Puslapio vaizdai


Latter-Day Pamphlets.

Edited by Thomas Carlyle. No. 1. The Present Time. No. 2. Model Prisons. No. 3. Downing Street. London: Chapman & Hall. 1850.

HUMAN progress is—as a necessary consequence of human incompleteness and imperfection-a fitful, uneven thing— at once defective and exaggerated. Those who are not content that it should be so, must either make our nature over again, or do without any progress at all. The whole human being never moves on all together: if one foot is in advance, the other will be a laggard. This zig-zag, convulsive, halting and starting, yet nevertheless systematically advancing course, is the characteristic of our activity. Society is for ever suffering under an alternation of chills and heats, enthusiasms, and indifferences, affirmations and denials, drivings-forward and harkings-back. In fact, its progress is something like Mr. Carlyle's style-full of jerks, and vehemence, and suddenness—with occasional sweet lulls or intervals of tranquil movement between the antagonistic pulls. Nil fuit unquam sic impar sibi. Indeed, the extent to which human nature acts under delusions is an inquiry of profound and awful import. Take away delusions and you take away enthusiasmstake away enthusiasms and you leave stagnation. Undoubtedly a reality remains-the reality designed by the Divine Ruler,—but most often it is a reality other than we ourselves had expected, other than we had laboured for. Was ever a colony planned and planted except under a delusion? was ever a legislative measure of any great significance or extensive application passed except under an exaggerated estimate of its consequences by its promoters? How would all our Freedom of Trade, Freedom of Conscience, Freedom of Body, measures have fared, but for the widely-extended belief in some results, much more golden-aged than any sober thinker believed would be directly realised from them, or than it appeared the great Monarch above us had ordained to follow them?

No good, or just, or natural thing can be done without benefit accruing, but society is never stirred from its depths by the prospect of a simple definite benefit-man never girds his loins for a merely good, just or natural thing. It must be something which, of and by itself, promises to renovate the world, turn man into angel, earth into heaven, for which alone he will consent to struggle. The colonist never leaves his country simply to live in an iron house, grow fresh vegetables and his own meat. The Missionary never ships himself off to the coast of Africa, to be a decent, well-conducted man, living as best he may under a hot climate, scattering drugs and civilization, a few misunderstood principles of theology, and some improvement in morals and manners- -to be in fact one link in the long chain of influences by which alone man's connection with his Divine Maker is completed-he goes to be that chain himself—he goes to save souls downright. Catholic Emancipation was to redress all the ills of Ireland.

"At length great Canning said, Let Discord cease.
He spake the world obeyed, and all was peace."

The Reform Bill was not to require any subsequent crusade of Mr. Cobden's to enforce Economy and Peace: and Free-trade was a synonym for abundance for all.

Were the things themselves delusions? are the actual results nothing? By no means-but society acted under delusions when it struggled for them :-and it struggled for them so manfully and resolutely only because of the delusions. When Wilberforce's supporter did that great thing, which was then a wonder to England, and has now ceased to be a wonder to any town or village in it, bought a freehold in Yorkshire that he might have a vote to give to the enemy of the Slave-trade, did he expect that when he had succeeded in abolishing that Slavetrade in the House of Commons, it would, in 1850, be as fierce as ever on the coast of Africa?

Individual men may in their faith, patience, and courage, struggle for remote, solitary, limited and definite benefits; but a country will never rise except for a panacea-for what shall manifestly be worth troubling itself

about. The extinction of tyranny-of extravagance-of crime-or of misery; for this a man shall leave his business, his pleasures, his personal pursuits and interests, sacrifice his time and money and temper and friends. But not to put a mere check to the growth of these things, or to modify their amount or intensity, will men in any considerable multitude act thus.

This seems to us as plain a phænomenon of human history, and as incontestible a fact in human life, as can be laid down. Railways, colonies, churches, schools, legislative measures-the first are to make people rich, the second are to make them unanxious and prosperous-the third are to make them good-the fourth are to make them wise and the fifth are in every remaining variety of way to render them just, peaceable, upright and happy. It belongs to the same principle in our nature, that having been led to a specific course from an exaggerated estimate of its effects, we should persevere in it with an exclusiveness and determination of fidelity which arise from the same cause. We utterly ignore the ne quid nimis. "O! that we had" not only "of the flesh," but of the blood and bones of our adopted principle, 66 we cannot be satisfied." We forget that nothing can go on of itself— that watching and modification, and the requisite admixture of counteractives, are necessary even to keep the good thing good.

Now the defects in this characteristic of our humanitystill rich however in the germ of everything good and great we have ever seen or ever shall see Mr. Carlyle has exposed with his customary penetrating talent and sledgehammer power, but with a passionate one-sidedness, and a most inhuman spirit of scorn and hate. He has chosen to take the fanaticisms of Exeter Hall as the representative of philanthropy as actually in vogue and practice among mankind in this country; and these having made him extremely angry, and deprived him of every remnant of the spirit of philosophy as well as of philanthropy, he sets himself at large to stalk over and stamp upon every effort of the present generation to liberate, humanize, and civilize their race.

In the first of his Pamphlets he appears as the advocate of that fine old principle-Slavery-the evils of which

we have been so assiduously endeavouring to diminish, and the continuance of which has been long voted by Christian civilization to be a thing certainly not to be desired. With Mr. Carlyle it is however "the good and the beautiful,” the το καλον and το πρεπον, for a large portion of the human race. His physiological principles teach him that negroes have been wrongly ranked among human beings-they are horses.

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"Among speculative persons, a question has sometimes risen in the progress of Emancipation, Are we to look for a time when all the Horses also are to be emancipated, and brought to the supply and demand principle? Horses too have motives;' are acted on by hunger, fear, hope, love of oats, terror of platted leather; nay, they have vanity, ambition, emulation, thankfulness, vindictiveness; some rude outline of all our human spiritualities,- -a rude resemblance to us in mind and intelligence, even as they have in bodily frame. The Horse, poor dumb four-footed fellow, he too has his private feelings, his affections, gratitudes; and deserves good usage; no human master, without crime, shall treat him unjustly either, or recklessly lay on the whip where it is not needed: I am sure if I could make him happy,' I should be willing to grant a small vote (in addition to the late twenty millions) for that object! Him too you occasionally tyrannise over, and with bad result to yourselves among others; using the leather in a tyrannous, unnecessary manner; withholding or scantily furnishing the oats and ventilated stabling that are due. Rugged horse-subduers, one fears they are a little tyrannous at times. 'Am I not a horse, and half brother ?' To remedy which, so far as remediable, fancy the horses all 'emancipated restored to their primeval right of property in the grass of this globe; turned out to graze in an independent supply and demand manner! So long as grass lasts, I dare say they are very happy, or think themselves so. And Farmer Hodge sallying forth, on a dry spring morning, with a sieve of oats in his hand and agony of eager expectation in his heart, is he happy? Help me to plough this day, Black Dobbin; oats in full measure if thou wilt. Hlunh, No-thank!' snorts Black Dobbin; he prefers glorious liberty and the grass. Bay Darby, wilt not thou perhaps? Hlunh !' Grey Joan, then, my beautiful broad-bottomed mare,-O Heaven, she too answers Hlunh! Not a quadruped of them will plough a stroke for me. Corn-crops are ended in this world! For the sake, if not of Hodge, then of Hodge's horses, one prays this benevolent practice might now cease, and a new and better one try to begin. Small kindness to Hodge's horses to emancipate them. The fate of all emancipated horses is, sooner or later, inevitable. To have in this

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habitable earth no grass to eat,-in black Jamaica gradually none; to roam aimless, wasting the seed-fields of the world; and be hunted home to chaos, by the due watch-dogs and due hell-dogs, with such horrors of forsaken wretchedness as were never seen before! These things are not sport; they are terribly true, in this country at this hour."

An audible hint is uttered in this and in other passages, that it might be well, not only to make Jamaica as Cuba, but Ireland as Jamaica-and that a few white populations would be improved by being included in the protective system of slavery. Now no one can help laughing at the broad humour of the passage just quoted. But a little of Mr. Carlyle's own sober sorrow may also come upon his reader at the close, though from a different cause. When Mr. Carlyle implies censure of that treatment of animals which injures the brutes and degrades the men, he says a word upon the side of our general civilization, for we hold the common, irritating, maddening system of horsebreaking and horse-using to be a horrid, ignorant barbarism, and the horse-jockey and the carter, practising them, to be the brutes in the case. Even where he hints, “We often use a horse so, why should we not a man?” and puts the horse-jockey and the slave-driver together, instead of helping the beast he is only betraying the man. He should raise the beast to the condition of the slave : whereas he does in fact lower the slave to the condition of the beast. We must do Mr. Carlyle the justice to say that this is an unfortunate and mistaken sequitur from his principles (in which we think there is great truth), that persons incapable of guiding themselves should be guided by others, and that labour is the law of life. Labour is the law of life, and if a man will not work, neither let him eat. But for whom is he to labour? not for you, or for a West Indian or any other planter, but for himself. If he likes to go without sugars and peppers, he may-and if you dont like to go without them, you must work for them. That is the law of labour, and a tolerably stern one. It is a law of labour, not of fagging. I shall work for myself, do you work for yourself. If I cannot by all the efforts of my industry get my bread, I may appeal to your huanity ad interim. But the necessity removed, the appeal

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