October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO HENRY LARKIN ; 30 January 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570130-TC-HL-01; CL 32: 83-84


Chelsea, 30 jany, 1857—

My dear Sir,

Your work, I can well perceive, is faithful, solid and judicious; in substance just what was wanted. I have not yet had time to go into it in practical detail; but so much I can see, and certify to you. Surely I owe you many thanks—for what you have done, and for what you are still doing and willing to go on doing.1

Both Summary and verbal Index will be wanted (that is now my plan) for this volume, and for the Collected Works in general. I mean that there shall be such a Summary as you have drawn up for Sterling2 (only briefer perhaps) to each volume; and then that there shall be, printed in the last volume a “General Index,”—which of course is only to be got by doing a verbal Index for each volume; so that the Printer (altering the page-nos to the new form of the volumes) may at length melt all the Indexes into one.

In this point of view I will beg you to proceed; and you shall have plenty more of work, if you like it,—no fear of that! For except the Fh Revolution (whh is to be sent you in a day or two)3 and Cromwell whh will come next,4 none of the volumes hitherto have either Index or Summary. Nor can my poor Clerk, whom I have tried at both businesses, do either of them in a tolerable way.

It appears clear to me the only fault of this Sterling Summary, and Sterling Index perhaps still more, will be their over-minuteness; whh surely, as you remark, is a fault on the right side, and easy to mend. However, I shallpractically (I hope, when once some present hurries are over), and judge for myself. Meanwhile please go on with the Schiller,5 witht abatement of vigilance, but keeping that (probable) fault in your eye. The Summary to each volume ought not, I think, to exceed 7 or 8 pages at the outside;—how much of your Ms. that amounts to you will see when the Fh Rn comes; and you can try to conform in some measure to that condition. By the Index to the Frh Rn, you will also form some judgement about the degree of detail requisite in a Genl Index.6 Nothing important to be omitted, nor anything insignificant let in: that is the clear Theory;—but as to Practice, in that, as in all things, we require (as the Hindoo Algebraist says of Quadratic Equations in complex cases) “a clear judgt and the blessings of God”!7

So soon as you have done Schiller, do not fail to bring it, I mean yourself along with it, that we may have another meeting;—the sooner the better; and in fact so soon as you have got the Fh Rn Index examined, more especially if I have got your Sterling well looked into withal, it might be good that we met.

Yours with true thanks,

T. Carlyle