1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN HILL BURTON; 8 December 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541208-TC-JHB-01; CL 29: 210-212


Chelsea, 8 decr 1854—

Dear Sir,

Mr Ellice is very kind; and surely you too are very kind to listen to such a suggestion on my behalf. I am proud to possess my Volume of Hume Letters in that way;1 and return you many hearty thanks for what you have done.— So far as I read, there is not the least error in the French; nor any objection of any kind to be made against a piece of charitable labour so undeniably useful and desirable in Literature.2

I read your Hume, for the first time, last Summer,3 with a satisfaction very uncommon in my experience of such Books; I went then (tho' my road lay rather elsewhither) into Forbes and Lovat,4 and was far from repenting my little truant excursion;—Lovat in particular has stuck by me ever since, as one of the strangest creatures I ever made acquaintance with; who comes out with singular force credibility and distinctness in your Delineation of him. Along with all Scotland, and indeed with all the world, I ought to feel grateful for those labours of yours, and to wish you may still have leisure left to do many more such.

Mr Ellice was possessed, last winter, of certain Collectanea you had made concerning the Keiths, Lord Marischal and his younger Brother the Prussian Field-Marshall;—and was to give me a sight of the printed leaves (printed, he could not tell me where,—probably in the Spalding Club Books);5 but he never did it, never could even tell me where the piece was to be sought for. I guess beforehand it must be Letters &c, and that these are probably of no great moment; the Old Marischal, whenever I have hitherto met with him, being a very thin and light old gentleman (his Brother considerably less so), and Frederick's Letters to him, mostly mere formal complimentary Notes, having only their kindness to recommend them.

I can by no means consent that you should take the trouble to send me the Spalding volume, or whatever volume it is;—do not by any means: for truly the thing is not of much moment to me, nor in the least a thing of haste. Only if you will, some time, any time, tell me where it is (what the Title of the volume is), I can at once find it here, & at once get what I want out of it.6

I will wish you good speed in all your Labours, literary and other; and again thanking you very much for your kindness to me,

Remain / Yours sincerely obliged

T. Carlyle

J. H. Burton Esq

&c &c