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THERE is an elect class of menincluding certain literary men, poets, Christian teachers, philosophers and a few statesmen-who are associated mainly as having in common two characteristics: they are men of genius, and they have very wide sympathies.

The number of these expansive men has been proportionately largely increased since the time of the French Revolution. To find proofs, we have but to turn over a few pages of modern literary history, English or German. Since 1789 the minds of many eminent men, both realists and idealists, have become more expansive. One, a born mathematician, Comte, undertakes a philosophical readjustment, not only of all the sciences, but also of human society. A lawyer, Bentham, more readily solves the latter difficulty by means of a new phrase, of which he makes an axiom. A poet, Shelley, accepts this axiom, and now sees a millennium near, with no more work to be done, save the abolition of all religion. Another poet, Wordsworth -more sober-appends to his poems an essay on our modern poor-laws, and a recommendation of cooperative productive industry. And in our own day, we see a born logician studying the land laws of various countries, while the man of high artistic culture, Ruskin, turns away from his gallery of paintings to study political economy, especially the true organization of capital and labour.

To this class of men belonged the late THOMAS CARLYLE-one whose studies were so comprehensive, that if classification could be attempted here, we should hardly know where to begin. To say the least of his variety, he was, in his earlier days, eminent as a writer of great poetic


power, though it was displayed mostly in genial criticism; then a mystic idealism was made the basis of stern moral teaching; and latterly his doctrines were promulgated by means of biography and history--to say nothing of political pamphlets. Yet through all this variety of forms we see the truth, that his earnest mind was most closely engaged in the study of one problem: we must have freedom, and we must have moral and social order; these two forces must learn to live in union-but how? That is the main question on which his thoughts were employed, and the study led him nearer and nearer, as he grew older, to a conclusion that has been described as a theory of hopeless despotism. In the sequel, we notice the difficulty of the problem, and the cause of his failing to find a true solution; but first of all may be given an outline of his biography.

Thomas Carlyle was born, in 1795, at Ecclefechan, a village not far from Dumfries. His father, a pious and shrewd man, was a devout reader of the Bible, and patient enough to study the works of the old Puritan, John Owen, written in double Dutch,' as was said by that master of clear and beautiful English, Robert Hall. After his course of studies in the University of Edinburghwhere he excelled mostly in mathematics-young Carlyle found himself compelled to disappoint his father's hope, that he would rise to be a Minister in the Kirk. The son examined his own conscience as regards the question: Do I now hold my father's faith?' and doubts already entertained made the answer 'No' inevitable. Afterwards, he was for some years employed as a schoolmaster, and during this time was formed his friendship with

Edward Irving, the eloquent Preacher. The last time I saw him,' says Carlyle (in 1833), he was' hoary as with extreme age, and trembling over the brink of the grave,' though little more than forty years old. The next year was his last. friendship, on both sides firmly maintained, even when Irving was called a wild visionary, reflects honour on Carlyle.


In 1818, Carlyle, tired of a schoolmaster's routine, returned to Edinburgh, and, by means of writing articles and making translations, earned enough money to support himself, while he employed his leisure in reading through a library of history, poetry and romance, and in making himself acquainted with the German language and its literature. One early result was his essay on the first part of Faust. Soon afterwards, as tutor to Charles Buller, he held an appointment favourable to his literary progress. While the pupil acquired useful notions on social and political questions, the tutor found leisure to write his Life of Schiller, and made a translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, soon followed by four volumes of translated German romances. These last-named translations were not produced as work suggested or desired by himself; but he found, apparently, some pleasure in introducing to English readers Wilhelm Meister-a book that Wordsworth, after trying to read it with patience, cast away with moral disgust.

Of Carlyle's homage paid to Goethe, it is not easy to give any clearer interpretation than that given in his lectures on Heroes and Hero-Worship. To this book the reader is referred for the elucidation of a mystery which we do not pretend to understand.

In 1826 occurred the most fortunate event in the life of Carlyle; he married Miss Jane Walsh, whom

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he describes as a woman endowed with a bright invincibility of spirit.' For a time he remained in Edinburgh, but soon retired into the solitude of Craigenputtock, a small farm which his wife inherited. The homestead was a plain-looking house, situated about a dozen miles from Dumfries, and secluded among moorlands. Dreary would the place have seemed without the presence of a wife who could listen to his wonderful talk, and could also talk in her turn. Though friends came but rarely to see him, his days here were neither dull nor unproductive. During his six years' abode in this lonely place he produced some of his best articles in the shape of essays and reviews, including an essay on Johnson, and one on Burns; both genial, appreciative and original, and well deserving notice in association with a later and excellent essay on the genius and character of Sir Walter Scott. Here also Carlyle wrote that strange, wild book-partly autobiographical -Sartor Resartus (for which, during seven years, he could not find a publisher). It first appeared in Fraser's Magazine, in 1833.j

In the next year he came to London, and settled himself in Cheyne Row, Chelsea-a suburb then quiet and rural-where he remained until his decease. His daily life here was a quiet routine of literary work, done in a way more sedate and tranquil than his later style of writing would suggest, relieved by a fair allowance of physical exercise, and not without the solace of friendly society. Friends who knew him well during his prime of life in Cheyne Row, all concurred in saying that then his genius often shone out in conversation as brilliantly as in the best passages of his writings. In 1837 appeared his most powerful book, The French Revolution, so surcharged with vigour, that for many readers a few pages are enough at a time. The very spirit of the

epoch seems to have seized the writer. The style is tumultuous. There is no repose. The words rush on with the violence of a hailstorm.

When the author had completed this history, the first volume of the manuscript was irrecoverably lost. It was lent to Mr. J. S. Mill, and was used by his cook for lighting the fire. Carlyle sat down calmly and re-wrote it, with hardly any substantial loss, and without the toil of renewed study. There had been a duplicate well preserved in his vivid memory. The story seems less incredible when we remember that Mozart could compose in silence, and without writing down a note, a long symphony for fifty or sixty instruments.

In 1845 appeared the author's successful book, Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, with Elucidations. Its special object was to clear the memory of the Protector from the charge of hypocrisy. There was anintention not altogether dissimilar in the History of Frederick the Great -a most laborious work, of which the first volume appeared in 1858. The industry of research displayed in the ten volumes of this long history is quite marvellous. Taken as a whole, it may be called wearisome, as the writer himself confessed; though his highest powers of humorous and graphic portraiture find exercise in many passages. After 1865, when the last volume was published, Carlyle wrote no important work.

The saddest event of his life occurred in the same year, when his wife died suddenly, while he was far away from home. The light of my life is quite gone out,' said he; and the sequel proved that these words were not too expressive. He remained comparatively silent during his last fifteen years, though the Reform Bill of 1867 awakened his dread of an uneducated democracy, and so caused the publication of a rather violent pamphlet, entitled

Shooting Niagara — and After. Throughout his remaining years 'the sage of Chelsea'-so he was often styled-was not forgotten; but after 1870 he was seen less and less frequently in Chelsea and the neighbourhood, or on his way to the 'London Library,' of which he was still the President. Gradually, and without any assault of disease, his vital force grew weaker, his movements were slower, and his words were few; while his fading sight seemed looking far out and away from this passing world of 'vanity and vexation of spirit.' Yet his friends and numerous readers felt that a great blank was left in the world when it was known that on the 5th of February, 1881, Thomas Carlyle had died, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. A few days later, his remains were buried, with silent ceremonies, near the Kirk of his native place.

Here nothing like a fair, general estimate of his life's work can be given; but a few of the main points toward which his energies were directed may be noticed, and lastly may be named the difficulty of the problem on which his mind was often engaged. To give in few words the main divisions of his work he was a literary man of rare poetic genius, who was gradually led away from imaginative literature by earnest studies of morals regarded as the basis of society, and hence was naturally led on to studies of history and politics. These several studies were, of course, always more or less coexistent. The order in which they assumed prominence is noted above.

As fair examples of his purely literary writings, the essays on Johnson, Burns and Scott have been named. The third contains a strongly characteristic passage. The genial critic concludes by telling a quaint anecdote. There was once, he says, a silent and solitary Hindoo Fakir, who

was interrogated respecting the motive of his secluded devotion. 'I am cherishing in my heart,' said he, the sacred fire that will burn up the sins of this world.' Of that fire, says Carlyle, there was too little in the genius of Sir Walter Scott.

His Latter-Day Pamphlets and other utterances of his reformatory fervour, especially as to certified Industrial Schools, can be but slightly noticed here. In these a most earnest love of order and honest work frequently urges him on to exaggeration. As to patiently living on in the midst of this world of shams,' he says, with strong emphasis: 'I would rather die!' For him, our state of society is 'anarchy plus a policeman,' our Parliament is a talking machine, and certain ameliorations of the criminal laws are denounced as striking off fetters that should bind the Evil One. Worst of all, when he hears how release from slavery has, in some places, been followed by a growth of indolence, he deplores the act of liberation, and becomes poetical when he describes Paradises that might be realized in certain tropical islands, by means of gangs of negroes 'held steadily to their work.'

Corruptio optimi pessima, is the gist of these and many other complaints, suggested by abuses of freedom. But where is their cure? That it must be severe, he is ready to see. To put down such abuses, he would uphold a despotism such as his critics have called 'brute force.' He finds a fair instrument of good government in the cudgel freely applied to the backs of subjects by Friedrich Wilhelm I. of Prussia, whose son is Carlyle's herothe true king. Above all, he venerates the memory of Cromwell; but does not trouble himself with the question of providing a true succession of rulers like Cromwell. Thus

the positive conclusion is something too much like despair.

