July 1836-December 1837

The Collected Letters, Volume 9


TC TO JOHN STUART MILL; 1 July 1836; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18360701-TC-JSM-01; CL 9:3-4.


Chelsea, Friday Morning [1 July 1836].

My dear friend,

It was not till Saturday Evening that I learned at secondhand thro' the Newspapers what stroke had fallen on you.1 In the last days, and that very morning, I had been writing trivialities to you; and your House was already the house of sorrow, and Time with its greatest was merged in Eternity!— I had understood that there was danger; but not at all that it was imminent; not even that you were clearly persuaded of it.

Your Father is gone,—to the ancient Fathers we had; to God who made us all! In such seasons I know well there are thoughts we cannot speak of, cannot bear to be spoken to about; most mournful but also very solemn, not without a blessedness in them. One thing only I will say, in the words my wife used: “James Mill is gone; but he has left a brave Man's Life behind him.” This it seems to me includes all; the rest may remain unspoken: in silence, amid these sacred hopes and sacred tears, and mysteries and monitions, and lookings forward and lookings back, the pious heart will anew adjust itself when Nature has had her due. I pray God, in old devout language, that this sorrow may be blessed to you: I bid you, in the same spirit, Live worthy of such a Father. Let that be his elegy and monument. We linger but a little way behind him.

These two last evenings, tho' I knew not whether even my face could be other than burdensome to you, I was just on the road for Kensington, when unexpected interruptions occurred; twice over; last night, just before your packet came.2 This evening or Tomorrow Evening I purpose again; with more confidence now that you permit and invite me.

My wife is very poorly, and talks of going to Scotland for a month or two, to her Mother; which I recommend. The hot weather keeps me in durance all days till after sunset.

Believe me ever, / Yours affectionate /

T. Carlyle.