August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO DAVID LAING; 18 June 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470618-TC-DL-01; CL 21:235-236.


Chelsea, 18 june, 1847—

My dear Sir,

It greatly pleases me to see an actual Volume of your Works of Knox, and to receive a beautiful Copy of it from you, such as has just now come to hand.1 Many kind thanks for my own share,—for my own two shares, general and particular. Persist till you have honourably finished the Enterprise, and you will have done a pious work, for which all Scotchmen and all men will have some reason to thank you!

Of John Welsh, except the common Life and traditions, neither I nor my Wife know anything,—tho' often desiring to know.2 A constant hearsay has prevailed in the Family that they are Welsh's descendants: hearsay which I suppose might perhaps be verified (or contradicted) by searching in the Register Office for the Deeds of Coliston estate, which was old Welsh's, and comparing them with those of Craigenputtoch (in the same neighbourhood) which is now my Wife's.3 The topographical position of the places is decidedly confirmatory, so far as that goes: Craigenputtoch, a moorland region, hangs all down into Galloway, draining itself wholly into the Orr or Urr (tho' Nithsdale bounds itself generally by the watershed); so that I infer the ground must have been some wing of Coliston (then probably a much larger property), which lies some 3 or 4 miles off, a small arable farm, near the bottom of the little valley of Glenessland,—the Essland Burn (if that is the name of it[)]4 running into Cluden, and that again after some 10 miles into Nith, at Lincluden a little above Dumfries.— Another faint circumstance is this, That the head or heir of the Craigenputtoch Welshes has, from of old, been usually named John. The rest is dark night to me.— Robert Welsh, my Wife's late uncle, an Edinr Lawyer, rather proud of the tradition, used to speak of compulsing the Edinr Registers, and searching out the matter; but never did it; and I now, if my bear had ever been there, am far away from such opportunities.

You complain, and I with you,—that you have no authentic Portrait of Knox. Better give Beza's blotch than a false one that is clear.5 But do you know the one at Cassilis Castle in Ayrshire?6 A very old Picture, which my Wife says she distinctly recognises by this Icon.

Returning many thanks, and wishing you right good speed,—

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle