October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 3 January 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460103-TC-RWE-01; CL 20: 92-94


Chelsea, 3 jany, 1846—

Dear Emerson,

I received your Letter by the last Packet three or four days ago:1 this is the last day of answering, the monthly Packet sails towards you again from Liverpool tomorrow morning; and I am in great pressure with many writings, elsewhither and thither: therefore I must be very brief. I have just written to Mr Hart of Philadelphia; his Draft (as I judge clearly by the Banker's speech and silence) is accepted, all right; and in fact, means money at this time: for which I have written to thank him heartily. Do you very heartily thank Mr Furness for me;2—Furness and various friends, as Transatlantic matters now are, must accept a silent gratitude from me. The speech of men and American hero-worshippers is grown such a babblement: in very truth, silence is the thing that chiefly has meaning,—there or here. Another Letter was in answer to a certain New York Bookselling House, “Homan and Ellis, 295. Broadway,” if I read it right;3 who, quite too late, made offer to me for an edition of the Cromwell Book,—plundered without “offer” by our vulpine friends “Wily and Put-on-him!”4 Of whom now a word.

My Friend, I am grieved to see your vexation; and, according to this Broadway Offer just mentioned, it may be a loss of some £90 or £100, this trick of the Wilies: but otherwise it is not of any consequence at all,—nor, in that way either, is it properly of any consequence. I did, however, write instantly to Chapman and Hall, giving them a sight of your Letter, and requiring from them an instant distinct contradiction of the Wiley statement, “That Chapman and Hall had given liberty” &c.5 The answer to this comes out rather in favour of the Wiley and Putnam, whose procedure seemed very like highway robbery at first; wherefore it is right that I should put you in possession of it.

Just before the sailing of the Novr Packet, the Book being now quite completed, and the engraving6 on the way towards completion, I hastily called on Chapman; wrote your name on a Sheet of Paper, and directed him to have a Copy bound for you with that autograph in it; and to despatch the same by the Packet about to sail. Chapman suggested that “unbound, the Book would do as well for reprinting?” I said hastily, “I do not wish to bother him with that; bind it!” Cursory words; which poor Chapman interpreted to mean that the American Edition of my Book was a thing thrown out into the streets, lying disowned there like a yellow cabbage-leaf,—which he, therefore, might pick up, and sell for a penny if he could in a private way! Accordingly he goes across to Wiley here, or Wiley comes across to him,—in short he gives Wiley another Copy of the Book for his New York friends (with instruction that they need not hasten your Copy of it,—which was rather a bold stroke of his,—but with no Authority, as he avers, to retain it when demanded); and for this service receives the reward of £10, and buttons the same into his pocket nothing doubting. Such is his Official Narrative, a very penitent Piece wherein he eagerly restores to me the buttoned £10, and really seems very sorry for himself, poor greedy creature. Nay I may as well inclose it for you, and then so far you will have the case before you.7

In reply to that Note I have signified to Chapman how he commercially stood in selling that waste article, too rashly judged to be thrown into the street; that I did not throw it into the street, but into the hands of R. W. E. to do unbiassed his own friendly pleasure with it,—which pleasure, and the calculable results thereof, have now become very evident! For I enclose him the Homan & Ellis Letter, offering me (I think) “Half-profits, or the Tenth part of the retail-price at once,” for an Edition: and I bid the poor man go over to his Wileys here, shew them these terms, say These are very clear due from them: are they ready as honourable men to give me these? If so, it shall still be well: if not,—they may go to—a Certain Person, and it shall not be well!

Was not here a magnanimous proceeding; looking for grace from a graceless face? I despatched that Note, two days ago; expecting of course no answer but “Hum-m-ha!”—but as yet I have not even got that; and it rejoices my mind to think that I have the dogs in a kind of fix! Enough of them: let us not waste another syllable upon them, now or henceforth, the wretched hungerstruck hyaenas that they are.

To my very great astonishment, the Book Cromwell proves popular here; and there is to be another edition very soon. Edition with improvements—for some 50 or so of new (not all insignificant) Letters have turned up, and I must try to do something rational with these;—with which painful operation I am again busy. It will make the two volumes about equal perhaps,—which will be one benefit! If any American possibility lie in this, I will take better care of it.—— — Alas, I have not got one word with you yet! Tell me of your Lectures;—of all things

Ever yours

T. Carlyle

We returned from Hampshire exactly a week ago; never passed six so totally idle weeks in our lives.— Better in health a little? Perhaps.