1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN FORSTER; 30 May 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550530-TC-JF-01; CL 29: 319-320


Chelsea, 30 May 1855—

Dear Forster,— This is the last of one or two Missives about almost nothing, which our poor old God-daughter sends me in these days.1 Her “Lincolnshire Property” (endless monies, £100,000 almost) has gone to the Crown,—has gone entirely to smoke (as I strove to assure the poor old Dame); and assiduous Foresight is struggling hard against evil outlooks! I in general answer nothing, or as little as possible; have not, above all, given any knowledge about the grand Palmerston project in that quarter.— Nor are you to do anything with this Letter,—except merely to burn it, when you have sufficiently feasted your eyes with it. Ay de mi!—

On the whole, however, I wish we had an answer from Palmerston;—I own also to a kind of surmise (along with Dickens) that we shall have to make the thing public before he will effectually stir in it. Please keep this in mind too.

In the meanwhile, if Henry2 will draw me out a legible copy of the thing,— with a sure List of the Signatures, very legible,3—I fancy I could at least get Lord Granville asked what speed he is making. At present I am not likely to come athwart him otherwise.— See if Henry has time for this, one of these days, and send it me.

God help us all, dear Forster;—or what amounts to the same, Let each “set a stout heart to a steep hill” (as the Scotch say), stout in proportion to the steepness for each; and that will do. For the rest, may the Devil remunerate him that took to “improving” Paper about 30 years ago, and forced innocent man to write with abominable iron pens,—no better off than d'Ercilla was, writing on leather with the point of his dagger.4 And may the “Administrative Reform Movement,”5 and Reform movement in general and in universal from Balaklava & Downing Street to Cheyne Row and this garret, go better than we hope!

Yours ever truly, dear F.

T. Carlyle