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Title: On the Choice of Books

Author: Thomas Carlyle

Author of introduction, etc.: Richard Herne Shepherd

Release date: September 11, 2004 [eBook #13435]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Malcolm Farmer, S.R.Ellison and the Online Distributed

Proofreading Team.



[Illustration: No. 5 _Great Cheyne Row.

The Residence of Mr. Carlyle from_ 1834 until his Death]








There comes a time in the career of every man of genius who has devoted a long life to the instruction and enlightenment of his fellow-creatures, when he receives before his death all the honours paid by posterity. Thus when a great essayist or historian lives to attain a classic and world-wide fame, his own biography becomes as interesting to the public as those he himself has written, and by which he achieved his laurels.

This is almost always the case when a man of such cosmopolitan celebrity outlives the ordinary allotted period of threescore years and ten; for a younger generation has then sprung up, who only hear of his great fame, and are ignorant of the long and painful steps by which it was achieved. These remarks are peculiarly applicable in regard to the man whose career we are now to dwell on for a short time: his genius was of slow growth and development, and his fame was even more tardy in coming; but since the world some forty years ago fairly recognised him as a great and original thinker and teacher, few men have left so indelible an impress on the public mind, or have influenced to so great a degree the most thoughtful of their contemporaries.

Thomas Carlyle was born on Tuesday, December 4th, 1795, at Ecclefechan, a small village in the district of Annandale, Dumfriesshire. His father, a stone-mason, was noted for quickness of mental perception, and great energy and decision of character; his mother, as affectionate, pious, and more than ordinarily intelligent;[A] and thus accepting his own theory, that "the history of a man's childhood is the description of his parents' environment," Carlyle entered upon the "mystery of life" under happy and enviable circumstances. After preliminary instruction, first at the parish school, and afterwards at Annan, he went, in November, 1809, and when he was fourteen years old, to the University of Edinburgh. Here he remained till the summer of 1814, distinguishing himself by his devotion to mathematical studies then taught there by Professor Leslie. As a student, he was irregular in his application, but when he did set to work, it was with his whole energy. He appears to have been a great reader of general literature at this time, and the stories that are told of the books that he got through are scarcely to be credited. In the summer of 1814, on the resignation of Mr. Waugh, Carlyle obtained, by competitive examination at Dumfries, the post of mathematical master at Annan Academy. Although he had, at his parents' desire, commenced his studies with a view to entering the Scottish Church, the idea of becoming a minister was growingly distasteful to him. A fellow-student describes his habits at this time as lonely and contemplative; and we know from another source that his vacations were principally spent among the hills and by the rivers of his native county. In the summer of 1816 he was promoted to the post of "classical and mathematical master" at the old Burgh or Grammar School at Kirkcaldy. At the new school in that town Edward Irving, whose acquaintance Carlyle first made at Edinburgh, about Christmas, 1815, had been established since the year 1812; they were thus brought closely together, and their intimacy soon ripened into a friendship destined to become famous. At Kirkcaldy Carlyle remained over two years, becoming more and more convinced that neither as minister nor as schoolmaster was he to successfully fight his way up in the world. It had become clear to him that literature was his true vocation, and he would have started in the profession at once, had it been convenient for him to do so.

[Footnote A: James Carlyle was born in August, 1758, and died January 23, 1832. His second wife (whose maiden name was Margaret Aitken), was born in September, 1771, and died on Christmas Day, 1853. There were nine children of this marriage, "whereof four sons and three daughters," says the inscription en the tombstone in the burial-ground at Ecclefechan, "survived, gratefully reverent of such a father and such a mother."]

He had already written several articles and essays, and a few of them had appeared in print; but they gave little promise or indication of the power he was afterwards to exhibit. During the years 1820—1823, he contributed a series of articles (biographical and topographical) to Brewster's "Edinburgh Encyclopaedia,"[1] viz.:—

[Footnote 1: Vols. XIV. to XVI. The fourteenth volume bears at the end the imprint, "Edinburgh, printed by Balfour and Clarke, 1820;" and the sixteenth volume, "Printed by A. Balfour and Co., Edinburgh, 1823." Most of these articles are distinguished by the initials "T.C."; but they are all attributed to Carlyle in the List of the Authors of the Principal Articles, prefixed to the work on its completion.]

   1. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
   2. Montaigne
   3. Montesquieu
   4. Montfaucon
   5. Dr. Moore
   6. Sir John Moore
   7. Necker
   8. Nelson
   9. Netherlands
  10. Newfoundland
  11. Norfolk
  12. Northamptonshire
  13. Northumberland
  14. Mungo Park
  15. Lord Chatham
  16. William Pitt.

The following is from the article on Necker:—

"As an author, Necker displays much irregular force of imagination, united with considerable perspicuity and compass of thought; though his speculations are deformed by an undue attachment to certain leading ideas, which, harmonizing with his habits of mind, had acquired an excessive preponderance in the course of his long and uncontroverted meditations. He possessed extensive knowledge, and his works bespeak a philosophical spirit; but their great and characteristic excellence proceeds from that glow of fresh and youthful admiration for everything that is amiable or august in the character of man, which, in Necker's heart, survived all the blighting vicissitudes it had passed through, combining, in a singular union, the fervour of the stripling with the experience of the sage."[A]

[Footnote A: "In the earliest authorship of Mr. Carlyle," says Mr. James Russell Lowell, alluding to these papers, "we find some not obscure hints of the future man. The outward fashion of them is that of the period; but they are distinguished by a certain security of judgment, remarkable at any time, remarkable especially in one so young. Carlyle, in these first essays, already shows the influence of his master Goethe, the most widely receptive of critics. In a compact notice of Montaigne there is not a word as to his religious scepticism. The character is looked at purely from its human and literary sides."]

Here is a passage from the article on Newfoundland, interesting as containing perhaps the earliest germ of the later style:—

"The ships intended for the fishery on the southeast coast, arrive early in June. Each takes her station opposite any unoccupied part of the beach where the fish may be most conveniently cured, and retains it till the end of the season. Formerly the master who arrived first on any station was constituted fishing-admiral, and had by law the power of settling disputes among the other crews. But the jurisdiction of those admirals is now happily superseded by the regular functionaries who reside on shore. Each captain directs his whole attention to the collection of his own cargo, without minding the concerns of his neighbour. Having taken down what part of the rigging is removable, they set about their laborious calling, and must pursue it zealously. Their mode of proceeding is thus described by Mr. Anspach, a clerical person, who lived in the island several years, and has since written a meagre and very confused book, which he calls a HISTORY of it."

To the "New Edinburgh Review" (1821-22) Carlyle also contributed two papers—one on Joanna Baillie's "Metrical Legends," and one on Goethe's "Faust."

In the year 1822 he made a translation of "Legendre's Geometry," to which he prefixed an Essay on Proportion; and the book appeared a year or two afterwards under the auspices of the late Sir David Brewster.[A] The Essay on Proportion remains to this day the most lucid and succinct exposition of the subject hitherto published.

[Footnote A: "Elements of Geometry and Trigonometry," with Notes.
Translated from the French of A.M. Legendre. Edited by David Brewster,
LL.D. With Notes and Additions, and an Introductory Chapter on
Proportion. Edinburgh: published by Oliver and Boyd; and G. and W.B.
Whittaker, London. 1824, pp. xvi., 367. Sir David Brewster's
Preface, in which he speaks of "an Introduction on Proportion, by the
Translator," is dated Edinburgh, August 1, 1822.]

"I was already," says Carlyle in his Reminiscences, "getting my head a little up, translating 'Legendre's Geometry' for Brewster. I still remember a happy forenoon in which I did a Fifth Book (or complete 'doctrine of proportion') for that work, complete really and lucid, and yet one of the briefest ever known. It was begun and done that forenoon, and I have (except correcting the press next week) never seen it since; but still I feel as if it were right enough and felicitous in its kind! I only got £50 for my entire trouble in that 'Legendre;' but it was an honest job of work, honestly done."[A]

[Footnote A: Reminiscences by Thomas Carlyle, Edited by James Anthony Froude. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1881, Vol. 1., pp. 198-199.]

The late Professor de Morgan—an excellent authority—pronounced a high eulogium upon this Essay on Proportion.

In 1822 Carlyle accepted the post of tutor to Charles Buller, of whose early death and honourable promise, two touching records remain to us, one in verse by Thackeray, and one in prose by Carlyle.

For the next four years Carlyle devoted his attention almost exclusively to German literature.

His Life of Schiller first appeared under the title of "Schiller's
Life and Writings," in the London Magazine.

Part I.—October, 1823. Part II.—January, 1824. Part III.—July, 1824. " August, 1824. " September, 1824.

It was enlarged, and separately published by Messrs. Taylor and
Hessey, the proprietors of the Magazine, in 1825.

The translation of "Wilhelm Meister," in 1824,[A] was the first real introduction of Goethe to the reading world of Great Britain. It appeared without the name of the translator, but its merits were too palpable to be overlooked, though some critics objected to the strong infusion of German phraseology which had been imported into the English version. This acquired idiom never left our author, even in his original works, although the "Life of Schiller," written but a few months before, is almost entirely free from the peculiarity. "Wilhelm Meister," in its English dress, was better received by the English reading public than by English critics. De Quincey, in one of his dyspeptic fits, fell upon the book, its author, and the translator,[B] and Lord Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review, although admitting Carlyle to be a talented person, heaped condemnation upon the work.

[Footnote A: Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. 3 Vols., Edinburgh, 1824.]

[Footnote B: Curiously enough in the very numbers of the "London
Magazine" containing the later instalments of Carlyle's Life of

Carlyle's next work was a series of translations, entitled "German
Romance: Specimens of the chief Authors; with Biographical and
Critical Notices." 4 vols. Edinburgh, 1827. The Preface and
Introductions are reprinted in the second volume of Carlyle's
Collected Works: the Specimens translated from Hoffmann and La Motte
Fouqué, have not been reprinted.

"This," says Carlyle, in 1857, "was a Book of Translations, not of my suggesting or desiring, but of my executing as honest journey-work in defect of better. The pieces selected were the suitablest discoverable on such terms: not quite of less than no worth (I considered) any piece of them; nor, alas, of a very high worth any, except one only. Four of these lots, or quotas to the adventure, Musæus's, Tieck's, Richter's, Goethe's, will be given in the final stage of this Series; the rest we willingly leave, afloat or stranded, as waste driftwood, to those whom they may farther concern."

It was in 1826 that Mr. Carlyle married Miss Jane Welsh, the only child of Dr. John Welsh, of Haddington,[A] a lineal descendant of John Knox, and a lady fitted in every way to be the wife of such a man. For some time after marriage he continued to reside at Edinburgh, but in May, 1828, he took up his residence in his native county, at Craigenputtoch—a solitary farmhouse on a small estate belonging to his wife's mother, about fifteen miles from Dumfries, and in one of the most secluded parts of the country. Most of his letters to Goethe were written from this place.

[Footnote A: Her father had been dead some seven years when Carlyle and she were married, and the life interest of her inheritance in the farm of Craigenputtoch had been made over to her mother, who survived until 1842, when it reverted to Carlyle.]

In one of the letters sent from Craigenputtoch to Weimar, bearing the date of 25th September, 1828, we have a charming picture of our author's seclusion and retired literary life at this period:—

"You inquire with such warm interest respecting our present abode and occupations, that I feel bound to say a few words about both, while there is still room left. Dumfries is a pleasant town, containing about fifteen thousand inhabitants, and may be considered the centre of the trade and judicial system of a district which possesses some importance in the sphere of Scottish industry. Our residence is not in the town itself, but fifteen miles to the north-west, among the granite hills and the black morasses which stretch westward through Galloway, almost to the Irish Sea. In this wilderness of heath and rock, our estate stands forth a green oasis, a tract of ploughed, partly enclosed, and planted ground, where corn ripens, and trees afford a shade, although surrounded by sea-mews and rough-woolled sheep. Here, with no small effort, have we built and furnished a neat, substantial dwelling; here, in the absence of professorial or other office, we live to cultivate literature according to our strength, and in our own peculiar way. We wish a joyful growth to the rose and flowers of our garden; we hope for health and peaceful thoughts to further our aims. The roses, indeed, are still in part to be planted, but they blossom already in anticipation. Two ponies, which carry us everywhere, and the mountain air, are the best medicines for weak nerves. This daily exercise—to which I am much devoted—is my only recreation: for this nook of ours is the loneliest in Britain—six miles removed from any one likely to visit me. Here Rousseau would have been as happy as on his island of St. Pierre. My town friends, indeed, ascribe my sojourn here to a similar disposition, and forbode me no good result. But I came hither solely with the design to simplify my way of life, and to secure the independence through which I could be enabled to remain true to myself. This bit of earth is our own; here we can live, write, and think, as best pleases ourselves, even though Zoilus himself were to be crowned the monarch of literature. Nor is the solitude of such great importance; for a stage-coach takes us speedily to Edinburgh, which we look upon as our British Weimar. And have I not, too, at this moment piled up upon the table of my little library a whole cart-load of French, German, American, and English journals and periodicals—whatever may be their worth? Of antiquarian studies, too, there is no lack. From some of our heights I can descry, about a day's journey to the west, the hill where Agricola and his Romans left a camp behind them. At the foot of it I was born, and there both father and mother still live to love me. And so one must let time work."

The above letter was printed by Goethe himself, in his Preface to a German transition of Carlyle's "Life of Schiller," published at Frankfort in 1830. Other pleasant records of the intercourse between them exist in the shape of sundry graceful copies of verses addressed by Goethe to Mrs. Carlyle, which will be found in the collection of his poems.

Carlyle had now fairly started as an original writer. From the lonely farm of Craigenputtoch went forth the brilliant series of Essays contributed to the Edinburgh, Westminster, and Foreign Reviews, and to Fraser's Magazine, which were not long in gaining for him a literary reputation in both hemispheres. To this lonely farm came one day in August, 1833, armed with a letter of introduction, a visitor from the other side of the Atlantic: a young American, then unknown to fame, by name Ralph Waldo Emerson. The meeting of these two remarkable men was thus described by the younger of them, many years afterwards:—

"I came from Glasgow to Dumfries, and being intent on delivering a letter which I had brought from Rome, inquired for Craigenputtoch. It was a farm in Nithsdale, in the parish of Dunscore, sixteen miles distant. No public coach passed near it, so I took a private carriage from the inn. I found the house amid desolate heathery hills, where the lonely scholar nourished his mighty heart. Carlyle was a man from his youth, an author who did not need to hide from his readers, and as absolute a man of the world, unknown and exiled on that hill-farm, as if holding on his own terms what is best in London. He was tall and gaunt, with a cliff-like brow, self-possessed, and holding his extraordinary powers of conversation in easy command; clinging to his northern accent with evident relish; full of lively anecdote, and with a streaming humour, which floated everything he looked upon. His talk playfully exalting the familiar objects, put the companion at once into an acquaintance with his Lars and Lemurs, and it was very pleasant to learn what was predestined to be a pretty mythology. Few were the objects and lonely the man, 'not a person to speak to within sixteen miles except the minister of Dunscore; so that books inevitably made his topics.

"He had names of his own for all the matters familiar to his discourse. 'Blackwood's' was the 'sand magazine;' 'Fraser's' nearer approach to possibility of life was the 'mud magazine;' a piece of road near by that marked some failed enterprise was 'the grave of the last sixpence.' When too much praise of any genius annoyed him, he professed hugely to admire the talent shewn by his pig. He had spent much time and contrivance in confining the poor beast to one enclosure in his pen, but pig, by great strokes of judgment, had found out how to let a board down, and had foiled him. For all that, he still thought man the most plastic little fellow in the planet, and he liked Nero's death, 'Qualis artifex pereo!' better than most history. He worships a man that will manifest any truth to him. At one time he had inquired and read a good deal about America. Landor's principle was mere rebellion, and that he feared was the American principle. The best thing he knew of that country was, that in it a man can have meat for his labour. He had read in Stewart's book, that when he inquired in a New York hotel for the Boots, he had been shown across the street, and had found Mungo in his own house dining on roast turkey.

"We talked of books. Plato he does not read, and he disparaged Socrates; and, when pressed, persisted in making Mirabeau a hero. Gibbon he called the splendid bridge from the old world to the new. His own reading had been multifarious. Tristram Shandy was one of his first books after Robinson Crusoe, and Robertson's America an early favourite. Rousseau's Confessions had discovered to him that he was not a dunce; and it was now ten years since he had learned German, by the advice of a man who told him he would find in that language what he wanted.

"He took despairing or satirical views of literature at this moment; recounted the incredible sums paid in one year by the great booksellers for puffing. Hence it comes that no newspaper is trusted now, no books are bought, and the booksellers are on the eve of bankruptcy.

"He still returned to English pauperism, the crowded country, the selfish abdication by public men of all that public persons should perform. 'Government should direct poor men what to do. Poor Irish folk come wandering over these moors. My dame makes it a rule to give to every son of Adam bread to eat, and supplies his wants to the next house. But here are thousands of acres which might give them all meat, and nobody to bid these poor Irish go to the moor and till it. They burned the stacks, and so found a way to force the rich people to attend to them.'

"We went out to walk over long hills, and looked at Criffel, then without his cap, and down into Wordsworth's country. There we sat down, and talked of the immortality of the soul. It was not Carlyle's fault that we talked on that topic, for he had the natural disinclination of every nimble spirit to bruise itself against walls, and did not like to place himself where no step can be taken. But he was honest and true, and cognizant of the subtile links that bind ages together, and saw how every event affects all the future. 'Christ died on the tree: that built Dunscore kirk yonder: that brought you and me together. Time has only a relative existence.'

"He was already turning his eyes towards London with a scholar's appreciation. London is the heart of the world, he said, wonderful only from the mass of human beings. He liked the huge machine. Each keeps its own round. The baker's boy brings muffins to the window at a fixed hour every day, and that is all the Londoner knows, or wishes to know, on the subject. But it turned out good men. He named certain individuals, especially one man of letters, his friend, the best mind he knew, whom London had well served."[A]

[Footnote A: "English Traits," by R.W. Emerson. First Visit to

"Carlyle," says Emerson, "was already turning his eyes towards London," and a few months after the interview just described he did finally fix his residence there, in a quiet street in Chelsea, leading down to the river-side. Here, in an old-fashioned house, built in the reign of Queen Anne, he and his wife settled down in the early summer of 1834; here they continued to live together until she died; and here Carlyle afterwards lived on alone till the end of his life.

With another man, of whom he now became the neighbour—Leigh Hunt—he had already formed a slight acquaintance, which soon ripened into a warm friendship and affection on both sides, in spite of their singular difference of temperament and character.

"It was on the 8th of February, 1832," says Mr. Thornton Hunt, "that the writer of the essays named 'Characteristics' received, apparently from Mr. Leigh Hunt, a volume entitled 'Christianism,' for which he begged to express his thanks. By the 20th of February, Carlyle, then lodging in London, was inviting Leigh Hunt to tea, as the means of their first meeting; and by the 20th of November, Carlyle wrote from Dumfries, urging Leigh Hunt to 'come hither and see us when you want to rusticate a month. Is that for ever impossible?' The philosopher afterwards came to live in the next street to his correspondent, in Chelsea, and proved to be one of Leigh Hunt's kindest, most faithful, and most considerate friends."[A]

[Footnote A: From "The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt," edited by his eldest son. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1862. Vol. 1., p. 321.]

Mr. Horne tells a story very characteristic of both men. Soon after the publication of "Heroes and Hero Worship," they were at a small party, when a conversation was started between these two concerning the heroism of man. "Leigh Hunt had said something about the islands of the blest, or El Dorado, or the Millennium, and was flowing on his bright and hopeful way, when Carlyle dropped some heavy tree-trunk across Hunt's pleasant stream, and banked it up with philosophical doubts and objections at every interval of the speaker's joyous progress. But the unmitigated Hunt never ceased his overflowing anticipations, nor the saturnine Carlyle his infinite demurs to those finite flourishings. The listeners laughed and applauded by turns; and had now fairly pitted them against each other, as the philosopher of hopefulness and of the unhopeful. The contest continued with all that ready wit and philosophy, that mixture of pleasantry and profundity, that extensive knowledge of books and character, with their ready application in argument or illustration, and that perfect ease and good nature which distinguish both of these men. The opponents were so well matched that it was quite clear the contest would never come to an end. But the night was far advanced, and the party broke up. They all sallied forth, and leaving the close room, the candles and the arguments behind them, suddenly found themselves in presence of a most brilliant starlight night. They all looked up. 'Now,' thought Hunt, 'Carlyle's done for! he can have no answer to that!' 'There,' shouted Hunt, 'look up there, look at that glorious harmony, that sings with infinite voices an eternal song of Hope in the soul of man.' Carlyle looked up. They all remained silent to hear what he would say. They began to think he was silenced at last—he was a mortal man. But out of that silence came a few low-toned words, in a broad Scotch accent. And who on earth could have anticipated what the voice said? 'Eh! it's a sad sight!' Hunt sat down on a stone step. They all laughed—then looked very thoughtful. Had the finite measured itself with infinity, instead of surrendering itself up to the influence? Again they laughed—then bade each other good night, and betook themselves homeward with slow and serious pace."[A]

[Footnote A: "A New Spirit of the Age," by R.H. Home. London, 1844.
Vol. . p. 278.]

