April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO JOHN CHILDS; 3 February 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490203-TC-JCHI-01; CL 23: 221-222


Chelsea, 3 feby, 1849

My dear Sir,

Thanks for your Excerpts from Fox, which I return. They prove indisputably, if proof were wanting, that Oliver by “Friends” in that sentence means “Quakers,”1 or the miscellaneous anarchic rabble of whom Quakers were the topmost developement, and most conspicuous outcome, at that time. What else can he rationally be supposed to mean!

I am busy just now getting ready a Third Edition of Oliver; with which I have more bother by far than I had expected. There are some 4 or five insignificant new Fractions, contributed since last time,—properly of no value at all, for they alter nothing in the view given of Oliver's work or character;—and every one of them is a dark, rusty, sooty clump, which I have got to clean, and stick into the wall somewhere, which is already built without them! For no man known to me in History would I willingly take so much trouble, except for Oliver alone.

Of public affairs I try to think as little as I can: at all moments there dwells with me the fatal presentment, that unless taken in hand by quite other kinds of men, with quite other kinds of management (of which at present there seems no hope), all things are rapidly plunging towards total Downbreak, street-barricades, Chartist Parliament, and one knows not what.2 The thought of which makes me quite unable to throw up my Cap round Cobden and his Budget agitations,3 and indeed keeps me quite unhappy in these late months. Alas, I have only a tongue;—and I must decide to hold that, till I can endure no longer!—

Mrs Carlyle returns you kind regards; is pretty well; indeed, has been better this Winter than for a good many past. Run over to us some time soon, when you are in the City.

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle