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circle of this city, you would find it please only | iously pursuing after higher Christian attainby its novelty, and perhaps refresh by its ments. varicty; but you would be constrained to seck I have read your letter again, and, at the the solid employment and the lasting gratifica- risk of further prosing, I shall have another tion of your mind elsewhere. The truth is, hit at its contents. You talk of renouncing the life is a thing formed for the average of men, law, and you speak mysteriously of hope spring. and it is only in those parts of our nature ing up from another quarter. I pray that it which are of average possession that it can may soon be turned into cnjoyment. But I gratify. The higher parts of our nature find would not have you renounce the law unless their entertainment in sympathizing with the you coolly think that this new view contains highest cfforts of our species, which are, and ihose fields of happiness, from the want of will continue, confined to the closet of the which the prospect of law has become so sage, and can never find their station in the dreary. Law has within it scope ample cnough drawing-rooms of the talking world. Indeed, for any mind. The reformation which it needs, I will go higher and say that the highest parts and which with so much humor and feeling of our nature can never have their proper food you describe,* is the very evidence of what I till they turn to contemplate the excellencics say. Did Adam Smith find the commercial of our Creator, and not only to contemplate system less encumbered ? (I know he did not but to imitate them. Therefore it is, my dear find it more); and sce what order the mind of Carlyle, that I exhort you to call in the finer one man has made therc. Such a reformation parts of your mind, and to try to present the must be wrought in law, and the spirit of the society about you with those more ordinary dis- age is manifestly bending that way. I know plavs which thcy can enjoy. The indifference none who, from his capacity of remembering with which they receive them,* and the igno- and digesting facts, and of arranging them into rance with which they treat them, operate on general results, is so well fitted as yourself. the mind like gall and wormwood. I would With regard to my own affairs, I am becomentreat you to be comforted in the possession ing too much of a man of business, and too of your treasures, and to study more the times little a man of contemplation. I meet with and persons to which you bring them forth. few minds to excite me, many to drain me off, When I say your treasures, I mean not your and, by the habit of discharging and receiving information so much, which they will bear the nothing in return, I am run off to the very lees display of for the reward and value of it, but as you may easily discern. I have a German of your feelings and affections, which, being of master and a class in college. I have scen finer tone than theirs, and consequently seek- neither for a week, such is the state of my ening a keener expression, they are apt to mis- gagements - engagements with I know not take for a rebuke of their own tameness, or for what; with preaching in St. John's once a intolerance of ordinary things, and too many weck, and employing the rest of the week in of them, I fear, for asperity of mind.
visiting objects in which I can learn nothing, There is just another panacea for your griefs unless I am collecting for a new series of (which are not inaginary, but for which I scc | Tales of my Landlord, which should range a rcal ground in the too penetrating and, at among Radicals and smugglers. times perhaps, too severe turn of your mind); Dr. Chalmers, though a most entire original but though I judge it better and more worthy by himself, is surrounded with a very prosaical than reserve, it is perhaps more difficult of sort of persons, who please me something by practice. I mean the habit of using our supe- their zcal to carry into effect his philosophical riority for the information and improveinent schemes, and vex me much by their idolatry of of others. This I reckon both the most digni- him. My comforts are in hearing the distresses fied and the most kindly course that one can of the people, and doing my mite to alleviate take, founded upon the great principles of them. They are not in the higher walks (I human improvement, and founded upon what mean as to wealth) in which I am permitted to I am wont, or at least would wish, to make my move, nor yet in the greater publicity and pattern, the example of the Saviour of men, notoriety I enjoy. Every minister in Glasgow who endured, in his errand of salvation, the is an oracle to a certain class of clevotees. I contradiction of men. But I confess, on the would not give one day in solitude or in medita. other hand, one mects with so few that are apt tion with a friend as I have enjoyed it often disciples, or willing to allow superiority, that along the sands of Kirkcaldy for ages in this will be constantly fighting with you upon the
way. threshold, that it is very heartless, and forces
Yours, most truly,
EDWARD IRVING. fancy a superiority where there is none, that it is likely to producc overmuch self-complacency.
It does not appear what the "other But I sce I am beginning to prose, and there: quarter” may have been on which the fore shall change the subject — with only one prospect was brightening. Carlyle was reinark, that your tone of mind reminds me not more explicit to his mother, to whom more than anything of my own when under the he wrote at this time a letter unusually sense of great religious imperfection, and anx- gentle and mclancholy.
one to reserve.
• l.e., the talk to which you usually treat your friends.