In 1840 Leigh Hunt left Chelsea, and went to live at Kensington, but Carlyle never altogether lost sight of him, and on several occasions was able to do him very serviceable acts of kindness; as, for instance, in writing certain Memoranda concerning him with the view of procuring from Government a small provision for Leigh Hunt's declining years, which we may as well give in this place:—


"1. That Mr. Hunt is a man of the most indisputedly superior worth; a Man of Genius in a very strict sense of that word, and in all the senses which it bears or implies; of brilliant varied gifts, of graceful fertility, of clearness, lovingness, truthfulness; of childlike open character; also of most pure and even exemplary private deportment; a man who can be other than loved only by those who have not seen him, or seen him from a distance through a false medium.

"2. That, well seen into, he has done much for the world;—as every man possessed of such qualities, and freely speaking them forth in the abundance of his heart for thirty years long, must needs do: how much, they that could judge best would perhaps estimate highest.

"3. That, for one thing, his services in the cause of reform, as Founder and long as Editor of the 'Examiner' newspaper; as Poet, Essayist, Public Teacher in all ways open to him, are great and evident: few now living in this kingdom, perhaps, could boast of greater.

"4. That his sufferings in that same cause have also been great; legal prosecution and penalty (not dishonourable to him; nay, honourable, were the whole truth known, as it will one day be): unlegal obloquy and calumny through the Tory Press;—perhaps a greater quantity of baseless, persevering, implacable calumny, than any other living writer has undergone. Which long course of hostility (nearly the cruellest conceivable, had it not been carried on in half, or almost total misconception) may be regarded as the beginning of his other worst distresses, and a main cause of them, down to this day.

"5. That he is heavily laden with domestic burdens, more heavily than most men, and his economical resources are gone from him. For the last twelve years he has toiled continually, with passionate diligence, with the cheerfullest spirit; refusing no task; yet hardly able with all this to provide for the day that was passing over him; and now, after some two years of incessant effort in a new enterprise ('The London Journal') that seemed of good promise, it also has suddenly broken down, and he remains in ill health, age creeping on him, without employment, means, or outlook, in a situation of the painfullest sort. Neither do his distresses, nor did they at any time, arise from wastefulness, or the like, on his own part (he is a man of humble wishes, and can live with dignity on little); but from crosses of what is called Fortune, from injustice of other men, from inexperience of his own, and a guileless trustfulness of nature, the thing and things that have made him unsuccessful make him in reality more loveable, and plead for him in the minds of the candid.

"6. That such a man is rare in a Nation, and of high value there; not to be procured for a whole Nation's revenue, or recovered when taken from us, and some £200 a year is the price which this one, whom we now have, is valued at: with that sum he were lifted above his perplexities, perhaps saved from nameless wretchedness! It is believed that, in hardly any other way could £200 abolish as much suffering, create as much benefit, to one man, and through him to many and all.

"Were these things set fitly before an English Minister, in whom great part of England recognises (with surprise at such a novelty) a man of insight, fidelity and decision, is it not probable or possible that he, though from a quite opposite point of view, might see them in somewhat of a similar light; and, so seeing, determine to do in consequence? Ut fiat!


"Some years later," says a writer in "Macmillan's Magazine,"[A] "in the 'mellow evening' of a life that had been so stormy, Mr. Leigh Hunt himself told the story of his struggles, his victories, and his defeats, with so singularly graceful a frankness, that the most supercilious of critics could not but acknowledge that here was an autobiographer whom it was possible to like. Here is Carlyle's estimate of Leigh Hunt's Autobiography:—

[Footnote A: July, 1862.]

"Chelsea, June 17, 1850.


"I have just finished your Autobiography, which has been most pleasantly occupying all my leisure these three days; and you must permit me to write you a word upon it, out of the fulness of the heart, while the impulse is still fresh to thank you. This good book, in every sense one of the best I have read this long while, has awakened many old thoughts which never were extinct, or even properly asleep, but which (like so much else) have had to fall silent amid the tempests of an evil time—Heaven mend it! A word from me once more, I know, will not be unwelcome, while the world is talking of you.

"Well, I call this an excellent good book, by far the best of the autobiographic kind I remember to have read in the English language; and indeed, except it be Boswell's of Johnson, I do not know where we have such a picture drawn of a human life, as in these three volumes.

"A pious, ingenious, altogether human and worthy book; imaging, with graceful honesty and free felicity, many interesting objects and persons on your life-path, and imaging throughout, what is best of all, a gifted, gentle, patient, and valiant human soul, as it buffets its way through the billows of the time, and will not drown though often in danger; cannot be drowned, but conquers and leaves a track of radiance behind it: that, I think, conies out more clearly to me than in any other of your books;—and that, I can venture to assure you, is the best of all results to realise in a book or written record. In fact, this book has been like an exercise of devotion to me; I have not assisted at any sermon, liturgy or litany, this long while, that has had so religious an effect on me. Thanks in the name of all men. And believe, along with me, that this book will be welcome to other generations as well as to ours. And long may you live to write more books for us; and may the evening sun be softer on you (and on me) than the noon sometimes was!

"Adieu, dear Hunt (you must let me use this familiarity, for I am an old fellow too now, as well as you). I have often thought of coming up to see you once more; and perhaps I shall, one of these days (though horribly sick and lonely, and beset with spectral lions, go whitherward I may): but whether I do or not believe for ever in my regard. And so, God bless you,

"Prays heartily,


On the other hand Leigh Hunt had an enthusiastic reverence for Carlyle. There are several incidental allusions to the latter, of more or less consequence, in Hunt's Autobiography, but the following is the most interesting:—

"Carlyle's Paramount Humanity.—I believe that what Mr. Carlyle loves better than his fault-finding, with all its eloquence, is the face of any human creature that looks suffering, and loving, and sincere; and I believe further, that if the fellow-creature were suffering only, and neither loving nor sincere, but had come to a pass of agony in this life which put him at the mercies of some good man for some last help and consolation towards his grave, even at the risk of loss to repute, and a sure amount of pain and vexation, that man, if the groan reached him in its forlornness, would be Thomas Carlyle."[A]

[Footnote A: "Autobiography of Leigh Hunt, with Reminiscences of friends and Contemporaries." (Lond. 1850.)]

It was in "Leigh Hunt's Journal,"—a short-lived Weekly Miscellany (1850—1851)—that Carlyle's sketch, entitled "Two Hundred and Fifty Years Ago,"[A] first appeared.

[Footnote A: "Two Hundred and Fifty Years Ago. From a waste paper bag of T. Carlyle." Reprinted in Carlyle's Miscellanies, Ed. 1857.]

It was during his residence at Craigenputtoch that "Sartor Resartus" ("The Tailor Done Over," the name of an old Scotch ballad) was written, which, after being rejected by several publishers, finally made its appearance in "Eraser's Magazine," 1833—34. The book, it must be confessed, might well have puzzled the critical gentlemen—the "book-tasters"—who decide for publishers what work to print among those submitted in manuscript. It is a sort of philosophical romance, in which the author undertakes to give, in the form of a review of a German work on dress, and in a notice of the life of the writer, his own opinions upon matters and things in general. The hero, Professor Teufelsdroeckh ("Devil's Dirt"), seems to be intended for a portrait of human nature as affected by the moral influence to which a cultivated mind would be exposed by the transcendental philosophy of Fichte. Mr. Carlyle works out his theory—the clothes philosophy—and finds the world false and hollow, our institutions mere worn-out rags or disguises, and that our only safety lies in flying from falsehood to truth, and becoming in harmony with the "divine idea." There is much fanciful, grotesque description in "Sartor," with deep thought and beautiful imagery. "In this book," wrote John Sterling, "we always feel that there is a mystic influence around us, bringing out into sharp homely clearness what is noblest in the remote and infinite, exalting into wonder what is commonest in the dust and toil of every day."

"Sartor" found but few admirers; those readers, however, were firm and enthusiastic in their applause. In 1838 the "Sartor Resartus" papers, already republished in the United States, were issued in a collected form here; and in 1839-1840 his various scattered articles in periodicals, after having similarly received the honour of republication in America, were published here, first in four and afterwards in five volumes, under the title of "Miscellanies."

It was in the spring of 1837 that Carlyle's first great historical work appeared, "The French Revolution:—Vol. I., The Bastile; Vol. II, The Constitution; Vol. III., The Guillotine." The publication of this book produced a profound impression on the public mind. A history abounding in vivid and graphic descriptions, it was at the same time a gorgeous "prose epic." It is perhaps the most readable of all Carlyle's works, and indeed is one of the most remarkable books of the age. There is no other account of the French Revolution that can be compared with it for intensity of feeling and profoundness of thought.

A great deal of information respecting Carlyle's manner of living and personal history during these earlier years in London may be gleaned incidentally from his "Life of John Sterling," a book, which, from the nature of it, is necessarily partly autobiographical.

Thomas Moore and others met him sometimes in London society at this time. Moore thus briefly chronicles a breakfast at Lord Houghton's, at which Carlyle was present:—

"22nd May, 1838.—Breakfasted at Milnes', and met rather a remarkable party, consisting of Savage, Landor, and Carlyle (neither of whom I had ever seen before), Robinson, Rogers, and Rice. A good deal of conversation between Robinson and Carlyle about German authors, of whom I knew nothing, nor (from what they paraded of them) felt that I had lost much by my ignorance."[A]

[Footnote A: Diary of Thomas Moore. (Lond. 1856.) Vol. vii., p. 224]

In 1835, after the publication of "Sartor Resartus," Carlyle received an invitation from some American admirers of his writings, to visit their country, and he contemplated doing so, but his labours in examining and collecting materials for his great work on "The French Revolution," then hastening towards completion, prevented him.

We may say that, for many reasons, it is to be regretted that this design was never carried into execution. Had Carlyle witnessed with his own eyes the admirable working of democratic institutions in the United States, he might have done more justice to our Transatlantic brethren, who were always his first and foremost admirers, and he might also have acquired more faith in the future destinies of his own countrymen.

In December, 1837, Carlyle wrote a very remarkable letter to a correspondent in India, which has never been printed in his works, and which we are enabled to give here entire. It is addressed to Major David Lester Richardson, in acknowledgment of his "Literary Leaves, or Prose and Verse," published at Calcutta in 1836. These "Literary Leaves" contain among other things an article on the Italian Opera (taking much the same view of it as Carlyle does), and a sketch of Edward Irving. These papers no doubt pleased Carlyle, and perhaps led him to entertain a rather exaggeratedly high opinion of the rest of the book.


"5, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London, "19th December, 1837.


"Your courteous gift, with the letter accompanying it, reached me only about a week ago, though dated 20th of June, almost at the opposite point of the year. Whether there has been undue delay or not is unknown to me, but at any rate on my side there ought to be no delay.

"I have read your volume—what little of it was known to me before, and the much that was not known—I can say, with true pleasure. It is written, as few volumes in these days are, with fidelity, with successful care, with insight and conviction as to matter, with clearness and graceful precision as to manner: in a word, it is the impress of a mind stored with elegant accomplishments, gifted with an eye to see, and a heart to understand; a welcome, altogether recommendable book. More than once I have said to myself and others, How many parlour firesides are there this winter in England, at which this volume, could one give credible announcement of its quality, would be right pleasant company? There are very many, could one give the announcement: but no such announcement can be given; therefore the parlour firesides must even put up with —— or what other stuff chance shovels in their way, and read, though with malediction all the time. It is a great pity, but no man can help it. We are now arrived seemingly pretty near the point when all criticism and proclamation in matters literary has degenerated into an inane jargon, incredible, unintelligible, inarticulate as the cawing of choughs and rooks; and many things in that as in other provinces, are in a state of painful and rapid transition. A good book has no way of recommending itself except slowly and as it were accidentally from hand to hand. The man that wrote it must abide his time. He needs, as indeed all men do, the faith that this world is built not on falsehood and jargon but on truth and reason; that no good thing done by any creature of God was, is, or ever can be lost, but will verily do the service appointed for it, and be found among the general sum-total and all of things after long times, nay after all time, and through eternity itself. Let him 'cast his bread upon the waters,' therefore, cheerful of heart; 'he will find it after many days.'

"I know not why I write all this to you; it comes very spontaneously from me. Let it be your satisfaction, the highest a man can have in this world, that the talent entrusted to you did not lie useless, but was turned to account, and proved itself to be a talent; and the 'publishing world' can receive it altogether according to their own pleasure, raise it high on the housetops, or trample it low into the street-kennels; that is not the question at all, the thing remains precisely what it was after never such raising and never such depressing and trampling, there is no change whatever in it. I bid you go on, and prosper.

"One thing grieves me: the tone of sadness, I might say of settled melancholy that runs through all your utterances of yourself. It is not right, it is wrong; and yet how shall I reprove you? If you knew me, you would triumphantly[A] for any spiritual endowment bestowed on a man, that it is accompanied, or one might say preceded as the first origin of it, always by a delicacy of organisation which in a world like ours is sure to have itself manifoldly afflicted, tormented, darkened down into sorrow and disease. You feel yourself an exile, in the East; but in the West too it is exile; I know not where under the sun it is not exile. Here in the Fog Babylon, amid mud and smoke, in the infinite din of 'vociferous platitude,' and quack outbellowing quack, with truth and pity on all hands ground under the wheels, can one call it a home, or a world? It is a waste chaos, where we have to swim painfully for our life. The utmost a man can do is to swim there like a man, and hold his peace. For this seems to me a great truth, in any exile or chaos whatsoever, that sorrow was not given us for sorrow's sake, but always and infallibly as a lesson to us from which we are to learn somewhat: and which, the somewhat once learned, ceases to be sorrow. I do believe this; and study in general to 'consume my own smoke,' not indeed without very ugly out-puffs at times! Allan Cunningham is the best, he tells me that always as one grows older, one grows happier: a thing also which I really can believe. But as for you, my dear sir, you have other work to do in the East than grieve. Are there not beautiful things there, glorious things; wanting only an eye to note them, a hand to record them? If I had the command over you, I would say, read Paul et Virginie, then read the Chaumière Indienne; gird yourself together for a right effort, and go and do likewise or better! I mean what I say. The East has its own phases, there are things there which the West yet knows not of; and one heaven covers both. He that has an eye let him look!

[Footnote A: There seems to be some omission or slip of the pen here.]

"I hope you forgive me this style I have got into. It seems to me on reading your book as if we had been long acquainted in some measure; as if one might speak to you right from the heart. I hope we shall meet some day or other. I send you my constant respect and good wishes; and am and remain,

"Yours very truly always,


Carlyle first appeared as a lecturer in 1837. His first course was on 'German Literature,' at Willis's Rooms; a series of six lectures, of which the first was thus noticed in the Spectator of Saturday, May 6, 1837.[A]

[Footnote A: Facsimiled in "The Autographic Mirror," July, 1865.]

"Mr. Thomas Carlyle's Lectures.

"Mr. Carlyle delivered the first of a course of lectures on German Literature, at Willis's Rooms, on Tuesday, to a very crowded and yet a select audience of both sexes. Mr. Carlyle may be deficient in the mere mechanism of oratory; but this minor defect is far more than counterbalanced by his perfect mastery of his subject, the originality of his manner, the perspicuity of his language, his simple but genuine eloquence, and his vigorous grasp of a large and difficult question. No person of taste or judgment could hear him without feeling that the lecturer is a man of genius, deeply imbued with his great argument."

"This course of lectures," says a writer already quoted, "was well attended by the fashionables of the West End; and though they saw in his manner something exceedingly awkward, they could not fail to discern in his matter the impress of a mind of great originality and superior gifts."[A]

[Footnote A: JAMES GRANT: "Portraits of Public Characters." (Lond. 1841.) Vol. ii., p. 152.]

The following year he delivered a second course on the 'History of Literature, or the Successive Periods of European Culture,' at the Literary Institution in Edwards-street, Portman-square. 'The Revolutions of Modern Europe' was the title given to the third course, delivered twelve months later. The fourth and last series, of six lectures, is the best remembered, 'Heroes and Hero-worship.' This course alone was published, and it became more immediately popular than any of the works which had preceded it. Concerning these lectures, Leigh Hunt remarked that it seemed "as if some Puritan had come to life again, liberalized by German philosophy and his own intense reflections and experience." Another critic, a Scotch writer, could see nothing but wild impracticability in them, and exclaimed, "Can any living man point to a single practical passage in any of these lectures? If not, what is the real value of Mr. Carlyle's teachings? What is Mr. Carlyle himself but a phantasm!"

The vein of Puritanism running through his writings, composed upon the model of the German school, impressed many critics with the belief that their author, although full of fire and energy, was perplexed and embarrassed with his own speculations. Concerning this Puritan element in his reflections, Mr. James Hannay remarks, "That earnestness, that grim humour—that queer, half-sarcastic, half-sympathetic fun—is quite Scotch. It appears in Knox and Buchanan, and it appears in Burns. I was not surprised when a school-fellow of Carlyle's told me that his favourite poem was, when a boy, 'Death and Doctor Hornbook.' And if I were asked to explain this originality, I should say that he was a covenanter coming in the wake of the eighteenth century and the transcendental philosophy. He has gone into the hills against 'shams,' as they did against Prelacy, Erastianism, and so forth. But he lives in a quieter age, and in a literary position. So he can give play to the humour which existed in them as well, and he overflows with a range of reading and speculation to which they were necessarily strangers."

'Chartism,' published in 1839, and which, to use the words of a critic of the time, was the publication in which "he first broke ground on the Condition of England question," appeared a short time before the lectures on 'Heroes and Hero-worship' were delivered. If we remember rightly, Mr. Carlyle gave forth "those grand utterances" extemporaneously and without an abstract, notes, or a reminder of any kind—utterances not beautiful to the flunkey-mind, or valet-soul, occupied mainly with the fold of the hero's necktie, and the cut of his coat. Flunkey-dom, by one of its mouthpieces, thus speaks of them:—

"Perhaps his course for the present year, which was on Hero-worship, was better attended than any previous one. Some of those who were present estimated the average attendance at three hundred. They chiefly consisted of persons of rank and wealth, as the number of carriages which each day waited the conclusion of the lecture to receive Mr. Carlyle's auditors, and to carry them to their homes, conclusively testified. The locality of Mr. Carlyle's lectures has, I believe, varied every year. The Hanover Rooms, Willis's Rooms, and a place in the north of London, the name of which I forget, have severally been chosen as the place whence to give utterance to his profound and original trains of thought.

"A few words will be expected here as to Mr. Carlyle's manner as a lecturer. In so far as his mere manner is concerned, I can scarcely bestow on him a word of commendation. There is something in his manner which, if I may use a rather quaint term, must seem very uncouth to London audiences of the most respectable class, accustomed as they are to the polished deportment[A] which is usually exhibited in Willis's or the Hanover Rooms. When he enters the room, and proceeds to the sort of rostrum whence he delivers his lectures, he is, according to the usual practice in such cases, generally received with applause; but he very rarely takes any more notice of the mark of approbation thus bestowed upon him, than if he were altogether unconscious of it. And the same seeming want of respect for his audience, or, at any rate, the same disregard for what I believe he considers the troublesome forms of politeness, is visible at the commencement of his lecture. Having ascended his desk, he gives a hearty rub to his hands, and plunges at once into his subject. He reads very closely, which, indeed, must be expected, considering the nature of the topics which he undertakes to discuss. He is not prodigal of gesture with his arms or body; but there is something in his eye and countenance which indicates great earnestness of purpose, and the most intense interest in his subject. You can almost fancy, in some of his more enthusiastic and energetic moments, that you see his inmost soul in his face. At times, indeed very often, he so unnaturally distorts his features, as to give to his countenance a very unpleasant expression. On such occasions, you would imagine that he was suddenly seized with some violent paroxysms of pain. He is one of the most ungraceful speakers I have ever heard address a public assemblage of persons. In addition to the awkwardness of his general manner, he 'makes mouths,' which would of themselves be sufficient to mar the agreeableness of his delivery. And his manner of speaking, and the ungracefulness of his gesticulation, are greatly aggravated by his strong Scotch accent. Even to the generality of Scotchmen his pronunciation is harsh in no ordinary degree. Need I say, then, what it must be to an English ear?

[Footnote A: Shade of Mr. Turveydrop senior, hear this man!]

"I was present some months ago, during the delivery of a speech by Mr. Carlyle at a meeting held in the Freemasons' Tavern, for the purpose of forming a metropolitan library; and though that speech did not occupy in its delivery more than five minutes, he made use of some of the most extraordinary phraseology I ever heard employed by a human being. He made use of the expression 'this London,' which he pronounced 'this Loondun,' four or five times—a phrase which grated grievously on the ears even of those of Mr. Carlyle's own countrymen who were present, and which must have sounded doubly harsh in the ears of an Englishman, considering the singularly broad Scotch accent with which he spoke.

"A good deal of uncertainty exists as to Mr. Carlyle's religious opinions. I have heard him represented as a firm and entire believer in revelation, and I have heard it affirmed with equal confidence that he is a decided Deist. My own impression is," &c.[A]

[Footnote A: "Portraits of Public Characters," by the author of "Random Recollections of the Lords and Commons." Vol. ii. pp. 152-158.]

In 1841 Carlyle superintended the publication of the English edition of his friend Emerson's Essays,[B] to which he prefixed a characteristic Preface of some length.

[Footnote B: Essays: by R.W. Emerson, of Concord, Massachusetts. With
Preface by Thomas Carlyle. London: James Fraser, 1841.]

"The name of Ralph Waldo Emerson," he writes, "is not entirely new in England: distinguished travellers bring us tidings of such a man; fractions of his writings have found their way into the hands of the curious here; fitful hints that there is, in New England, some spiritual notability called Emerson, glide through Reviews and Magazines. Whether these hints were true or not true, readers are now to judge for themselves a little better.

"Emerson's writings and speakings amount to something: and yet hitherto, as seems to me, this Emerson is perhaps far less notable for what he has spoken or done, than for the many things he has not spoken and has forborne to do. With uncommon interest I have learned that this, and in such a never-resting, locomotive country too, is one of those rare men who have withal the invaluable talent of sitting still! That an educated man, of good gifts and opportunities, after looking at the public arena, and even trying, not with ill success, what its tasks and its prizes might amount to, should retire for long years into rustic obscurity; and, amid the all-pervading jingle of dollars and loud chaffering of ambitions and promotions, should quietly, with cheerful deliberateness, sit down to spend his life not in Mammon-worship, or the hunt for reputation, influence, place, or any outward advantage whatsoever: this, when we get a notice of it, is a thing really worth noting."

In 1843, "Past and Present" appeared—a work without the wild power which "Sartor Resartus" possessed over the feelings of the reader, but containing passages which look the same way, and breathe the same spirit. The book contrasts, in a historico-philosophical spirit, English society in the Middle Ages, with English society in our own day. In both this and the preceding work the great measures advised for the amelioration of the people are education and emigration.

Another very admirable letter, addressed by Mr. Carlyle in 1843 to a young man who had written to him desiring his advice as to a proper choice of reading, and, it would appear also, as to his conduct in general, we shall here bring forth from its hiding-place in an old Scottish newspaper of a quarter of a century ago:—


"Some time ago your letter was delivered me; I take literally the first free half-hour I have had since to write you a word of answer.

"It would give me true satisfaction could any advice of mine contribute to forward you in your honourable course of self-improvement, but a long experience has taught me that advice can profit but little; that there is a good reason why advice is so seldom followed; this reason namely, that it is so seldom, and can almost never be, rightly given. No man knows the state of another; it is always to some more or less imaginary man that the wisest and most honest adviser is speaking.

"As to the books which you—whom I know so little of—should read, there is hardly anything definite that can be said. For one thing, you may be strenuously advised to keep reading. Any good book, any book that is wiser than yourself, will teach you something—a great many things, indirectly and directly, if your mind be open to learn. This old counsel of Johnson's is also good, and universally applicable:—'Read the book you do honestly feel a wish and curiosity to read.' The very wish and curiosity indicates that you, then and there, are the person likely to get good of it. 'Our wishes are presentiments of our capabilities;' that is a noble saying, of deep encouragement to all true men; applicable to our wishes and efforts in regard to reading as to other things. Among all the objects that look wonderful or beautiful to you, follow with fresh hope the one which looks wonderfullest, beautifullest. You will gradually find, by various trials (which trials see that you make honest, manful ones, not silly, short, fitful ones), what is for you the wonderfullest, beautifullest—what is your true element and province, and be able to profit by that. True desire, the monition of nature, is much to be attended to. But here, also, you are to discriminate carefully between true desire and false. The medical men tell us we should eat what we truly have an appetite for; but what we only falsely have an appetite for we should resolutely avoid. It is very true; and flimsy, desultory readers, who fly from foolish book to foolish book, and get good of none, and mischief of all—are not these as foolish, unhealthy eaters, who mistake their superficial false desire after spiceries and confectioneries for their real appetite, of which even they are not destitute, though it lies far deeper, far quieter, after solid nutritive food? With these illustrations, I will recommend Johnson's advice to you.

"Another thing, and only one other, I will say. All books are properly the record of the history of past men—what thoughts past men had in them—what actions past men did: the summary of all books whatsoever lies there. It is on this ground that the class of books specifically named History can be safely recommended as the basis of all study of books—the preliminary to all right and full understanding of anything we can expect to find in books. Past history, and especially the past history of one's own native country, everybody may be advised to begin with that. Let him study that faithfully; innumerable inquiries will branch out from it; he has a broad-beaten highway, from which all the country is more or less visible; there travelling, let him choose where he will dwell.

"Neither let mistakes and wrong directions—of which every man, in his studies and elsewhere, falls into many—discourage you. There is precious instruction to be got by finding that we are wrong. Let a man try faithfully, manfully, to be right, he will grow daily more and more right. It is, at bottom, the condition which all men have to cultivate themselves. Our very walking is an incessant falling—a falling and a catching of ourselves before we come actually to the pavement!—it is emblematic of all things a man does.

"In conclusion, I will remind you that it is not by books alone, or by books chiefly, that a man becomes in all points a man. Study to do faithfully whatsoever thing in your actual situation, there and now, you find either expressly or tacitly laid to your charge; that is your post; stand in it like a true soldier. Silently devour the many chagrins of it, as all human situations have many; and see you aim not to quit it without doing all that it, at least, required of you. A man perfects himself by work much more than by reading. They are a growing kind of men that can wisely combine the two things—wisely, valiantly, can do what is laid to their hand in their present sphere, and prepare themselves withal for doing other wider things, if such lie before them.

"With many good wishes and encouragements, I remain, yours sincerely,


"Chelsea, 13th March, 1843."

The publication of "Past and Present" elicited a paper "On the Genius and Tendency of the Writings of Thomas Carlyle," from Mazzini, which appeared in the "British and Foreign Review," of October, 1843.[A] It is a candid and thoughtful piece of criticism, in which the writer, while striving to do justice to Carlyle's genius, protests strongly and uncompromisingly against the tendency of his teaching.

[Footnote A: Reprinted in the "Life and Writings of Joseph Mazzini."
(London, 1867). Vol. iv. pp. 56-144.]

Some months afterwards, when the House of Commons was occupied with the illegal opening of Mazzini's letters, Carlyle spontaneously stepped forward and paid the following tribute to his character:—


"In your observations in yesterday's Times on the late disgraceful affair of Mr. Mazzini's letters and the Secretary of State, you mention that Mr. Mazzini is entirely unknown to you, entirely indifferent to you; and add, very justly, that if he were the most contemptible of mankind, it would not affect your argument on the subject.[A]

[Footnote A: "Mr. Mazzini's character and habits and society are nothing to the point, unless connected with some certain or probable evidence of evil intentions or treasonable plots. We know nothing, and care nothing about him. He may be the most worthless and the most vicious creature in the world; but this is no reason of itself why his letters should be detained and opened."—leading article, June 17, 1844.]

"It may tend to throw farther light on this matter if I now certify you, which I in some sort feel called upon to do, that Mr. Mazzini is not unknown to various competent persons in this country; and that he is very far indeed from being contemptible—none farther, or very few of living men. I have had the honour to know Mr. Mazzini for a series of years; and, whatever I may think of his practical insight and skill in worldly affairs, I can with great freedom testify to all men that he, if I have ever seen one such, is a man of genius and virtue, a man of sterling veracity, humanity, and nobleness of mind; one of those rare men, numerable unfortunately but as units in this world, who are worthy to be called martyr-souls; who, in silence, piously in their daily life, understand and practise what is meant by that.

"Of Italian democracies and young Italy's sorrows, of extraneous Austrian Emperors in Milan, or poor old chimerical Popes in Bologna, I know nothing, and desire to know nothing; but this other thing I do know, and can here declare publicly to be a fact, which fact all of us that have occasion to comment on Mr. Mazzini and his affairs may do well to take along with us, as a thing leading towards new clearness, and not towards new additional darkness, regarding him and them.

"Whether the extraneous Austrian Emperor and miserable old chimera of a Pope shall maintain themselves in Italy, or be obliged to decamp from Italy, is not a question in the least vital to Englishmen. But it is a question vital to us that sealed letters in an English post-office be, as we all fancied they were, respected as things sacred; that opening of men's letters, a practice near of kin to picking men's pockets, and to other still viler and far fataler forms of scoundrelism be not resorted to in England, except in cases of the very last extremity. When some new gunpowder plot may be in the wind, some double-dyed high treason, or imminent national wreck not avoidable otherwise, then let us open letters—not till then.

"To all Austrian Kaisers and such like, in their time of trouble, let us answer, as our fathers from of old have answered:—Not by such means is help here for you. Such means, allied to picking of pockets and viler forms of scoundrelism, are not permitted in this country for your behoof. The right hon. Secretary does himself detest such, and even is afraid to employ them. He dare not: it would be dangerous for him! All British men that might chance to come in view of such a transaction, would incline to spurn it, and trample on it, and indignantly ask him what he meant by it?

"I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


"Chelsea, June 18."

[Footnote A: From The Times, Wednesday, June 19, 1844.]

The autumn of this year was saddened for Carlyle by the loss of the dear friend whose biography he afterwards wrote. On the 18th of September, 1844—after a short career of melancholy promise, only half fulfilled—John Sterling died, in his thirty-ninth year.

The next work that appeared from Carlyle's pen—a special service to history, and to the memory of one of England's greatest men—was "Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, with Elucidations and a Connecting Narrative," two volumes, published in 1845. If there were any doubt remaining after the publication of the "French Revolution" what position our author might occupy amongst the historians of the age, it was fully removed on the appearance of "Cromwell's Letters." The work obtained a great and an immediate popularity; and though bulky and expensive, a very large impression was quickly sold. These speeches and letters of Cromwell, the spelling and punctuation corrected, and a few words added here and there for clearness' sake, and to accommodate them to the language and style in use now, were first made intelligible and effective by Mr. Carlyle. "The authentic utterances of the man Oliver himself," he says, "I have gathered them from far and near; fished them up from the foul Lethean quagmires where they lay buried. I have washed, or endeavoured to wash them clean from foreign stupidities—such a job of buckwashing as I do not long to repeat—and the world shall now see them in their own shape." The work was at once republished in America, and two editions were called for here within the year.

While engaged on this work, Carlyle went down to Rugby by express invitation, on Friday, 13th May, 1842, and on the following day explored the field of Naseby, in company with Dr. Arnold. The meeting of two such remarkable men—only six weeks before the death of the latter—has in it something solemn and touching, and unusually interesting. Carlyle left the school-house, expressing the hope that it might "long continue to be what was to him one of the rarest sights in the world—a temple of industrious peace."

Arnold, who, with the deep sympathy arising from kindred nobility of soul, had long cherished a high reverence for Carlyle, was very proud of having received such a guest under his roof, and during those few last weeks of life was wont to be in high spirits, talking with his several guests, and describing with much interest, his recent visit to Naseby with Carlyle, "its position on some of the highest table-land in England—the streams falling on the one side into the Atlantic, on the other into the German Ocean—far away, too, from any town—Market Harborough, the nearest, into which the cavaliers were chased late in the long summer evening on the fourteenth of June."

Perhaps the most graphic description of Carlyle's manner and conversation ever published, is contained in the following passage from a letter addressed to Emerson by an accomplished American, Margaret Fuller, who visited England in the autumn of 1846, and whose strange, beautiful history and tragical death on her homeward voyage, are known to most readers.

The letter is dated Paris, November 16, 1846.

"Of the people I saw in London, you will wish me to speak first of the Carlyles. Mr. C. came to see me at once, and appointed an evening to be passed at their house. That first time, I was delighted with him. He was in a very sweet humour,—full of wit and pathos, without being overbearing or oppressive. I was quite carried away with the rich flow of his discourse, and the hearty, noble earnestness of his personal being brought back the charm which once was upon his writing, before I wearied of it. I admired his Scotch, his way of singing his great full sentences, so that each one was like the stanza of a narrative ballad. He let me talk, now and then, enough to free my lungs and change my position, so that I did not get tired. That evening, he talked of the present state of things in England, giving light, witty sketches of the men of the day, fanatics and others, and some sweet, homely stories he told of things he had known of the Scotch peasantry.

"Of you he spoke with hearty kindness; and he told, with beautiful feeling, a story of some poor farmer, or artisan in the country, who on Sunday lays aside the cark and care of that dirty English world, and sits reading the Essays, and looking upon the sea.

"I left him that night, intending to go out very often to their house. I assure you there never was anything so witty as Carlyle's description of —— ——. It was enough to kill one with laughing. I, on my side, contributed a story to his fund of anecdote on this subject, and it was fully appreciated. Carlyle is worth a thousand of you for that;—he is not ashamed to laugh when he is amused, but goes on in a cordial, human fashion.

"The second time Mr. C. had a dinner-party, at which was a witty, French, flippant sort of man, author of a History of Philosophy,[A] and now writing a Life of Goethe, a task for which he must be as unfit as irreligion and sparkling shallowness can make him. But he told stories admirably, and was allowed sometimes to interrupt Carlyle a little, of which one was glad, for that night he was in his more acrid mood, and though much more brilliant than on the former evening, grew wearisome to me, who disclaimed and rejected almost everything he said.

[Footnote A: George Henry Lewes.]

"For a couple of hours he was talking about poetry, and the whole harangue was one eloquent proclamation of the defects in his own mind. Tennyson wrote in verse because the schoolmasters had taught him that it was great to do so, and had thus, unfortunately, been turned from the true path for a man. Burns had, in like manner, been turned from his vocation. Shakespeare had not had the good sense to see that it would have been better to write straight on in prose;—and such nonsense, which, though amusing enough at first, he ran to death after a while.

"The most amusing part is always when he comes back to some refrain, as in the French Revolution of the sea-green. In this instance, it was Petrarch and Laura, the last word pronounced with his ineffable sarcasm of drawl. Although he said this over fifty times, I could not help laughing when Laura would come. Carlyle running his chin out when he spoke it, and his eyes glancing till they looked like the eyes and beak of a bird of prey.

Poor Laura! Luckily for her that her poet had already got her safely canonized beyond the reach of this Teufelsdröckh vulture.

"The worst of hearing Carlyle is, that you cannot interrupt him. I understand the habit and power of haranguing have increased very much upon him, so that you are a perfect prisoner when he has once got hold of you. To interrupt him is a physical impossibility. If you get a chance to remonstrate for a moment, he raises his voice and bears you down. True, he does you no injustice, and, with his admirable penetration, sees the disclaimer in your mind, so that you are not morally delinquent; but it is not pleasant to be unable to utter it. The latter part of the evening, however, he paid us for this, by a series of sketches, in his finest style of railing and raillery, of modern French literature, not one of them, perhaps, perfectly just, but all drawn with the finest, boldest strokes, and, from his point of view, masterly. All were depreciating, except that of Béranger. Of him he spoke with perfect justice, because with hearty sympathy.

"I had, afterward, some talk with Mrs. C., whom hitherto I had only seen, for who can speak while her husband is there? I like her very much;—she is full of grace, sweetness, and talent. Her eyes are sad and charming.

* * * * *

"After this, they went to stay at Lord Ashburton's, and I only saw them once more, when they came to pass an evening with us. Unluckily, Mazzini was with us, whose society, when he was there alone, I enjoyed more than any. He is a beauteous and pure music: also, he is a dear friend of Mrs. C., but his being there gave the conversation a turn to 'progress' and ideal subjects, and C. was fluent in invectives on all our 'rose-water imbecilities.' We all felt distant from him, and Mazzini, after some vain efforts to remonstrate, became very sad. Mrs. C. said to me,—

"'These are but opinions to Carlyle, but to Mazzini, who has given his all, and helped bring his friends to the scaffold, in pursuit of such subjects, it is a matter of life and death.'

"All Carlyle's talk, that evening, was a defence of mere force,—success the test of right;—if people would not behave well, put collars round their necks;—find a hero, and let them be his slaves, &c. It was very Titanic, and anti-celestial. I wish the last evening had been more melodious. However, I bid Carlyle farewell with feelings of the warmest friendship and admiration. We cannot feel otherwise to a great and noble nature, whether it harmonise with our own or not. I never appreciated the work he has done for his age till I saw England. I could not. You must stand in the shadow of that mountain of shams, to know how hard it is to cast light across it.

"Honour to Carlyle! Hoch! Although, in the wine with which we drink this health, I, for one, must mingle the despised 'rose-water.'

"And now, having to your eye shown the defects of my own mind, in the sketch of another, I will pass on more lowly,—more willing to be imperfect, since Fate permits such noble creatures, after all, to be only this or that. It is much if one is not only a crow or magpie;—Carlyle is only a lion. Some time we may, all in full, be intelligent and humanely fair."

* * * * *

"December, 1846.—Accustomed to the infinite wit and exuberant richness of his writings, his talk is still an amazement and a splendour scarcely to be faced with steady eyes. He does not converse;—only harangues. It is the usual misfortune of such marked men,—happily not one invariable or inevitable,—that they cannot allow other minds room to breathe, and show themselves in their atmosphere, and thus miss the refreshment and instruction which the greatest never cease to need from the experience of the humblest.

"Carlyle allows no one a chance, but bears down all opposition, not only by his wit and onset of words, resistless in their sharpness as so many bayonets, but by actual physical superiority,—raising his voice, and rushing on his opponent with a torrent of sound. This is not in the least from unwillingness to allow freedom to others. On the contrary, no man would more enjoy a manly resistance to his thought. But it is the impulse of a mind accustomed to follow out its own impulse, as the hawk its prey, and which knows not how to stop in the chase. Carlyle, indeed, is arrogant and overbearing; but in his arrogance there is no littleness,—no self-love. It is the heroic arrogance of some old Scandinavian conqueror;—it is his nature, and the untameable impulse that has given him power to crush the dragons. You do not love him, perhaps, nor revere; and perhaps, also, he would only laugh at you if you did; but you like him heartily, and like to see him the powerful smith, the Siegfried, melting all the old iron in his furnace till it glows to a sunset red, and burns you, if you senselessly go too near.

"He seems, to me, quite isolated,—lonely as the desert,—yet never was a man more fitted to prize a man, could he find one to match his mood. He finds them, but only in the past. He sings, rather than talks. He pours upon you a kind of satirical, heroical, critical poem, with regular cadences, and generally catching up, near the beginning, some singular epithet, which serves as a refrain when his song is full, or with which, as with a knitting needle, he catches up the stitches, if he has chanced, now and then, to let fall a row.

"For the higher kinds of poetry he has no sense, and his talk on that subject is delightfully and gorgeously absurd. He sometimes stops a minute to laugh at it himself, then begins anew with fresh vigour; for all the spirits he is driving before him seem to him as Fata Morganas, ugly masks, in fact, if he can but make them turn about; but he laughs that they seem to others such dainty Ariels. His talk, like his books, is full of pictures; his critical strokes masterly. Allow for his point of view, and his survey is admirable. He is a large subject. I cannot speak more or wiselier of him now, nor needs it;—his works are true, to blame and praise him,—the Siegfried of England,—great and powerful, if not quite invulnerable, and of a might rather to destroy evil, than legislate for good."[A]

[Footnote A: "Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli." (Boston, 1852.) Vol. iii., pp. 96-104.]

In 1848 Mr. Carlyle contributed a series of articles to the Examiner and Spectator, principally on Irish affairs, which, as he has never yet seen fit to reprint them in his Miscellanies, are apparently quite unknown to the general public. With the exception of the last, they may be considered as a sort of alarum note, sounded to herald the approach of the Latter-Day Pamphlets, which appeared shortly afterwards.

The following is a list of these newspaper articles:—

In The Examiner, 1848.

  March 4. "Louis Philippe."
  April 29. "Repeal of the Union."
  May 13. "Legislation for Ireland."

In The Spectator, 1848.

  May 13. "Ireland and the British Chief Governor."
     " "Irish Regiments (of the New Era)."

In The Examiner, 1848.

Dec. 2. "Death of Charles Buller."

The last-named paper, a tribute to the memory of his old pupil, we shall give entire. Another man of genius,[A] now also gone to his rest, sang sorrowfully on the same occasion:

[Footnote A: W.M. Thackeray.]

  "Who knows the inscrutable design?
    Blest be He who took and gave!
  Why should your mother, Charles, not mine,
    Be weeping at her darling's grave?

  We bow to Heaven that will'd it so,
    That darkly rules the fate of all,
  That sends the respite or the blow,
    That's free to give, or to recall."

Carlyle's paper reads like a solemn and touching funeral oration to the uncovered mourners as they stand round the grave before it is closed:—

"A very beautiful soul has suddenly been summoned from among us; one of the clearest intellects, and most aërial activities in England, has unexpectedly been called away. Charles Buller died on Wednesday morning last, without previous sickness, reckoned of importance, till a day or two before. An event of unmixed sadness, which has created a just sorrow, private and public. The light of many a social circle is dimmer henceforth, and will miss long a presence which was always gladdening and beneficent; in the coming storms of political trouble, which heap themselves more and more in ominous clouds on our horizon, one radiant element is to be wanting now.

"Mr. Buller was in his forty-third year, and had sat in Parliament some twenty of those. A man long kept under by the peculiarities of his endowment and position, but rising rapidly into importance of late years; beginning to reap the fruits of long patience, and to see an ever wider field open round him. He was what in party language is called a 'Reformer,' from his earliest youth; and never swerved from that faith, nor could swerve. His luminous sincere intellect laid bare to him in all its abject incoherency the thing that was untrue, which thenceforth became for him a thing that was not tenable, that it was perilous and scandalous to attempt maintaining. Twenty years in the dreary, weltering lake of parliamentary confusion, with its disappointments and bewilderments, had not quenched this tendency, in which, as we say, he persevered as by a law of nature itself, for the essence of his mind was clearness, healthy purity, incompatibility with fraud in any of its forms. What he accomplished, therefore, whether great or little, was all to be added to the sum of good; none of it to be deducted. There shone mildly in his whole conduct a beautiful veracity, as if it were unconscious of itself; a perfect spontaneous absence of all cant, hypocrisy, and hollow pretence, not in word and act only, but in thought and instinct. To a singular extent it can be said of him that he was a spontaneous clear man. Very gentle, too, though full of fire; simple, brave, graceful. What he did, and what he said, came from him as light from a luminous body, and had thus always in it a high and rare merit, which any of the more discerning could appreciate fully.

"To many, for a long while, Mr. Buller passed merely for a man of wit, and certainly his beautiful natural gaiety of character, which by no means meant levity, was commonly thought to mean it, and did for many years, hinder the recognition of his intrinsic higher qualities. Slowly it began to be discovered that, under all this many-coloured radiancy and coruscation, there burnt a most steady light; a sound, penetrating intellect, full of adroit resources, and loyal by nature itself to all that was methodic, manful, true;—in brief, a mildly resolute, chivalrous, and gallant character, capable of doing much serious service.

"A man of wit he indisputably was, whatever more amongst the wittiest of men. His speech, and manner of being, played everywhere like soft brilliancy of lambent fire round the common objects of the hour, and was, beyond all others that English society could show, entitled to the name of excellent, for it was spontaneous, like all else in him, genuine, humane,—the glittering play of the soul of a real man. To hear him, the most serious of men might think within himself, 'How beautiful is human gaiety too!' Alone of wits, Buller never made wit; he could be silent, or grave enough, where better was going; often rather liked to be silent if permissible, and always was so where needful. His wit, moreover, was ever the ally of wisdom, not of folly, or unkindness, or injustice; no soul was ever hurt by it; never, we believe, never, did his wit offend justly any man, and often have we seen his ready resource relieve one ready to be offended, and light up a pausing circle all into harmony again. In truth, it was beautiful to see such clear, almost childlike simplicity of heart coexisting with the finished dexterities, and long experiences, of a man of the world. Honour to human worth, in whatever form we find it! This man was true to his friends, true to his convictions,—and true without effort, as the magnet is to the north. He was ever found on the right side; helpful to it, not obstructive of it, in all he attempted or performed.

"Weak health; a faculty indeed brilliant, clear, prompt, not deficient in depth either, or in any kind of active valour, but wanting the stern energy that could long endure to continue in the deep, in the chaotic, new, and painfully incondite—this marked out for him his limits; which, perhaps with regrets enough, his natural veracity and practicality would lead him quietly to admit and stand by. He was not the man to grapple, in its dark and deadly dens, with the Lernæan coil of social Hydras; perhaps not under any circumstances: but he did, unassisted, what he could; faithfully himself did something—nay, something truly considerable;—and in his patience with the much that by him and his strength could not be done let us grant there was something of beautiful too!

"Properly, indeed, his career as a public man was but beginning. In the office he last held, much was silently expected of him; he himself, too, recognised well what a fearful and immense question this of Pauperism is; with what ominous rapidity the demand for solution of it is pressing on; and how little the world generally is yet aware what methods and principles, new, strange, and altogether contradictory to the shallow maxims and idle philosophies current at present, would be needed for dealing with it! This task he perhaps contemplated with apprehension; but he is not now to be tried with this, or with any task more. He has fallen, at this point of the march, an honourable soldier; and has left us here to fight along without him. Be his memory dear and honourable to us, as that of one so worthy ought. What in him was true and valiant endures for evermore—beyond all memory or record. His light, airy brilliancy has suddenly become solemn, fixed in the earnest stillness of Eternity. There shall we also, and our little works, all shortly be."

In 1850 appeared the "Latter-Day Pamphlets," essays suggested by the convulsions of 1848, in which, more than in any previous publication, the author spoke out in the character of a social and political censor of his own age. "He seemed to be the worshipper of mere brute force, the advocate of all harsh, coercive measures. Model prisons and schools for the reform of criminals, poor-laws, churches as at present constituted, the aristocracy, parliament, and other institutions, were assailed and ridiculed in unmeasured terms, and generally, the English public was set down as composed of sham heroes, and a valet or 'flunkey' world." From their very nature as stern denunciations of what the author considered contemporary fallacies, wrongs, and hypocrisies, these pamphlets produced a storm of critical indignation against him.

The life of John Sterling was published in the following year; and Carlyle then began that long spell of work—the "History of Frederick the Great"—which extended over thirteen years, the last, and perhaps the greatest, monument of his genius.

In 1856, when we may suppose his mind to be full of the details of battles, and overflowing with military tactics, he received from Sir W. Napier his "History of the Administration of Scinde," and wrote the following letter to the author:—


"Chelsea, May 12, 1856.


"I have read with attention, and with many feelings and reflections, your record of Sir C. Napier's Administration of Scinde. You must permit me to thank you, in the name of Britain at large, for writing such a book; and in my own poor name to acknowledge the great compliment and kindness implied in sending me a copy for myself.

"It is a book which every living Englishman would be the better for reading—for studying diligently till he saw into it, till he recognised and believed the high and tragic phenomenon set forth there! A book which may be called 'profitable' in the old Scripture sense; profitable for reproof, for correction and admonition, for great sorrow, yet for 'building up in righteousness' too—in heroic, manful endeavour to do well, and not ill, in one's time and place. One feels it a kind of possession to know that one has had such a fellow-citizen and contemporary in these evil days.

"The fine and noble qualities of the man are very recognisable to me; his subtle, piercing intellect turned all to the practical, giving him just insight into men and into things; his inexhaustible adroit contrivances; his fiery valour; sharp promptitude to seize the good moment that will not return. A lynx-eyed, fiery man, with the spirit of an old knight in him; more of a hero than any modern I have seen for a long time.

"A singular veracity one finds in him; not in his words alone—which, however, I like much for their fine rough naïveté—but in his actions, judgments, aims; in all that he thinks, and does, and says—which, indeed, I have observed is the root of all greatness or real worth in human creatures, and properly the first (and also the rarest) attribute of what we call genius among men.

"The path of such a man through the foul jungle of this world—the struggle of Heaven's inspiration against the terrestrial fooleries, cupidities, and cowardices—cannot be other than tragical: but the man does tear out a bit of way for himself too; strives towards the good goal, inflexibly persistent till his long rest come: the man does leave his mark behind him, ineffaceable, beneficent to all good men, maleficent to none: and we must not complain. The British nation of this time, in India or elsewhere—God knows no nation ever had more need of such men, in every region of its affairs! But also perhaps no nation ever had a much worse chance to get hold of them, to recognise and loyally second them, even when they are there.

"Anarchic stupidity is wide as the night; victorious wisdom is but as a lamp in it shining here and there. Contrast a Napier even in Scinde with, for example, a Lally at Pondicherry or on the Place de Grève; one has to admit that it is the common lot, that it might have been far worse!

"There is great talent in this book apart from its subject. The narrative moves on with strong, weighty step, like a marching phalanx, with the gleam of clear steel in it—sheers down the opponent objects and tramples them out of sight in a very potent manner. The writer, it is evident, had in him a lively, glowing image, complete in all its parts, of the transaction to be told; and that is his grand secret of giving the reader so lively a conception of it. I was surprised to find how much I had carried away with me, even of the Hill campaign and of Trukkee itself; though without a map the attempt to understand such a thing seemed to me desperate at first.

"With many thanks, and gratified to have made this reflex acquaintance, which, if it should ever chance to become a direct one, might gratify me still more,

"I remain always yours sincerely,


[Footnote A: "Life of General Sir William Napier, K.C.B." Edited by
H.A. Bruce, M.P. London: Murray, 1864. Vol. ii. pp. 312-314.]

In June, 1861, a few days after the great fire in which Inspector Braidwood perished in the discharge of his duty, Carlyle broke a long silence with the following letter:—


"There is a great deal of public sympathy, and of deeper sort than usual, awake at present on the subject of Inspector Braidwood. It is a beautiful emotion, and apparently a perfectly just one, and well bestowed. Judging by whatever light one gets, Braidwood seems to have been a man of singular worth in his department, and otherwise; such a servant as the public seldom has. Thoroughly skilled in his function, nobly valiant in it, and faithful to it—faithful to the death. In rude, modest form, actually a kind of hero, who has perished in serving us!

"Probably his sorrowing family is not left in wealthy circumstances. Most certainly it is pity when a generous emotion, in many men, or in any man, has to die out futile, and leave no action behind it. The question, therefore, suggests itself—Should not there be a 'Braidwood Testimonial,' the proper parties undertaking it, in a modest, serious manner, the public silently testifying (to such extent, at least) what worth its emotion has?

"I venture to throw out this hint, and, if it be acted on, will, with great satisfaction, give my mite among other people; but must, for good reasons, say further, that this [is] all I can do in the matter (of which, indeed, I know nothing but what everybody knows, and a great deal less than every reader of the newspapers knows); and that, in particular, I cannot answer any letters on the subject, should such happen to be sent me.

"In haste, I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,


"5, Cheyne-row, Chelsea, June 30."

[Footnote A: (Printed in The Times, Tuesday, July 2, 1861.)]

The "History of Frederick the Great" was completed early in 1865.
Later in the same year the students of Edinburgh University elected
Carlyle as Lord Rector. We cannot do better than describe the
proceedings and the subsequent address in the words of the late
Alexander Smith:—

"Mr. Gladstone demitted office, and then it behoved the students of the University to cast about for a worthy successor. Two candidates were proposed, Mr. Carlyle and Mr. Disraeli; and on the election day Mr. Carlyle was returned by a large and enthusiastic majority. This was all very well, but a doubt lingered in the minds of many whether Mr. Carlyle would accept the office, or if accepting it, whether he would deliver an address—said address being the sole apple which the Rectorial tree is capable of bearing. The hare was indeed caught, but it was doubtful somewhat whether the hare would allow itself to be cooked after the approved academical fashion. It was tolerably well known that Mr. Carlyle had emerged from his long spell of work on "Frederick," in a condition of health the reverse of robust; that he had once or twice before declined similar honours from Scottish Universities—from Glasgow some twelve or fourteen years ago, and from Aberdeen some seven or eight; and that he was constitutionally opposed to all varieties of popular displays, more especially those of the oratorical sort.

"But all dispute was ended when it was officially announced that Mr. Carlyle had accepted the office of Lord Rector, that he would conform to all its requirements, and that the Rectorial address would be delivered late in spring. And so when the days began to lengthen in these northern latitudes, and crocuses to show their yellow and purple heads, people began to talk about the visit of the great writer, and to speculate on what manner and fashion of speech he would deliver.

"Edinburgh has no University Hall, and accordingly when speech-day approached, the largest public room in the city was chartered by the University authorities. This public room—the Music Hall in George Street—will contain, under severe pressure, from eighteen hundred to nineteen hundred persons, and tickets to that extent were secured by the students and members of the General Council. Curious stories are told of the eagerness on every side manifested to hear Mr. Carlyle. Country clergymen from beyond Aberdeen came into Edinburgh for the sole purpose of hearing and seeing. Gentlemen came down from London by train the night before, and returned to London by train the night after.

"In a very few minutes after the doors were opened the large hall was filled in every part, and when up the central passage the Principal, the Lord Rector, the Members of the Senate, and other gentlemen advanced towards the platform, the cheering was vociferous and hearty. The Principal occupied the chair of course, the Lord Rector on his right, the Lord Provost on his left. Every eye was fixed on the Rector. To all appearance, as he sat, time and labour had dealt tenderly with him. His face had not yet lost the country bronze which he brought up with him from Dumfriesshire as a student fifty-six years ago. His long residence in London had not touched his Annandale look, nor had it—as we soon learned—touched his Annandale accent. His countenance was striking, homely, sincere, truthful—the countenance of a man on whom 'the burden of the unintelligible world' had weighed more heavily than on most. His hair was yet almost dark; his moustache and short beard were iron grey. His eyes were wide, melancholy, sorrowful; and seemed as if they had been at times a-weary of the sun. Altogether in his aspect there was something aboriginal, as of a piece, of unhewn granite, which had never been polished to any approved pattern, whose natural and original vitality had never been tampered with. In a word, there seemed no passivity about Mr. Carlyle—he was the diamond, and the world was his pane of glass; he was a graving tool rather than a thing graven upon—a man to set his mark on the world—a man on whom the world could not set its mark. And just as, glancing towards Fife a few minutes before, one could not help thinking of his early connection with Edward Irving, so seeing him sit beside the venerable Principal of the University, one could not help thinking of his earliest connection with literature.

"Time brings men into the most unexpected relationships. When the Principal was plain Mr. Brewster, editor of the Edinburgh Cyclopædia, little dreaming that he should ever be Knight of Hanover and head of the Northern Metropolitan University, Mr. Carlyle—just as little dreaming that he should be the foremost man of letters of his day and Lord Rector of the same University—was his contributor, writing for said Cyclopædia biographies of Montesquieu and other notables. And so it came about that after years of separation and of honourable labour, the old editor and contributor were brought together again—in new aspects.

"The proceedings began by the conferring of the degree of LL.D. on Mr. Erskine of Linlathen—an old friend of Mr. Carlyle's—on Professors Huxley, Tyndall, and Ramsay, and on Dr. Rae, the Arctic explorer. That done, amid a tempest of cheering and hats enthusiastically waved, Mr. Carlyle, slipping off his Rectorial robe—which must have been a very shirt of Nessus to him—advanced to the table and began to speak in low, wavering, melancholy tones, which were in accordance with the melancholy eyes, and in the Annandale accent, with which his playfellows must have been familiar long ago. So self-contained was he, so impregnable to outward influences, that all his years of Edinburgh and London life could not impair even in the slightest degree, that.

"The opening sentences were lost in the applause. What need of quoting a speech which by this time has been read by everybody? Appraise it as you please, it was a thing per se. Just as, if you wish a purple dye you must fish up the Murex; if you wish ivory you must go to the east; so if you desire an address such as Edinburgh listened to the other day, you must go to Chelsea for it. It may not be quite to your taste, but, in any case, there is no other intellectual warehouse in which that kind of article is kept in stock.

"The gratitude I owe to him is—or should be—equal to that of most. He has been to me only a voice, sometimes sad, sometimes wrathful, sometimes scornful; and when I saw him for the first time with the eye of flesh stand up amongst us the other day, and heard him speak kindly, brotherly, affectionate words—his first appearance of that kind, I suppose, since he discoursed of Heroes and Hero Worship to the London people—I am not ashamed to confess that I felt moved towards him, as I do not think in any possible combination of circumstances I could have felt moved towards any other living man."[A]

[Footnote A: The Argosy, May, 1866.]

The Edinburgh correspondent to a London paper thus describes what took place:—

"A vast interest among the intelligent public has been excited by the prospect of Mr. Thomas Carlyle's appearance to be installed as Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh. With the exception of the delivery of his lectures on Heroes and Hero-worship, he has avoided oratory; and to many of his admirers the present occasion seemed likely to afford their only chance of ever seeing him in the flesh, and hearing his living voice. The result has been, that the University authorities have been beset by applications in number altogether unprecedented—to nearly all of which they could only give the reluctant answer, that admission for strangers was impossible. The students who elect Mr. Carlyle received tickets, if they applied within the specified time, and the members of the University council, or graduates, obtained the residue according to priority of application. Ladies' tickets to the number of one hundred and fifty were issued, each professor obtaining four, and the remaining thirty being placed at the disposal of Sir David Brewster, the Principal. And the one hundred and fifty lucky ladies were conspicuous in the front of the gallery to-day, having been admitted before the doors for students and other males were open.

"The hour appointed for letting them in was kept precisely—it was half-past one P.M., but an hour before it, despite occasional showers of rain, a crowd had begun to gather at the front door of the music-hall, and at the opening of the door it had gathered to proportions sufficient to half fill the building, its capacity under severe crushing being about two thousand.

"When the door was opened, they rushed in as crowds of young men only can and dare rush, and up the double stairs they streamed like a torrent; which torrent, however, policemen and check-gates soon moderated. I chanced to fall into a lucky current of the crowd, and got in amongst the first two or three hundred, and got forward to the fourth seat from the platform, as good a place for seeing and hearing as any.

"The proceedings of the day were fixed to commence at two P.M., and the half-hour of waiting was filled up by the students in throwing occasional volleys of peas, whistling en masse various lively tunes, and in clambering, like small escalading parties, on to and over the platform to take advantage of the seats in the organ gallery behind. For Edinburgh students, however, let me say that these proceedings were singularly decorous. They did indulge in a little fun when nothing else was doing, but they did not come for that alone. Any student who wanted fun could have sold his ticket at a handsome profit, for which better fun could be had elsewhere. I heard among the crowd that some students had got so high a price as a guinea each for their tickets, and I heard of others who had been offered no less but had refused it. And I must say further, that they listened to Mr. Carlyle's address with as much attention and reverence as they could have bestowed on a prophet—only I daresay most prophets would have elicited less applause and laughter.

"Shortly before two, the city magistrates and a few other personages mounted the platform, and, with as much quietness as the fancy of the students directed, took the seats which had been marked out for them by large red pasteboard tickets. At two precisely the students in the organ gallery started to the tops of the seats and began to cheer vociferously, and almost instantly all the audience followed their example. The procession was on its way through the hall, and in half a minute Lord Provost Chambers, in his official robes, mounted the platform stair; then Principal Sir David Brewster and Lord Rector Carlyle, both in their gold-laced robes of office; then the Rev. Dr. Lee, and the other professors, in their gowns; also the LL.D.'s to be, in black gowns. Lord Neaves and Dr. Guthrie were there in an LL.D.'s black gown and blue ribbons; Mr. Harvey, the President of the Royal Academy, and Sir D. Baxter, Bart.—men conspicuous in their plain clothes.

"Dr. Lee offered up a prayer of a minute and a half, at the 'Amen' of which I could see Mr. Carlyle bow very low. Then the business of the occasion commenced. Mr. Gibson—a tall, thin, pale-faced, beardless, acute, composed-looking young gentleman, in an M.A.'s gown—introduced Mr. Carlyle, 'the most distinguished son of the University,' to the Principal, Sir David Brewster, as the Lord Rector elected by the students. Sir David saluted him as such, thinking, perhaps, of the time when, an unknown young man, Thomas Carlyle wrote articles for Brewster's 'Cyclopædia,' and got Brewster's name to introduce to public notice his translation of Legendre's 'Geometry.' Next Professor Muirhead, for the time being the Dean of the Faculty of Laws in the University, introduced various gentlemen to the Principal in order, as persons whom the senate had thought worthy of the degree of LL.D., giving a dignified, but not always very happy, account of the merits of each. There was Mr. Erskine, of Linlathen, Mr. Carlyle's host for the time being, and often previously, an old friend of Irving and Chalmers, himself the writer of various elegant and sincere religious books, and one of the best and most amiable of men. If intelligent goodness ever entitled any one to the degree of LL.D., he certainly deserves it; and when I say this, I do not insinuate that on grounds of pure intellect he is not well entitled to the honour. He is now, I should think, nearer eighty than seventy years of age—a mild-looking, full-eyed old man, with a face somewhat of the type of Lord Derby's. There was Professor Huxley, young in years, dark, heavy-browed, alert and resolute, but not moulded after any high ideal; and there was Professor Tyndall, also young, lithe of limb, and nonchalant in manner. When his name was called he sat as if he had no concern in what was going on, and then rose with an easy smile, partly of modesty, but in great measure of indifference.

"Dr. Rae, the Arctic explorer and first discoverer of the fate of Sir John Franklin, who is an M.D. of Edinburgh, was now made LL.D. He is of tall, wiry, energetic figure, slightly baldish, with greyish, curly hair, keen, handsome face, high crown and sloping forehead, and his bearing is that of a soldier—of a man who has both given and obeyed commands, and been drilled to stand steady and upright. Carlyle himself was offered the degree of LL.D., but he declined the honour, laughing it off, in fact, in a letter, with such excuses as that he had a brother a Dr. Carlyle (an M.D., also a man of genius, I insert parenthetically, and known in literature as a translator of 'Dante'), and that if two Dr. Carlyles should appear at Paradise, mistakes might arise.

"After all the LL.D's had heard their merits enumerated, and had had a black hood or wallet of some kind, with a blue ribbon conspicuous in it, flung over their heads, Principal Brewster announced that the Lord Rector would now deliver his address. Thereupon Mr. Carlyle rose at once, shook himself out of his gold-laced rectorial gown, left it on his chair, and stepped quietly to the table, and drawing his tall, bony frame into a position of straight perpendicularity not possible to one man in five hundred at seventy years of age, he began to speak quietly and distinctly, but nervously. There was a slight flush on his face, but he bore himself with composure and dignity, and in the course of half an hour he was obviously beginning to feel at his ease, so far at least as to have adequate command over the current of his thought.

"He spoke on quite freely and easily, hardly ever repeated a word, never looked at a note, and only once returned to finish up a topic from which he had deviated. He apologised for not having come with a written discourse. It was usual, and 'it would have been more comfortable for me just at present,' but he had tried it, and could not satisfy himself, and 'as the spoken word comes from the heart,' he had resolved to try that method. What he said in words will be learned otherwise than from me. I could not well describe it; but I do not think I ever heard any address that I should be so unwilling to blot from my memory. Not that there was much in it that cannot be found in his writings, or inferred from them; but the manner of the man was a key to the writings, and for naturalness and quiet power, I have never seen anything to compare with it. He did not deal in rhetoric. He talked—it was continuous, strong, quiet talk—like a patriarch about to leave the world to the young lads who had chosen him and were just entering the world. His voice is a soft, downy voice—not a tone in it is of the shrill, fierce kind that one would expect it to be in reading the Latter-day Pamphlets.

"There was not a trace of effort or of affectation, or even of extravagance. Shrewd common sense there was in abundance. There was the involved disrupted style also, but it looked so natural that reflection was needed to recognise in it that very style which purists find to be un-English and unintelligible. Over the angles of this disrupted style rolled out a few cascades of humour—quite as if by accident. He let them go, talking on in his soft, downy accents, without a smile; occasionally for an instant looking very serious, with his dark eyes beating like pulses, but generally looking merely composed and kindly, and so, to speak, father-like. He concluded by reciting his own translation of a poem of Goethe—

"'The future hides in it gladness and sorrow.'

And this he did in a style of melancholy grandeur not to be described, but still less to be forgotten. It was then alone that the personality of the philosopher and poet were revealed continuously in his manner of utterance. The features of his face are familiar to all from his portraits. But I do not think any portrait, unless, perhaps, Woolner's medallion, gives full expression to the resolution that is visible in his face. Besides, they all make him look sadder and older than he appears. Although he be threescore and ten, his hair is still abundant and tolerably black, and there is considerable colour in his cheek. Not a man of his age on that platform to-day looked so young, and he had done more work than any ten on it."

The correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette gives some interesting particulars:—

"Mr. Carlyle had not spoken in public before yesterday, since those grand utterances on Heroes and Hero-worship in the institute in Edwards Street, Marylebone, which one can scarcely believe, whilst reading them, to have been, in the best sense, extemporaneously delivered. In that case Mr. Carlyle began the series, as we have heard, by bringing a manuscript which he evidently found much in his way, and presently abandoned. On the second evening he brought some notes or headings; but these also tripped him until he had left them. The remaining lectures were given like his conversation, which no one can hear without feeling that, with all its glow and inspiration, every sentence would be, if taken down, found faultless. It was so in his remarkable extemporaneous address yesterday. He had no notes whatever. 'But,' says our correspondent, in transmitting the report, 'I have never heard a speech of whose more remarkable qualities so few can be conveyed on paper. You will read of "applause" and "laughter," but you will little realize the eloquent blood flaming up the speaker's cheek, the kindling of his eye, or the inexpressible voice and look when the drolleries were coming out. When he spoke of clap-trap books exciting astonishment 'in the minds of foolish persons,' the evident halting at the word 'fools,' and the smoothing of his hair, as if he must be decorous, which preceded the change to 'foolish persons,' were exceedingly comical. As for the flaming bursts, they took shape in grand tones, whose impression was made deeper, not by raising, but by lowering the voice. Your correspondent here declares that he should hold it worth his coming all the way from London in the rain in the Sunday night train were it only to have heard Carlyle say, "There is a nobler ambition than the gaining of all California, or the getting of all the suffrages that are on the planet just now!"' In the first few minutes of the address there was some hesitation, and much of the shrinking that one might expect in a secluded scholar; but these very soon cleared away, and during the larger part, and to the close of the oration, it was evident that he was receiving a sympathetic influence from his listeners, which he did not fail to return tenfold. The applause became less frequent; the silence became that of a woven spell; and the recitation of the beautiful lines from Goethe, at the end, was so masterly—so marvellous—that one felt in it that Carlyle's real anathemas against rhetoric were but the expression of his knowledge that there is a rhetoric beyond all other arts."

In the Times the following leader appeared upon Mr. Carlyle's address:—

"There is something in the return of a man to the haunts of his youth, after he has acquired fame and a recognised position in the world, which is of itself sufficient to arrest attention. We are interested in the retrospect and the contrast, the juxtaposition of the old and the new, the hopes of early years, the memory of the struggles and contests of manhood, the repose of victory. A man may differ as much as he pleases from the doctrines of Mr. Carlyle, he may reject his historical teachings, and may distrust his politics, but he must be of a very unkindly disposition not to be touched by his reception at Edinburgh. It is fifty-four years, he told the students of the University, since he, a boy of fourteen, came as a student, 'full of wonder and expectation,' to the old capital of his native country, and now he returns, having accomplished the days of man spoken of by the Psalmist, that he may be honoured by students of this generation, and may give them a few words of advice on the life which lies before them.

"The discourse of the new Lord Rector squared very well with the occasion. There was no novelty in it. New truths are not the gifts which the old offer the young; the lesson we learn last is but the fulness of the meaning of what was only partially apprehended at first. Mr. Carlyle brought out things familiar enough to everyone who has read his works; there were the old platitudes and the old truths, and, it must be owned, mingled here and there with them the old errors. Time has, however, its recompenses, and if the freshness of youth seemed to be wanting in the address of the Rector, so also was its crudity. There was a singular mellowness in Mr. Carlyle's speech, which was reflected in the homely language in which it was couched. The chief lessons he had to enforce were to avoid cram, and to be painstaking, diligent, and patient in the acquisition of knowledge. Students are not to try to make themselves acquainted with the outsides of as many things as possible, and 'to go flourishing about' upon the strength of their acquisitions, but to count a thing as known only when it is stamped on their mind. The doctrine is only a new reading of the old maxim, non multa sed multum, but it is as much needed now as ever it was. Still more appropriate to the present day was Mr. Carlyle's protest against the notion that a University is the place where a man is to be fitted for the special work of a profession. A University, as he puts it, teaches a man how to read, or, as we may say more generally, how to learn. It is not the function of such a place to offer particular and technical knowledge, but to prepare a man for mastering any science by teaching him the method of all. A child learns the use of his body, not the art of a carpenter or smith, and the University student learns the use of his mind, not the professional lore of a lawyer or a physician. It is pleasant to meet with a strong reassertion of doctrines which the utilitarianism of a commercial and manufacturing age is too apt to make us all forget. Mr. Carlyle is essentially conservative in his notions on academic functions. Accuracy, discrimination, judgment, are with him the be-all and end-all of educational training. If a man has learnt to know a thing in itself, and in its relation to surrounding phenomena, he has got from a University what it is its proper duty to teach. Accordingly, we find him bestowing a good word on poor old Arthur Collins, who showed that he possessed these valuable qualities in the humble work of compiling a Peerage.

"The new Lord Rector is, however, as conservative in his choice of the implements of study as he is in the determination of its objects. The languages and the history of the great nations of antiquity he puts foremost, like any other pedagogue. The Greeks and the Romans are, he tells the Edinburgh students, 'a pair of nations shining in the records left by themselves as a kind of pillar to light up life in the darkness of the past ages;' and he adds that it would be well worth their while to get an understanding of what these people were, and what they did. It is here, however, that an old error of Mr. Carlyle's crops up among his well-remembered truths. He quotes from Machiavelli—evidently agreeing himself with the sentiment, though he refrained from asking the assent of his audience to it—the statement that the history of Rome showed that a democracy could not permanently exist without the occasional intervention of a Dictator. It is possible that if Machiavelli had had the experience of the centuries which have elapsed since his day, he would have seen fit to alter his conclusion, and it is to be regretted that the admiration which Mr. Carlyle feels for the great men of history will not allow him to believe in the possibility of a political society where each might find his proper sphere and duty without disturbing the order and natural succession of the commonwealth. His judgment on this point is like that of a man who had only known the steam-engine before the invention of governor balls, and was ready to declare that its mechanism would be shattered if a boy were not always at hand to regulate the pressure of the steam.

* * * * *

"We may turn, however, from this difference to another of Mr. Carlyle's doctrines, which mark at once his independence of thought and his respect for experience, where he declares the necessity for recognising the hereditary principle in government, if there is to be 'any fixity in things.' In the same way we find him almost lamenting the fact that Oxford, once apparently so fast-anchored as to be immovable, has begun to twist and toss on the eddy of new ideas.

"It is impossible to glance at Mr. Carlyle's Easter Monday discourse without recalling the oration which his predecessor pronounced on resigning office last autumn. * * * Mr. Carlyle is as simple and practical as his predecessor was dazzling and rhetorical. An ounce of mother wit, quotes the new Lord Rector, is worth a pound of clergy, and while he admires Demosthenes, he prefers the eloquence of Phocion. A little later he repeats his old doctrine on the virtue of silence, laments the fact that 'the finest nations in the world—the English and the American—are going all away into wind and tongue,' and protests that a man is not to be esteemed wise because he has poured out speech copiously. Mr. Carlyle has so often inculcated these sentiments in his books that there can be no suspicion of an arrière pensée in their utterance now, but the contrast between him and his predecessor is at the least instructive. Each does, however, in some measure, supply what is deficient in the other. No one would claim for the Chancellor of the Exchequer the intensity of power of his successor, but in his abundant energy, his wide sympathy with popular movement, and his real, if vague and indiscriminating, faith in the activity and progress of modern life, he conveys lessons of trust in the present, and hopefulness in the future, which would be ill-exchanged for the patient and somewhat sad stoicism of Mr. Carlyle."

Carlyle was still in Scotland on April 21, and there the terrible and solemn news had to be conveyed to him of the sudden death of her who had been his true and faithful life-companion for forty years.

Mrs. Carlyle died on Saturday, April 21, under very peculiar circumstances. She was taking her usual drive in Hyde Park about four o'clock, when her little favourite dog—which was running by the side of the brougham—was run over by a carriage. She was greatly alarmed, though the dog was not seriously hurt. She lifted the dog into the carriage, and the man drove on. Not receiving any call or direction from his mistress, as was usual, he stopped the carriage and discovered her, as he thought, in a fit, or ill, and drove to St. George's Hospital, which was near at hand. When there it was discovered that she must have been dead some little time. Mrs. Carlyle's health had been for several months feeble, but not in a state to excite anxiety or alarm.

On the following Wednesday her remains were conveyed from London to Haddington for interment there, and the funeral took place on Thursday afternoon. Mr. Carlyle was accompanied from London (whither he had returned immediately on the receipt of that solemn message) by his brother, Dr. Carlyle, Mr. John Forster, and the Hon. Mr. Twistleton. The funeral cortège was followed on foot by a large number of gentlemen who had known Mrs. Carlyle and her father, Dr. Welsh, who was held in high estimation in the town, where he had practised medicine till his death, in 1819. The grave, which is the same as that occupied by Dr. Welsh's remains, lies in the centre of the ruined choir of the old cathedral at Haddington. In accordance with the Scottish practice, there was no service read, and Mr. Carlyle threw a handful of earth on the coffin after it had been lowered into the grave.

* * * * *

Carlyle wrote the following inscription to be placed on his wife's tombstone:—

"Here likewise now rests Jane Welsh Carlyle, spouse of Thomas Carlyle, Chelsea, London. She was born at Haddington 14th July, 1801; only child of the above John Welsh and of Grace Welsh, Caplegell, Dumfriesshire, his wife. In her bright existence she had more sorrows than are common, but also a soft invincibility, a clearness of discernment, and a noble loyalty of heart which are rare. For forty years she was the true and loving helpmate of her husband, and by act and word unweariedly forwarded him as none else could in all of worthy that he did or attempted. She died at London, 21st April, 1866, suddenly snatched away from him, and the light of his life as if gone out."

Later in the same year, weighed down as he was by his great sorrow, Carlyle nevertheless thought it a public duty to come forward in defence of Governor Eyre, when the quelling of the Jamaica insurrection excited so much controversy, and seemed to divide England into two parties. He acted as Vice-President of the Defence Fund. The following is a letter written to Mr. Hamilton Hume, giving his views on the subject in full:

"Ripple Court, Ringwould, Dover,

"August 23, 1866.


"The clamour raised against Governor Eyre appears to me to be disgraceful to the good sense of England; and if it rested on any depth of conviction, and were not rather (as I always flatter myself it is) a thing of rumour and hearsay, of repetition and reverberation, mostly from the teeth outward, I should consider it of evil omen to the country and to its highest interests in these times. For my own share, all the light that has yet reached me on Mr. Eyre and his history in the world goes steadily to establish the conclusion that he is a just, humane, and valiant man, faithful to his trusts everywhere, and with no ordinary faculty of executing them; that his late services in Jamaica were of great, perhaps of incalculable value, as certainly they were of perilous and appalling difficulty—something like the case of 'fire,' suddenly reported, 'in the ship's powder room,' in mid-ocean where the moments mean the ages, and life and death hang on your use or misuse of the moments; and, in short, that penalty and clamour are not the thing this Governor merits from any of us, but honour and thanks, and wise imitation (I will farther say), should similar emergencies arise, on the great scale or on the small, in whatever we are governing!

"The English nation never loved anarchy, nor was wont to spend its sympathy on miserable mad seditions, especially of this inhuman and half-brutish type; but always loved order, and the prompt suppression of seditions, and reserved its tears for something worthier than promoters of such delirious and fatal enterprises who had got their wages for their sad industry. Has the English nation changed, then, altogether? I flatter myself it is not, not yet quite; but only that certain loose, superficial portions of it have become a great deal louder, and not any wiser, than they formerly used to be.

"At any rate, though much averse, at any time, and at this time in particular, to figure on committees, or run into public noises without call, I do at once, and feel that as a British citizen I should, and must, make you welcome to my name for your committee, and to whatever good it can do you. With the hope only that many other British men, of far more significance in such a matter, will at once or gradually do the like; and that, in fine, by wise effort and persistence, a blind and disgraceful act of public injustice may be prevented; and an egregrious folly as well—not to say, for none can say or compute, what a vital detriment throughout the British Empire, in such an example set to all the colonies and governors the British Empire has!

"Farther service, I fear, I am not in a state to promise, but the whole weight of my conviction and good wishes is with you; and if other service possible to me do present itself, I shall not want for willingness in case of need. Enclosed is my mite of contribution to your fund."I have the honour to be yours truly,


  "Hon. Sec. 'Eyre Defence Fund.'"

In August, 1867, Carlyle broke silence again with an utterance in the style of the Latter-Day Pamphlets, entitled "Shooting Niagara: and After?" published anonymously (though everyone, of course, knew it to be his) in Macmillan's Magazine. Shortly afterwards it was reprinted as a separate pamphlet, with additions, and with the author's name on the title-page.

In February, 1868, Carlyle wrote some Recollections of Sir William Hamilton, as a contribution to Professor Veitch's Memoir of that accomplished metaphysician.

In November, 1870, he addressed a long and very remarkable letter to the Times, on the French-German war, which is reprinted in the latest edition of his collected Miscellanies.

Two years later (November, 1872) he added a very beautiful Supplement
to the People's Edition of his "Life of Schiller," founded on Saupe's
"Schiller and his Father's Household," and other more recent books on
Schiller that had appeared in Germany.

His last literary productions were a series of papers on "The Early Kings of Norway," and an Essay on "The Portraits of John Knox," which appeared, in instalments, in Fraser's Magazine, in the first four months of 1875. On the 4th December of that year, Carlyle attained his eightieth year, and this anniversary was signalised by some of the more distinguished of his friends and admirers by striking a medal, the head being executed by Mr. Boehm, whose noble statue of Carlyle, exhibited in the Royal Academy in the previous year, had won so much merited praise from Mr. Ruskin and others. The medal was accompanied by an address, signed by the subscribers. Carlyle seems to have been much gratified with this honour, which took him quite by surprise, and he expressed his acknowledgments as follows:—

"This of the medal and formal address of friends was an altogether unexpected event, to be received as a conspicuous and peculiar honour, without example hitherto anywhere in my life…. To you … I address my thankful acknowledgments, which surely are deep and sincere, and will beg you to convey the same to all the kind friends so beautifully concerned in it. Let no one of you be other than assured that the beautiful transaction, in result, management, and intention, was altogether gratifying, welcome, and honourable to me, and that I cordially thank one and all of you for what you have been pleased to do. Your fine and noble gift shall remain among my precious possessions, and be the symbol to me of something still more golden than itself, on the part of my many dear and too generous friends, so long as I continue in this world.

"Yours and theirs, from the heart,


Carlyle's last public utterances were a letter on the Eastern
Question, addressed to Mr. George Howard, and printed in the Times
of November 28, 1876, and a letter to the Editor of the Times, on
"The Crisis," printed in that journal on May 5, 1877.

He was now beginning to feel the effects of his great age. Yearly and monthly he grew more feeble. His wonted walking exercise had to be curtailed, and at last abandoned. He was affectionately and piously tended during these last years by his niece, Mary Aitken, now Mrs. Alexander Carlyle. In the autumn of 1879 he lost his brother, Dr. John Aitken Carlyle, the translator of Dante's "Inferno."

The end came at last, after a long and gradual decay of strength. The great writer and noble-hearted man passed away peacefully at about half-past eight o'clock on the morning of Saturday, February 5, 1881, in the eighty-sixth year of his age.

His remains were conveyed to Scotland, and were laid in the burial-ground at Ecclefechan, where the ashes of his father and mother, and of others of his kindred, repose. He had executed what is known in Scotch law as a "deed of mortification," by virtue of which he bequeathed to Edinburgh University the estate of Craigenputtoch—which had come to him through his wife—for the foundation of ten Bursaries in the Faculty of Arts, to be called the "John Welsh Bursaries." In his Will he bequeathed the books which he had used in writing on Cromwell and Friedrich to Harvard College, Massachusetts.

In less than a month after his death, with a haste on many accounts to be deplored, and which has excited much animadversion, his literary executor, Mr. James Anthony Froude, the historian, issued two volumes of posthumous "Reminiscences," written by Carlyle, partly in 1832, and partly in 1866-67. The first section consists of a memorial paper, written immediately after his father's death; the second contains Reminiscences of his early friend, Edward Irving, commenced at Cheyne Row in the autumn of 1866, and finished at Mentone on the 2nd January, 1867. The Reminiscences of Lord Jeffrey were begun on the following day, and finished on January 19. The paper on Southey and Wordsworth, relegated to the Appendix, was also written at Mentone between the 28th January and the 8th March, 1867. The Memorials of his wife, which fill the greater part of the second volume, were written at Cheyne Row, during the month after her death.

Of the earlier portraits of Carlyle three are specially interesting, 1. The full-length sketch by "Croquis" (Daniel Maclise) which formed one of the Fraser Gallery portraits, and was published in the magazine in June, 1833. (The original sketch of this is now deposited in the Forster Collection at South Kensington.) 2. Count D'Orsay's sketch, published by Mitchell in 1839, is highly characteristic of the artist. It was taken when no man of position was counted a dutiful subject who did not wear a black satin stock and a Petersham coat. The great author's own favourite among the early portraits was 3. the sketch by Samuel Laurence, engraved in Horne's "New Spirit of the Age," published in 1844. Since the art of photography came into vogue, a series of photographs of various degrees of merit and success have been executed by Messrs. Elliott and Fry, and by Watkins. The late Mrs. Cameron also produced a photograph of him in her peculiar style, but it was not so successful as her fine portrait of Tennyson. An oil-painting by Mr. Watts, exhibited some fifteen years ago, and now also forming part of the Forster Collection at South Kensington, is remarkable for its weird wildness; but it gave great displeasure to the old philosopher himself! More lately we have a remarkable portrait by Mr. Whistler, who seized the tout ensemble of his illustrious sitter's character and costume in a very effective manner. The terra cotta statue by Mr. Boehm, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1875, has received such merited meed of enthusiastic praise from Mr. Ruskin that it needs no added praise of ours. It has been excellently photographed from two points of view by Mr. Hedderly, of Riley Street, Chelsea.

One of the best and happiest of the many likenesses of Mr. Carlyle that appeared during the last decade of his life was a sketch by Mrs. Allingham—a picture as well as a portrait—representing the venerable philosopher in a long and picturesque dressing-gown, seated on a chair and poring over a folio, in the garden at the back of the quaint old house at Chelsea, which will henceforth, as long as it stands, be associated with his memory. Beside him on the grass lies a long clay pipe (a churchwarden) which he has been smoking in the sweet morning air. So that altogether, as far as pictorial, graphic, and photographic art can go, the features, form, and bodily semblance of Carlyle will be as well known to future generations as they are to our own.

* * * * *

The impression of his brilliant and eloquent talk, though it will perhaps remain, for at least half a century to come, more or less vivid to some of those of the new generation who were privileged to hear it, will, of course, gradually fade away. But it seems hardly probable that the rich legacy of his long roll of writings—historical, biographical, critical—can be regarded as other than a permanent one, in which each succeeding generation will find fresh delight and instruction. The series of vivid pictures he has left behind in his "French Revolution," in his "Cromwell," in his "Frederick," can hardly become obsolete or cease to be attractive; nor is such power of word-painting likely soon to be equalled or ever to be surpassed. The salt of humour that savours nearly all he wrote (that lambent humour that lightens and plays over the grimmest and sternest of his pages) will also serve to keep his writings fresh and readable. Many of his dicta and opinions will doubtless be more and more called in question, especially in those of his works which are more directly of a didactic than a narrative character, and in regard to subjects which he was by habit, by mental constitution, and by that prejudice from which the greatest can never wholly free themselves, incapable of judging broadly or soundly,—such, for instance, as the scope and functions of painting and the fine arts generally, the value of modern poetry, or the working of Constitutional and Parliamentary institutions.


Chelsea, June, 1881.





I have accepted the office you have elected me to, and have now the duty to return thanks for the great honour done me. Your enthusiasm towards me, I admit, is very beautiful in itself, however undesirable it may be in regard to the object of it. It is a feeling honourable to all men, and one well known to myself when I was in a position analogous to your own. I can only hope that it may endure to the end—that noble desire to honour those whom you think worthy of honour, and come to be more and more select and discriminate in the choice of the object of it; for I can well understand that you will modify your opinions of me and many things else as you go on. (Laughter and cheers.) There are now fifty-six years gone last November since I first entered your city, a boy of not quite fourteen—fifty-six years ago—to attend classes here and gain knowledge of all kinds, I know not what, with feelings of wonder and awe-struck expectation; and now, after a long, long course, this is what we have come to. (Cheers.) There is something touching and tragic, and yet at the same time beautiful, to see the third generation, as it were, of my dear old native land, rising up and saying, "Well, you are not altogether an unworthy labourer in the vineyard: you have toiled through a great variety of fortunes, and have had many judges." As the old proverb says, "He that builds by the wayside has many masters." We must expect a variety of judges; but the voice of young Scotland, through you, is really of some value to me, and I return you many thanks for it, though I cannot describe my emotions to you, and perhaps they will be much more conceivable if expressed in silence. (Cheers.)

When this office was proposed to me, some of you know that I was not very ambitious to accept it, at first. I was taught to believe that there were more or less certain important duties which would lie in my power. This, I confess, was my chief motive in going into it—at least, in reconciling the objections felt to such things; for if I can do anything to honour you and my dear old Alma Mater, why should I not do so? (Loud cheers.) Well, but on practically looking into the matter when the office actually came into my hands, I find it grows more and more uncertain and abstruse to me whether there is much real duty that I can do at all. I live four hundred miles away from you, in an entirely different state of things; and my weak health—now for many years accumulating upon me—and a total unacquaintance with such subjects as concern your affairs here,—all this fills me with apprehension that there is really nothing worth the least consideration that I can do on that score. You may, however, depend upon it that if any such duty does arise in any form, I will use my most faithful endeavour to do whatever is right and proper, according to the best of my judgment. (Cheers.)

In the meanwhile, the duty I have at present—which might be very pleasant, but which is quite the reverse, as you may fancy—is to address some words to you on some subjects more or less cognate to the pursuits you are engaged in. In fact, I had meant to throw out some loose observations—loose in point of order, I mean—in such a way as they may occur to me—the truths I have in me about the business you are engaged in, the race you have started on, what kind of race it is you young gentlemen have begun, and what sort of arena you are likely to find in this world. I ought, I believe, according to custom, to have written all that down on paper, and had it read out. That would have been much handier for me at the present moment (a laugh), but when I attempted to write, I found that I was not accustomed to write speeches, and that I did not get on very well. So I flung that away, and resolved to trust to the inspiration of the moment—just to what came uppermost. You will therefore have to accept what is readiest, what comes direct from the heart, and you must just take that in compensation for any good order of arrangement there might have been in it.

I will endeavour to say nothing that is not true, as far as I can manage, and that is pretty much all that I can engage for. (A laugh.) Advices, I believe, to young men—and to all men—are very seldom much valued. There is a great deal of advising, and very little faithful performing. And talk that does not end in any kind of action, is better suppressed altogether. I would not, therefore, go much into advising; but there is one advice I must give you. It is, in fact, the summary of all advices, and you have heard it a thousand times, I dare say; but I must, nevertheless, let you hear it the thousand and first time, for it is most intensely true, whether you will believe it at present or not—namely, that above all things the interest of your own life depends upon being diligent now, while it is called to-day, in this place where you have come to get education. Diligent! That includes all virtues in it that a student can have; I mean to include in it all qualities that lead into the acquirement of real instruction and improvement in such a place. If you will believe me, you who are young, yours is the golden season of life. As you have heard it called, so it verily is, the seed-time of life, in which, if you do not sow, or if you sow tares instead of wheat, you cannot expect to reap well afterwards, and you will arrive at indeed little; while in the course of years, when you come to look back, and if you have not done what you have heard from your advisers—and among many counsellers there is wisdom—you will bitterly repent when it is too late. The habits of study acquired at Universities are of the highest importance in after-life. At the season when you are in young years the whole mind is, as it were, fluid, and is capable of forming itself into any shape that the owner of the mind pleases to order it to form itself into. The mind is in a fluid state, but it hardens up gradually to the consistency of rock or iron, and you cannot alter the habits of an old man, but as he has begun he will proceed and go on to the last. By diligence, I mean among other things—and very chiefly—honesty in all your inquiries into what you are about. Pursue your studies in the way your conscience calls honest. More and more endeavour to do that. Keep, I mean to say, an accurate separation of what you have really come to know in your own minds, and what is still unknown. Leave all that on the hypothetical side of the barrier, as things afterwards to be acquired, if acquired at all; and be careful not to stamp a thing as known when you do not yet know it. Count a thing known only when it is stamped on your mind, so that you may survey it on all sides with intelligence.

There is such a thing as a man endeavouring to persuade himself, and endeavouring to persuade others, that he knows about things when he does not know more than the outside skin of them; and he goes flourishing about with them. ("Hear, hear," and a laugh.) There is also a process called cramming in some Universities (a laugh)—that is, getting up such points of things as the examiner is likely to put questions about. Avoid all that as entirely unworthy of an honourable habit. Be modest, and humble, and diligent in your attention to what your teachers tell you, who are profoundly interested in trying to bring you forward in the right way, so far as they have been able to understand it. Try all things they set before you, in order, if possible, to understand them, and to value them in proportion to your fitness for them. Gradually see what kind of work you can do; for it is the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe. In fact, morality as regards study is, as in all other things, the primary consideration, and overrides all others. A dishonest man cannot do anything real; and it would be greatly better if he were tied up from doing any such thing. He does nothing but darken counsel by the words he utters. That is a very old doctrine, but a very true one; and you will find it confirmed by all the thinking men that have ever lived in this long series of generations of which we are the latest.

I daresay you know, very many of you, that it is now seven hundred years since Universities were first set up in this world of ours. Abelard and other people had risen up with doctrines in them the people wished to hear of, and students flocked towards them from all parts of the world. There was no getting the thing recorded in books as you may now. You had to hear him speaking to you vocally, or else you could not learn at all what it was that he wanted to say. And so they gathered together the various people who had anything to teach, and formed themselves gradually, under the patronage of kings and other potentates who were anxious about the culture of their populations, nobly anxious for their benefit, and became a University.

I daresay, perhaps, you have heard it said that all that is greatly altered by the invention of printing, which took place about midway between us and the origin of Universities. A man has not now to go away to where a professor is actually speaking, because in most cases he can get his doctrine out of him through a book, and can read it, and read it again and again, and study it. I don't know that I know of any way in which the whole facts of a subject may be more completely taken in, if our studies are moulded in conformity with it. Nevertheless, Universities have, and will continue to have, an indispensable value in society—a very high value. I consider the very highest interests of man vitally intrusted to them.

In regard to theology, as you are aware, it has been the study of the deepest heads that have come into the world—what is the nature of this stupendous universe, and what its relations to all things, as known to man, and as only known to the awful Author of it. In fact, the members of the Church keep theology in a lively condition (laughter), for the benefit of the whole population, which is the great object of our Universities. I consider it is the same now intrinsically, though very much forgotten, from many causes, and not so successful as might be wished at all. (A laugh.) It remains, however, a very curious truth, what has been said by observant people, that the main use of the Universities in the present age is that, after you have done with all your classes, the next thing is a collection of books, a great library of good books, which you proceed to study and to read. What the Universities have mainly done—what I have found the University did for me, was that it taught me to read in various languages and various sciences, so that I could go into the books that treated of these things, and try anything I wanted to make myself master of gradually, as I found it suit me. Whatever you may think of all that, the clearest and most imperative duty lies on every one of you to be assiduous in your reading; and learn to be good readers, which is, perhaps, a more difficult thing than you imagine. Learn to be discriminative in your reading—to read all kinds of things that you have an interest in, and that you find to be really fit for what you are engaged in. Of course, at the present time, in a great deal of the reading incumbent on you you must be guided by the books recommended to you by your professors for assistance towards the prelections. And then, when you get out of the University, and go into studies of your own, you will find it very important that you have selected a field, a province in which you can study and work.

The most unhappy of all men is the man that cannot tell what he is going to do, that has got no work cut out for him in the world, and does not go into it. For work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind—honest work, which you intend getting done. If you are in a strait, a very good indication as to choice—perhaps the best you could get—is a book you have a great curiosity about. You are then in the readiest and best of all possible conditions to improve by that book. It is analogous to what doctors tell us about the physical health and appetites of the patient. You must learn to distinguish between false appetite and real. There is such a thing as a false appetite, which will lead a man into vagaries with regard to diet, will tempt him to eat spicy things which he should not eat at all, and would not but that it is toothsome, and for the moment in baseness of mind. A man ought to inquire and find out what he really and truly has an appetite for—what suits his constitution; and that, doctors tell him, is the very thing he ought to have in general. And so with books. As applicable to almost all of you, I will say that it is highly expedient to go into history—to inquire into what has passed before you in the families of men. The history of the Romans and Greeks will first of all concern you; and you will find that all the knowledge you have got will be extremely applicable to elucidate that. There you have the most remarkable race of men in the world set before you, to say nothing of the languages, which your professors can better explain, and which, I believe, are admitted to be the most perfect orders of speech we have yet found to exist among men. And you will find, if you read well, a pair of extremely remarkable nations shining in the records left by themselves as a kind of pillar to light up life in the darkness of the past ages; and it will be well worth your while if you can get into the understanding of what these people were and what they did. You will find a great deal of hearsay, as I have found, that does not touch on the matter; but perhaps some of you will get to see a Roman face to face; you will know in some measure how they contrived to exist, and to perform these feats in the world; I believe, also, you will find a thing not much noted, that there was a very great deal of deep religion in its form in both nations. That is noted by the wisest of historians, and particularly by Ferguson, who is particularly well worth reading on Roman history; and I believe he was an alumnus in our own University. His book is a very creditable book. He points out the profoundly religious nature of the Roman people, notwithstanding the wildness and ferociousness of their nature. They believed that Jupiter Optimus—Jupiter Maximus—was lord of the universe, and that he had appointed the Romans to become the chief of men, provided they followed his commands—to brave all difficulty, and to stand up with an invincible front—to be ready to do and die; and also to have the same sacred regard to veracity, to promise, to integrity, and all the virtues that surround that noblest quality of men—courage—to which the Romans gave the name of virtue, manhood, as the one thing ennobling for a man.

In the literary ages of Rome, that had very much decayed away; but still it had retained its place among the lower classes of the Roman people. Of the deeply religious nature of the Greeks, along with their beautiful and sunny effulgences of art, you have a striking proof, if you look for it.

In the tragedies of Sophocles, there is a most distinct recognition of the eternal justice of Heaven, and the unfailing punishment of crime against the laws of God.

I believe you will find in all histories that that has been at the head and foundation of them all, and that no nation that did not contemplate this wonderful universe with an awe-stricken and reverential feeling that there was a great unknown, omnipotent, and all-wise, and all-virtuous Being, superintending all men in it, and all interests in it—no nation ever came to very much, nor did any man either, who forgot that. If a man did forget that, he forgot the most important part of his mission in this world.

In our own history of England, which you will take a great deal of natural pains to make yourselves acquainted with, you will find it beyond all others worthy of your study; because I believe that the British nation—and I include in them the Scottish nation—produced a finer set of men than any you will find it possible to get anywhere else in the world. (Applause.) I don't know in any history of Greece or Rome where you will get so fine a man as Oliver Cromwell. (Applause.) And we have had men worthy of memory in our little corner of the island here as well as others, and our history has been strong at least in being connected with the world itself—for if you examine well you will find that John Knox was the author, as it were, of Oliver Cromwell; that the Puritan revolution would never have taken place in England at all if it had not been for that Scotchman. (Applause.) This is an arithmetical fact, and is not prompted by national vanity on my part at all. (Laughter and applause.) And it is very possible, if you look at the struggle that was going on in England, as I have had to do in my time, you will see that people were overawed with the immense impediments lying in the way.

A small minority of God-fearing men in the country were flying away with any ship they could get to New England, rather than take the lion by the beard. They durstn't confront the powers with their most just complaint to be delivered from idolatry. They wanted to make the nation altogether conformable to the Hebrew Bible, which they understood to be according to the will of God; and there could be no aim more legitimate. However, they could not have got their desire fulfilled at all if Knox had not succeeded by the firmness and nobleness of his mind. For he is also of the select of the earth to me—John Knox. (Applause.) What he has suffered from the ungrateful generations that have followed him should really make us humble ourselves to the dust, to think that the most excellent man our country has produced, to whom we owe everything that distinguishes us among modern nations, should have been sneered at and abused by people. Knox was heard by Scotland—the people heard him with the marrow of their bones—they took up his doctrine, and they defied principalities and powers to move them from it. "We must have it," they said.

It was at that time the Puritan struggle arose in England, and you know well that the Scottish Earls and nobility, with their tenantry, marched away to Dunse-hill, and sat down there; and just in the course of that struggle, when it was either to be suppressed or brought into greater vitality, they encamped on the top of Dunse-hill thirty thousand armed men, drilled for that occasion, each regiment around its landlord, its earl, or whatever he might be called, and eager for Christ's Crown and Covenant. That was the signal for all England rising up into unappeasable determination to have the Gospel there also, and you know it went on and came to be a contest whether the Parliament or the King should rule—whether it should be old formalities and use and wont, or something that had been of new conceived in the souls of men—namely, a divine determination to walk according to the laws of God here as the sum of all prosperity—which of these should have the mastery; and after a long, long agony of struggle, it was decided—the way we know. I should say also of that Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell's—notwithstanding the abuse it has encountered, and the denial of everybody that it was able to get on in the world, and so on—it appears to me to have been the most salutary thing in the modern history of England on the whole. If Oliver Cromwell had continued it out, I don't know what it would have come to. It would have got corrupted perhaps in other hands, and could not have gone on, but it was pure and true to the last fibre in his mind—there was truth in it when he ruled over it.

Machiavelli has remarked, in speaking about the Romans, that democracy cannot exist anywhere in the world; as a Government it is an impossibility that it should be continued, and he goes on proving that in his own way. I do not ask you all to follow him in his conviction (hear); but it is to him a clear truth that it is a solecism and impossibility that the universal mass of men should govern themselves. He says of the Romans that they continued a long time, but it was purely in virtue of this item in their constitution—namely, that they had all the conviction in their minds that it was solemnly necessary at times to appoint a Dictator—a man who had the power of life and death over everything—who degraded men out of their places, ordered them to execution, and did whatever seemed to him good in the name of God above him. He was commanded to take care that the Republic suffered no detriment, and Machiavelli calculates that that was the thing that purified the social system from time to time, and enabled it to hang on as it did—an extremely likely thing if it was composed of nothing but bad and tumultuous men triumphing in general over the better, and all going the bad road, in fact. Well, Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, or Dictatorate if you will, lasted for about ten years, and you will find that nothing that was contrary to the laws of Heaven was allowed to live by Oliver. (A laugh, and applause.) For example, it was found by his Parliament, called "Barebones"—the most zealous of all Parliaments probably—the Court of Chancery in England was in a state that was really capable of no apology—no man could get up and say that that was a right court. There were, I think, fifteen thousand or fifteen hundred—(laughter)—I don't really remember which, but we shall call it by the last (renewed laughter)—there were fifteen hundred cases lying in it undecided; and one of them, I remember, for a large amount of money, was eighty-three years old, and it was going on still. Wigs were waving over it, and lawyers were taking their fees, and there was no end of it, upon which the Barebones people, after deliberation about it, thought it was expedient, and commanded by the Author of Man and the Fountain of Justice, and for the true and right, to abolish the court. Really, I don't know who could have dissented from that opinion. At the same time, it was thought by those who were wiser, and had more experience of the world, that it was a very dangerous thing, and would never suit at all. The lawyers began to make an immense noise about it. (Laughter.) All the public, the great mass of solid and well-disposed people who had got no deep insight into such matters, were very adverse to it, and the president of it, old Sir Francis Rous, who translated the Psalms—those that we sing every Sunday in the church yet—a very good man and a wise man—the Provost of Eton—he got the minority, or I don't know whether or no he did not persuade the majority—he, at any rate, got a great number of the Parliament to go to Oliver the Dictator, and lay down their functions altogether, and declare officially with their signature on Monday morning that the Parliament was dissolved.

The thing was passed on Saturday night, and on Monday morning Rous came and said, "We cannot carry on the affair any longer, and we remit it into the hands of your Highness." Oliver in that way became Protector a second time.

I give you this as an instance that Oliver felt that the Parliament that had been dismissed had been perfectly right with regard to Chancery, and that there was no doubt of the propriety of abolishing Chancery, or reforming it in some kind of way. He considered it, and this is what he did. He assembled sixty of the wisest lawyers to be found in England. Happily, there were men great in the law—men who valued the laws as much as anybody does now, I suppose. (A laugh.) Oliver said to them, "Go and examine this thing, and in the name of God inform me what is necessary to be done with regard to it. You will see how we may clean out the foul things in it that render it poison to everybody." Well, they sat down then, and in the course of six weeks—there was no public speaking then, no reporting of speeches, and no trouble of any kind; there was just the business in hand—they got sixty propositions fixed in their minds of the things that required to be done. And upon these sixty propositions Chancery was reconstituted and remodelled, and so it has lasted to our time. It had become a nuisance, and could not have continued much longer.

That is an instance of the manner in which things were done when a Dictatorship prevailed in the country, and that was what the Dictator did. Upon the whole, I do not think that, in general, out of common history books, you will ever get into the real history of this country, or anything particular which it would beseem you to know. You may read very ingenious and very clever books by men whom it would be the height of insolence in me to do any other thing than express my respect for. But their position is essentially sceptical. Man is unhappily in that condition that he will make only a temporary explanation of anything, and you will not be able, if you are like the man, to understand how this island came to be what it is. You will not find it recorded in books. You will find recorded in books a jumble of tumults, disastrous ineptitudes, and all that kind of thing. But to get what you want you will have to look into side sources, and inquire in all directions.

I remember getting Collins' Peerage to read—a very poor peerage as a work of genius, but an excellent book for diligence and fidelity—I was writing on Oliver Cromwell at the time. (Applause.) I could get no biographical dictionary, and I thought the peerage book would help me, at least tell me whether people were old or young; and about all persons concerned in the actions about which I wrote. I got a great deal of help out of poor Collins. He was a diligent and dark London bookseller of about a hundred years ago, who compiled out of all kinds of treasury chests, archives, books that were authentic, and out of all kinds of things out of which he could get the information he wanted. He was a very meritorious man. I not only found the solution of anything I wanted there, but I began gradually to perceive this immense fact, which I really advise every one of you who read history to look out for and read for—if he has not found it—it was that the kings of England all the way from the Norman Conquest down to the times of Charles I. had appointed, so far as they knew, those who deserved to be appointed, peers. They were all Royal men, with minds full of justice and valour and humanity, and all kinds of qualities that are good for men to have who ought to rule over others. Then their genealogy was remarkable—and there is a great deal more in genealogies than is generally believed at present.

I never heard tell of any clever man that came out of entirely stupid people. If you look around the families of your acquaintance, you will see such cases in all directions. I know that it has been the case in mine. I can trace the father, and the son, and the grandson, and the family stamp is quite distinctly legible upon each of them, so that it goes for a great deal—the hereditary principle in Government as in other things; and it must be recognised so soon as there is any fixity in things.

You will remark that if at any time the genealogy of a peerage fails—if the man that actually holds the peerage is a fool in these earnest striking times, the man gets into mischief and gets into treason—he gets himself extinguished altogether, in fact. (Laughter.)

From these documents of old Collins it seems that a peer conducts himself in a solemn, good, pious, manly kind of way when he takes leave of life, and when he has hospitable habits, and is valiant in his procedure throughout; and that in general a King, with a noble approximation to what was right, had nominated this man, saying "Come you to me, sir; come out of the common level of the people, where you are liable to be trampled upon; come here and take a district of country and make it into your own image more or less; be a king under me, and understand that that is your function." I say this is the most divine thing that a human being can do to other human beings, and no kind of being whatever has so much of the character of God Almighty's Divine Government as that thing we see that went all over England, and that is the grand soul of England's history.

It is historically true that down to the time of Charles I., it was not understood that any man was made a peer without having a merit in him to constitute him a proper subject for a peerage. In Charles I.'s time it grew to be known or said that if a man was by birth a gentleman, and was worth £10,000 a-year, and bestowed his gifts up and down among courtiers, he could be made a peer. Under Charles II. it went on with still more rapidity, and has been going on with ever increasing velocity until we see the perfect break-neck pace at which they are now going. (A laugh.) And now a peerage is a paltry kind of thing to what it was in these old times, I could go into a great many more details about things of that sort, but I must turn to another branch of the subject.

One remark more about your reading. I do not know whether it has been sufficiently brought home to you that there are two kinds of books. When a man is reading on any kind of subject, in most departments of books—in all books, if you take it in a wide sense—you will find that there is a division of good books and bad books—there is a good kind of a book and a bad kind of a book. I am not to assume that you are all ill acquainted with this; but I may remind you that it is a very important consideration at present. It casts aside altogether the idea that people have that if they are reading any book—that if an ignorant man is reading any book, he is doing rather better than nothing at all. I entirely call that in question. I even venture to deny it. (Laughter and cheers.) It would be much safer and better would he have no concern with books at all than with some of them. You know these are my views. There are a number, an increasing number, of books that are decidedly to him not useful. (Hear.) But he will learn also that a certain number of books were written by a supreme, noble kind of people—not a very great number—but a great number adhere more or less to that side of things. In short, as I have written it down somewhere else, I conceive that books are like men's souls—divided into sheep and goats. (Laughter and applause.) Some of them are calculated to be of very great advantage in teaching—in forwarding the teaching of all generations. Others are going down, down, doing more and more, wilder and wilder mischief.

And for the rest, in regard to all your studies here, and whatever you may learn, you are to remember that the object is not particular knowledge—that you are going to get higher in technical perfections, and all that sort of thing. There is a higher aim lies at the rear of all that, especially among those who are intended for literary, for speaking pursuits—the sacred profession. You are ever to bear in mind that there lies behind that the acquisition of what may be called wisdom—namely, sound appreciation and just decision as to all the objects that come round about you, and the habit of behaving with justice and wisdom. In short, great is wisdom—great is the value of wisdom. It cannot be exaggerated. The highest achievement of man—"Blessed is he that getteth understanding." And that, I believe, occasionally may be missed very easily; but never more easily than now, I think. If that is a failure, all is a failure. However, I will not touch further upon that matter.

In this University I learn from many sides that there is a great and considerable stir about endowments. Oh, I should have said in regard to book reading, if it be so very important, how very useful would an excellent library be in every University. I hope that will not be neglected by those gentlemen who have charge of you—and, indeed, I am happy to hear that your library is very much improved since the time I knew it; and I hope it will go on improving more and more. You require money to do that, and you require also judgment in the selectors of the books—pious insight into what is really for the advantage of human souls, and the exclusion of all kinds of clap-trap books which merely excite the astonishment of foolish people. (Laughter.) Wise books—as much as possible good books.

As I was saying, there appears to be a great demand for endowments—an assiduous and praiseworthy industry for getting new funds collected for encouraging the ingenious youth of Universities, especially in this the chief University of the country. (Hear, hear.) Well, I entirely participate in everybody's approval of the movement. It is very desirable. It should be responded to, and one expects most assuredly will. At least, if it is not, it will be shameful to the country of Scotland, which never was so rich in money as at the present moment, and never stood so much in need of getting noble Universities to counteract many influences that are springing up alongside of money. It should not be backward in coming forward in the way of endowments (a laugh)—at least, in rivalry to our rude old barbarous ancestors, as we have been pleased to call them. Such munificence as theirs is beyond all praise, to whom I am sorry to say we are not yet by any manner of means equal or approaching equality. (Laughter.) There is an overabundance of money, and sometimes I cannot help thinking that, probably, never has there been at any other time in Scotland the hundredth part of the money that now is, or even the thousandth part, for wherever I go there is that gold-nuggeting (a laugh)—that prosperity.

Many men are counting their balances by millions. Money was never so abundant, and nothing that is good to be done with it. ("Hear, hear," and a laugh.) No man knows—or very few men know—what benefit to get out of his money. In fact, it too often is secretly a curse to him. Much better for him never to have had any. But I do not expect that generally to be believed. (Laughter.) Nevertheless, I should think it a beautiful relief to any man that has an honest purpose struggling in him to bequeath a handsome house of refuge, so to speak, for some meritorious man who may hereafter be born into the world, to enable him a little to get on his way. To do, in fact, as those old Norman kings whom I have described to you—to raise a man out of the dirt and mud where he is getting trampled, unworthily on his part, into some kind of position where he may acquire the power to do some good in his generation. I hope that as much as possible will be done in that way; that efforts will not be relaxed till the thing is in a satisfactory state. At the same time, in regard to the classical department of things, it is to be desired that it were properly supported—that we could allow people to go and devote more leisure possibly to the cultivation of particular departments.

We might have more of this from Scotch Universities than we have. I am bound, however, to say that it does not appear as if of late times endowment was the real soul of the matter. The English, for example, are the richest people for endowments on the face of the earth in their Universities; and it is a remarkable fact that since the time of Bentley you cannot name anybody that has gained a great name in scholarship among them, or constituted a point of revolution in the pursuits of men in that way. The man that did that is a man worthy of being remembered among men, although he may be a poor man, and not endowed with worldly wealth. One man that actually did constitute a revolution was the son of a poor weaver in Saxony, who edited his "Tibullus" in Dresden in the room of a poor comrade, and who, while he was editing his "Tibullus," had to gather his pease-cod shells on the streets and boil them for his dinner. That was his endowment. But he was recognised soon to have done a great thing. His name was Heyne.

I can remember it was quite a revolution in my mind when I got hold of that man's book on Virgil. I found that for the first time I had understood him—that he had introduced me for the first time into an insight of Roman life, and pointed out the circumstances in which these were written, and here was interpretation; and it has gone on in all manner of development, and has spread out into other countries.

Upon the whole, there is one reason why endowments are not given now as they were in old days, when they founded abbeys, colleges, and all kinds of things of that description, with such success as we know. All that has changed now. Why that has decayed away may in part be that people have become doubtful that colleges are now the real sources of that which I call wisdom, whether they are anything more—anything much more—than a cultivating of man in the specific arts. In fact, there has been a suspicion of that kind in the world for a long time. (A laugh.) That is an old saying, an old proverb, "An ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy." (Laughter.) There is a suspicion that a man is perhaps not nearly so wise as he looks, or because he has poured out speech so copiously. (Laughter.)

When the seven free Arts on which the old Universities were based came to be modified a little, in order to be convenient for or to promote the wants of modern society—though, perhaps, some of them are obsolete enough even yet for some of us—there arose a feeling that mere vocality, mere culture of speech, if that is what comes out of a man, though he may be a great speaker, an eloquent orator, yet there is no real substance there—if that is what was required and aimed at by the man himself, and by the community that set him upon becoming a learned man. Maid-servants, I hear people complaining, are getting instructed in the "ologies," and so on, and are apparently totally ignorant of brewing, boiling, and baking (laughter); above all things, not taught what is necessary to be known, from the highest to the lowest—strict obedience, humility, and correct moral conduct. Oh, it is a dismal chapter, all that, if one went into it!

What has been done by rushing after fine speech? I have written down some very fierce things about that, perhaps considerably more emphatic than I would wish them to be now; but they are deeply my conviction. (Hear, hear.) There is very great necessity indeed of getting a little more silent than we are. It seems to me the finest nations of the world—the English and the American—are going all away into wind and tongue. (Applause and laughter.) But it will appear sufficiently tragical by-and-bye, long after I am away out of it. Silence is the eternal duty of a man. He wont get to any real understanding of what is complex, and, what is more than any other, pertinent to his interests, without maintaining silence. "Watch the tongue," is a very old precept, and a most true one. I do not want to discourage any of you from your Demosthenes, and your studies of the niceties of language, and all that. Believe me, I value that as much as any of you. I consider it a very graceful thing, and a proper thing, for every human creature to know what the implement which he uses in communicating his thoughts is, and how to make the very utmost of it. I want you to study Demosthenes, and know all his excellencies. At the same time, I must say that speech does not seem to me, on the whole, to have turned to any good account.

Why tell me that a man is a fine speaker if it is not the truth that he is speaking? Phocion, who did not speak at all, was a great deal nearer hitting the mark than Demosthenes. (Laughter.) He used to tell the Athenians—"You can't fight Philip. You have not the slightest chance with him. He is a man who holds his tongue; he has great disciplined armies; he can brag anybody you like in your cities here; and he is going on steadily with an unvarying aim towards his object: and he will infallibly beat any kind of men such as you, going on raging from shore to shore with all that rampant nonsense." Demosthenes said to him one day—"The Athenians will get mad some day and kill you." "Yes," Phocion says, "when they are mad; and you as soon as they get sane again." (Laughter.)

It is also told about him going to Messina on some deputation that the Athenians wanted on some kind of matter of an intricate and contentious nature, that Phocion went with some story in his mouth to speak about. He was a man of few words—no unveracity; and after he had gone on telling the story a certain time there was one burst of interruption. One man interrupted with something he tried to answer, and then another; and, finally, the people began bragging and bawling, and no end of debate, till it ended in the want of power in the people to say any more. Phocion drew back altogether, struck dumb, and would not speak another word to any man; and he left it to them to decide in any way they liked.

It appears to me there is a kind of eloquence in that which is equal to anything Demosthenes ever said—"Take your own way, and let me out altogether." (Applause.)

All these considerations, and manifold more connected with them—innumerable considerations, resulting from observation of the world at this moment—have led many people to doubt of the salutary effect of vocal education altogether. I do not mean to say it should be entirely excluded; but I look to something that will take hold of the matter much more closely, and not allow it slip out of our fingers, and remain worse than it was. For if a good speaker—an eloquent speaker—is not speaking the truth, is there a more horrid kind of object in creation? (Loud cheers.) Of such speech I hear all manner and kind of people say it is excellent; but I care very little about how he said it, provided I understand it, and it be true. Excellent speaker! but what if he is telling me things that are untrue, that are not the fact about it—if he has formed a wrong judgment about it—if he has no judgment in his mind to form a right conclusion in regard to the matter? An excellent speaker of that kind is, as it were, saying—"Ho, every one that wants to be persuaded of the thing that is not true, come hither." (Great laughter and applause.) I would recommend you to be very chary of that kind of excellent speech. (Renewed laughter.)

Well, all that being the too well-known product of our method of vocal education—the mouth merely operating on the tongue of the pupil, and teaching him to wag it in a particular way (laughter)—it had made a great many thinking men entertain a very great distrust of this not very salutary way of procedure, and they have longed for some kind of practical way of working out the business. There would be room for a great deal of description about it if I went into it; but I must content myself with saying that the most remarkable piece of reading that you may be recommended to take and try if you can study is a book by Goethe—one of his last books, which he wrote when he was an old man, about seventy years of age—I think one of the most beautiful he ever wrote, full of mild wisdom, and which is found to be very touching by those who have eyes to discern and hearts to feel it. It is one of the pieces in "Wilhelm Meister's Travels." I read it through many years ago; and, of course, I had to read into it very hard when I was translating it (applause), and it has always dwelt in my mind as about the most remarkable bit of writing that I have known to be executed in these late centuries. I have often said, there are ten pages of that which, if ambition had been my only rule, I would rather have written than have written all the books that have appeared since I came into the world. (Cheers.) Deep, deep is the meaning of what is said there. They turn on the Christian religion and the religious phenomena of Christian life—altogether sketched out in the most airy, graceful, delicately-wise kind of way, so as to keep himself out of the common controversies of the street and of the forum, yet to indicate what was the result of things he had been long meditating upon. Among others, he introduces, in an aërial, flighty kind of way, here and there a touch which grows into a beautiful picture—a scheme of entirely mute education, at least with no more speech than is absolutely necessary for what they have to do.

Three of the wisest men that can be got are met to consider what is the function which transcends all others in importance to build up the young generation, which shall be free from all that perilous stuff that has been weighing us down and clogging every step, and which is the only thing we can hope to go on with if we would leave the world a little better, and not the worse of our having been in it for those who are to follow. The man who is the eldest of the three says to Goethe, "You give by nature to the well-formed children you bring into the world a great many precious gifts, and very frequently these are best of all developed by nature herself, with a very slight assistance where assistance is seen to be wise and profitable, and forbearance very often on the part of the overlooker of the process of education; but there is one thing that no child brings into the world with it, and without which all other things are of no use." Wilhelm, who is there beside him, says, "What is that?" "All who enter the world want it," says the eldest; "perhaps you yourself." Wilhelm says, "Well, tell me what it is." "It is," says the eldest, "reverence—Ehrfurcht—Reverence! Honour done to those who are grander and better than you, without fear; distinct from fear." Ehrfurcht—"the soul of all religion that ever has been among men, or ever will be." And he goes into practicality. He practically distinguishes the kinds of religion that are in the world, and he makes out three reverences. The boys are all trained to go through certain gesticulations, to lay their hands on their breast and look up to heaven, and they give their three reverences. The first and simplest is that of reverence for what is above us. It is the soul of all the Pagan religions; there is nothing better in man than that. Then there is reverence for what is around us or about us—reverence for our equals, and to which he attributes an immense power in the culture of man. The third is reverence for what is beneath us—to learn to recognise in pain, sorrow, and contradiction, even in those things, odious as they are to flesh and blood—to learn that there lies in these a priceless blessing. And he defines that as being the soul of the Christian religion—the highest of all religions; a height, as Goethe says—and that is very true, even to the letter, as I consider—a height to which the human species was fated and enabled to attain, and from which, having once attained it, it can never retrograde. It cannot descend down below that permanently, Goethe's idea is.

Often one thinks it was good to have a faith of that kind—that always, even in the most degraded, sunken, and unbelieving times, he calculates there will be found some few souls who will recognise what that meant; and that the world, having once received it, there is no fear of its retrograding. He goes on then to tell us the way in which they seek to teach boys, in the sciences particularly, whatever the boy is fit for. Wilhelm left his own boy there, expecting they would make him a Master of Arts, or something of that kind; and when he came back for him he saw a thundering cloud of dust coming over the plain, of which he could make nothing. It turned out to be a tempest of wild horses, managed by young lads who had a turn for hunting with their grooms. His own son was among them, and he found that the breaking of colts was the thing he was most suited for. (Laughter.) This is what Goethe calls Art, which I should not make clear to you by any definition unless it is clear already. (A laugh.) I would not attempt to define it as music, painting, and poetry, and so on; it is in quite a higher sense than the common one, and in which, I am afraid, most of our painters, poets, and music men would not pass muster. (A laugh.) He considers that the highest pitch to which human culture can go; and he watches with great industry how it is to be brought about with men who have a turn for it.

Very wise and beautiful it is. It gives one an idea that something greatly better is possible for man in the world. I confess it seems to me it is a shadow of what will come, unless the world is to come to a conclusion that is perfectly frightful; some kind of scheme of education like that, presided over by the wisest and most sacred men that can be got in the world, and watching from a distance—a training in practicality at every turn; no speech in it except that speech that is to be followed by action, for that ought to be the rule as nearly as possible among them. For rarely should men speak at all unless it is to say that thing that is to be done; and let him go and do his part in it, and to say no more about it. I should say there is nothing in the world you can conceive so difficult, prima facie, as that of getting a set of men gathered together—rough, rude, and ignorant people—gather them together, promise them a shilling a day, rank them up, give them very severe and sharp drill, and by bullying and drill—for the word "drill" seems as if it meant the treatment that would force them to learn—they learn what it is necessary to learn; and there is the man, a piece of an animated machine, a wonder of wonders to look at. He will go and obey one man, and walk into the cannon's mouth for him, and do anything whatever that is commanded of him by his general officer. And I believe all manner of things in this way could be done if there were anything like the same attention bestowed. Very many things could be regimented and organized into the mute system of education that Goethe evidently adumbrates there. But I believe, when people look into it, it will be found that they will not be very long in trying to make some efforts in that direction; for the saving of human labour, and the avoidance of human misery, would be uncountable if it were set about and begun even in part.

Alas! it is painful to think how very far away it is—any fulfilment of such things; for I need not hide from you, young gentlemen—and that is one of the last things I am going to tell you—that you have got into a very troublous epoch of the world; and I don't think you will find it improve the footing you have, though you have many advantages which we had not. You have careers open to you, by public examinations and so on, which is a thing much to be approved, and which we hope to see perfected more and more. All that was entirely unknown in my time, and you have many things to recognise as advantages. But you will find the ways of the world more anarchical than ever, I think. As far as I have noticed, revolution has come upon us. We have got into the age of revolutions. All kinds of things are coming to be subjected to fire, as it were; hotter and hotter the wind rises around everything.

Curious to say, now in Oxford and other places that used to seem to live at anchor in the stream of time, regardless of all changes, they are getting into the highest humour of mutation, and all sorts of new ideas are getting afloat. It is evident that whatever is not made of asbestos will have to be burnt in this world. It will not stand the heat it is getting exposed to. And in saying that, it is but saying in other words that we are in an epoch of anarchy—anarchy plus the constable. (Laughter.) There is nobody that picks one's pocket without some policeman being ready to take him up. (Renewed laughter.) But in every other thing he is the son, not of Kosmos, but of Chaos. He is a disobedient, and reckless, and altogether a waste kind of object—commonplace man in these epochs; and the wiser kind of man—the select, of whom I hope you will be part—has more and more a set time to it to look forward, and will require to move with double wisdom; and will find, in short, that the crooked things that he has to pull straight in his own life, or round about, wherever he may be, are manifold, and will task all his strength wherever he may go.

But why should I complain of that either?—for that is a thing a man is born to in all epochs. He is born to expend every particle of strength that God Almighty has given him, in doing the work he finds he is fit for—to stand it out to the last breath of life, and do his best. We are called upon to do that; and the reward we all get—which we are perfectly sure of if we have merited it—is that we have got the work done, or, at least, that we have tried to do the work; for that is a great blessing in itself; and I should say there is not very much more reward than that going in this world. If the man gets meat and clothes, what matters it whether he have £10,000, or £10,000,000, or £70 a-year. He can get meat and clothes for that; and he will find very little difference intrinsically, if he is a wise man.

I warmly second the advice of the wisest of men—"Don't be ambitious; don't be at all too desirous to success; be loyal and modest." Cut down the proud towering thoughts that you get into you, or see they be pure as well as high. There is a nobler ambition than the gaining of all California would be, or the getting of all the suffrages that are on the planet just now. (Loud and prolonged cheers.)

Finally, gentlemen, I have one advice to give you, which is practically of very great importance, though a very humble one.

I have no doubt you will have among you people ardently bent to consider life cheap, for the purpose of getting forward in what they are aiming at of high; and you are to consider throughout, much more than is done at present, that health is a thing to be attended to continually—that you are to regard that as the very highest of all temporal things for you. (Applause.) There is no kind of achievement you could make in the world that is equal to perfect health. What are nuggets and millions? The French financier said, "Alas! why is there no sleep to be sold?" Sleep was not in the market at any quotation. (Laughter and applause.)

It is a curious thing that I remarked long ago, and have often turned in my head, that the old word for "holy" in the German language—heilig—also means "healthy." And so Heil-bronn means "holy-well," or "healthy-well." We have in the Scotch "hale;" and, I suppose our English word "whole"—with a "w"—all of one piece, without any hole in it—is the same word. I find that you could not get any better definition of what "holy" really is than "healthy—completely healthy." Mens sana in corpore sano. (Applause.)

A man with his intellect a clear, plain, geometric mirror, brilliantly sensitive of all objects and impressions around it, and imagining all things in their correct proportions—not twisted up into convex or concave, and distorting everything, so that he cannot see the truth of the matter without endless groping and manipulation—healthy, clear, and free, and all round about him. We never can attain that at all. In fact, the operations we have got into are destructive of it. You cannot, if you are going to do any decisive intellectual operation—if you are going to write a book—at least, I never could—without getting decidedly made ill by it, and really you must if it is your business—and you must follow out what you are at—and it sometimes is at the expense of health. Only remember at all times to get back as fast as possible out of it into health, and regard the real equilibrium as the centre of things. You should always look at the heilig, which means holy, and holy means healthy.

Well, that old etymology—what a lesson it is against certain gloomy, austere, ascetic people, that have gone about as if this world were all a dismal-prison house! It has, indeed, got all the ugly things in it that I have been alluding to; but there is an eternal sky over it, and the blessed sunshine, verdure of spring, and rich autumn, and all that in it, too. Piety does not mean that a man should make a sour face about things, and refuse to enjoy in moderation what his Maker has given. Neither do you find it to have been so with old Knox. If you look into him you will find a beautiful Scotch humour in him, as well as the grimmest and sternest truth when necessary, and a great deal of laughter. We find really some of the sunniest glimpses of things come out of Knox that I have seen in any man; for instance, in his "History of the Reformation," which is a book I hope every one of you will read—a glorious book.

On the whole, I would bid you stand up to your work, whatever it may be, and not be afraid of it—not in sorrows or contradiction to yield, but pushing on towards the goal. And don't suppose that people are hostile to you in the world. You will rarely find anybody designedly doing you ill. You may feel often as if the whole world is obstructing you, more or less; but you will find that to be because the world is travelling in a different way from you, and rushing on in its own path. Each man has only an extremely good-will to himself—which he has a right to have—and is moving on towards his object. Keep out of literature as a general rule, I should say also. (Laughter.) If you find many people who are hard and indifferent to you in a world that you consider to be unhospitable and cruel—as often, indeed, happens to a tender-hearted, stirring young creature—you will also find there are noble hearts who will look kindly on you, and their help will be precious to you beyond price. You will get good and evil as you go on, and have the success that has been appointed to you.

I will wind up with a small bit of verse that is from Goethe also, and has often gone through my mind. To me it has the tone of a modern psalm in it in some measure. It is sweet and clear. The clearest of sceptical men had not anything like so clear a mind as that man had—freer from cant and misdirected notion of any kind than any man in these ages has been This is what the poet says:—

  The Future hides in it
  Gladness and sorrow:
  We press still thorow;
  Nought that abides in it
  Daunting us—Onward!

  And solemn before us,
  Veiled, the dark Portal,
  Goal of all mortal.
  Stars silent rest o'er us—
  Graves under us, silent.

  While earnest thou gazest
  Comes boding of terror,
  Come phantasm and error;
  Perplexes the bravest
  With doubt and misgiving.

  But heard are the voices,
  Heard are the Sages,
  The Worlds and the Ages:
  "Choose well: your choice is
  Brief, and yet endless."

  Here eyes do regard you
  In Eternity's stillness;
  Here is all fulness,
  Ye brave, to reward you.
  Work, and despair not.[A]

[Footnote A: Originally published in Carlyle's "Past and Present,"
(Lond. 1843,) p. 318, and introduced there by the following words:—

"My candid readers, we will march out of this Third Book with a rhythmic word of Goethe's on our tongue; a word which perhaps has already sung itself, in dark hours and in bright, through many a heart. To me, finding it devout yet wholly credible and veritable, full of piety yet free of cant; to me joyfully finding much in it, and joyfully missing so much in it, this little snatch of music, by the greatest German man, sounds like a stanza in the grand Road Song and Marching Song of our great Teutonic kindred,—wending, wending, valiant and victorious, through the undiscovered Deeps of Time!"]

One last word. Wir heissen euch hoffen—we bid you be of hope. Adieu for this time.


The following is a letter addressed by Mr. Carlyle to Dr. Hutchison Stirling, late one of the candidates for the Chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh:—

"Chelsea, 16th June, 1868.


"You well know how reluctant I have been to interfere at all in the election now close on us, and that in stating, as bound, what my own clear knowledge of your qualities was, I have strictly held by that, and abstained from more. But the news I now have from Edinburgh is of such a complexion, so dubious, and so surprising to me; and I now find I shall privately have so much regret in a certain event—which seems to be reckoned possible, and to depend on one gentleman of the seven—that, to secure my own conscience in the matter, a few plainer words seem needful. To whatever I have said of you already, therefore, I now volunteer to add, that I think you not only the one man in Britain capable of bringing Metaphysical Philosophy, in the ultimate, German or European, and highest actual form of it, distinctly home to the understanding of British men who wish to understand it, but that I notice in you farther, on the moral side, a sound strength of intellectual discernment, a noble valour and reverence of mind, which seems to me to mark you out as the man capable of doing us the highest service in Ethical science too: that of restoring, or decisively beginning to restore, the doctrine of morals to what I must ever reckon its one true and everlasting basis (namely, the divine or supra-sensual one), and thus of victoriously reconciling and rendering identical the latest dictates of modern science with the earliest dawnings of wisdom among the race of men.

"This is truly my opinion, and how important to me, not for the sake of Edinburgh University alone, but of the whole world for ages to come, I need not say to you! I have not the honour of any personal acquaintance with Mr. Adam Black, late member for Edinburgh, but for fifty years back have known him, in the distance, and by current and credible report, as a man of solid sense, independence, probity, and public spirit; and if, in your better knowledge of the circumstances, you judge it suitable to read this note to him—to him, or indeed to any other person—you are perfectly at liberty to do so.

"Yours sincerely always,



Mr. Carlyle, ex-Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh, being asked before the expiration of his term of office, to deliver a valedictory address to the students, he sent the following letter to Mr. Robertson, Vice-President of the Committee for his election:—

"Chelsea, December 6, 1868.


"I much regret that a valedictory speech from me, in present circumstances, is a thing I must not think of. Be pleased to advise the young gentlemen who were so friendly towards me that I have already sent them, in silence, but with emotions deep enough, perhaps too deep, my loving farewell, and that ingratitude or want of regard is by no means among the causes that keep me absent. With a fine youthful enthusiasm, beautiful to look upon, they bestowed on me that bit of honour, loyally all they had; and it has now, for reasons one and another, become touchingly memorable to me—touchingly, and even grandly and tragically—never to be forgotten for the remainder of my life. Bid them, in my name, if they still love me, fight the good fight, and quit themselves like men in the warfare to which they are as if conscript and consecrated, and which lies ahead. Tell them to consult the eternal oracles (not yet inaudible, nor ever to become so, when worthily inquired of); and to disregard, nearly altogether, in comparison, the temporary noises, menacings, and deliriums. May they love wisdom, as wisdom, if she is to yield her treasures, must be loved, piously, valiantly, humbly, beyond life itself, or the prizes of life, with all one's heart and all one's soul. In that case (I will say again), and not in any other case, it shall be well with them.

"Adieu, my young friends, a long adieu, yours with great sincerity,



At a meeting of the Senatus Academicus of Edinburgh University, a few weeks after his decease, a deed of mortification by Thomas Carlyle in favour of that body, for the foundation of ten Bursaries in the Faculty of Arts, was read. The document opens as follows:—

"I, Thomas Carlyle, residing at Chelsea, presently Rector in the University of Edinburgh, from the love, favour and affection which I bear to that University, and from my interest in the advancement of education in my native Scotland, as elsewhere, for these and for other more peculiar reasons, which also I wish to record, do intend, and am now in the act of making to the said University, a bequest, as underwritten, of the estate of Craigenputtoch, which is now my property. Craigenputtoch lies at the head of the parish of Dunscore, in Nithsdale, Dumfriesshire. The extent is of about 1,800 acres; rental at present, on lease of nineteen years, is £250; the annual worth, with the improvements now in progress, is probably £300. Craigenputtoch was for many generations the patrimony of a family named Welsh, the eldest son usually a 'John Welsh,' in series going back, think some, to the famous John Welsh, son-in-law of the reformer Knox. The last male heir of the family was John Welsh, Esq., surgeon, Haddington. His one child and heiress was my late dear, magnanimous, much-loving, and, to me, inestimable wife, in memory of whom, and of her constant nobleness and piety towards him and towards me, I am now—she having been the last of her kindred—about to bequeath to Edinburgh University with whatever piety is in me this Craigenputtoch, which was theirs and hers, on the terms, and for the purposes, and under the conditions underwritten. Therefore I do mortify and dispose to and in favour of the said University of Edinburgh, for the foundation and endowment of ten equal Bursaries, to be called the 'John Welsh Bursaries,' in the said University, heritably and irredeemably, all and whole the lands of Upper Craigenputtoch. The said estate is not to be sold, but to be kept and administered as land, the net annual revenue of it to be divided into ten equal Bursaries, to be called, as aforesaid, the 'John Welsh Bursaries.' The Senatus Academicus shall bestow them on the ten applicants entering the University who, on strict and thorough examination and open competitive trial by examiners whom the Senatus will appoint for that end, are judged to show the best attainment of actual proficiency and the best likelihood of more in the department or faculty called of arts, as taught there. Examiners to be actual professors in said faculty, the fittest whom the Senatus can select, with fit assessors or coadjutors and witnesses, if the Senatus see good, and always the report of the said examiners to be minuted and signed, and to govern the appointments made, and to be recorded therewith. More specially I appoint that five of the 'John Welsh Bursaries' shall be given for the best proficiency in mathematics—I would rather say 'in mathesis,' if that were a thing to be judged of from competition—but practically above all in pure geometry, such being perennial, the symptom not only of steady application, but of a clear, methodic intellect, and offering in all epochs good promise for all manner of arts and pursuits. The other five Bursaries I appoint to depend (for the present and indefinitely onwards) on proficiency in classical learning, that is to say, in knowledge of Latin, Greek, and English, all of these, or any two of them. This also gives good promise of a young mind, but as I do not feel certain that it gives perennially or will perennially be thought in universities to give the best promise, I am willing that the Senatus of the University, in case of a change of its opinion on this point hereafter in the course of generations, shall bestow these latter five Bursaries on what it does then consider the most excellent proficiency in matters classical, or the best proof of a classical mind, which directs its own highest effort towards teaching and diffusing in the new generations that will come. The Bursaries to be open to free competition of all who come to study in Edinburgh University, and who have never been of any other University, the competition to be held on or directly before or after their first matriculation there. Bursaries to be always given on solemnly strict and faithful trial to the worthiest, or if (what in justice can never happen, though it illustrates my intention) the claims of two were absolutely equal, and could not be settled by further trial, preference is to fall in favour of the more unrecommended and unfriended under penalties graver than I, or any highest mortal, can pretend to impose, but which I can never doubt—as the law of eternal justice, inexorably valid, whether noticed or unnoticed, pervades all corners of space and of time—are very sure to be punctually exacted if incurred. This is to be the perpetual rule for the Senatus in deciding."

After stating some other conditions, the document thus concludes:

"And so may a little trace of help to the young heroic soul struggling for what is highest spring from this poor arrangement and bequest. May it run for ever, if it can, as a thread of pure water from the Scottish rocks, trickling into its little basin by the thirsty wayside for those to whom it veritably belongs. Amen. Such is my bequest to Edinburgh University. In witness whereof these presents, written upon this and the two preceding pages by James Steven Burns, clerk to John Cook, writer to the signet, are subscribed by me at Chelsea, the 20th day of June, 1867, before these witnesses: John Forster, barrister-at-law, man of letters, etc., residing at Palace-gate House, Kensington, London; and James Anthony Froude, man of letters, residing at No. 5, Onslow Gardens, Brompton, London.

"(Signed) T. CARLYLE.

  "J.A. FROUDE, } Witnesses.



  Abelard, 134.
  Aitken, Mary, 117.
  Allingham, Mrs., her sketch of Carlyle, 121.
  Annan, Academy, 9.
  Anspach's History of Newfoundland, 13.
  Arnold, Thomas, visits the field of Naseby with Carlyle, 63, 64.

  Baillie, Joanna, her Metrical Legends, 13.
  Bentley, Richard, the last of English scholars, 162.
  Black, Adam, 191.
  Boehm, Mr., his medallion and statue of Carlyle, 116, 120, 121.
  Braidwood Testimonial, 85, 86.
  Brewster, Sir David, his Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, 10, 11;
    writes a Preface to Carlyle's Translation of Legendre, 13;
    presides at Carlyle's installation as Rector of Edinburgh
      University, 90, 93, 96.
  Buchanan, George, 47.
  Buller, Charles, Carlyle becomes tutor to, 15;
    his death, 74;
    Carlyle's tribute to, 75-80.
  Burns, Robert, 67.

  Cameron, Mrs., her photograph of Carlyle, 120.
  Carlyle, Jane Welsh, Goethe's verses to, 20;
    described by Margaret Fuller, 68, 69;
    death of, 109;
    funeral, 110;
    inscription on her tombstone, 111.
  Carlyle, Thomas, birth and parentage, 8;
    early studies, 9;
    school-mastering, 9-10;
    first attempts in literature, 10-14;
    Buller tutorship, 15;
    German translations, 15-17;
    his marriage, 17;
    life at Craigenputtoch, 17-18;
    removes to London, 25;
    his affection for Leigh Hunt, 26;
    letter to Major Richardson, 40;
    his Lectures, 45;
    advice to a young man, 54;
    defence of Mazzini, 59;
    visit to Rugby, 63;
    his letter to Sir William Napier, 81;
    the Edinburgh Rectorship and Address, 87-109;
    death of his wife, 109;
    on the Jamaica insurrection, 112;
    latest writings, 115;
    medal and address, 116;
    closing years of life, 117;
    his Reminiscences, 118;
    portraits of, 119.
  Carlyle, John A., his Translation of Dante, 98;
    death of, 117.
  Chelsea, old memories of, 25;
  Carlyle fixes his residence there, 25, 26.
  Collins's Peerage, 152.
  Craigenputtoch, 17;
    description of by Carlyle, in a letter to Goethe, 18.
  Cromwell, Oliver, Letters and Speeches, 68;
    his Protectorate, 145
  Cunningham, Allan, on old age, 44:

  Demosthenes, 166.
  De Quincey, Thomas, his critique on Wilhelm Meister, 16
  D'Orsay, Count, his Portrait of Carlyle, 119.
  Dumfries, 18.

  Emerson, Ralph Waldo, his visit to Carlyle at Craigenputtoch, 21;
    his Essays introduced to the English public by Carlyle, 52;
    Margaret Fuller's letter to him, 64.
  Eyre, Edward John, Carlyle's defence of, 112.

  Ferguson's Roman History, 140.
  Fichte, 37.
  Forster, John, 200.
  Fraser's Magazine, 20, 22, 115, 119.
  Frederick the Great, History of, 81, 87.
  French Revolution, History of the, 38.
  Froude, James Anthony, 118, 200.
  Fuller, Margaret, her Letter to Emerson describing Carlyle's
    conversation, 65-73.

  German Romance, 16.
  Gibbon, 23.
  Goethe, his Faust, 13;
    his Wilhelm Meister translated by Carlyle, 15;
    Carlyle's letters to him, 18;
    writes an Introduction to the German translation of Carlyle's Life
      of Schiller, 20;
    his verses to Mrs. Carlyle, ib.;
    Wilhelm Meister's Travels, 170-171;
    Verses by him, quoted, 186, 187.
  Grant, James, quoted, 46, 48-52.

  Hannay, James, on Carlyle, 47.
  Heyne, his Tibullus and Virgil, 162-163.
  Hoffmann, Carlyle's translation from, 16.
  Horne, R.H., quoted, 27, 28.
  Houghton, Lord, breakfast party at his house, 38.
  Hunt, Leigh, invited by Carlyle to visit him in Dumfriesshire. 26;
    settles at Chelsea, ib.;
    characteristic anecdote, 27;
    leaves Chelsea, 28;
  Carlyle's eulogium on, 29;
  Carlyle's opinion
    of his Autobiography, 33;
    quoted, 35, 46.

  Ireland, Carlyle's papers on, 74.
  Irving, Edward, 10, 40.

  Jeffrey, Lord, his critique on Wilhelm Meister, 16;
    Carlyle's Reminiscences of, 119.
  Johnson, Samuel, advice as to reading, 55.

  Kirkcaldy, 10.
  Knox, John, an ancestor of Carlyle's wife, 17, 196;
    grim humour of, 47;
    the portraits of, 115;
    belongs to the select of the earth, 142-143;
    his History of the Reformation, 184-185.

  Lally, at Pondicherry, 84.
  La Motte Fouqué, Carlyle's Translations from, 16.
  Landor, Walter Savage, 23, 38.
  Latter-Day Pamphlets, 80.
  Laurence, Samuel, his portrait of Carlyle, 119.
  Legendre's Geometry, translated by Carlyle, 13, 14.
  Leslie, Sir John, 9.
  Lewes, George Henry, 66.
  London Magazine, The, 15, 16.
  Louis Philippe, 74.

  Machiavelli on Democracy, 107, 146.
  Maclise, Daniel, 119.
  Mazzini, his articles on Carlyle, 58;
    Carlyle's defence of his character, 59;
    remonstrates vainly with Carlyle, 69.
  Milnes, R. M., see Houghton, Lord.
  Mirabeau, 23.
  Moore, Thomas, meets Carlyle at a breakfast party, 38.
  Musæus, Carlyle's translations from, 17.

  Napier, Sir William, his History of the Administration of Scinde 81;
    Carlyle's letter to him, 81-85.
  Necker, Carlyle's biography of him, quoted, 11.
  Nero, death of, 22.
  Newfoundland, Carlyle's account of, quoted, 12.

Ossoli, see Fuller.

  Past and Present, 53;
    quoted, 187-188.
  Paul et Virginie, 44.
  Petrarch and Laura, 67.
  Phocion, 167.

Quincey, see De Quincey.

  Richardson, David Lester, his Literary Leaves, 40;
    Carlyle's letter to him, 40-44.
  Richter, Jean Paul, 17.
  Robinson, Henry Crabb, 38, 39.
  Rous, Sir Francis, 148.
  Rousseau, at St. Pierre, 19;
    his Confessions, 23.
  Ruskin, John, his praise of Boehm's statue of Carlyle, 116, 121.
  Rugby School, 63, 64.

  Sartor Resartus, 36, 37.
  Schiller, Friedrich, Carlyle's life of him, 15;
    Supplement to, 115.
  Shakespeare, 67.
  Smith, Alexander, his account of the delivery of Carlyle's Address at
    Edinburgh, 87-92.
  Socrates, disparaged by Carlyle, 23.
  Sophocles, the tragedies of, 141.
  Sterling, John, 37, 38;
    death of, 62;
    Carlyle's life of him, 81.
  Stirling, Dr., Carlyle's letter to, 189-191.

  Tennyson, why he wrote in verse, 67.
  Teufelsdröckh, 36, 68.
  Thackeray, W.M., his verses on the death of Charles Buller, 15, 74-75.
  Tieck, 17.
  Turveydrop senior, on Polished Deportment, 49.

University of Edinburgh, 125.

  Watts, G.F., his portrait of Carlyle, 120.
  Welsh family, 17.
  Whistler, J.A., his portrait of Carlyle, 120.

Youth, the golden season of life, 130.

Zoilus, 19.


End of Project Gutenberg's On the Choice of Books, by Thomas Carlyle