1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


JAMES CARLYLE, THE ELDER, TO MATTHEW SHARPE; 7 November 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18251107-JCE-MASH-01; CL 3:408-409.


Hoddam Hill, 7th November, 1825


I have received your answer to my Son's note;1 which note, I may be allowed to say, was written not of his own motion, but at the suggestion of Mr Blackadder, and in consequence of his denying that you had promised in his presence to let us have the Farm on any terms, and which expressed our happiness at your agreeing not with us but with him in thinking some farther arrangement necessary. To your two distinct questions2 I shall now endeavour to make answer as distinctly.

1. Of the First Statement I am sorry to say that any avowal I can make must not be altogether unqualified. I learned that the Hill Farm was to be let, and did not think myself called on to inquire by what means it had come into the market, so it was there. On applying to you for it, I was told that it had been offerred to another person; and that if he refused it, I might have it.

2. Of the Second Statement I am sorry that my avowal can still less be unqualified. On the contrary I am ready to affirm on oath that till within three weeks of Whitsunday, I never heard from any man any notice or hint which conveyed to my mind the most distant suspicion that Mr Blackadder's claims3 were at all different from those universally existing between outgoing and incoming tenant: nor have I forgot that on your mentioning Two Arbiters and my proposing Mr Hunter as alone sufficient, it was stated in so many words that the claims to be settled were “the ploughing, the lime-heaps, and the manure in the farm-yard”; claims to which Mr Hunter's single judgement seemed perfectly adequate.

It would appear, then, that this Bargain has from the first been grounded on misconceptions. As it does not consist with your determination to make any new arrangement, or any farther effort for unravelling the perplexity; and as I have reluctantly determined not again to attempt unravelling it by settlement with Mr Blackadder, having by repeated and very unpleasant experiences convinced myself that this is a task beyond the utmost compass of my ability,—nothing will remain but that the misunderstood Transaction be untransacted by the quickest and quietest method in our power. If you will have the goodness to signify to me in writing that I am at liberty on payment of my stipulated rent to quit these premises at Whitsunday, on the usual principles of an outgoing tenant, I shall readily engage to do so, and the business will be terminated and the discussion of it complete.

With much respect, I have the honour to be, / Sir, / Your most obedt Servt /

James Carlyle—

Copy of the Last Letters to Genl Sharp[e].