October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO MACVEY NAPIER; 6 February 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18320206-TC-MN-01; CL 6:116-117.


4. Ampton Street, 6th Feby 1832

My Dear Sir,

Mr Rees,1 on being applied to, sent me up the last Number of the Review; of which I hear on all hands nothing but good. I suppose, the copy intended for me is still lying in Edinburgh.

Unexpected occurrences force me to give up the hope of returning by way of your City: I must hasten home, direct into Annandale; and make a visit to Edinburgh afterwards. The hand of Death has been busy in my circle, as I learn that it has been in yours; painfully reminding us that “here we have no continuing City.”2 The venerated Friend that bade me farewell, cannot welcome me when I come back; I have now no Father,—in this land of shadows.

Perhaps it will be in April or May that I shall see you; I have much to inquire and settle; in your Libraries also something to do. We leave London, as early as possible in March.

I write at present mainly to ask you about some Poetical Pieces, entitled Corn-Law Rhymes, the Village Patriarch, &c; and whether a short notice of them would be acceptable for your next Number. The Author appears to be a middle-aged Mechanic, at least Poor Man, of Sheffield or the neighbourhood; a Radical, yet not without devoutness; passionate, affectionate, thoroughly in earnest. His Rhymes have more of sincerity, and genuine natural fire than anything that has come in my way of late years: both on himself and his writings, and their social and moral purport, there were several things to be said. I would also willingly do the unknown man a kindness, or rather a piece of justice; for he is, what so few are, a man and no Clotheshorse.3—— If you approve of this little project, perhaps Mr Rees can favour me with a loan of the Volumes; there are three, I think, and very thin ones: at all events, have the goodness to let me hear from you.

I have given up the notion of hawking my little Manuscript Book about any farther: for a long time it has lain quiet in its drawer; waiting for a better day. The Bookselling Trade seems on the edge of dissolution; the force of Puffing can go no farther, yet Bankruptcy clamours at every door: sad fate! to serve the Devil, and get no wages even from him!— The poor Bookseller Guild, I often predict to myself, will ere long be found unfit for the strange part it now plays in our European world; and give place to new and higher Arrangements, of which the coming shadows are already becoming visible. More of this by another opportunity.

We have two Saint-Simonian Missionaries4 here; full of earnest zeal; copious enough in half-true, and to me rather wearisome jargon. By and by you should have some account of that matter: Southey's in the Quarterly5 was trivial, purblind, and on the whole erroneous and worthless. I know a man6 here, who could do it, perhaps much to your satisfaction.

Believe me always, / My Dear Sir / Faithfully Your's, /

Thomas Carlyle—

These Notes for the Penny Post—if you will be so good.

The Review, I hear, is arrived at Craigenputtoch[.]

7th Feby