October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART ; 20 November 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18451120-TC-JGL-01; CL 20: 59-60


Bay House, Alverstoke / 20 Novr 1845—

Dear Lockhart,

A poor meritorious Scotchman, a Burgher Minister in Dundee, of the name of Gilfillan, has published a Book,—I believe at his own expense too, poor fellow,—under the Title, Gallery of Literary Portraits, or some such thing; and is about sending, as in duty bound, a Copy to the Quarterly.1 I know not whether this poor Book will in the least lie in your way: but to prevent you throwing it aside without so much as looking at it, I write now to bear witness that the man is really a person of superior parts; and that his Book, of which I have read some of the Sections, first published in a Country Newspaper that comes to me,2 is worthy of being looked at a little by you,—that you may decide then, with cause shewn, whether there is anything to be done with it. I am afraid not very much! A strange Oriental, Scriptural style, full of fervour, and crude gloomy fire,—a kind of opium style However you must look a little, and say.

This testimony I have volunteered to send, having seen the man as well as his writing;—and now this is all I have to say. The antecedents to this step, and the corollaries that follow from it on your part and on mine are not needed to be written. I believe you will do me the honour (a very great honour as times go) to believe what I have written: and the helping of a poor fellow that has merit, when he can be helped,—this I take it is at all times felt to be a pleasure and a blessing by you as by me. And so enough of it.

We are here on the Hampshire Coasts, hiding with kind Friends from the London Fogs for a while: a pleasant place in comparison,—especially when one has tobacco and nothing to do! When I return to Town I design again to try Sussex Place;3 tho' my successes there are rather far between, of late. Why do you never come to see me?—

With real regard / Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle