April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO JOHN STEILL ; 10 May 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480510-TC-JST-01; CL 23: 27-28


Chelsea, 10 May, 1848—

Dear Sir,

You have manfully and earnestly spoken forth the undeniable truth in that Paper upon the Irish;1 and no candid man but must sympathize with all your feelings on the subject. To me, ever since I opened my eyes upon the world, or began to think of my native country and its interests, precisely the same sorrowful indignation at the sight of this continuous irresistible “Invasion by Irish Beggary” has been familiar; and I have, wherever there was opportunity, given expression to it very much like your own.2 By one means or other, the thing will have to end. We must all end, otherwise!— If I thought that “native Parliaments,” or indeed any kind of Parliaments, and Public Babblements (for such they all are in these sad times), could do us any good, or in fact could do other than unlock the doors of Chaos (doors now nearly broken, at any rate), and give Anarchy a tongue,—I too should vote strenuously for native Parliaments, Nationalities &c &c both in Scotland and Ireland: but I fear there lies no hope for us at all in that direction,—tho' it seems likely enough, we (as the whole world is now doing) shall first try by that. God help us! We have a heavy burden, of natural infatuation, of natural stupid cowardice and absurd extinct tradition, to make our way under at present. A Chartist Parliament before long, seems to me the likeliest prediction;—and after that, a swim thro' the bottomless black lake, like what the other Nations are all getting just now!

With much regard for your sincere and valiant turn of mind, and wishing heartily all good scope for such good qualities,

I remain / Yours very truly

T. Carlyle

Mr John Steill / 2. Danube Street / Edinburgh