1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO C. A. WARD; 7 July 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540707-TC-CAW-01; CL 29: 124-125


Chelsea, 7 july, 1854—

My dear Sir,

I should be sorry indeed if my hard word went farther than I intended, and were to discourage you from any noble impulse you may trace in yourself! I did not, and do not, deny you talent, even for writing Books one day; I only sought to make you aware of the inexorable conditions that determine whether possibility shall become reality in such cases, or shall remain always futile. I write, too, in great haste; and have little time for any matter but those hugely confused ones that are among my own hands.

By all means, employ your spare time in seeking knowledge; redeem, if you can, a few hours of every day; read Books, and try to make sure that they are wise Books; consort with wise men, avoid the company of fools; think, reflect, inquire; study earnestly to find some true and noble thing in this world to which you can swear fealty: the day may come when you are really called to speak to your fellow creatures;—but I can tell you, it will be happier for you if it never come; if whatever nobleness and wisdom are in you can come out in the way of silent work and successful conduct,—appealing to the Eternal Powers (who are good judges, and can reward), not to the Ephemeral Reviewers, who have no power except in the Circulating Libraries, and no judgement that is infallible for the guidance of men!

Believe me yours with many good wishes

T. Carlyle—

Please send for your Ms. without delay, lest some mischance befal it.