The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO WILLIAM HALE WHITE ; 9 March 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500309-TC-WHW-01; CL 25: 43-44


Chelsea, 9 March, 1850—

My good young friend,

I am much obliged by the regard you entertain for me; and do not blame your enthusiasm, which well enough beseems your young years.1 If my Books teach you anything, don't mind in the least whether other people believe it or not; but do you for your own behoof lay it to heart as a real acquisition you

have made,—more properly, as a real message left with you, which you must

set about fulfilling, whatsoever others do! This is really all the counsel I can give you about what you read in my Books or those of others: practise what you learn there; instantly, and in all ways, begin turning the belief into a fact, and continue at that,—till you get more and ever more beliefs, with which also do the like. It is idle work otherwise, to write Books or to read them.

And be not surprised that “people have no sympathy with you”; that is an accompaniment that will attend you all your days if you mean to lead an earnest life. The “people” could not save you with their “sympathy,” if they had never so much of it to give: a man can and must save himself, with or or without their sympathy, as it may chance.

And may all good be with you, my kind young friend;—and a heart stout enough for this adventure you are upon: that is the best “good” of all.— I remain

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle