August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO PETER CUNNINGHAM ; 23 November 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18571123-TC-PC-01; CL 33: 123-124


Chelsea, 23 Novr, 1857—

My dear Sir,

Looking back a year and half, or more, you may perhaps be able to recal a Letter of Lord Hervey's1 (date about 1733 or ’34, to whom addressed I have forgotten; giving a lively sketch of the sublime ennui and hopeless solemn vacancy of George II's Court, on a certain evening at Windsor),—which was shewn you by Forster, on my part, for the sake of getting some commentary from you on one or two of the Figures introduced. The Commentary, I remember, was kindly afforded: my Copy of the Letter with your commentary on it, and all the proper Apparatus Criticus, was there upon safely reposited here,—no doubt in the best place I cd choose for finding it again when the time shd come.

Well; time has come,—some use possible in that Letter for me now or else no chance of any ever;— —and, for my life, I cannot come upon the trace of it; cannot even find out what Book it was got from: it has gone again, like a little fish caught, into the immeasurable ocean with all its fishes and whales!— It is not in Hervey's Memoirs of George II;2 nowhere in Walpole;3 I cannot the least guess where it is.

If you could discover for me, or perhaps you know witht searching, and could beneficently point out,—I shd soon have another Copy.4 If you cannot, I must say good b’ye to the thing. I was by no means certain I could find use for it in the place where I am; but it is provoking not to be able to decide on clear grounds.

In the name of all rational mortals, I entreat you put a right Index to these your Walpole Volumes;5—also I hope you will gather the scattered Notices of Persons mentioned (footnotes, which one can never find again) into some kind of Alphabetical Order;—and in short are thinking (what has never yet in the least been done in ‘editing’ such Books) that perhaps here and there a rational human being, with serious purposes, may wish to read them humanly,—not bestially, as oxen eat from a hay—now they have got access to, solely for their momentary convenience!— — I design to be into yr Walpole (an excellt clever fellow, in spite of all the balderdash we have heard upon him), so soon as I am out of this dreadful Prussian Bottomless-Pool, where I can hardly swim alive.

Don't mind the Hervey letter much, or make long search after it. If you report nothing, I will make shift witht it, better or worse shift, who knows which!

Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle

Frank your brave Brother6 sent me a little Printed Piece (Sir T. Monroe's) out of India lately;7 whh I was very glad of. Kind regards at home, and to your good Mother especially.8 Ah me!—