The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 25 January 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390125-TC-JF-01; CL 11: 7-9


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea / Friday [25? January 1839]—

My dear Sir,

Your messenger found me engaged, with people about me; so that, for the moment, I made out only part of what he meant. A few minutes after he was gone, I discovered that the four beautiful volumes were not a loan but a gift!1 If the former would have been a favour, right welcome to me at present, the latter may well be a thing to be proud of, to be grateful for. Accept my best thanks for so handsome a gift, so handsomely bestowed. Surely I will keep these Books in a place of honour, and value them both for their own sake, and as a distinguished mark of your kindness to me. And now, in these fine Russia coats, brushed of all Lardnerism,2 ye Hampdens and Elliots,3 have at you!— I will not criticise Cromwell at present; but say only, what I can well do, that I think I have got more insight out of it than out of all the other Lives of Cromwell. You surely take the right plan with those things;—faithfully endeavour to body forth the matter, and see it before speaking of it. Far other than the common plan; the results of which we see daily!

I also rejoice heartily that you take up this Library Scheme with such prompt zeal. Your help in the Examiner will be of first-rate value. In that, before all other places, it ought to be advocated; and you surely are the man to do it. I will request you therefore to get ready with your best word for us, the sooner the better. I consider your ready acceptance and adherence as the best omen; and indeed, joining it with other promising things that have occurred, am disposed to believe already that we shall and will succeed. Sir James Clark warmly declares himself a supporter and furtherer, this morning; approves of our List of Leading Men, but thinks it ought to be enlarged to 20 &c: I am to see him very soon, and consult. Mr Rogers has a dozen Prospectuses, and is making applications with little doubt of succeeding. So soon as these Names are obtained, they will be printed at the end of the announcement you already have, and directions given then to some general place of signing. Before this day week, I hope it will be all ready for talking of with names and specialties; and that a word from you next Examiner will give it a proper lift.

Meanwhile, do you not think some vague note of preparation, in the actual pass we are at, might do some good, have a quickening influence on our Signers, and otherwise? Here is a crude thing I jotted down two or three weeks ago: if you could in any way pare it into shape, altering, adding, subtracting; and thought the insertion of it useful,—since there is nothing of your own to be looked for this week?4 I leave it with you, to your own good judgement. Remember only that for next week you are yourself engaged.

The writer of the Prospectus is Mr. Spedding, a neighbour of yours, whom you perhaps know. I will desire him to send you a few more copies of the Paper, to do good with as you have opportunity.

Finally, might I not hope to see you, some lucky day before long? Chelsea is not unknown to you, nor one of the Cheyne Rows. Or cannot I try Lincoln's Inn Fields myself, and take chance of finding you.

With many thanks, I remain, / My dear Sir, / Yours most truly

T. Carlyle