1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


TC TO GEORGE BOYD; 14 August 1824; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18240814-TC-GBO-01; CL 3:136-137.


Birmingham, 14th August, 1824—

Dear Sir,

I would have answered your letter sooner but for a long series of movements and countermovements I have had to execute. I also wished to read Goethe's Book,1 before determining on your proposal with regard to it. This I have at length done: I find it will not answer. The work is incomplete, the first volume only having yet appeared; and it consists of a series of fragments, individually beautiful, but quite disjointed, and in their present state scarcely intelligible. I have my eye upon another book of his; but as yet it is very dubious. For the present I am busy with a Life of Schiller, which is to come out I expect early in winter.

I came to Birmingham in pursuit of health; I have been here some weeks, and design continuing some weeks longer. My address is: Care of John Badams Esqr, Birmingham. After September it will be: 4 Myddelton Terrace, Pentonville, London— Mr Badams, my physician and kind friend, is a person whom you may perhaps know more here after. As a practical chemist I predict that, should life and health be spared him, he will have few rivals in Europe. Among a multitude of other subjects which have occupied him, some of which he is turning to splendid account already, he has for the last few weeks been engaged in investigating the properties and composition of printers' ink; in which I understand he has succeeded in effecting considerable savings of expense and other improvements. I have mentioned your house to him, as one well suited to appreciate and profit by his discoveries; and it is not impossible that by and by I may use the freedom to introduce to you a specimen of his ware, that you may try and judge.

I am anxious to hear of Meister. From your account combined with the sale of the work in London, I should suppose the first edition must be nearly done; and by way of making good the ground we have gained, I think a second ought to be made to follow without delay. The Book has been sufficiently puffed and censured to awaken the public curiosity respecting it; and the more it is known, the more I am confident will it be relished. But the iron should be kept hot. Will you be so good as to let me hear your views on this subject, when you conveniently can? I have several alterations to make, and should like to have time before me. If you feel indisposed to take another edition, the first having sated you,—of course you are free.— I took a copy from Whittaker, using the freedom to reckon it as another Author's copy, and to say that I would settle with you about it. Goethe's copy I found means of sending to him; but as yet no answer has arrived.

Believe me always, / My dear Sir, /

Truly yours, /

Th: Carlyle—