April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO CHARLES STEWART ; 14 August 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480814-TC-CS-01; CL 23: 91-92


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea London, 14 Augt, 1848—

My dear Sir,

I believe I once spoke to you, last year, about the unfortunate “Ecclefechan Station” on the Caledonian Railway. It appears now, contrary to what I supposed, that the matter is still undecided; that the people of the village are “raising subscriptions” (very scanty, I doubt!)—and in the meantime, “wheeling their coals down in barrows” the additional distance, poor souls;—in fine, that I ought myself to subscribe, and also to make some representation of the matter to those who have power over it. Both of which things,—the image of those miserable “coal barrows” urging me,—I have decided to do.1

Let me ask you therefore to present the inclosed Note, with my respectful compliments, to Mr Hope Johnston, by the first good opportunity; and to say for the request contained in it, in that and all other quarters, what favourable word you can. I have stated the case with all the exactness I could: a case of decided and evident mistake,—which therefore all men that can help to remedy, do well in helping.— On the whole, I will hope, when the Steam Vehicle next sets me down in Annandale, it may be at the right place (approved of by men and gods) and not at the wrong (disapproved of by ditto), as last time!

Our potatoes are all rotting here, as everywhere; and our beautiful corn is all lying in disastrous heaps, under continual rain. This has been the greyest summer I ever saw in these parts; warm too, but wonderfully sunless. Ireland, with its rotten potatoes, and rusty pikes, will be in a precious mess again! “Missionaries” of that Nation,—so I call the unfortunate ragged scoundrels that come over hither to make us as miserable as they themselves are,—have abounded all summer in London Streets, which is quite a new phasis here. I often ask myself, How long Lord John Russel thinks the ship can continue smoking thro' every seam and porthole before the flame bursts above deck; and whether it can be a pleasant occupation to steer it as if all were right till then!— —

This Autumn I hardly expect to get into Annandale; but if I do, shall certainly see you, and I hope, at greater length than last time. Pray remember me very kindly at Gillenbie to both the kind Friends there; and do not yourself quite forget me till we meet again.

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle

Charles Stewart Esq