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But he was not losing heart, and he liked, his “Encyclopædia." He was thus able to so far as he had seen into it, his new pro earn, as long as the session lasted, about fession.
two pounds a week, and on this he con
trived to live without trenching on his The law she told his mother) is what I some, capital. His chief pleasure was his cortimes think I was intended for naturally. I am afraid it takes several hundreds to become respondence with his mother, which never an advocate. But for this I should commence slackened. She had written to tell him the study of it with great hopes of success of the death of her sister Mary. He We shall see whether it is possible. One of replies : the first advocates of the day raised himself from being a disconsolate preacher to his pres
Edinburgh, Monday, March 29, 1819. ent eminence. Therefore I entreat you not to My dear Mother, — I am so much obliged be uneasy about me. I see none of my fellows to you for the affectionate concern which you with whom I am very anxious to change places, express for me in that long letter that I cannot Tell the boys not to let their hearts be troubled delay to send you a few brief words by way of for me. I am a stubborn dog, and evil fortunę reply. I was affected by the short notice you shall not break my heart or bend it either, as I give me of Aunt Mary's death, and the short hope. I know not how to speak about the reflections with which you close it.
It is true, washing which you offer so kindly. Surely my dear mother, “that we must all soon follow you thought, five years ago, that this trouble. her,” such is the unalterable and not unpleassome washing and baking was all over; and ing doom of men. Then it is well for those now to recommence! I can scarcely think of who, at that awful moment which is before troubling you; yet the clothes are ill-washed every one, shall be able to look back with
and if the box be going and coming any calmness and forward with hope. But I need way, perhaps you can manage it.
not dwell upon this solemn subject. It is
familiar to the thoughts of every one who has While law lectures were being attended, any thought. the problem was to live. Pupils were a I am rather afraid I have not been quite poor resource, and of his adventures in regular in reading that best of books which
However, last night this department Carlyle gave ridiculous you recommended to me. accounts. In February, 1819, he wrote hope to do better in time to come. I entreat
I was reading upon my favorite Job, and I to his brother John:
you to believe that I am sincerely desirous of About a week ago I briefly dismissed an in some few unimportant particulars, yet I
being a good man; and though we may differ hour of private teaching; A man in the New firmly trust that the same power which created Town applied to one Nichol, public teacher of us with imperfect faculties will pardon the mathematics here, for a person to give instruc.
errors of every one (and none are without tion in arithmetic, or something of that sort. them) who seeks truth and righteousness with Nichol spoke of me, and I was in consequence a simple heart. directed to call on the man next morning. I
You need not fear my studying too much. went at the appointed hour, and after waiting In fact, my prospects are so unsettled that I for a few minutes was met by a stout, impu- do not often sit down to books with all the dent-looking man with red whiskers, having zeal I am capable of. You are not to think much the air of an attorney, or some such I am fretful. I have long accustomed niy creature of that sort. As our conversation mind to look upon the future with a sedate may give you some insight into these matters, I report the substance of it. "I am here," I aspect, and at any rate my hopes have never
yet failed me. A French author, D'Alembert said, after making a slight bow, which was just one of the few persons who deserve the honor. perceptibly returned, " by the request of Mr. able epithet of honest man), whom I was lately Nichol, to speak with you, sir, about a mathe; reading, remarks that one who devoted his life matical teacher whom he tells me you want." Aye. What are your terms ?”
to learning ought to carry for his motto, eas a month for each hour.” “Two guineas a latter can never have the former. This should
Liberty, Truth, Poverty,” for he that fears the month! that is perfectly extravagant.” “I not prevent one from using every honest effort believe it to be the rate at which every teacher to attain a comfortable situation in life; it of respectability in Edinburgh officiates, and I know it to be the rate below which I never base conduct, and the worst is not worth
says only that the best is dearly bought by oificiate.” “That will not do for my friend. mourning over. We shall speak of all these "I am sorry that nothing else will do for me;
matters more fully in summer, for I am mediand I retired with considerable deliberation.
tating just now to come down to stay a while
with you, accompanied with a cargo of books, Other attempts were not so unsuccess, Italian, German, and others. You will give ful; one, sometimes two, pupils were found
me yonder little room, and you will waken me willing to pay at the rate required. Dr. every morning about five or six o'clock. Then Brewster, afterwards Sir David, discov- such' study. I shall delve in the garden, too, ered Carlyle and gave him employment on and, in a word, become not only the wisest
but the strongest man in those regions. This selves sce their condition reflected in is all claver, but it pleases one.
