April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO DAWSON TURNER ; 7 June 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480607-TC-DT-01; CL 23: 39-40


Chelsea, London7th June, 1848—

Dear Sir,

I have read, with much attention, the Four Letters of Oliver Cromwell, lately published by you in the Norwich A[r]chaeological &c;1 and must beg, for my own special objects, to have the liberty of addressing one question to you: Whether, in a word, the Letters are autograph or not?

I suppose them to be all autograph; but you do not anywhere expressly say so, that I can find; and, at p. 43, you casually speak as if the Authenticity of the Letters were or could be confirmed by internal evidence,—as if the external evidence were not of itself quite beyond question. Oliver's handwriting, I need not tell you, is well known for its peculiarities still visible in many specimens, and could be sworn to in any Court of Justice. Pray have the kindness to satisfy me in one word as to this: in another edition of the Cromwell Book (when we come to that), I of course mean to introduce these Letters, and ought to say whether they are autograph or not, as now in your hands.2

If autograph, as I suppose, the Letter pp. 51–55 is especially curious; for it has been printed, in the Old Newspapers, and in Rushworth (V.278), these two centuries:—printed, as you may see too, in that Book of mine (I.182), all except the first paragraph (p. 51 of yours) and a bit of the last (pp. 53–4), which have been omitted for very obvious reasons.3 I suppose therefore it may be the oldest Newspaper Letter now in existence!— Tho' of course it was not from it, but from a copy furnished, and slightly doctored, by the official persons, that the Newspapers got their material.— — “Captain Margerie” I find named again, still Captain of Horse, in 1651, “troop of 120 men”; but know nothing more whatever of him.4

Believe me / Dear Sir / Yours very truly / T. Carlyle

Dawson Turner Esq