The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle Vol 2, Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle Vol 2
Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish cultural critic, essayist, historian, lecturer, mathematician, philosopher and translator. Known as the Sage of Chelsea, he became "the undoubted head of English letters" in the 19th century. At Craigenputtock, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Carlyle wrote some of his most distinguished essays and began a lifelong friendship with the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson

Volume II

“To my friend I write a letter, and from him I receive a letter.It is a spiritual gift, worthy of him to give, and of me toreceive.” — Emerson

“What the writer did actually mean, the thing he then thought of,the thing he then was.” — Carlyle

Emerson to Carlyle

Concord, 1 July, 1842

My Dear Carlyle, — I have lately received from our slow friends,James Munroe & Co., $246 on account of their sales of theMiscellanies, — and I enclose a bill of Exchange for L51, whichcost $246.50. It is a long time since I sent you any sketch ofthe account itself, and indeed a long time since it was posted,as the booksellers say; but I will find a time and a clerk alsofor this.

I have had no word from you for a long space. You wrote me aletter from Scotland after the death of your wife’s mother, andfull of pity for me also; and since, I have heard nothing. Iconfide that all has gone well and prosperously with you; thatthe iron Puritan is emerging from the Past, in shape and statureas he lived; and you are recruited by sympathy and content withyour picture; and that the sure repairs of time and love andactive duty have brought peace to the orphan daughter’s heart.My friend Alcott must also have visited you before this, and youhave seen whether any relation could subsist betwixt men sodifferently excellent. His wife here has heard of his arrival onyour coast, — no more.

I submitted to what seemed a necessity of petty literarypatriotism, — I know not what else to call it, — and took charge ofour thankless little Dial, here, without subscribers enough topay even a publisher, much less any laborer; it has no penny foreditor or contributor, nothing but abuse in the newspapers, or,at best, silence; but it serves as a sort of portfolio, to carryabout a few poems or sentences which would otherwise betranscribed and circulated; and always we are waiting whensomebody shall come and make it good. But I took it, as I said,and it took me, and a great deal of good time, to a smallpurpose. I am ashamed to compute how many hours and days thesechores consume for me. I had it fully in my heart to write atlarge leisure in noble mornings opened by prayer or by readingsof Plato or whomsoever else is dearest to the Morning Muse, achapter on Poetry, for which all readings, all studies, are butpreparation; but now it is July, and my chapter is rudestbeginnings. Yet when I go out of doors in the summer night, andsee how high the stars are, I am persuaded that there is timeenough, here or somewhere, for all that I must do; and the goodworld manifests very little impatience.

Stearns Wheeler, the Cambridge tutor, a good Grecian, and theeditor, you will remember, of your American Editions, is going toLondon in August probably, and on to Heidelberg, &c. He means, Ibelieve, to spend two years in Germany, and will come to see youon his way; a man whose too facile and good-natured manners dosome injustice to his virtues, to his great industry and realknowledge. He has been corresponding with your Tennyson, andediting his Poems here. My mother, my wife, my two little girls,are well; the youngest, Edith, is the comfort of my days. Peaceand love be with you, with you both, and all that is yours.

— R. W. Emerson

In our present ignorance of Mr. Alcott’s address I advised hiswife to write to your care, as he was also charged to keep youinformed of his place. You may therefore receive letters for himwith this.

Carlyle to Emerson

Chelsea, London, 19 July, 1842

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