1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG; 22 June 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540622-TC-JN-01; CL 29: 117-120


Chelsea, 22 june, 1854—

Dear Neuberg,—Many thanks for your lucid and very inviting Report upon the Mitchell Papers.1 If I could get fairly at them, I feel as if there was much still to be dug out of them. But the attempt at reading or examining anything there fills me with mere horror!—

The fragments of Works by Fk, as given in Mitchell, “origin of evil” &c are all now in print,—I believe, all;—but a great many of the Letters appear to be still hidden. Preuss,2 for example, ought to wish very much for a sight of that letter you have copied: Dresden (beginning of Septr) 1757; which is very curious,—at least far more curious than thousands he has printed. The black border on it is for his Mother's death (28 june, 1757);3—he is just come into the Saxon Western Regions, and manoeuvring about,—towards Rosbach4 as it proved. I will ask you to copy farther for me, if it is not too troublesome, the Pressis (précis) des Argumens dont se servira un Ministre Autrichien which you indicate in Vol 41 of the Mitchell Papers (“l'an 1760,” or 1756? It is a little indistinct. Item

2. To look over Mitchell's Journals (which seem to be in vol. 64 and vol. 67); I do not mean, to read them; but to ascertain what they principally turn upon, and what worth they may be expected to have.

3. “Relations of Battles” &c in vol. 65;—can you ascertain what Battles are there described by Frk. Those by Prince Henri are also of some importance (if Battles where the Prince was present,—Prag,5 for one); but generally not of so much.

4. In vol 55 are letters from Marquise d'Argens, and Mme Maupertuis6 (both Ladies are widows, I suppose, when they write?) If you cd run your eye over a few of them; see whether they do not yield Biographic indications,—especially the Maupert portion, all being very obscure about Maups in the printed Books.

5. (Which is the most important inquiry for me of all). I find by the printed Mitchell7 (I.265;—which see and examine), that Lord Holderness8 writes a Despatch to Mitchell on the 5th of july 1757, which appears to have contained a refusal to send War-Ships into the Baltic, and the reasons for said refusal:—I shd like very well to know what those reasons are. This is a request Fritz is always making; and I never know fully why they won't gratify him. For angering Russia over-much? this I have sometimes suspected;—but shd like to hear what Holderness publicly can say of it.— This is enough for one bout.— The first question and the last (1 and 6) are of chief importance to me; and may be the thing you begin with. I do not demand a Copy of Holderness, at least not yet!—

I find there are 3 printed folios by Leibnitz (Hanover, 1707): Scriptores Rerum Bruswicarum (or some equivalent title);9 and Feller (on “the Weinsberg fable”) is probably among them.10 You might look in the King's Library11 Catalogue (always try there first!)—but if you ascertain that Feller is there, don't trouble yourself farther with that affair.

I also want, and have long wanted, to find a certain Book of Toland's, which seems to be some account of a Journey he made to the Court of Fredk first King of Prussia, especially to Charlottenburg,12 and the sublime Charlotte (our Fritz's grandmother), whom Toland calls Serena, and praises to the very skies. I think his Book itself (or Pamphlet) is called “Serena”?13 But you will see in Stenzel.14 I never could meet it or hear distinctly of it in England, tho' all the Prussians know it.— He is but a foolish kind of fellow, Toland, after all: a mutinous Irish fop (with something of the scholar, but more of the braggadocio, and perhaps a good dash too of the blackguard) who got to freethinking, and reforming of religion (bless the mark!)—but I shd like to see once in a distinct shape what he says about the clever Sophie Charlotte, who had long known “the infiniment petit” in a practical manner.15

n.b. There is on this subject a certain old French Book, which you might also take a glance of:

Charles PATIN: Relation Historique de son Voyage &c / I know not the year: “Paris, say 1700 and odd!)16


Finally, Is König's Berlin in the Kings Library? I shd confidently expect it was. In that case, look in vol I, p. 133, and see what is said about the stealing of Irish Kirkman (who cost £1200 in all) to be a giant grenadier at Potsdam.17— And this really is all; work enough for weeks, I shd think!

On Saturday & Sunday we are in the country at Addiscombe; but on any other evening I shd think,—Monday Evg for instance,—are here.18

I am writing with one of your pens; will pay my debt (in this one small case) like an honest man!

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle