1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN FORSTER; 5 June 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550605-TC-JF-01; CL 29: 323-324


Chelsea, 5 june, 1855—

Dear Forster,

I have just seen a Letter from Palmerston's Secretary1 about those poor Lowes: his Lordship decides that there is no specific fund &c &c,—that, in short, he will give the poor women £100 once for all, and have done with him.

Probably Lord Gra[n]ville2 will write to you to the same effect shortly: the Letter I speak of, from the Secretary, was addressed to Lord Stanley of Alderley (whom the good Lady Stanley had urged to speak upon the business); that donation of £100 is all we shall get from the Premier.3 Lady Stanley (who brought the Letter an hour ago) has partly promised me to speak to Lady Palmerston for a Pension of £10 annually for the younger of the Lowes;—this was a suggestion by the elder of the two, which I rejected some time ago, but take up for want of better:—it seems the Premier's Wife has some small public fund which she can dispose of in small doles of that kind; and the elder Lowe has already a £10 annually from the same source.4 Lady Stanley will ask on the first opportunity: but whether there is a vacancy, and then whether there is a will, are questions;—and in brief this £100 is all that we can count upon. Even with the £10 annually, much more without it (as seems likelier), I consider it rather an ineffectual result; clearly inadequate by itself, and necessitating some appeal to the world out of Downing Street.

How that is to be set about, you and Dickens know far better than I. Wide publicity and no delay, seem to be the rules. It seems beyond doubt, if the Public were once stirred up, the Public would give abundantly. I do not think the old Dames will much mind the noise. No censure should be thrown on Palmerston,—least of all while the Lady Pn has not yet said no to us! But on the whole a few touches about the Literary Pension Fund5 might not be amiss: really if it be not Alfred Tennyson alone, I remember or know nobody of the least real worth to Literature who ever got six-pence from it.6 Which is a sad thing, if a true one!

Well, do your best and wisest, dear Forster;—ask Dickens and he will help! Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle