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to in letters of the time, and for many years after, with warmly affectionate remembrances.
In June, 1866, the professorship of poetry at Oxford was vacant; and Mr. Ruskin's friends were anxious to see him take the post. He, however, felt no especial fitness or inclination for it, and the proposal fell through. Three years later he was elected to a professorship that at this time had not been founded. “ Tout vient à qui sait attendre."
After spending June in the Oberland, he went homewards through Berne, Vevey, and Geneva, to find his private secretary with a bundle of begging letters, and his friend Carlyle busy with the defense of Governor Eyre.
In 1865 an insurrection of negroes at Morant Bay, Jamaica, had threatened to take the most serious shape, when it was stamped out by the high-handed measures of Mr. Eyre. After the first congratulations were over another side to the question called for a hearing. The Baptist missionaries declared that among the negroes who were shot and hanged in terrorem were peaceable subjects, respectable members of their own native congregations, for whose character they could vouch; and they added — if I remember aright stories in which I had certain personal interest at the time that the gravity of the situation had been exaggerated by private enmity and jealousy of their work and creed. And sympathizers at home pointed out that the executions were not even “judicial” murders, since Mr. Eyre was not governor of Jamaica, and really had no right to take extreme measures. A strong committee was formed under Liberal auspices, supported by such men as John Stuart Mill and Thomas Hughes, the author of “ Tom Brown's Schooldays," men whose motive was above suspicion, — to bring Mr. Eyre to account.
Carlyle, who admired the strong hand, and had no interest in Baptist missionaries, accepted Mr. Eyre as the saviour of society in his West Indian sphere; and there were many, both in Jamaica and at home, who believed that, but for his prompt action, the white population would have been massacred with all the horrors of a savage rebellion. Mr. Ruskin had been for many years the ally of the Broad Church and Liberal party; he had supported the candidature of Mr. Mill and Mr. Hughes in Westminster and Lambeth. But he was now coming more and more under the personal influence of Carlyle; and, when it came to the point of choosing sides, declared himself, in a letter to the “ Daily Telegraph” (December 20, 1865) a Conservative and a supporter of order; and joined the Eyre Defense Committee with a subscription of £100. The prominent part he took, for example, in the meeting of September, 1866, was no doubt forced upon him by his desire to save Carlyle, whose recent loss and shaken nerves made such business especially trying to him. Letters of this period remain, in which Car
lyle begs Ruskin to “be diligent, I bid you!” — and so on, adding, “ I must absolutely shut up in that direction, to save my sanity.” And so it fell to the younger man to work through piles of pamphlets and newspaper correspondence, to interview politicians and men of business, and — what was so very foreign to his habits — to take a leading share in a party agitation.
But in all this he was true to his Jacobite instincts. He had been brought up a Tory; and though he had drifted into an alliance with the Broad Church and philosophical Liberals, he was never one of them. Now that his father was gone, perhaps he felt a sort of duty to own himself his father's son; and the failure of liberal philanthropy to realize his ideals, and of liberal philosophy to rise to his economic standards, combined with Carlyle to induce him to label himself Conservative. But his conservatism could not be accepted by the party so called. Fortunately, he did not need or ask their recognition. He took no real interest in party politics, and has never in his life voted at a Parliamentary election. He only meant to state in the shortest terms that he stood for loyalty and order.
LETTERS ON A COMMONWEALTH.
Yea, the voiceless wrath of the wretched
And their unlearned discontent,
William Morris, Poems by the Way.
“DEAR Ruskin," writes Carlyle from Mentone (February 15, 1867), “if the few bits of letters I have written from this place had gone by the natural priority and sequence, this would have been the first, or among the very first; and indeed it is essentially so,— the first that I have written except upon compulsion, or in answer to something written. My aversion to writing is at all times great. But I begin to feel a great want of having some news from you, at least of hearing that you are not fallen unwell; and there is no other method of arousing you to your duty.”
He goes on to tell how“ the impetuous Tyndall tore me out from the sleety mud abysses of London, as if by the hair of the head; and dropped me here;” and then follows a long story about the place and the people. At last:
1 The letter mentioned in Time and Tide, letter 6: “I heard from him last week at Mentone,” etc.
“ Often I begin to think of my route home ag", and what I shall next do then....
The only point I look forward to with any fixed satisfact" as yet, is that of having Ruskin again eve Wedn' evs, and tasting a little human conversat" once in the week, if oftener be not practicable! ... Adieu, my Friend, I want a little Note from you quam primum. I send many regards to the good and dear old lady, and am ever,
“ Yrs gratefully,
“ T. CARLYLE."
One reason why Mr. Ruskin had not written was, perhaps, that he had already begun the series of letters published as “ Time and Tide by Weare and Tyne,” which is the same thing as saying that he was engaged upon a new and important book. These letters were addressed to Thomas Dixon, a working cork-cutter of Sunderland, whose portrait by Professor Legros is familiar to visitors at the South Kensington Museum. He was one of those thoughtful, self-educated workingmen in whom as a class Mr. Ruskin had been taking a deep interest for the past twelve years, an interest which had purchased him a practical insight into their various capacities and aims, and the right to speak without fear or favor. At this time there was an agitation for parliamentary reform, and the better representation of the working classes;