January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO WILLIAM BUCHANAN ; 2 January 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590102-TC-WBU-01; CL 35: 1-2


CHELSEA, 2d Jan., 1859.

DEAR SIR,—I very much approve your and Mr Milnes's notion about the Misses Begg,1 and I hope you will not fail to get it executed with all the energy and skill that are possible, and with corresponding success. Could all the eloquence that will be uttered over the world on the 25th next,2 or even all the tavern-bills that will be incurred, but convert themselves into solid cash for those two interesting persons, what a sum were there of benefit received, and of loss avoided, to all the parties concerned! I think, at least the question ought to be everywhere put, pointedly yet with due politeness, wherever, in Scotland or elsewhere, there is an assemblage of men met to express their admiration, tragic pity, &c., for Burns, what amount of money they will give to save from indigence these two nieces of Burns? The answer, virtual answer, which this question got in 1842, threw a rather dismal light to me on such assemblages; but they ought to be tried again,3 with more direct emphasis; and very shame will perhaps force them to do something towards saving indigent merit on the one hand, and saving on the other what is too truly a frightful (though eloquent) expenditure of pavement to a certain locality4 we have all heard of! In much haste, I remain, yours truly,


Observer Office, Ayr, N.B.5