October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO MACVEY NAPIER; 25 August 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18320825-TC-MN-01; CL 6:207-208.


Craigenputtoch, Dumfries, 25th August, 1832—

My Dear Sir,

I shall by and by need money; and will draw upon you for the amount of these two Contributions so soon as you instruct me how. To you probably for such a matter all days are alike: in any case, pray do not hurry or incommode yourself; the necessity is nowise of the instant sort; not come properly, but coming.

The Review, by some mysterious conveyance, reached me safe at last, and failed not of its welcome. Macaulay is always spirited and emphatic, worth reading even on a worn out matter; Macculloch too tells a substantial story in his own stubborn way: I farther praised that lively critic of Trollope and her Americans; a clever right feeling man, whose hand I know, whose name (if it is not a secret) you will perhaps tell me.1 On the whole, this seems a superior Number. As to my poor Paper,2 it was most handsomely printed; only that the separate Copies for myself were forgotten: if you could still be so kind as tell the Bookseller to forward them (to forward one at all rates) it would be in time.

Another request I have, connected with the Library. Casanova and Cagliostro may lie over: but perhaps you could without much trouble send me the following three Books: Nichols's Anecdotes (of Literature, or Literary Men, I forget which); Menagiana, and Selden's Table Talk?3 The last two are classics in their kind; and I have seen neither of them, except Selden once for two hours in the British Museum, where my curiosity was rather provoked than satisfied. Since the time when D'Ercilla wrote his Epic Poem on leather,4 there have few writing men been so miserably off for Books as I. C'est à se désespérer [It makes one despair], as the French say. But, again, say the same authorities: Il faut se ranger [It is necessary to acquiesce].

I have another Essay on my mind; and have had for a twelvemonth: but will not touch upon it, in such a state of bustle as I am in at present. It is upon that astonishing class of men called Authors;5 more astonishing (if we think of them, what they do, and what they are) than any other extant.

In great haste, I remain as always, / My Dear Sir, / Most faithfully Your's, / T. Carlyle—