The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN TAYLOR ; 5 August 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520805-TC-JTA-01; CL 27: 203-204


Linlathen, Dundee / 5 Augt, 1852—

Dear Sir,

Your Note finds its way to me here; the Ms. remains unluckily, confined to the limits of Chelsea. I have been from home these two weeks; and have not any prospect of being fixed in any place again for at least a couple of months to come.

Under these circumstances I believe your only plan will be, to call at Cheyne Row, and get your Ms. back, which I have instructed them to deliver you on demand. You will at least avoid damage in this way; and unluckily there is no prospect of advantage, anywhere in this operation, worth running a risk for.

I should have much regretted being from home, when you applied, had there been any considerable chance of helping you by examination of this Ms. But indeed I must confess to myself such is not the case. I never could deliberately judge of Mss., not being able even to read them with any composure. And what is my judgement worth? You want a Publisher's judgement; and with such I have no influence or concern at all.— The rule is, if your own mind feel strongly urged to speak this thing, then speak it the best you can;—and observe always, there is one canon of composition which includes all others, use as few words (and as few thoughts too) as possible. Brevity (in conception and expression, especially in the former) is verily the soul of wit.1— Which seems to point rather towards the shaping of your ideas into a Magazine Article than a special volume?

If you adopt that former method, here is a card that wd introduce you to Parker (West Strand; observe, for there are two)2 who publishes Fraser's Magazine; but I confess I do not hope much from it otherwise. However, he is one of the best Booksellers, and really a candid intelligent man.

In very great haste, / Yours truly

T. Carlyle