The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO DAVID LAING ; 24 September 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410924-TC-DL-01; CL 13: 261


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London, 24 Septr, 1841—

My dear Sir,

It is a most acceptable present you have made me, this of Baillie,1 which I find waiting my return here. The Letter, after some wanderings, had already reached me, about two weeks ago, in Cumberland;2 but I delayed answering it till I should see the Book itself. The Book itself is now here, all right and safe: many thanks to you;—thanks for this special gift to myself; and thanks in the name of all students of British History for your general gift. It will be a real pleasure to me to recommend this book in all ways I can. I am already cutting it up (in the literal sense, with a bone folder!) in all quarters, especially in the Appendixes; and hope to glean many useful notices from it. Your pains, which must have been great, are not misspent; Baillie was well worth such trouble: no other more so that I have ever met with in this department of things, except perhaps Spalding alone, who I find has already been cared for.3

I perceive you have omitted the old meagre Life of Baillie:4 I hope you mean to furnish us with one of your own writing instead? Some short Historical Compend, digested into periods, and exhibiting the general posture of affairs from crisis to crisis,—such as might perhaps fitly enough be introduced into a Life of Baillie,—would greatly facilitate the common reader's access to these Letters, increase the circulation of the Book, and be useful to everybody. I will also petition for a good copious Table of Contents, or even a general Index of Persons and Matters: this latter, or still more both latter and former, would be a great accommodation.5 No Book of that period is so like a File of contemporary Newspapers; which, with an Index is so valuable, and without one is like a filled warehouse without windows or shelves!

With many kind thanks, / Yours always truly / T. Carlyle