1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO SIR FREDERIC MADDEN; 10 July 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540710-TC-SFM-01; CL 29: 126


Chelsea, 10 july, 1854—

My dear Sir,

I have a great favour to ask of you, to me a very great one; which, from your known courtesy, I need not doubt you will grant me if you can; and if you cannot, excuse me for asking.

Among the Mss. in your custody there is one large mass of volumes called the Mitchell Papers, which it is at present extremely necessary for me to consult and examine,—neither Raumer nor the English Editor of Mitchell having (as I am led to conjecture) by any means exhausted the significance of that important and peculiar body of Documents.1 To carry on this investigation, or indeed any serious study or examination whatever, in the common Reading-room of the British Museum, I have found, after many sad trials, to be once for all, impossible to me: whatsoever therefore cannot be seen except there, is to me as good as invisible; and many books and resources, not without good promise to me, I have had to surrender accordingly, and give up the idea of; but this of Mitchell I am unwilling to surrender.

If there were, in your interior premises, any quiet corner, capable of being conceded to me for a while, where, delivered from noise, dust, confusion, and unbreathable atmosphere, I might have a fair opportunity upon these volumes of Mitchell (with perhaps a few subsidiary Books &c got from the Panizzi department), I should consider myself a lucky man, able to complete my small enterprise in this particular, and owe you a lasting debt of thankfulness for striking off these paltry fetters from me, whatever others may remain.2

If you cannot, you will (as I said) forgive me for applying; and understand well enough that I do not reckon the blame to lie with you.

I remain always / Yours with many regards

T. Carlyle

To Sir Frederick Madden

&c &c