August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 17 February 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440217-TC-EF-01; CL 17: 274-276


Chelsea 17 feby 1844—

Dear Fitzgerald,

There is unfortunately, if also fortunately, not the smallest haste in this Lincolnshire business;1 the Fates, I believe, have too clearly said that the child Cromwell cannot be born this year.— Also, they still say they know not in what year or whether at all! As you remark, he is a devil of a foetus to carry about with one!—

The rule of the matter, therefore, is: If you be at any rate going to Lincolnshire, go at your own time, and do this thing for me so as to amuse and instruct yourself with it; at least not so as to bore and burden yourself with it: any result you get out of it will be better than the round cipher I at present have; the smallest contribution shall be welcome. My notion is, that all tradition of the thing is utterly gone,—far farther than you found it about Naseby: but I think perhaps the where-abouts of these transactions might still be discovered by an ingenious eye, and the picture such a one could give me of the ground would be decidedly worth something.

I have never yet been in Ireland with Oliver; and will not go, except cursorily, if I can help it. The Irish department of our Civil War requires to be done in little throughout; and Oliver's cutting off of the great fungous gangrenous horror that had grown together there, tho' one of his best pieces of surgery, will not invite us to expatiate, I hope!— Besides I never saw a square inch of Ireland [except]2 with my mind's eye, and do not know it at all. Oliver's own Letters, I hope, which are very copious in that season, will suffice.— Did you ever see Temple's Histy of the Irish Rebellion in '41,—Sir John Temple, Lord Palmerston's ancestor?3 It is a small contemporary quarto of which certain pages are well worth preserving.

If your Brother can speak to the Duke of Manchester,4 certainly it will be worth doing. Prior to 1644, it is almost indubitable there must have been many letters gone between the Duke's ancestor and Oliver; they had even a controversy in a House of Commons Committee (of which Clarendon has left a story, that I have got some glimmering of light upon); but in the Spring of '44, in the time of the Selfdenying Ordinance, they had an open public quarrel, and I suppose never corresponded more.5 The Committee Clarendon refers to treated (as I believe) of the Manor of ‘Somersham near St. Ives’:6 your Brother might ask the Duke, Whether this property still belongs to his family, or is certainly known to have ever done so?— —The Earl of Sandwich might also have many Letters; his ancestor was in a good deal of hard service at Oliver's right hand:7 to him I shall have good access by and by.

And now enough, enough! Get done with your influenza straightway and come to London, to Chelsea, that we may see and hear you.

Yours ever /

T. Carlyle