“You well know how reluctant I have been to interfere at all in the election now close on us, and that in stating, as bound, what my own clear knowledge of your qualities was, I have strictly held by that, and abstained from more. But the news I now have from Edinburgh is of such a complexion, so dubious, and so surprising to me; and I now find I shall privately have so much regret in a certain event—which seems to be reckoned possible, and to depend on one gentleman of the seven—that, to secure my own conscience in the matter, a few plainer words seem needful. To whatever I have said of you already, therefore, I now volunteer to add, that I think you not only the one man in Britain capable of bringing Metaphysical Philosophy, in the ultimate, German or European, and highest actual form of it, distinctly home to the understanding of British men who wish to understand it, but that I notice in you farther, on the moral side, a sound strength of intellectual discernment, a noble valour and reverence of mind, which seems to me to mark you out as the man capable of doing us the highest service in Ethical science too: that of restoring, or decisively beginning to restore, the doctrine of morals to what I must ever reckon its one true and everlasting basis (namely, the divine or supra-sensual one), and thus of victoriously reconciling and rendering identical the latest dictates of modern science with the earliest dawnings of wisdom among the race of men.
“This is truly my opinion, and how important to me, not for the sake of Edinburgh University alone, but of the whole world for ages to come, I need not say to you! I have not the honour of any personal acquaintance with Mr. Adam Black, late member for Edinburgh, but for fifty years back have known him, in the distance, and by current and credible report, as a man of solid sense, independence, probity, and public spirit; and if, in your better knowledge of the circumstances, you judge it suitable to read this note to him—to him, or indeed to any other person—you are perfectly at liberty to do so.
“Yours sincerely always,
“T. CARLYLE.” [Illustration]
Mr. Carlyle, ex-Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh, being asked before the expiration of his term of office, to deliver a valedictory address to the students, he sent the following letter to Mr. Robertson, Vice-President of the Committee for his election:—
“Chelsea, December 6, 1868.