the world outside them, and everything My dear mother, yours most affectionately, seems amiss because it is not well with THOMAS CARLYLE.
themselves. But the state of Scotland D'Alembert's name had probably never and England also was fitted to feed his reached Annandale, and Mrs. Carlyle discontent. The great war had been could not gather from it into what perilous followed by a collapse. Wages were regions her son was travelling – but her low, food at famine prices. Tens of thouquick ear caught something in the tone sands of artisans were out of work, their which frightened her.
families were starving, and they them.
selves were growing mutinous. Even at Oh, my dear, dear son [she answered at home from his own sternly patient father, once and cagerly], I would pray for a blessing who never meddled with politics, he heard on your learning. I beg you with all the fecla things not calculated to reconcile him to ing of an affectionate mother that
you study the Word of God, which He has gra.
existing arrangements. ciously put in our hands, that it may power- I have heard my father say [he mentions), fully reach our hearts, that we may discern it with an impressiveness which all his perccpin its true light. God made man after his tions carried with them, that the lot of a poor own image, therefore he behoved to be with man was growing worse, that the world would
any imperfect faculties. Beware, my dear not, and could not, last as it was, but mighty son, of such thoughts; let them not dwell on changes, of which none saw the end, were on your mind. God forbid! But I dare say you the way. In the dear years when the oatmeal will not care to read this scrawl. Do make was as high as ten shillings a stone, he had religion your great study, Tom; if you repent noticed the laborers, I have heard him tell, reit, I will bear the blame forever.
tire each separately to a brook and there drink Carlyle was thinking as much as his instead of dining, anxious only to hide it. mother of religion, but the form in which These early impressions can be traced his thoughts were running was not hers. through the whole of Carlyle's writings, He was painfully seeing that all things the conviction being forced upon him that were not wholly as he had been taught there was something vicious to the bottom to think of them; the doubts which had in English and Scotch society, and that stopped his divinity career were blacken- revolution in some form or other lay visi. ing into thunder-clouds; and all his re- bly ahead. So long as Irving remained Alections were colored by dyspepsia. “I in Edinburgh, “the condition of the peowas entirely unknown in Edinburgh cir- ple” question was the constant subject of cles,” he says, “solitary, eating my own talk between him and Carlyle. They heart, fast losing my health too, a prey were both of them ardent, radical, indig. to nameless struggles and miseries, nant at the injustice which they wit. which have yet a kind of horror in them nessed, and as yet unconscious of the to my thoughts, three weeks without any difficulty of mending it. Irving, however, kind of sleep from impossibility to be Carlyle had seen little of since they had free of noise.” In fact he was 'entering moved to Edinburgh, and he was left, for on what he called “the three most miser- the most part, alone with his able years of my life.” He would have thoughts. There had come upon him the been saved from much could he have trial which in these days awaits every man resolutely thrown himself into his in- of high intellectual gifts and noble nature tended profession; but he hated it, as on his first actual acquaintance with hujust then, perhaps, he would have hated man things the question, far deeper anything.
than any mere political one, What is this
world then, what is this human life, over I had thought she writes in a note some which a just God is said to preside, but of where) of attempting to become an advocate. It seemed glorious to me for its independency, whose presence or whose providence so and I did read some law bocks, attend Hume's few signs are visible? In happier ages lectures on Scotch law, and converse with and religion silences scepticism if it cannot question various dull people of the practical reply to its difficulties, and postpones the
But it and they and the admired lectur. solution of the mystery to another stage ing Hume himself appeared to me mere deni- of existence. Brought up in a pious famzens of the kingdom of dulness, pointing ily where religion was not talked about or towards nothing but money as wages for all emotionalized, but was accepted as the that bogpool of disgust. Hume's lectures once done with, I Aung the thing away forever.
