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