January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO WILLIAM TAIT; 23 August 1830; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18300823-TC-WT-01; CL 5:147-148.


Craigenputtoch, Dumfries— / 23d August, 1830—

My Dear Sir,

I now, after too long delays, return you the Westminster Review,1 with Chalmers' Picture of Scotland;2 both of which I was very glad to see. The Picture is a very amusing work, of a proper plan and tone; only, I fear, it is defective in accuracy. In the part of the country known to myself I have found more than one strange error: for example, two Bridges at Annan; the highroad running thro' the village of Ruthwell &c &c. I think, in case of another edition, you should send a copy of the work interleaved to some punctual person in every county, and have his remarks and corrections on it: I will cheerfully undertake Dumfriesshire, at least Annandale. With this improvement, and perhaps the addition of some Statistical Tables, which might easily be procured in an authentic shape, it would be a most meritorious and really useful Book.

The Scottish Songs and Ballads, by the same Collector, were a highly acceptable present to me;3 for which pray accept my best thanks. A work of that kind was certainly needed, and must be or have already been widely popular.

I was much obliged by your prompt and friendly answer to my proposal, and commission (to Mr Aitken) which last produced the desired effect without delay. As to the first, I am on the whole glad that you so decided.4 The work is now finished as far as I mean to meddle with it at present: and I intend to turn it to more appropriate use than publishing it with my name, which is already too deeply dyed German. By and by I shall perhaps try you with something else, of native growth.

I am fixed here, for a time, expecting visiters [sic] and the like: but [this?] winter I am going to stir out, and shall perhaps see you in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, with best wishes, I remain as always,

My Dear Sir, / Faithfully Yours, /

Thomas Carlyle.