The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 17 January 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400117-TC-RWE-01; CL 12: 15-17


Chelsea, London, 17th jany, 1840—

Dear Emerson,

Your Letter of the 12th December,1 greatly to my satisfaction, has arrived; the struggling Steamship in spite of all hurricanes has brought it safe across the waters to me. I find it good to write you a word in return straightway; tho' I think there are already two or perhaps even three messages of mine to you flying about unacknowledged somewhere under the Moon; nay the last of them perhaps may go by the same packet as this,—having been forwarded, as this will be, to Liverpool, after the British Queen sailed from London.2

Your account of the F. Revolution packages, and prognosis of what Little and Brown will do with them is altogether as it should be. I apprised Fraser instantly of his invoice-less Books &c; he answers that order has been taken in that long since, “instructions” sent, and I conclude, arrangements for bills least of all forgotten. I mentioned what share of the duty was his; and that your men meant to draw on him for it.3 That is all right.— As to the F. Revolution I agree with your Booksellers altogether about it; the American Edition actually pleases myself better for looking at; nor do I know that this new English one has much superiority for use: it is despicably printed, I fear, so far as false spellings, and other slovenlinesses can go: Fraser “finds the people like it”; credat Judaeus [let the Jew believe it];4—as for me, I have told him I will not print any more with that man but with some other man. Curious enough: the price Little & B. have fixed upon was the price I remember guessing at beforehand, and the result they propose to realize for me corresponds closely with my prophecy too.5 Thanks, a thousand thanks for all the trouble you never grudge to take. We shall get ourselves handsomely out of this export and import speculation; and know, taught at a rather cheap rate, not to embark in the like again.

There went off a W. Meister for you, and a Letter to announce it, several weeks ago; that was message first. Your travelling neighbour Brown took charge of a Pamphlet named Chartism, to be put into the British Queen's Letter-bag (where I hope, and doubt not, he did put it, tho' I have seen nothing of him since); that and a letter in reference to it was message second. Thirdly I sent off a volume of Poems by Sterling, likewise announced in that Letter. And now this that I actually write is the fourth (it turns out to be) and last of all the messages. Let us take arithmetic along with us in all things.— Of Chartism I have nothing farther to say except that Fraser is striking off another 1000 copies to be called 2nd edition; and that the people accuse me not of being an incendiary and speculative sansculotte threatening to become practical, but of being a Tory.—thank Heaven. The Miscellanies are at press, at two presses;6 to be out, as Hope asseverates, in March: five volumes, without Chartism; with Hoffmann and Tieck from German Romance, stuck in somewhere as Appendix; with some other trifles stuck in elsewhere, chiefly as Appendix, and no essential change from the Boston edition. Fraser, “overwhelmed with business,” does not yet send me his net-result of those 250 Copies sold off some time ago; so soon as he does, you shall hear of it for your satisfaction.— As to German Romance, tell any friends that it has been out of print these ten years; procurable, of late not without difficulty, only in the Old-Bookshops. The comfort is that the best part of it stands in the new W. Meister: Fraser & I had some thought of adding Tieck, and Richter's parts, had they suited for a volume; the rest may without detriment to anybody perish.

Such press-correctings and arrangings waste my time here, not in [the] agreeablest way. I begin, tho' in as sulky a state of health as ever, to loo[k] again towards some new kind of work. I have often thought of Cromwell and Puritans; but do not see how the subject can be presented still alive. A subject dead is not worth presenting. Meanwhile I read rubbish of Books; Eichhorn, Grimm7 &c; very considerable rubbish, one grain in the cartload worth pocketing It is pity I have no appetite for lecturing! Many applications have been made to me here;—none more touching to me than one, the day before yesterday, by a fine innocent-looking Scotch lad, in the name of himself and certain other Booksellers' shopmen eastward in the City! I cannot get them out of my head. Poor fellows! they have nobody to say an honest word to them, in this articulate-speaking world, and they apply to me.— For you, good friend, I account you luckier; I do verily: lecture there what innumerable things you have got to say on “The Present Age”;—yet withal do not forget to write either, for that is the lasting plan after all. I have a curious Note sent me for inspection the other day; it is addressed to a Scotch Mr Erskine (famed among the saints here) by a Madame Necker, Madame de Staël's kinswoman, to whom he the said Mr E. had lent your first Pamphlet at Geneva.8 She regards you with a certain love, yet a shuddering love. She says, “Cela sent l'American qui après avoir abattu les forets à coup de hache, croit qu'on doit de même conquerir le monde intellectuel”!9 What R. M. Mylnes will say of you we hope also to see.— I know both Heraud and Landor;10 but, alas, what room is here! Another sheet with less of “arithmetic” in it will soon be allowed me. Adieu dear friend. Yours ever & ever.

T. Carlyle