January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MACVEY NAPIER; 28 October 1830; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18301028-TC-MN-01; CL 5:186-187.


Craigenputtoch, 28th October, 1830—

My Dear Sir,

Allow me to offer you the following statement, which perhaps, in your Editorial capacity, may be of no disadvantage to you, and of some use to another person in whom I have good reason to take an interest.

A younger Brother of mine is settled in London as Physician; and being, like most incipient Physicians, nowise overburdened with practice, occupies his leisure, and helps to keep his Kitchen warm, by Literary work, more especially of a Medical or Medico-Scientific character, tho' for other and general branches, likewise, he is not without faculty. I cannot with any propriety dwell on the parts and attainments of one so related to me: however, I will mention that he has travelled over all Europe in quest of Knowledge[,] Professional and other; is acquainted with Paris; has lived two years in Munich and Vienna, not without access to whatever or whoever was most profitable there: farther that he is a man of solid judgement, and integrity of principle; a sound, Scotch-logical, authentic man, who will do what he undertakes in an honest manner, or not at all. Of his skill in writing, which I reckon respectable, you may yourself judge by a Paper of his on Animal Magnetism in No. 9. of the Foreign Review; or still more favourably, by subsequent Essays in other Periodicals less known in Edinburgh.

Now it strikes me that, in the course of your Encyclopedia,1 there may occur many cases in which such a hand as this might be available: for example, on subjects connected with Foreign, especially with German Medicine, or Medical Literature, Biographies of Foreign Physicians, and the like; on which matters, as I suppose, information of that direct kind is not very common in Britain. On the other hand, tho' I have not spoken to him on the subject, it seems probable enough that for my Brother himself, employment like this in such a Publication as yours would from time to time be a pleasant variety among his other occupations; and in such an environment as his now is, with abundance of Books and living helps, might be accomplished without difficulty. I will mention that I have written to you, next opportunity I have: should you have any communication to make, I can in the meantime promise it a respectful welcome, and pointed answer. The Address is: ‘Dr Carlyle, 16. Caroline Street, Bedford Square, London.’

Such, my Dear Sir, is the Statement I had to offer you. Should it lead to anything mutually serviceable, I shall have done well; if not, you will at least excuse me from any purpose to do ill;—and believe me, as heretofore,

Faithfully Your's /

Thomas Carlyle.