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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Thomas Carlyle to John Gibson Lockhart, 20 May 1839

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea,
May 20, 1839.

Dear Sir,—It will probably seem surprising that I of all persons should propose writing for you in the Quarterly Review. Neither do I propose it for a series of times, nor altogether definitely even for one first time. For one first time, however,
there is in it such a look of possibility that I find it worth while to consult you on the matter.

“I have, and have had for many years, a word to speak on the condition of the lower classes in this country. My notions on this subject differ intensely from those of the speculating Radicals, intensely from those of the Whigs: it seems to me the better class of the Conservatives are, on the whole, the persons to whom it were hopefullest, and in many ways fittest, to address myself. There are writers in your Review with whom I have a deep sympathy; a Rev. Mr. Sewell in particular, whose name I inquired out some years ago, gets in general from me the heartiest, most entire assent all along till we get to the conclusion he draws, when, strangely enough, I am obliged to answer, ‘Not at all by any means,’ for most part! On the whole, I think I partly understand what the conditions of this proposed sermon of mine would be; and if you gave me scope I think I could tell my audience a strange thing or two without offence—nay, with hope of persuading and interesting certain of them.

“At all events, as I said, it is a kind of necessity for me to speak this word, some time or other, somewhere or other; and as I cannot afford to pay for printing pamphlets, or even to write for nothing, I find on looking round me that first of all I ought to ask you to consider what is feasible about this, and let me know your decision.

“I come almost daily into the Piccadilly region,
and could give you a meeting anywhere in that quarter, at any house, at any time (about the middle hours of the day), you might please to appoint. At all events, pray consider this proposal not altogether as an intrusion, but at lowest as a proof of something which (I judge very certainly), if you knew it to the bottom, would not be offensive to you.—I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely,

T. Carlyle.”