January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO WILLIAM GRAHAM; May 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310500-TC-WG-01; CL 5:267-269.


[Early May 1831]

My Dear Sir,

With great joy I hear quite unexpectedly from John, that you are in London, busy and well.1 For many months my inquiries about you have been incessant; and, as in the Dunscore Wilderness was natural enough, almost quite fruitless. I had well nigh determined on sending out a letter into space in quest of you; and now by good fortune can send it on a rather surer aim.

John Welsh is what I call rather a noble specimen of the “natural man”: kindhearted, generous, just, as hot as ginger and as steeve [firm] as steel. If you take the foregoing leaf, slit it off, alter the folding a little, and seal it, the indorsee will not fail to honour it, and you may find in Maryland-Street what furtherance is possible there, at all events, a little friendly talk and some social hours.

John (our Doctor) says little about the specific nature of your present objects: I can only pray heartily that they may be successful; and the means of leading you into a worthier and more congenial element than you have of late years so honourably yet so painfully struggled in. Many times, my dear Friend, have I thought with sorrow of such talents and dispositions as yours finding no better employment than fighting with the clay acres of Burnswark; for which task perhaps any foolish clodhopper were as fit as you. What's ta use on't?2 But after all our whole existence is a war (like that of Saragossa) even to the Knive;3 we must fight the Fiend and cunningly fence him or he will throttle us. I too am meditating some outbrake and onslaught: come soon home and up hither and I will tell you “all about it.”— Courage, Brother!

The whole world here is in a state of frothiest fermentation with Electioneering. M'Diarmid, who was here yesterday, is quite in a whirl: Sharpe, forever[.]4 And the Englishman's house his castle! I myself care not one halfpenny which way it go: except that their Reform Bill is like to prevent or divert any immediate cutting throats, which would otherwise follow ere long, it is no matter of mine.— Come hither and see us: the good wife also invites you and salutes you.

Affectionately yours, /

T. Carlyle.