The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO HENRY INGLIS; 22 May 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280522-TC-HI-01; CL 4:374-375.


24. Moray Place, Thursday [22 May 1828]—

My Dear Sir,

What a selfish monster you must have thought me, to trouble you with Books and other trifles at such a time! It was only yesterday that I heard the bad news;1 and truly I may say that since then they have been little out of my head.

To speak of hope and comfort were but impertinent: nevertheless will you allow me to say that in my humble view this very misery may be the means of greater blessing to you than anything that has ever befallen in your history. I know what I am saying. It is not with such a mind and character as yours that soft nursing will profit: Neither is he miserable that is poor; but he that is frivolous and selfish, and a lover of Pleasure rather than of Truth. Take courage, such as you have it in you, and be a Man, and it matters little, really very little, whether you ride in triumphal chariots or earn your morsel of bread by the sweat of your brow. And yet it is hard, hard; and I sympathize with you from my heart; and you will say all this is words, and see no meaning in it. But one day you will see meaning in it, and find that I spoke truth, and that even this suffering was necessary for you, and the root of richest blessings. God bless you, and guide you thro' joy or pain to become what you are capable of being, yet what it will cost you much to be!

Write to me, so soon as you can. I will call again; but scarcely hope to see you. Irving's Note2 you can seal. By “safe conscience,” I meant wishing to see the man as a good man, and not as a Lion, in which light he deserves not to be shown or looked at. Again, farewell!

I am ever, / Your affectionate, /

T. Carlyle—