This is the complete 2 volumes set of Carlyle's"French Revolution," rewritten after a servant had mistakenly burnt part of the first volume. Moncure Conway provides the details of this tradgedy in work "Thomas Carlyle." He writes as follows:
"The servant who burned the "French Revolution" was in the employ of Mrs. Taylor, afterwards Mrs. Mill. "One day," said Carlyle, in relating this tragedy, "Mill rushed in, and sat there, white as a sheet, and for a time was a picture of speechless terror. At last it came out, amid his gasps, that Mrs. Taylor, to whom he had lent the manuscript in whose preparation he had been much interested, had laid it on her study-table, when her servant-girl had found it
convenient for lighting the fire; each day the volume must have been decreasing, until one day, the lady coming in, found scattered about the grate the last burnt vestiges of the most difficult piece of work I had yet accomplished. The downright agony of Mill at this catastrophe was such that for a time it required all our energies to bring him any degree of consolation; for me but one task remained in that matter: the volume was rewritten as well as I could do it, but it was never the same book."
Conway, in writing about Carlyle's contribution to literature, writes "But even more widely
was Carlyle himself distributed. In what part of the earth have not his lines gone out and his labors extended? On how many hearts and minds, on how many lives, has he engraved passages which are transcripts of his own life, without which it can never be fully told? To report this one life, precious contributions must be brought from the lives of Goethe, Emerson, Jeffrey, Brewster, Sterling, Leigh Hunt, Mill, Mazzini, Margaret Fuller, Harriet
Martineau, Faraday. But how go on with the long catalogue? At its end, could that be reached, there would remain the equally important memories of lives less known, from which in the future may come incidents casting fresh light upon this central figure of two generations; and, were all told, time alone can bring the perspective through which his
genius and character can be estimated. In one sense, Carlyle was as a city set upon a bill, that cannot be hid; in another, he was an "open secret," hid by the very simplicity of his unconscious disguises, the frank perversities whose meaning could be known only by those close enough to hear the heart-beat beneath them; and many who have fancied that they had him rightly labelled with some moody utterance, or safely pigeon-holed in some outbreak of a soul acquainted with grief, will be found to have measured the oak by its mistletoe."