The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN CHAPMAN ; 26 August 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520826-TC-JCH-01; CL 27: 253-254


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan N.B. 26 augt, 1852—

My dear Sir,

Signor Saffi, by whom this Note will be delivered to you, was Mazzini's Colleague as Triumvir of the Roman Republic; during his exile I have had good opportunities of knowing him; and can, with great readiness and pleasure, bear testimony at all times that he is, what his whole appearance indicates, a man of highly superior character, intelligence and worth. He is distinguished, so far as I can judge, by a singular clearness of mind; a most modest, courteous ingenuous and veracious man; has a high faculty of intellect too, and tho' young, is full of lucid information, scholarship, and good judgement. I have talked with no man from whom I could get such an idea of Italy and things Italian; nay had we a ready language in common, I believe I might add, have read no man who could so inform me on those subjects. He is so modest and quiet withal, so practical and true;—and for the rest, tho' of course a Republican to the bone, he carries all his opinions with a singular moderation, and utters nothing on any subject at which a man of true liberality, whatever otherwise his creed, could take offence. In short he is a young man for whom I have a great regard and esteem; and to whom all I have known of him has attracted me more and more.

It gives me pleasure to hear now that he has thoughts of offering you his assistance in the Westminster;1 a project which I am pretty certain might, under proper management, turn to account both for you and him. Pray try at any rate; and do not let such an offer go witht examining it. If you can speak a little French, he is easy to converse with,—knows a little English even. All that I have stated above is strictly exact regarding him: on all manner of Italian subjects, literary or political, he might at once or gradually become available.— I would recommend, if you can fix on any likely subject, that you should let him write in Italian, or in what language he feels freest in; after that, a wise translator (not quite a common phenomenon) aided by a wise editor might surely, one wd think, make a handsome business for your readers out of such a man.

On the whole, however, do what you find advisable: I am anxious to testify nothing that I do not know; and so will leave you with what is already written. The day after tomorrow I go for Germany, to be back probably in a month; and it will give me great pleasure at my return to find you and Mr Saffi doing some good together.

In haste, I remain / Yours always truly / T. Carlyle

John Chapman E[sq]

140. Strand