rule of thought and conduct, himself too
instinctively upright, pure of heart, and Men who are out of humor with them. reverent, Carlyle, like nis parents, had
accepted the Bible as a direct communi-| things, any moral Providence at all? or is cation from heaven. It made known the it the product of some force of the nature will of God, and the relations in which of which we can know nothing, save only man stood to his Maker, as a present fact, that “one event comes alike to all, to the the truth of it like the truth of gravitation, good and to the evil, and that there is no which man must act upon or immediately difference”? suffer the consequences. But religion, as Commonplace persons, if assailed by revealed in the Bible, passes beyond press such misgivings, thrust them aside, throw ent conduct, penetrates all forms of themselves into outward work, and leave thought, and takes possession wherever doubt to settle itself. Carlyle could not. it goes. It claims to control the intellect, The importunacy of the overwhelming to explain the past, and foretell the future. problem forbade him to settle himself It has entered into poetry and art, and either to law or any other business till he has been the interpreter of history. And had wrestled down the misgivings which thus there had grown round it a body of had grappled with him. The greatest of opinion on all varieties of subjects as- us have our weaknesses, and the Margasumed to be authoritative; dogmas which ret Gordon business perhaps intertwined science was contradicting; a history of itself with the spiritual torment. The events which it called infallible, yet which result of it was that Carlyle was extremely the canons of evidence, by which other miserable, "tortured,” as he says, “by histories are tried and tested successfully, the freaks of an imagination of extraordeclared not to be infallible at all. In the dinary and wild activity.” Mainhill household the Westminster He went home, as he had proposed, Confession was a full and complete ac- after the session, but Mainhill was never count of the position of mankind and of a less happy place of retreat to him than the being to whom they owed their exist-it proved this summer. He could not
For Carlyle's father and mother conceal, perhaps he did not try to conceal, this Old and New Testament not only the condition of his mind; and to his contained all spiritual truth necessary for family, to whom the truth of their creed guidance in word and deed, but every fact was no more a matter of doubt than the related in them was literally true. To presence of the sun in the sky, he must doubt was not to mistake, but was to have seemed as if "possessed.” He commit a sin of the deepest dye, and was could not read; he wandered about the a sure sign of a corrupted heart. His moors like a restless spirit. His mother own wide study of modern literature had was in agony about him. He was her. shown him that much of this had ap- darling, her pride, the apple of her eye, peared to many of the strongest minds in and she could not restrain her lamentaEurope to be doubtful or even plainly in- tions and remonstrances. His father, credible. Young men of genius are the with supreme good judgment, lest him to first to feel the growing influences of their | himself. time, and on Carlyle they fell in their
His tolerance for me, his trust in me (Carmost painful form. With his pride, he lyle says) was great. When I declined going
most modest and self-distrustful. forward into the Church, though his heart was He had been taught that want of faith was set upon it, he respected my scruples, and pa. sin, yet, like a true Scot, he knew that he tiently let me have my way. When I had would peril his soul if he pretended to percmptorily ceased from being a schoolmaster, believe what his intellect told him was though he inwardly disapproved of the step as falsc. If any part of what was called imprudent and saw me in successive summers Revelation was mistaken, how could he lingering beside him in sickliness of body and be assured of the rest? How could he mind, without outlook towards any good, he tell that the moral part of it, to which the had the forbearance to say at worst nothing,
never once to whisper discontent with me. phenomena which he saw round him were in plain contradiction, was more than In November he was back at Edinburgh a “devout imagination”? Thus in the again, with his pupils and his law lccmidst of his poverty and dyspepsia there tures, which he had not yet deserted, and had come upon him the struggle which is still persuaded bimself that he would peralways hardest in the noblest minds, severe with. He did not find his friend. which Job had known, and David, and Irving had gone to Glasgow to be assist. Solomon, and Æschylus, and Shake ant to Dr. Chalmers. speare, and Gocthe. Where are the to. The law lectures went on, and Carlyle kons of His presence? where are the signs wrote to his mother about his progress of coming?' Is there, in this universe of with them. “The law,” he said,
" I find
to be a most complicated subject, yet I not yet upon law, but upon any work of mathlike it pretty well, and feel that I shall ematics, physics, general literature, history, like it better as I proceed. Its great and politics, you are as ripe as the average of charm in my eyes is that no mean com- their writers. Blackwood's Magazine presents pliances are requisite for prospering in bad company, I confess; but it also furnishes it.” To Irving he had written a fuiler, troductions to society on one side of the ques.
