The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN GLEN ; 2 May 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530502-TC-JOGL-01; CL 28: 126-127


Chelsea, 2 May, 1853—

Dear Sir,

You will not get the Papers tomorrow, after all; but I hope they are in better hands, not worse, for them; and will not suffer by the delay.

I have had a Note from the Official Friend whom I mentioned to you; and by a lucky accident I fell in with him personally, over and above, and had a few minutes of useful conversation on the subject.

Having his Note in my pocket, I will (tho' with proviso that it go no farther, but be burnt as soon as you have read it) send you the little Document: it is not very encouraging; but the writer (Lord Stanley of Alderley, a very acute and at present an official man) keeps well within the margin in such matters; did not seem to have quite understood the Note I wrote to him;—and, on the whole, was considerably more cheering in his speech than he had been with the pen. He still thinks it questionable; but that there is hope,—hope of something considerably better than “the £5 or £10, ” which I told him at once would not be accepted at all.

Both Sir James Stephen, and Professor Wilson1 are a little known to me: Sir James Stephen, being a stranger to all parts of the business, could do no good, and probably (being a veracious and a cautious man) might scruple to sign; but I did think of endeavouring to get Professor Wilson's unbiassed verdict (by some method or other) as to the worth of the Persian Translation,2 and having it appended to the other evidences;—however, Lord Stanley is of opinion that the point is already sufficiently proved; that all points are so (for I have testified as to general matters which I knew); and, in short, that farther signatures will be of no service.

The great point, I can see, is to keep quite clear of its being a Missionary question, and to lift the matter into the Literary category. For Lord Aberdeen has already decided, on the missionary point of view, and cannot be asked to revise his judgement. For that reason, Lord Stanley dissuaded me from calling in the Marquis of Breadalbane to help (whom I got means of access to), as that would be bringing it back into the religious point of view, and indispose Lord Aberdeen already committed on that side

On the whole it was Lord Stanley's opinion that the Duke of Argyll was far the fittest person for presenting the Petition, if he would consent; and Lord S. very kindly undertook to carry it to the Duke tomorrow,—in whose hands it will be at the time you read this Note. “We must not be too sanguine,” alas no: but if the Duke do take any hold of the case, of course it will be somewhat in its favour; and I have just written a Letter to be shewn him (by Lord Stanley), doing the best I could to dispose his Grace favourably to us:

In case he be on our side, as I shall know soon, what is wanted now is that he be requested to present it immediately while the iron is hot;—and for that purpose I request one word from you straightway, by return of post,—if Mrs Glen & you approve that manner of proceeding. If you do not, I will send back the Papers instantly.— In great haste,— Yours sincerely— T. Carlyle