The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO N. H. JULIUS; 15 April 1827; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18270415-TC-NHJ-01; CL 4:206-208.


Edinburgh, 21. Comley Bank / 15th April 1827—

My Dear Sir,

At length after long delays I send you this copy of my German compilation,1 which I beg of you to accept as a small acknowledgment of my obligations, and testimony of my regard. I hope it may still find you, tho' I hear that you are at present not in Hamburg but in Berlin.

Mr Aitken informed me some time ago that you had thoughts of applying for the Professorship of Northern Literature in the projected London University; and afterwards that you had withdrawn in favour of Mr Repp,2 one of our Librarians. I can scarcely feel sorry that you are not to become a member of that Institution; which, hanging as it does at the mercy of accidents, and connected with none of the permanent establishments of the country, can scarcely for a long while come to any solid good, nay may very easily, for all that has been done in it, dissolve into smoke, and pass away from the world. The managers of it are only a party; and this, however meritorious in other respects, by no means the most pleasant to act with; being mostly what we call Radicals, a class of men not unlike your German Philistines, only that with us they are more political than literary. They have long been engaged in pulling down; and this is their first attempt at building up. Durum et durum non faciunt murum [Two hard objects do not make a wall]. I have my own fears for their whole speculation, much as I could wish to see some such thing prospering, and settled on right principles.3

In the event of Mr Repp's going to London, who knows but we might hope to see you established here in his stead! For your own sake also I should like it better, if you could accept of such a place. Edinburgh is a much more intellectual town than London; far cheaper too, and on the whole much more suited for a man of philosophic habitudes.

If you thought of such a thing, or of continuing your application for the London place, I might perhaps be able to give you some little furtherance in either case; and tho' little, it might be cheerfully accepted, for it would be cheerfully given. One way or other, I hope to see you settled in our Island: we are never without need of men like you; and to Germans especially we seem at all times disposed, when there is merit in the case, to hold out the right hand of brotherhood. If in any matter I can serve you, I shall entreat you as a favour to apply frankly.

We have no news here that can interest you. The political world is friendly and united to a degree that I have never witnessed before; the commercial world seems again gathering vigour; in the Literary world there is nothing doing. Our Poets are silent; and nothing is heard for the time but the chirping of a thousand thousand sparrows in the light printwork of the day. Southey is sunk in the “Catholic Question,”4 Milman has written a frosty “Dramatic Poem,” which he calls Anne Boleyn.5 Scott is printing his Life of Napoleon,6 which is expected soon: he lately at a public meeting avowed himself the sole Author of the Waverl[e]y Novels;7 a secret which was already known to most part of the world. He is said also to be engaged in a new Novel, the scene of which is Edinburgh.8 Have you heard of Dugald Stewart's late volume of Philosophy?9 He is now our sole living Psychologist; an old man above seventy; emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy in this University; in all points a truly venerable person. His book is excellent Camin-philosophie,10 as you might call it; but Schelling, I doubt, would suspend it naso adunco [with nose turned up scornfully].11

I must again profess my desire to hear from you a whole packet of German news. The pleasure I should feel in serving you I have already expressed.

With the best wishes, believe me always,

My Dear Sir, / Most truly Your's, /

Thomas Carlyle—