January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO ALEXANDER GILCHRIST ; 12 April 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560412-TC-AGI-01; CL 31: 64-66


Chelsea, 12 April, 1856—

My dear Sir,

You certainly excel all people in hunting out old useful Books! We will have the Decker,1—in a certain contingency, this copy of it. My Brother is just gone to Hamburg, and has a commission from me to look out for the Book there: if he do not get it, as I think very likely, I will then give you signal,—probably in a ten days hence.

Another of the Books I set him to look for in Hamburg is FORMEY: Souvenirs d'un Citoyen (Berlin, 1789, 2 vv.). Another, Versucheines Lebens of Feldml Seckendorf (abt 1790, 3 little vv.); item SECKENDORF'S Journal Secret (nephew of the above Seckf, 1 small v. I think, and of more recent publication).2 Another is ARCHENHOLZ: Geschichte des 7-jahrigen Kriegs, any readable copy, I care not for the Map or Portrait;—this was one of the first Books I ever read in German, I lately read a borrowed copy again, and have a Latin one3 (price 4d sterling!),—but I wish one of my own, for tossing about as I like.— I will tell you what of these Books my Hamburg adventure brings to hand: to look out in the interim, with eyes like yours, may do some good. A cheap Print of Sans-Souci4 (or indeed of any Fk's Houses, or of anything belonging to him): this also was among the Hamburg orders; but I do not expect it will produce anything.

Loudon's Life5 I never saw, and shall be glad of: Do do the Travels in Germany6 (of 1780, almost anybody's travels!).— Rolt's Book, I think I also have heard of;7 the subject will be of very ample dimensions, and of opulent quality, for a military critic! If Rolt turn up, lay hold of him; but I do not suppose he is worth a search for.

Again and again I give you thanks; and am astonished at your assiduity, zeal and marvellous success in these fields of generous adventure. On that head I will say no more.

Fredk's signatures are excessively abundant: about 3,000 or so of Autograph Letters by him are in existence (not a few in the Mitchell Papers, Brit. Museum);8 and of Orders, Cabinet Officialities and the like, he signed perhaps 20 or 30 every day of his long reign, from 1740 to 1786.— I have a facsimile (or perhaps it is an original?) of a reply he makes, to certain Town Magistrates on some proposal or other, in German,—dreadfully ill-spelt (as all his writings in all his languages are) but with plenty of sharp sense in it, as likewise is always the case.

We have been rather out of sorts in the late intemperate weather,—my wife confined with cold, and myself, what is more unusual, making signals of distress now and then in that way. The wet westerly winds are repairing such damages.— I think I must keep Guildford9 ahead of me as a bonne bouche [delicious morsel] for getting thro' some other Section of this deplorable muddy business of mine! I am given to claim a holiday at the end of any stage in my journey, sometimes at the end of very short stages. At all events we must let the weather dry, and the flowers get out.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle

You need not send any of those Books; we will wait till you bring them. I have plenty of reading, for very many evgs to come,—in fact a whole “sea of troubles,” in the Fk way to “take up arms” against!10