The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO WILLIAM DOUGAL CHRISTIE ; 9 December 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401209-TC-WDC-01; CL 12: 359


Chelsea, Wednesday Evg [9? December 1840]

Dear Christie,

There cannot be a better Circular than this which you have constructed. Let it be printed, and sent abroad, with all despatch. The line in Italics seems to me to express sufficiently all that we can do as to shaping out a general form of a Library, till once a right Librarian be found. That is the great point at present. General maps of Human Knowledge, Encyclopedical Trees of the Sciences &c &c can be found in abundance ready-made (d'Alembert1 and others have made such; the Library Catalogues contain such), when once we have any funds for realizing them! Let us get the best possible man, and set him to work in the middle of our possibilties: the line in italics will be his best guidance, I think.

As to Cole,2 consider that I have said whatsoever I had to say; that, for the rest, I have no wish in it at all. Do you what you shall find adviseablest; you are to see the man, and will judge what help lies in him, how it may be brought out of him,—or perhaps left lying in him.

You will scan Fisher3 as with microscopes, you, Spedding, Venables4 and the rest of you. On Wednesday at farthest I calculate on hearing something. Fisher or another once found, you will let me out of the affair. I am the Peter the Hermit, you the Louis VII; and behold the Crusade now marches,—Peter returning to his prayers again!5

At Buckingham House, did you observe there stood a row of cabs, always eager to run towards Chelsea with a man like you?

Yours always /

T. Carlyle