a good field for fugitive writing, and good innot yet completely full, account of bim
tion. This last advice, I confess, is against self, complaining perhaps of his obstruc my conscience, and I am inclined to blot it tions and difficulties. Irving's advice is out; for did I not rest satisfied that you were not what would have been given by a to use your pen for your conscience I would cautious attorney. He admired his friend, never ask you to use it for your living. Writers and only wished his great capabilities to in the encyclopædias, except of leading articles, be known as soon as possible.
do not get out from the crowd; but writers in
the review come out at once, and obtain the Edward Irving to Thomas Carlyle. very opinion you want, opinion among the in
34, Kent Street, Glasgow : December 28, 1819. telligent and active men in every rank, not Dear Carlyle, - I pray that you may prosper among the sluggish savants alone. in your legal studies, provided only you will It is easy for me to advise what many pergive your mind to take in all the elements haps are as ready to advise. But I know I which enter into the question of the obstacles. have influence, and I am willing to use it. But remember, it is not want of knowledge i Therefore, again let me entreat you to begin a alone that impedes, but want of instruments new year by an effort continuous, not for get. for making that knowledge available. This ting knowledge, but for communicating it, that you know better than I. Now my view of the you may gain favor, and money, and opinion. matter is that your knowledge, likely very soon Do not disembark all your capital of thought, to surpass in extent and accuracy that of most and time, and exertion into this concern, but of your compeers, is to be made salable, not disembark a portion equal to its urgency, and by the usual way of adding friend to friend, make the experiment upon a proper scale. If which neither you nor I are enough patient of, it succeed, the spirit of adventure will follow, but by a way of your own. Known you must and you will be ready to embark more ; if it be before you can be employed. Known you fail, no great venture was made; no great will not be for a winnning, attaching, accom- venture is lost; the time is not yet come. But modating man, but for an original, command you will have got a more precise view by the ing, and rather self-willed man. Now estab failure, of the obstacles to be.surmounted, and lish this last character, and you take a far time and energy will give you what you lacked. higher grade than any other. How are you to Therefore I advise you as a very sincere friend establish it? Just by bringing yourself before that forth with you choose a topic, not that you the public as you are. First find vent for your are best informed on, but that you are most notions. Get them tongue; upon every sub- likely to find admittance for, and set apart ject get them tongue, not upon law alone. some portion of each day or weck to this ob. You cannot at present get them either utter- ject and this alone, leaving the rest free for ance or audience by ordinary converse. Your objects professional and pleasant. This is utterance is not the most favorable. It con- nothing more than what I urged at our last vinces, but does not persuade; and it is only a meeting, but I have nothing to write I reckon very few (I can claim place for myself) that it so important. Therefore do take it to thought. fascinates. Your audience is worse. They | Depend upon it, you will be delivered by such are generally (I exclude myself) unphilosophi- present adventure from those harpies of your cal, unthinking drivellers who lie in wait to peace you are too much tormented with. You catch you in your words, and who give you will get a class with whom society will be as little justice in the recital, because you give pleasant as we have found it together, and you their vanity or self-cstcem little justice, or even will open up ultimate prospects which I trust mercy, in the rencounter. Therefore, my dear no man shall be able to close. friend, some other way is to be sought for. Now I think our town is safe for every leal. pause,
if you be not convinced of this conclu- hearted man to his Maker and to his fellowsion. If you be, we shall proceed. If you be men to traverse without fear of scaith. Such not, read again, and you will sce it just, and traversing is the wine and milk of my present as such admit it. Now what way is to be existence. I do not warrant against a Radical sought for? I know no other than the press. rising, though I think it vastly improbable. You have not the pulpit as I have, and where But continue these times a year or two, and perhaps I have the advantage. You have not unless you unmake our present generation, and good and influential society. I know nothing unman them of human feeling and of Scottish but the press for your purpose. None are so intelligence, you will have commotion. It is good as ihese two, the Edinburgh Review and impossible for them to die of starvation, and Blackwood's Magazine. Do not start away and they are making no provision to have them say, The one I am not fit for, the other I am relieved. And what on earth is for them ? not willing for. Boti pleas I refusc. The God and my Saviour cnable me to lift their Edinburgh Review you are perfectly fit for; / hearts above a world that has deserted them,
though they live in its plenty and labor in its administering comfort to you as her highest toiling service, and fix them upon a world felicity. Your father, also, is extremely anxwhich, my dear Carlyle, I wish you and I had ious to see you again at home. The room is the inheritance in; which we may have if we much more comfortable than it was last seawill. But I am not going to preach, else I son. The roads arc rcpaired, and all things would plunge into another subject which I more convenient; and we all trust that you rate above all subjects. Yet this should not will yet recover, after you shall have inhaled be excluded from our communion cither. your native breczes and escaped once more
I am getting on quietly enough, and, if I be from the unwholesome city of Edinburgh, and defended from the errors of my heart, may do its selfish and unfeeling inhabitants. In the pretty well. The Doctor (Chalmers) is full of name of all, then, I call upon you not to neg. acknowledgments, and I ought to be full - to lect or refuse our carnest wishes; to come a higher source.