* Carlyle's letters to Irving are all unfortucately lost.
Thomas Carlylc to Mrs. Carlyle. visit so that the beginning of the week should
Edinburgh, March 23, 1820. be the time of your departure, I could bear To you, my dear mother, I can never be you company on your road a day's journey. I sufficiently grateful, not only for the common
have just finished my, serimon Saturday at kindness of a mother, but for the unceasing six o'clock - at which I have been sitting watchfulness with which you strove to instil without interruption since ten; but I resolved virtuous principles into my young mind; and that you should have my letter to-morrow, though we are separated at present, and may that nothing might prevent your promised be still more widely separated, I hope the les- visit, to which I hold you now altogether sons which you taught will never be effaced
bound. from my memory. I cannot say how I have It is very dangerous to speak one's mind fallen into this train of thought, but the days here about the state of the country. I reckon, of childhood arise with so many pleasing recol- however, the Radicals have in a manner cxlections, and shine so brightly across the tem- patriated themselves from the political copests and inquietudes of succeeding times, that operation of the better classes; and, at the I felt unable to resist the impulse.
saine time, I believe there was sympathy You already know that I am pretty well as enough in the middle and well-informed peoto health, and also that I design to visit you ple to have caused a melioration of our politiagain before many months have elapsed. I cal evils, had they taken time and legal mcascannot say that my prospects have got much ures. I am very sorry for the poor; they are brighter since I left you; the aspect of the losing their religion, their domestic comfort, future is still as unsetiled as ever it was; but their pride of independence, their everything; some degree of patience is behind, and hope, if timeous remedies come not soon, they will the charmer, that “springs eternal in the hu- sink, I fear, into the degradation of the Irish man breast,” is yet here likewise. I am not of peasantry; and if that class goes down, then a humor to care very much for good or evil along with it sinks the morality of every other fortune, so far as concerns myself. °The thought class. We are at a complete stand here; a that my somewhat uncertain condition gives sort of military glow has taken all ranks. you uneasiness chicfly gricves me.
Yet I They can see the houses of the poor ransacked would not have you despair of your ribe of a for arms without uttering an interjection of boy. He will do something yet. He is a shy grief on the fallen greatness of those who stingy soul, and very likely has a higher notion brought in our Reformation and our civil of his parts than others have. But, on the liberty, and they will hardly suffer a sympaother hand, he is not incapable of diligence. thizing word from any one. Dr. Chalmers He is harmless, and possesses the virtue of his takes a safe course in all these difficulties. country - thrift; so that, after all, things will The truth is, he does not side with any party. yet be right in the cnd.' My love to all the He has a few political nostrums so peculiar little ones.
that they serve to detach his ideal mind both Your affectionate son,
from Whigs and Tories and Radicals — that T. CARLYLE.
Britain would have been as flourishing and
full of capital though there had been round The university term ends carly in the island a brazen wall a thousand cubits Scotland. The expenses of the six months | high; that the national debt does us neither which the students spend at college are good nor ill, amounting to nothing more or paid for in many instances by the bodily Icss than a mortgage upon property, etc. The labors of the other six. The end of April Whigs dare not speak. The philanthropists sees them all dispersed, the class room cality, as to take little charge of the general
are so much taken up, cach with his own lo. closed, the pupils no longer obtainable; concern ; and so the Tories have room to rage and the law studies being finally aban- and talk big about armaments and pikes and doned, Carlyle had nothing more to do at battles. They had London well fortified yes. Edinburgh, and migrated with the rest. terday by the Radicals, and so forth. He was going home; he offered himself Now it will be like the unimprisoning of a for a visit to Irving at Glasgow on the bird to come and let me have free talk. Not way, and the proposal was warmly ac- that I have anything to say in favor of Radicepied. The Irving correspondence was calism, for it is the very destitution of philosonot long continued ; and I make the most that we may lose ourselves so delightfully in
phy and religion and political economy; but of the letters of so remarkable a man reveries upon the emendation of the State, to which were written while he was still him- which, in fact, you and I can bring as little self, before his intellect was clouded.
help as we could have done against the late
inundation of the Vallois. Edward Irving to T. Carlyle.
