1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN NICHOL; 16 December 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541216-TC-JNI-01; CL 29: 217-218


Chelsea, 16 decr, 1854—

Dear Sir,

I have received your Pamphlet; and return many thanks for all your kindness to me. I am sorry to learn, as I do for the first time from this Narrative, what angry nonsense some of my countrymen see good to write of me.1 Not being much a reader of Newspapers, I had hardly heard of the Election till after it was finished; and I did not know that anything of this melancholy element of Heterodoxy, “Pantheism,” &c &c, had been introduced into the matter.2 It is an evil, after its sort, this of being hated and denounced by fools and ignorant persons; but it cannot be mended for the present; and so must be left standing there.

That another wiser class think differently, nay that they alone have any real knowledge of the question, or any real right to vote upon it, is surely an abundant compensation. If that be so, then all is still right; and probably there is no harm done at all!— To you, and the other young Gentlemen who have gone with you on this occasion, I can only say that I feel you have loyally meant to do me a great honour and kindness; that I am deeply sensible of your genial recognition, of your noble enthusiasm (which reminds me of my own young years); and that in fine there is no loss or gain of an Election which can in the least alter these valuable facts, or which is not wholly insignificant to me in comparison with them. “Elections” are not a thing transacted by the gods, in general; and I have known very unbeautiful creatures “elected” to be kings, chief-priests, railway kings, &c, by the “most sweet voices,” and the spiritual virtue that inspires these, in our time!

Leaving all that, I will beg you all to retain your honourable good feelings towards me; and to think that if anything I have done or written can help any one of you in the noble problem of living like a wise man, in these evil and foolish times, it will be more valuable to me than never so many Elections or Non-elections.

With many good wishes and regards I heartily thank you all; and remain

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle

My Wife still remembers Professor Nichol;3 to whom I also desire to recommend myself, as a kind of old acquaintance at second hand.