The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO FRANÇOIS BULOZ; 17 November 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511117-TC-FB-01; CL 26: 233-234


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / London, 17 Novr, 1851—


In compliance with your polite request, which naturally is flattering and interesting to me, I have directed Mr Chapman the Publisher to leave for you, at Mm. Barthe's and Lovell's,1 a Copy of the Life of John Sterling; which, unless there remain no Copies of the First Edition, you will get immediately; if none remain, we shall have to wait some weeks for a Copy of the Second now in the Printer's hands. It shall be much at your service for whatever commentary or consideration you see good to bestow on it.

Of the various Portraits none known to me has any considerable resemblance except a certain bad Lithograph enlarged from a Daguerrotype, which is or used to be on sale at this Address: “Mr Lynch, Engraver, 31. Polygon, Clarendon Square / Somers Town / London.”2 Some friends have mentioned to me that there is a tolerable Portrait prefixed to the last American Edition of (I think) the Book called Carlyle's Miscellanies;3 but this I have myself never seen, and guess it to be a good copy of a certain Picture here which has some authentic but no first-rate merit in resemblance or otherwise. From either of these Prints it is probable you may get all that you want, or even more than you will prove to want, in this respect.

With regard to Autobiography, tempting as the occasion is, there are strict prohibitions laid upon me in regard to such things; and I hope you will not consider me churlish, but only decorous and duly modest before the French Public, if I beg to be altogether excused. It may well and honestly be pleasant to look how one's natural face is mirrored, from time to time, in the mind of a great Foreign Nation (or of some Thinker that represents it on the occasion); but to make and keep this pleasure honest, the “mirror” must be left wholly without interference, the impression must be altogether a spontaneous one.

Several English works, Gilfillan's Literary Portraits (one of the latest), The Spirit of the Age (about 10 years ago)4 &c &c contain Essays upon me; none of which, that I have seen, is good for much, or to be depended on for the few facts it gives: perhaps Gilfillan (who has seen me twice or thrice) is the bad-best, and has fewest errors:—but, on the whole, I unfortunately cannot direct you to any good source in regard to this matter, and must be content to leave it in the usual vague and mythical condition for the present.

You are very good to offer me the pages of such a Publication as yours,—read, as I can perceive, by all the intelligent classes of Europe,—to set forth my ideas. And truly if I had anything which it specially concerned me that France should hear, or that Europe generally should hear, instead of England merely which is my own particular parish, I do not see where there could be elsewhere such a pulpit. I return you many thanks; and shall duly bear your offer in mind, should an occasion turn up.

I believe I know very well what the Revue des Deux Mondes has already written about me;—and I will beg you to offer my compliments to M. MONÉGUT (if that gentleman is still near you) for one of the most intelligent, pious, sincere, and every way genial and amiable Essays I have ever read on that subject.5

Believe me, / with many thanks and respects, Yours truly

T. Carlyle

M. Buloz / &c &c