I like the tone of your last letter ; for, rc34 Kent Street, Glasgow: April 15, 1820. member, I read your very tones and gestures, My dear Carlyle, - Right happy shall I be at this distance of place, through your letter, to have your company and conversation for though it be not the most diaphanous of ever so short at time, and the longer the bodies. I have no more fear of your final better; and if you could contrive to make your success than Noah had of the Delugc ceasing;
- we seem
and though the first dove returned, as you say days. I know not that we talked much of you are to return to your father's shelter, with this, but we did of many things, perhaps more out even a leaf, yet the next time, believe me, confidentially than ever before; a colloquy the you shall return with a lcaf; and yet another sum of which is still mournfully beautiful to time, and you shall take a fight who knows me though the details are gonc. I remember where? But of this and other things I delay us sitting on the brow of a peat hag, the sun further parley.
shining, our own voices the one sound. Far, Yours affectionately,
far away to the westward over our brown hori. EDWARD IRVING. zon, towered up, white and visible at the many
miles of distance, a high irregular pyramid. Carlyle went to Glasgow, spent several “Ailsa Craig” we at once guessed, and days there, noting, according to his habit, thought of the scas and oceans over yonder. the outward signs of men and things. He But we did not Jong dwell on that saw the Glasgow merchants in the Ton- to have seen no human creature, after French, tine, he observed them, fine, clean, opu- to have had no bother and no need of human lent, with their shining bald crowns and assistance or society, not even of refection,
French's breakfast perfectly sufficing us. The serene white heads, sauntering about or
talk had grown ever friendlier, more interestreading their newspapers. He criticised the dresses of the young ladies, for whom ing. At length the declining sun said plainly,
you must part. We sauntered slowly into the he had always an eye, remarking that with Glasgow Muirkirk highway. Masons were all their charms they had less taste in building at a wayside cottage near by, or were their adornments than were to be seen in packing up on ceasing for the day. We leant Edinburgh drawing-rooms. He saw Chal- our backs to a dry stone fence, and looking incrs too, and heard him prcach. • Never into the western radiance continued in talk yet preacher went so into one's heart.” Some a while, loth both of us to go. It was just private talk, too, there was with Chalmers, here as the sun was sinking, Irving actually “the doctor” explaining to him “a new
drew from me by degrecs, in the softest manscheme for proving the truth of Christian- of the Christian religion, and that it was vain
the confession that I did not think as he ity,” “all written in us already in sym- for me to expect ever could or should. This pathetic ink; Bible awakens it, and you if this was so, he had pre-engaged to take well can read."
from ine like an elder brother, if I would be But the chief interest in the Glasgow frank with him, and right loyally he did so, and visit lies less in itself than in what fol. to the end of his life we needed no conccallowed it - a conversation between two ments on that head, which was really a step young, then unknown men, walking alone gained. iogether over a Scotch moor, the most
The sun was about setting when we turned trilling of actual incidents, a mere feather away cach on his own path. Irving would have Aoating before the wind, yet like the fifteen or seventeen miles, and would not be in
had a good space further to go than I, perhaps featber, marking the direction of the in- Kent Street till towards midnight. But he visible tendency of human thought. Car- feared no amount of walking, enjoyed it rather, lvle was to walk home to Ecclefechan. as did I in those young years. I felt sad, but Irving had agreed to accompany bim fif- affectionate and good in my clean, utterly quiet teen miles of his road, and then leave him little inn at Muirkirk, which and my feelings and return. They started early, and in it I still well remember. An innocent little breakfasted on the way at the manse of a Glasgow youth (young bagman on his first Mr. French. Carlylé himself tells the journey, I supposed) had talked awhile with
me in the otherwise solitary little sitting roon.
At parting he shook hands, and with someDrumclog Moss is the next object that sur. thing of sorrow in his tone said, “Good-nigit. vives, and Irving and I sitting 'by ourselves I shall not see you again.” I was off next under the silent bright skies among the “pcat morning at four o'clock. hags ” of Drumclog with a world all silent round us. These pcat hags are still pictured
Nothing further has to be recorded of in me; brown bog all pitted and broken with Carlyle's history for some months. He heathy remnants and bare abrupt wide holes, remained quietly through the spring and four or five feet deep, mostly dry at present; summer at Mainhill, occupied chiefly in a flat wilderness of broken bog, of quagmire reading. He was beginning his acquaint, not to be trusted (probably wetter in old days, ance with German literature, his friend and wet still in rainy scasons). Clearly a good Mr. Swan, of Kirkcaldy, who had corre.. place for Cameronian preaching, and dangerously difficult for Claverse and horse soldiery spondents at Hamburg, providing him if the suffering remnant had a few old muskets with books. He was still writing smallarti. among them! Scott's novels had given the cles too, for “ Brewster's Encyclopædia," Claverse skirmish here, which all Scotland unsatisfactory work, though better than knew of alrcady, a double interest in thosc none.
