The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 12 May 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520512-TC-JF-01; CL 27: 112


Chelsea, 12 May, 1852—

Dear Forster,

This project of Gladstone's must be resisted à l'outrance [to the utmost]: I find also that there are “possibilities” (in spite of your evil prognostics), and if there were not, that such must be made, and prosecuted with energy and witht delay. The Committee (of which every one of us is a constituent atom) has no more right to do this thing, than your Henry1 wd have, if you sent him for a cut of salmon, to buy it, with your money, of some meritorious Fishmonger (Neapolitan or other) who had a cut extremely in need of being sold. With what face wd Henry present malodorous salmon to you; and brag of his “charity,” done at your expense! This seems to me the exact position we occupy, whether we recognise it or not; and we, each of us, shall intrinsically deserve horsewhipping if we play false to it,—and don't bring home simply the best salmon we can find.

How unlucky that you are out of town;—and that I am in it, confined in sulphurous and penal fire2 by that wretched Influenza, unable to stir out were Rome itself to be saved!— I cannot even learn what you did last Saturday. I find only, the more clearly the more I think of it, that we are called each honest Henry of us to resist to the death—and that much could be done, were you here on your feet.

Come to me the instant you get to Town and do not lose sight of your silent small duty in St James's Square3 amid other bigger and louder ones. Adieu, dear Forster. I have written too much for such a headache, and here end. Yours always,

T. Carlyle