January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO SAMUEL BAMFORD ; 13 April 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430413-TC-SBA-01; CL 16: 120-122


5, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London, 13 April, 1843.

Dear Sir—Will you be so good as send by the earliest convenience you have two copies of your book, “Bamford's Life of a Radical,” addressed to “The Hon. W. B. Baring, 12, Great Stanhope-street, London.” Two copies have been wanted there for some time.1 Probably you have some appointed conveyance by which your books arrive here without additional cost; if so, pray use the earliest of these. Nay, perhaps your books are themselves procurable somewhere in London? That would be the shortest way of all. At any rate the coach or railway remains, and will be of no enormous amount. Be so good as apprise me by post what way you have adopted, and on what day the books may be looked for in Stanhope-street, not forgotting to enclose an account withal. I read your book with much interest, with a true desire to hear more and more of the authentic news of Middleton and of the honest toiling men there. Many persons have a similar desire. I would recommend you to try whether there is not yet more to be said, perhaps, on some side of that subject, for it belongs to an important class in these days. A man is at all times entitled, or even called upon by occasion, to speak, and write, and in all fit ways utter what he has himself gone thro', and known, and got the mastery of; and, in truth, at bottom there is nothing else that any man has a right to write of. For the rest, one principle, I think, in whatever farther you write, may be enough to guide you; that of standing rigorously by the fact, however naked it look. Fact is eternal; all fiction is very transitory in comparison. All men are interested in any man if he will speak the facts of his life for them; his authentic experience, which corresponds, as face with face, to that of all other sons of Adam.

Another humbler thing I will suggest—that it seems to me a pity you had not your book in the hands of some bookseller; such a one could sell it for you much faster than you yourself will. A friend of mine, for example, could not find your book in Liverpool at all; and, unless he have written to Middleton, as I suggested, may still be in fruitless search of it. The commission charges of booksellers are in truth entirely exorbitant, unexampled among any other class of sellers or salesmen in the world; but, as I said once, “If you have a wagon to drive to York, you had better pay the tolls, however unconscionable, than try to steeple-hunt it thither!” This, too, is not to be neglected, tho' a very secondary side of the business.

Wishing you a right good speed in all manful industry with hand or with head or with heart, I remain, yours very truly,

T. Carlyle

P.S. What is curious enough: this note was just folded, but not yet sealed, when your letter was handed in to me! Many thanks for your gift. Your remarks on Chartism are also very welcome to me. I have now only to add that you had better send Mr. Baring's two copies to Mr. Ballantyne2 along with the other, and request him to forward them all to me without delay. Do not forget to enclose your account, which will be paid thro' the post-office.

T. C.