The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 9 February 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520209-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 35-37


Chelsea, 9 feby, 1852—

My dear Brother,

Thank you very much for all the trouble you took about Craigenputtoch and me. I think we may say, Jamie and you have fairly made a good job of it so far: £30 a year of additional rent, and the prospect of a much more comfortable tenant, and better treatment for the poor Place, than we could have looked for under M'Queen.

As to the Offers, they seem about alike in real amount, or perhaps the £210 without onerous conditions may be the higher of the two. At any rate we are clearly free to choose; and in the given state of uncertainty as to which is “higher,” neither you nor Jamie are tied either way by the terms you offered.

All things considered, therefore, I think I will decidedly give the preference to Thomas Bell (the Minsca1 man), and commission you to make out the bargain with him according to the terms indicated. It is a great point with me to get the place well looked after, and kept in a neat manner, without negociation or farther bother of any kind. Let him be preferred, therefore, unless you have some objection that I know not of.

Probably, being a man of trim habits, he may himself be trusted with the details of repairing the Dwellinghouse &c; and any sum not exceeding £20 (of course he will present the accounts &c when all is finished) may be allowed him for that end.—— Weedings out of the woods he is very welcome to for his gates: the only question here must be, Is he a man of sufficient honour to be trusted with going to cut them himself, and generally with taking a kind of conscientious supervision of these poor woods in the absence of other authority? I will beg you to try and do the best you can in regard to this latter point. Suppose Jamie's permission was required for cutting any tree, would not that be safer? It would involve the necessity of Jamie visiting Craigenputtoch once in the year or so: but that we could take into account, and indeed I think it wd be a very good thing anyway. Or wd you put it altogether on Bell's honour, as on the whole the safest method? To cut only weedings, and choose them on his own conscience? Do what seems wisest; and I will conform, having no power of myself to judge.

In like manner with regard to draining, I should (as you already know) [be]2 altogether willing to encourage, and even well-placed to lay out a little money that way (at 5 per cent) if sure that it were to good advantage; but I think it will be best to make no express stipulation on the matter, to let the man try it himself first; in all cases, to let it be understood, Jamie's consent, and 5 per cent of interest during the lease, were to be first had. This, I believe, will do for the draining, with what you already know of my notions on that hand.

And indeed this is properly all I have to say in regard to the operation of letting Craigenputtoch generally; and so I will leave it with you, and hope it is now within sight of port; and that Mr Adamson, with a few lines of black-on-white, will now very shortly reduce it to a fixed condition, and let us handsomely wash our hands of it.

Adieu, dear Brother, I know not whether you will need another ride to Dumfries; but if so, I trust it will now be but one on that errand.

Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle