The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO EDWIN CHADWICK; 3 April 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500403-TC-ECH-01; CL 25: 58-59



DEAR CHADWICK,—I unluckily have no horse at present, and know not when I shall, though I often grumble about the want of one,—the state of the hepatic regions not being good at all. Some days I go out in utter despair, and walk four hours over the heaths on the Surrey side,1 rushing to and fro, all alone, in a very rabid humour;—getting little good, however, by the operation after all!

The liver of man I reckon to be one of the worst consequences, or the very worst, of Adam's Fall—unless you are up to a walk, therefore, or can bring a second horse in your pocket, there is no hope for us in that direction.

But, on the other hand, I am at home and alone almost every evening; and shall be very glad, indeed, if you will come to me. From Friday eve till Thursday next,2 there is some dubiety about my being home, as a speculation of the country is in the wind; but after or on Thursday of next week I have no engagement at all, and am very apt, indeed, to be discoverable here any evening about seven o'clock, with a cup of tea and some silly book before me. The new Downing Street, talis qualis [such as it is], is gone to press. I wish a number of people would fire cannon shot athwart that horrid dungheap, and bring the daylight to view again beyond it; I do not see any prospect of a change for the better in our affairs till that is reformed, and the generation of owls driven out of it a little.

The intramural interment practice is a kind of thing that chokes one's very soul.3 I think such irreverence to the sacred existence of man was never done before by any of the posterity of Adam; the thing oppresses me with a feeling quite chaotic, almost more than infernal, such irreligion presided over by the shovel-hat4 was never heard of till now! I have long been of opinion that the dead, in large towns, ought all to be buried in the Roman fashion, by burning; one rogus [funeral pile] each morning for all the dead (which would come very cheap, and might be very solemn), and a rich individual might have a funeral pile to himself if he were of mind to pay for it.

This, I think, will be the real remedy, so soon as men are prepared for it; but much Semitic and other rubbish lies in the way yet.5

Yours ever truly, /