CARLYLE (THOMAS) Autograph letter signed and autograph quotation signed, 1865 and 1845
Lot 29
CARLYLE (THOMAS) Autograph letter signed and autograph quotation signed, 1865 and 1845
£300 - 400
US$ 500 - 670
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("T. Carlyle") and autograph quotation signed ("T. Carlyle"), the letter to Mrs Stanley: "Certainly I will, with great pleasure, – if some Demon do not sketch me in the interview", headed "Chelsea, Monday"; the quotation reading: "Multi discurrent, et augebitur stultitia!" ('Many shall run to and fro, and stupidity shall be increased!'), and written from 5 Cheyne Row on 21 October 1865, 2 pages, the letter trimmed, cut in two sections and laid down, foxing, 8vo and 16mo, Chelsea, 21 October 1865 and undated [? October 1845] (2)


  • The recipient of the letter is possibly Carlyle's friend, the political hostess, intellectual and educationalist Henrietta Maria Stanley; if so, it was written prior to May 1848 when her husband was ennobled. The seemingly cryptic reference to being sketched while interviewed may relate to a letter Carlyle sent her on 17 October 1845, saying he cannot accept an invitation for the next day but adding: 'You say you have a "favour" to ask of me which will require all the music of your voice, and cannot be put into black-on-white lest it be refused! Pray make the trial!' (The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, 20, pp. 29-30). The quotation is a play on Daniel XII, 4: 'Plurimi pertransibunt et multiplex erit scientia' (Many shall run through it, and knowledge shall be increased), a phrase cited by Bacon in The Advancement of Learning (and chosen by Sir Stephen Runciman to adorn the new lift in Carlyle's London Library). Here, foreshadowing perhaps the age of information-overload, Carlyle has replaced knowledge by stupidity.
  1. Luke Batterham
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
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