I shall need one.1

Since you were here,2I have discovered three or four musket-bullets picked from the Field of Naseby, which were given me by Fitzgerald along with the other relics: one of these old bits of lead (shot on so remarkable an occasion) I have destined for you, if you will call again when you come to Town. Nearly always between two and 3 o'clock I am accessible here, without any warning.— Neither are you to forget Abbot Samson's seal, whatever that may be; anything that can be authentically traced to my friend Samson will surely be welcome to me.3

We have got into the rapids of Democracy with a vengeance;—and are ill prepared for it, I doubt, some of us! Prepared or not, there is nothing for us now but the general Niagara short way ahead. God help poor England: if they go chewing the wind, in their Parliament and elsewhere, as they have been doing this long while, and accomplishing mere “Parliamentary eloquence,” we also shall have to take the big Fall; and a terrible one it will be, I guess! Truly it is time for us all to quit our grimacing, to question what “divine oracles” we have (in the Scrip-market or elsewhere), and prepare for bitter earnest, the Destinies having said plainly that the hour draws nigh.— Cobden, poor fellow, will find that his “Free-trade” Gospel goes but a little way towards the mark. Quite other than Cobdens, I apprehend, will be wanted,—if we have them; and if not, it will be terribly unlucky for us!—

My Wife is very much obliged by your beneficent endeavours to help that poor man.4 He has been frequently in the City, and gets encouragement to hope (poor creature), but nothing farther hitherto that I hear of. No poor Couple we have ever known, even in Scotland, could make a more desperate struggle to escape Beggars and bitter Parish Pay than this man and his wife. It is a sadder tragedy than M. Guizot's or Louis-Philippe's, tho the clothes of it are a little coarser!— Yours always truly

T. Carlyle

Bid the “Student”5 good-speed in my name; and tell him there can be a Cromwell and also an Anti-Cromwell (or quack and coward) developed in all regions of human Life.