I was timorously aiming towards literature call himself) was greater than he knew. [he says - perhaps in consequence of Irving's He may have felt like Halbert Glendinurgency). I thought in audacious moments I ning when the hope was held out to him might perhaps carn some wages that way by of becoming the abbot's head keeper honest labor, somehow to help my finances; is but in that too I was painfully sceptical (talent At any rate the proposal came to nothing,
a body servant, and to a lazy priest!” and opportunity alike doubtful, alike incredible to me, poor downtrodden soul), and in fact and with the winter he was back once there came little enough of produce and finance more to his lodgings in Edinburgh, deto me from that source, and for the first years termined to fight his way somehow, absolutely none, in spite of my diligent and though in what direction he could not yet desperate efforts, which are sad to me to decide or see. think of even now. Acti labores. Yes, but of such a futile, dismal, lonely, dim, and chaotic
T. Carlyle to Alexander Carlyle. kind, in a scene all ghastly chaos to me. Sad,
Edinburgh, December dim, and ugly as the shore of Styx and Phlege- I sit down with the greatest plcasure to anthon, as a nightmare dream become real. No swer your most acceptable letter. The warm more of that; it did not conquer me, or quite affection, the generous sympathy displayed in kill me, thank God.
it go near the heart, and shed over me a mock August brought Irving to Annan for his freshing than any but a wandering forlorn
and kindly dew of brotherly love morc rcsummer holidays, which opened possibili. mortal can well imagine. Some of your ex. ties of renewed companionship. Mainbill pressions affect me almost to weakness, I might was but seven miles off, and the friends say with pain, if I did not hope the course of met and wandered together in the Mount events will change our feelings from anxiety Annan woods, Irving steadily cheering to congratulation, from soothing adversity to Carlyle with confident promises of ulti- adorning prosperity. I marked your disconmate success. In September came an
solate look. It has often since been painted offer of a tutorship in a "statesman's "* in the mind's cye. But believe me, my boy, family, which Irving urged him to accept. rights in good time, and long after, cheer many
these days will pass over. We shall all get to You live too much in an ideal world (Irving a winter evening by recalling such pensive, but said] and you are likely to be punished for it yet amiable and manly thoughts to our minds. by an unátness for practical life. It is not And in the mean while let me utterly sweep your fault but the misfortune of your circum- away thc vain fcar of our forgetting one anstances, as it has been in a less degree of my other. There is less danger of this than of
This situation will be more a remedy anything. We Carlyles are a clannish people for that than if you were to go back to Edin because we have all something original in our burgh. Try your hand with the respectable formation, and find therefore less than comilliterate men of middle lifc, as I am doing at mon sympathy with others; so that we are present, and perhaps in their honesty and constrained, as it were, to draw to onc hearty kindness you may be taught to forget, other, and to seek that friendship in our own and perhaps to undervalue the splendors, and blood which we do not find so readily else. cnvics, and competitions of men of literature. wherc. Jack and I and you will respect one I think you have within you the ability to rcar another to the end of our lives, because I the pillars of your own immortality, and, what predict that our conduct will be worthy of re. is more, of your own happiness, from the basis spect, and we will love one another, because of any level in life, and I would always have the feelings of our young days — feelings imany man destined to influence the interests of pressed most deeply on the young heart — are men, to have read thcsc interests as they are all intertwined and united by the tenderest yet disclosed in the mass of men, and not in the strongest tics of our nature. But independe few who are lifted upon the eminence of life, ently of this your fcar is vain. Continue to and when there too often forget the man to cultivate your abilities, and to behave stcadily ape the ruler or the monarch. All that is valu. and quictly as you have donc, and neither of able of the literary caste you have in their the two literati * are likely to find many perwritings. Their conversations, I am toll, are sons more qualified to appreciate their feelings full of jealousy and reserve, or perhaps, to than the farmer their brother. Greek words cover that reserve, of trilling.
and Latin are fine things, but they cannot hide
the emptiness and lowness of many who emIrving's judgment was perhaps at fault ploy them. in this advice. Carlylc, proud, irritable, Brewster has printed my article. He is a and impatient as he was, could not have pushing man and speaks encouragingly to me. remained a weck in such a houschold. Tait, the bookseller, is loud in his kind anticiHis ambition (downtrodden as he might pations of the grand things that are in store
But in fact I do not lend much car to • "Statesman," or small freeholder farming his nwn
thosc gentlemen. I feel quite sick of this land, common still in Cumberland, then spread over
* His brother John and himself.
