The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO HENRY LARKIN; 29 December 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501229-TC-HL-01; CL 25: 322


Chelsea, 29 decr 1850—

Dear Sir,

It is a real satisfaction to me to be chidden from that side of the Cromwell Controversy; and I am well pleased to read your Letter.1

I do not find that essentially we differ at all in our notion about those matters either of the Protectorship or of the Kingship; but if the matter were raised into speech between us, one knows not how far it might still go! A fact is a fact, and all men that do see it, must see it alike; but what each man will then say upon it, how you, or I, or Oliver, will then see best to name the fact,—there we shall by no means be sure to be “alike,” but must rest well satisfied with some approximate agreement!2 Goethe says, with deep insight and meaning, “The instant we begin to speak, we are more or less wrong; the first word we utter, there is error in it.”3 A truth of which Oliver's great inarticulate history will, at every turn, remind one.

With many thanks for your goodwill to me, and much fellow-feeling with you in your reverence for Oliver,—whom I only wish both of us, and all men, could a little resemble in their Life pilgrimage,—I remain

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle