August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO ROBERT CHAMBERS; 8 October 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18461008-TC-RC-01; CL 21:70.


Chelsea, 8 octr, 1846—

My dear Sir,

Many thanks for your new indications about Oliver's Lodging. I should be very glad to ascertain beyond dispute what his address was on his second visit to Edinr;1 and will take an early opportunity of looking for the Book you mention. Perhaps, as you have noted the matter in your papers, it would not be very difficult for you, or for some of your friends, to give me the exact name of the Author, and some reference, if not to volume and page, at least to chap[t]er2 or section;—which would much facilitate the research in this confused Museum of ours. The Historian of the Gordons being once fairly heard on the subject,3 it would then only remain to inquire on what evidence he (at the distance of about a century, it appears) grounded his assertion; and this well settled, all were settled, and a clear result attained as to this small matter. The reprint of Oliver's Letters has been published for some time; but I am still very desirous to glean up any indubitability concerning him, however small. Of his first Lodging, as you remark, there remains no doubt whatever: but with regard to his second, there did not, tho' I kept a sharp eye all the while, any clear evidence at all appear in the contemporary documents, from himself or others; nay it sometimes rather seemed to me as if he might be writing from the Citadel of Leith than from the Canongate,—as indeed there was a likelihood that way, while the Castle remained in his enemies' hands. I shall be very glad to have it decided, if there still remain light for deciding it, in any way.

On the whole it often seems to me there is much need of a man of real insight, fidelity and industry, to overhaul the Papers and Evidences as to that Period which are still in existence in Edinr. Town-Council Books, Kirk-Session Records &c &c, there must surely be many such things in existence,—tho' the stranger as yet can hear nothing of them. Of original Letters, it would appear by Hailes's little Book,4 there is great store; but these also seem to lie in a very dark state,—unvisited by Intelligence, and therefore unintelligible hitherto. Which is perhaps a great pity!

Believe me, Yours very truly T. Carlyle