August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 3 October 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421003-TC-EF-01; CL 15: 115-116


Chelsea, Monday (3 Octr, 1842)

My dear Sir,

The companion of this Note should have been the forerunner of it; being written, in great haste, on Saturday afternoon; triumphantly carried out in my breast-pocket, and then—forgotten till near seven o'clock, when I pulled it out, seeking for my catalogue in an Old-Book shop in Holywell Street! Today I can add this to it; with a certificate that your last packet also has arrived,—the button-seal unbroken, the sketch not injured by its journey.1— You shall be appointed Topographer-General when I come to be King.

You have not sent me the Boy's name (Trooper-and-Cabbage-Yard Boy's2); but if you mark it down on paper, nothing will run away with it; and at present it is not in the least wanted. God knows if it ever will be, for any solid purpose—alas, alas!

No Worsely or Ouseley that I can get trace of was present as a Colonel at Naseby.3 A Sir Charles Wolseley (ancestor, I think, of the present or late Ultra radical) gets himself occasionally named; and became ultimately one of Oliver's Council of State:4 but (tho' my Sprigge, which contains a List of Fairfax's Army, is gone back to Cambridge) I have little or no doubt he was not a Colonel there, or at all there. The name therefore remains enigmatic. There was a Colonel Okey,5 future Regicide, formerly in “Brewer's Stoker in Southwark,” who might well enough have left his name: he stood in Langfordy Hedges with his dragoons; it was at his advance, with a sputtering of shot and other dangerous features of conduct, that the King's Horse broke finally away and fled. He was, I think, the most audacious fighter then going, on either side. Alas, I fear your country Digamma6 will not stretch to the length of Colonel Okey; whose name it would have been interesting to find on that ground.

The buttons, I am very glad to consider as new or spurious; for the N.Y.I.,7 indisputable there, is altogether unintelligible otherwise. The stamp indeed looks quite new; far too fresh to have lain two centuries. Besides I rather think they used horn-buttons in those days, and of far larger size.

The accounts of the number killed are very vague. The Parliament-Commissioners' dispatch (written however that same evening) says, “On the King's side 600, on ours not one hundred”; Cromwell, also on the same evening, says Killed and taken about 5,000; which agrees with Chronicler Heath's account, that the number of Prisoners, marched off on the Monday from Harborough towards London, was 4,500. There is a list of all the officers taken. Perhaps 600 in all may be a fair guess for the number killed on both sides. Battles at that time were not fourth-part so deadly as now: their muskets were great clumsy things, with rests to stick in the ground when you fired, bullets carried in your mouth etc. I suppose a man with percussion-caps and cartridges could fire at least ten times as often in a given time. The number engaged at Naseby seems to have been about 10,000 on each side: the Parlt took 8,000 stand of arms; and most of the Horse doubtless got off. The chase lasted thro' Harborough, till within sight of Leicester steeple.— By the by, the “Little chair” does not belong to Lubbenham; it and the “little low room” are at Harborough!8

Thanks heartily for your offer of the new column at Cloister-Well: it must decidedly be done, one day! But unless the very Fates forbid, I mean to be there with you next summer, when the Hills are all green again.

We had Spedding last night, home from Yankee-land; by whom and to whom was honourable mention of you.9 He goes Northward in about a week. The Yankees have not discomposed him; nothing in this world can. He comes home raying forth the same quiet candid light,—white light, or grey mildly contemplative twilight—as when he went.— Adieu, with best thanks,

T. Carlyle