January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MACVEY NAPIER; 5 September 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310905-TC-MN-01; CL 5:402-403.


6. Woburn Buildings, Tavistock Square, London / 5th September, 1831—

My Dear Sir,

I delivered your Note to Mr Rees,1 from whom I experienced the most courteous reception; but for the rest, found matters much as you had represented them. The Book-trade, every one cries, is done; the Public has ceased to buy Books;—which step, as I often answer, seemed simply the wisest in that respect the Public has taken since I knew it. “Long enough,” the Public hereby exclaims, “have ye fed me on froth and coagulated water; I will have some more solid nourishment, or starve.”

In regard to my own small matters it seems likely I may still succeed in making some tolerable engagement; most probably with Mr Murray.

Meanwhile, it has been settled that Mrs Carlyle is to come hither and join me, and we are to pass the winter in London. I am at present scheming out my occupation for the season; and here among the first items I come upon an Essay on Luther,2 which has lain in my head for several years; which I at one time thought of making into a Book; but now mean to set forth as a Review Article,—reserving to myself the right to republish it at some future time in a certain projected Book of mine, where with much else of that sort it may find its fittest place. I apply to you, in the first instance, to see whether such a thing would be suitable. The whole matter is still only like a chaos in my own head: but the materials are in my possession or within my reach, neither is the will wanting. Please therefore to let me know by your earliest convenience what you think of it; whether such an Article would do, and if so when it would be wanted.

In great haste, I remain, / My Dear Sir, / faithfully Your's /

Thomas Carlyle.