August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO [THOMAS BALLANTYNE?] ; 23 March 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440323-TC-TB-01; CL 17: 318-319


Chelsea, 23 March 1844—

My dear Sir,

Thanks for your Newspapers and news. I was afraid you had abandoned your project of the History of Wages,1 in which I suppose some labour is already invested. It is always good for a man to have some main current running thro' his field of speculation; it wholesomely drains off so many things; and yields some good issue, far better than one expected, at last.

I am so far from having done with Oliver Cromwell, it is yet odds with me whether I have got him fairly begun! No business ever fell to my hand a hundredth-part so difficult. It is like the summing up of the general stupidity of England for two centuries past, this state in which I find the Hero Oliver. All books ever written upon him are torpedo monsters, and belong to the realm of Nox and Erebus: how to write one now that shall belong to the other realm is not easy!

This Book of the Chatham Society2 is what causes me to write today. If it be such a volume as I hope, it may save me many a headache in the British Museum. Lancashire, Ashton, Stanley, Brereton &c &c especially Latham House and Chester, the Siege of Manchester & massacre of Bolton:3 these are things I do not wish to omit;—and they lie among the Museum ‘Pamphlets on the Civil Wars,’ some forty thousand or so in number!

Can you send me a correct table of contents of this Chatham Volume; then the price of it if it is to be sold,—or the way to borrow it, beg it, or do all but steal it, if it prove suitable and not saleable!—

This is all I have time to say at present.

With many good wishes

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle