The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO EDWARD CHAPMAN ; 29 April 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500429-TC-EC-01; CL 25: 75-76


Chelsea, 29 April 1850

Dear Sir,

There is no question of “advances” in this matter: what payment I get out of the Pamphlets, and whether I get it tomorrow, or this time twelve month, or this time ten years, is happily not a vital point with me at all.1 The one indispensable thing is, that I have a fair, and above all a clear bargain as to the matter; that so my imagination be no longer annoyed and confused by the prospect of an ugly pecuniary evil to unravel, at the end of all this hard work of another kind. Such a bargain, which we ought to have made before ever starting at all, will now require to be made before going farther.

I cannot go into that kind of accounts: five and twenty years ago, I learned that they were a quite bottomless uncertain affair for the like of me; I declined at that time [to]2 make any bargain on the “half profit” scheme; and certainly I shall not think of doing so now.

Pray let me know therefore, in some definite shape, what you can do that there be no doubt, or bother about it whatever, in time coming. Long ago at Forster's, I remember, you spoke about £20 per Pamphlet if the sale reached 2,000; this is precisely the sum I now fix on, now when the sale extends into the fours or towards them. What is fair put into a clear shape, is the thing I want;—and this, so far as I can see into such matters, seems to me to be it.

If upon consideration you find that you have still nothing but “half profit” to offer me, or some lower sum than this I mention,—the question will arise whether our Enterprise, in its current shape, ought not immediately to terminate? At the end of No 6, then might a dart be drawn across the page,3 and some kind of conclusion, whether as pause or finale, be attained: what remains for me to say, I could manage to be said in other ways, perhaps less laborious to me, and certainly definite in their pecuniary issues at least.

The money you have “lost” by me I take as a piece of sad news,—all the sadder as I am not the least conscious of its having come my way in the shape of “gain.” The fact is, I cannot understand it at all. Nor would I advise or wish that such a process on your part or any person's part should continue on my behalf!— But I conclude you are only bantering me, and do not mean much by those doleful tidings.

All this is a sad method of furtherance for poor No 6, which is now on the anvil, and very rebellious there! But in fact he cannot help it, as things are. Better to front the ugly coil at this its early stage, and sort it now and here, than to let it go farther and grow bigger and more ravelled.

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle.

E. Chapman Esq}