The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO WILLIAM ALLINGHAM ; 29 June 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500629-TC-WA-01; CL 25: 107-108


Chelsea, 29 june, 1850—

Dear Sir,

Along with Camden's Britannia (Philn Holland's, or at lowest Bishop Gibson's version),1 I ought by no means to have forgotten one Book which there is on Ireland itself that deserves, tho' at a long interval behind Camden, the name of “good.” Sir James Ware's Book (or two Books together) I mean: History of Irish Writers, Bishops, &c, and History and Antiquities of Ireland;—all done into English by a Mr Harris (also a diligent learned kind of Irish man) about a hundred years ago in Dublin:2 you find it in two voll. folio (sometimes I think in 3, but my copy had 2 only); but all you can get of Ware's is worth buying,3—for he had a head, and took pains to do his best with it; and in fact has done more than any or than all that I have yet fallen in with in that Irish departt whether native or foreign. Camden, as he will teach you, and as is true, is very lame on Irish ground. Much of Ware as is fallen hopelessly obsolete, I think shd vote that this is the one good Book I could yet discover to exist on Irish matters.

“Ancient Histories of Ireland by Spencer” (the Poet), “Campion” and twoothers, were printed (reprinted, with extreme incorrectness) at Dublin some 40 years ago; and are to be had in two clumsy volumes:4—get these too, when you have opportunity;—this and the other strange glaring feature of the Anglo-Irish paladins and their mutinous subjects will bob up upon you as you read.— — If you want to know how many other Books, of little worth, of none and less than none, exist on Irish Histy, you can get Nicholson's “Irish Historical Library” (which however is far less instructive than his “Scotch” or “English” do); a cheap thin Book of a century-and-half old.5

I wd also recommend for your Ballyshannon Library, “Kennet's Complete Histy of England” 3 voll. folio,—which can be had for abt 25/ in good case, from the old-book shops here: only the 3d vol., now nearly worthless, is by Kennet (a thrice-famed Bishop in his time);6 the rest consists of many old Histies of England (masses of Ireland in it too, under Queen Elizabeth &c);—and you have a great deal of good reading, with abundant references and other helps, for your money. The Irish Counties in the Penny Cyclopedia (by one Ferguson, of Dublin) are well done; item Captn Larcom's Ordinance Map:7 all the rest that I have seen on Ireland is—what shall I say?— Yours (in gt haste)

T. Carlyle—

Sir R. Kane's Book8 (worth buying, tho' none of the best) you probably already have?—