April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO C. G. DUFFY; 21 October 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18481021-TC-CGD-01; CL 23: 137-139


Chelsea, 21 Octr, 1848—

Dear Duffy,

It was not till last night that I could discover for myself any distinct plan of attempting to convey a word of sympathy to you, in this the time of your distress;1 and I know not still, for certain, whether the small enterprise can take effect. If this bit of Paper do reach you within your strait walls,2 let it be an assurance that you are still dear to me; that in this sad crisis which has now arrived we here at Chelsea do not find new cause for blame, superadded to the old, but new cause for pity and respect, and loving candour,—and for hope still, in spite of all! The one blame I ever had to lay upon you, as you well know, was that, like a young heroic all-trusting Irish soul, you had believed in the prophesying of a plausible Son of Lies preaching deliverance to your poor Country;3 and believing, had, as you were bound in that case, proceeded to put the same in practice, cost what it might cost to you. Even in this wild course, often enough denounced by me, I have to give you this testimony, that your conduct was never other than noble; that whoever might shew himself savage, narrow-minded, hateful in his hatred, C. G. Duffy always was humane and dignified and manful;—nay often enough, in the midst of those mad tumults, I had to recognise a voice of clear modest wisdom and courageous veracity, admonishing “Repealers” that their true enemy was not England after all; that Repeal from England, except accompanied by Repeal from the Devil, would and could do nothing for them: and this most welcome true voice, almost the only one such I could hear in Ireland, was the same C. G. Duffy's. Courage, my friend; all is not yet lost! A tragic destiny has severed you from that one source of mischief in your life: let this, tho' at such a hideous cost to you, be welcome, as instruction dear-bought but indispensable! By Heaven's blessing, this is no finis in your course, but the finis only of a huge mistake; and the beginning of a much nobler course, delivered from that. I mean what I say. The soul of a man can by no agency, of men or of devils, be lost and ruined, but by his own only; in all scenes and situations this is true;—and if you are the true man I take you to be, you will find it so yet. Courage, I say; courage, patience, and for a time pious silence! If it please God, there is yet a day given us; “all days have not set,”4 no, only some of them!—

Dear Duffy, I know not whether you can send me any word of remembrance from the place where you are, but rather understand that you cannot; nor is it material, for I can supply the word. But if now, or henceforth at any time while I live, I could be of any honest service to you, by my resources or connexions here or otherwise, surely it would be very welcome news to me.5 Farewell for the present. My Wife joins in affectionate salutation to you.— That Autumn evening on the Pier at Kingston, with your kind figure and Mitchel's in the crowd,—yes, it will be memorable tome while I continue in this world!6 Adieu. / Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle