The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO GEORGE BANCROFT ; 13 June 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380613-TC-GBA-01; CL 10: 99-100


5, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / London, 13th June, 1838.

Allow me to thank you in words, as in silence I very sincerely do, for the gift you have sent me, and the kind sentiments accompanying it. The Message, in all its items, Emerson's and yours, arrived safely here some three weeks ago.1 I have read your Book with attention, I may say, with interest and profit, as an earnest faithful Book on a subject about which I had much curiosity and but little knowledge. You are bound to persist; and bring the business down, to the exit of Washington, at any rate.2

My praises of your Book might honestly be manifold. I do find several things delineated and visibly set before me in form and colour: glimpses of the old primeval Forest, in its hot dark strength and tangled savagery and putrescence; Virginia Planters with their tobacco-pouches, galloping amid the ‘buckskin kye’ (as our Burns has it)3 in the glades of the wild wood; Puritans, stern of visage, warm and sound of heart,—all this and much of the like is ocularly there. I reckon it a high praise to say that you have more than once, in such passages, reminded me of Müller's Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, one of our bravest Books, which at the same time you probably never read.4

And then as to my censures, for there are censures everywhere, and all things have light and shadow,—I should say that your didactic theoretic matter gratified me generally much less; that, in a word, you were too didactic, went too much into the origins of things generally known, into the praise of things only partially praisable, only slightly important: on the whole, that here is a man who has an eye, and that he ought to fling down his spectacles and look with that!— Forgive my plainness of speech; did I think less of you than I do, I had omitted this shady side of the business, and left only light.

But in any case, many thanks, my dear Sir; and right good speed in your work, and in all works you so faithfully lay your strength to. I beg a continuance of your good-will; and am always

Very sincerely yours /

T. Carlyle.