Other vigorous essays and reviews belonging partly to biography, partly to morals and criticism-must here be left unnoticed; for the question often raised respecting his tenets of religious belief requires some answer, while his views on social and political questions are such as suggest considerations of the highest importance. Of his strictly religious views, so far as any distinct tenets are concerned, he has told little, and therefore space is left for discussion that can hardly lead to any clear conclusion. His teaching has been called Pantheism, and it is true that in Sartor Resartus there are passages expressing sentiments of reverence, of which the universe itself seems to be the object; but his more permanent and characteristic teaching is simply moral; and, though highly original in diction and style, is mostly based on the ethics of Kant and Fichte. Accordingly, he is sternly opposed to the sensual philosophy and utilitarian morals of the eighteenth century. Every man, he contends, may find out what is his duty, and in doing it he will find his true wisdom and sole happiness. If any few words could fairly represent all the passages where this cardinal teaching is enforced, the following might serve:

'Laborare est orare. This highest Gospel forms the basis and worth of all other Gospels whatsoever....Do thy little stroke of work; this is Nature's voice, and the sum of all the commandments to each man. Obedience is our universal duty and destiny, wherein whoso will not bend must break.......Our life is compassed round with necessity; yet is the meaning of life itself [i.e., moral life] no other than freedom, than voluntary force: thus have we a warfare; in the beginning, especially, a hard-fought battle. For the God-given mandate: "Work thou in welldoing," lies mysteriously written in Promethean, prophetic characters in our hearts, and leaves us no rest, night or day, till it be deciphered and obeyed; till

it burn forth in our conduct, a visible, acted Gospel of freedom. And as the clay-given mandate: "Eat thou and be filled," at the same time proclaims itself through every nerve, must there not be a confusion, a contest, before the better influence can become the upper?'

Then our obedience is not due to the universe. Intellectually, and as regards the universe, man is to be a fatalist; but morally, and as regards the assertion of his own moral freedom, he is to be a fighter against destiny. But he is, at the same time, to yield obedience. To whom? To God; since the mandate to be obeyed is a 'God-given mandate.' Is this obedience to be rendered without the guidance of a revelation of God's will?—without the strength and consolation derived from faith, hope and love? These are the questions to which we are led by Carlyle, as by the earlier teaching of Fichte. The voice of conscience, said Fichte in his earlier teaching, proclaims our duty, which is to be done simply because it is our duty. The fulfilment of our duty is our only true happiness, which is identical with a constant assertion of our moral freedom. Thus we are introduced into a new life, are raised to a higher stage of existence, and become more and more conscious of the truth that the moral order of the world, to which our own work is made freely subservient, is Divine and eternal. In this knowledge we have our only possible knowledge of God. There is, says Fichte, no other God. This, so far as the basis of morals is concerned, is a true summary of Fichte's earlier teaching. Carlyle does not so far as we remember-refer to Fichte's later teaching, in which we find such admissions as these: Every man must die to sin, and lead a new life, and this must be done as the act of his own moral freedom; yet it can be done only by looking for aid to Christ -the source of new life. Through

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Him must enter all who ever come into the kingdom of heaven.'

One part of Kant's moral doctrine is here omitted. He says, our knowledge of a supreme moral law postulates (or presupposes) the existence of God, Whose will is the basis of that law; but further than this we can discover nothing of God: our reason gives us no proof of His existence. As regards the substance of their moral teaching, Carlyle, for the most part, agrees with both Kant and Fichte. The difference is that their style is strict and consequent, while his own is homiletic and discursive. However, as viewed with regard to their common negations or omissions, all three are alike. They do not assert that such morals as they teach must be founded on a revealed religion; they do not refer to revealed Christianity as the basis of religion and morals. Yet their more special ideas of morality are, for the most part, Christian. Whence were these ideas obtained? especially, we would ask, whence come these ideas of moral freedom, absolute duty and absolute obedience? This is indeed a large enquiry, dividing itself into three distinct questions, of which only the first can be noticed here. Whence, then, we ask, have we our modern, as distinct from the ancient heathen, notion of freedom? Let this question be truly answered; then answers to the two remaining questions will be readily found.

The old Teutonic word 'free' still retains its earlier and its later meaning; the former political and secular, the latter religious and Christian. Our common phrase 'free of the city,' gives us the earlier: the secular or political meaning. Used in this sense, the word simply denotes that a man has certain privileges, is recognised as belonging to a municipality or a corporation, and is, therefore, not to be treated as a mere man (homo), nor as a slave, nor as a

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