The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES ; 26 March 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390326-TC-RMM-01; CL 11: 61-63


Chelsea, Tuesday [26? March 1839]

Dear Mr Mylnes,

That Book Nature, I am sorry to say, is not discoverable. Search has been made within the house and without, hitherto in vain. Somebody has it; but I know not who, and see not at present much hope of knowing. Perhaps Kennett of York Street Covent Garden has it on sale: if not, and if (as the probabilities indicate) I cannot unearth it here, what chance is there? It seems an “irreducible case.”1

I give you two fractions of an American Book-catalogue, where you find a Notice of Nature and Notices of one or two other things perhaps related to your enterprise.——— As to the immortal Revolution Book, I am not altogether sure but the piece of truth I communicated to you may have given you a wrong impression of the whole truth. Come therefore into the centre of the business (me duce [under my guidance]), since you have got within the circumference. The American Edition was of 1000, price 2 dollars, and is all sold off; my share of the profit £150. American Booksellers sell at 15 percent; that is their share of the retail price of a Book you give them to sell for you. The English Edition, of 750, price 31/6, is also all sold off except a score of copies; my share of the profit hitherto zero,—tho' the Bookseller tells me he has cash for me, the colour of cash, “which he hopes will prove satisfactory,” were his books once balanced!2 English Booksellers sell at the rate of 42 per cent or so (I find); and are generally reckoned to be knaves more or less besides. It is a commercial phenomenon, their business here at present. I prepare to print a second edition for England and America together. This is the veritable complete state of the case; more fit for a Threadneedle Street Accountant than for a West-End Poetical Critic;—which however I impart to you in confidence, that what you do see good to say on the subject may be said with entire knowledge of it. My notion is that it is all a misère [trifle], worthy to be left in profoundest secrecy. Unless perhaps you will recommend one to swallow keys (like your friend Stello), and die with a “Pen in one hand and crust in the other”? Is not that a beautiful attitude for dying, now,—and one often practised in hospitals? Gilbert Sansculotte!—I will desire you also to present my compliments to Kitty Bell when you next buy bunns from her.3

God keep you, my good friend. It is a mad world this.

Yours very truly always /

T. Carlyle—

I find Emerson quoted in a strange philosophico-gerundgrinder farrago of a Book from Cambridge, called The New Cratylus.4 They tell me also your friend Gladstone has a page of him.5