home and experience the comforts of parental Yours affectionately,
and brotherly affection, which, though rude EDWARD IRVING. and without polish, is yet sincerc and honest. Carlyle was less cager to give his The father adds a postscript:thoughts “tongue” than Irving supposed. He had not yet, as he expressed it, “ taken
My dear Tom, — I have been very uncasy the devil by the horns.” He did not about you ever since we received your moving mcan to trouble the world with his
doubts, letter, and I thought to have written to you and as yet he had not much else to trou: myself this day and told you all my thoughts
th, which is the foundation ble it with. But he was more and more and copestone of all our earthly comfort. restless. Reticence about his personal But, being particularly engaged this day, I sufferings was at no time one of his vir- caused John to write. Coinc home as soon as tues. Dyspepsia had him by the throat. possible, and forever oblige, Even the minor ailments to which our
Dcar sir, your loving father, flesh is hcir, and wbich most of us bear
JAMES CARLYLE. in silence, the cloquence of his imagina- The fright had been unnecessary. Dys. tion flung into forms like the temptations pepsia, while it tortures body and mind, of a saint. His mother had early de: does little serious injury. The attack scribed him as gay ill to live wi'," and had passed off. A letter from Carlyle while in great things he was the most
was already on the way, in which the illconsiderate and generous of men, in tri
ness was scarcely noticed; it contained fles he was intolerably irritable. Dys: little but directions for his brothers' studpepsia accounts for most of it. He did ies, and an offer of ten pounds out of his not know what was the matter with him, scantily filled purse to assist “Sandy." and when the fit was severe he drew pic on the farm. With his family it was imtures of his condition which frightened possible for him to talk freely, and through every one belonging to him. He had this gloomy time he had but one friend, sent his family in the middle of the winter though he was of priceless value. To a report of himself which made them Irving he had written out his discontent. think that he was seriously ill. His He was now disgusted with law, and brother John, who bad now succeeded meant to abandon it. Irving, pressed as him as a teacher in Annan school, was he was with work, could always afford sent for in haste to Mainhill to a consul. Carlyle the best of his time and judgment. tation, and the result was a letter which shows the touching affection with which Edward Irving to Thomas Carlyle. the Carlyles clung to one another.
Glasgow, March 14, 1820.
Since I received your last cpistle, which re7. A. Carlyle to Thomas Carlyle. minded me of some of those gloomy scenes of
Main hill, February, 1820. nature I have often had the greatest pleasure I have just arrived from Annan, and we are in contemplating, I have been wrought almost all so uneasy on your account that at the re- to death, having had three sermons to write, quest of my father in particular, and of all the and one of them a charity sermon; but I shall rest, I am determined to write to call on you make many sacrifices before I shall resign the for a specdy answer. Your father and mother, entertainment and benefit I derive from our and all of us, are extremely anxious that you correspondence. should come home directly if possible, if you Your mind is of too penetrating a cast to think you can come without danger. And we rest satisfica with the frail disguise which the trust that, notwithstanding the bitterness of happiness of ordinary life has thrown on to last summer, you will still find it empathically hide its nakedness, and I do never augur that a homc. My mother bids me call upon you to your nature is to be satisfied with its sympa. do so by cvery tic of affection, and by all that thics. Indeed, I am convinced that were you is sacred. She estccms sccing you again and translated into thc most clegant and informed