the northern countics.
drivelling state of painful idleness. I am
T. Carlyle to Mrs. Carlyle. going to be patient no longer, but quitting
Jan. 39, 1821. study or leaving it in a secondary place I feel
My cmployment, you are awarc, is still very determined, as it were, to find something sta- Auctuating, but this I trust will improve. ] tionary, some local habitation and some name for myself, ere it be long; I shall turn and at last I feel no insuperable doubts of getting
am advancing, I think, though leisurely, and try all things, be diligent, be assiduous in sea. honest bread, which is all I want. For as to son and out of scason to effect this prudent fame and all that, I see it already to be nothpurpose; and if health stay with me I still ing better than a meteor, a will-o'-the-wisp trust I shall succeed. At worst it is but nar: which leads one on through quagmires and rowing my views to suit my means. I shall pitfalls to catch an object which, when we enter the writing life, the mercantile, the lec. have caught it, turns out to be nothing. I am turing, any life in short but that of country happy to think in the mean time that you do schoolmaster, and even that sad refuge from not feel uneasy about my future destiny. the storms of fate, rather than stand here in Providence, as you observe, will order it frigid impotence, the powers of my mind all better or worse, and with His award, so nothfcstering and corroding each other in the ing mcan or wicked lie beforc mc, I shall miserablc strife of inward will against outward study to rest satisfied. necessity. I lay out my heart before you, my boy, be those who are at case in the world, to think
It is a striking thing, and an alarming to cause it is solacing for me to do so; but I how many living beings that had breath and would not have you think me depressed. Bad hope within them when I left Ecclefechan are health does indeed depress and undermine now numbered with the clods of the valley ! one more than all other calamities put to. Surely there is something obstinately stupid in gether, but with care, which I have the best the heart of man, or the fight of threescore of all reasons for taking, I know this will in years, and the poor joys or poorer cares of this time get out of danger. Steady then, steady! Our pilgrimage, would never move us as they as the drill-sergeants say. Let us be steady do. Why do we fret and murmur, and toil, unto the end. "In due time we shall reap if and consume ourselves for objects so transient we faint not. Long may you continue to and frail? Is it that the soul living here as cherish the manly feelings which you express in her prison-house strives after something in conclusion. They lead to respectability at boundless like herself, and finding it nowhere least from the world, and, what is far better, still renews the search? Surely we are fcarto sunshine within which nothing can destroy fully and wonderfully made. But I must not or eclipse.
pursue these speculations, though they force In the same packet Carlyle enclosed a themselves upon us sometimes even without letter to his mother.
our asking. I know well and feel deeply that you'en. To his family Carlyle made the best of tertain the most solicitous anxiety about my his situation; and indeed, so far as outtemporal, and still more about my cternal ward circumstances were concerned, there welfare ; as to the former of which I have still was no special cause for anxiety. His hopes that all your tenderness will yet be re- farmhouse training had made him indifpaid; and as to the latter, though it becomes not the human worm to boast, I would fain ferent to luxuries, and he was earning as persuade you not to entertain so many doubts. much money as he required. It was not Your character and mine are far more similar here that the pinch lay; it was in the still than you imagine ; and our opinions too, uncompleted “temptations in the wilder. though clothed in different garbs, are, I weil ness,” in the mental uncertainties which know, still analogous at bottom. I respect gave him neither peace nor respite. He your religious sentiments and honor you for had no friend in Edinburgh with whom feeling them more than if you were the highest he could exchange thoughts, and no sociwoman in the world without them.
Be easy; ety to amuse or distract him. And those I entreat you, on my account; the world will who knew his condition best, the faithuse me better than before ; and if it should not, let us hope to meet in that upper country,
ful Irving especially, became seriously when the vain fever of life is gone by, in the alarmed for him. So keenly Irving felt country where all darkness shall be light, and the danger that in December be even inwhere the exercise of our affections will not vited Carlyle to abandon Edinburgh altobe thwarted by the infirmities of human nature gether and be his own guest for an indefiany more.
Brewster will give me articles nite time at Glasgow. enough. Meanwhile my living here is not to cost me anything, at least for a season more
You make me too proud of myself [he or less. I have two hours of teaching, which wrote] .when you connect me so much with both gives me a call to walk and brings in your happiness. Would that I could confour guincas a month.
tribute to it as I most fondly wish ; and one
of the richest and most powerful minds I Again, a few weeks later:
know should not now be struggling with ob