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NORTH BRITISH REVIEW.

NOVEMBER, 1850.

Art. I.-Latter-Day Pamphlets. Edited by THOMAS CARLYLE.

London, 1850.

Mr. CARLYLE's career presents at least one point of curious contrast with that of most literary men. Most men, in following out their literary tendencies, are observed to begin with the vehement, the intolerant, the aggressive; and to end in the ca n, the acquiescent, the otiose. A young man, beginning to employ his pen, usually dashes at once into the midst of affairs; attaches himself to the movement; launches fierce criticisms at existing principalities and powers; denounces, foams, and struggles; and has pleasure only, as we have heard it expressed, in

always making a row about things.” As he grows older, however, a change slowly creeps over him; he becomes more economic of his energy; the element he lives in becomes more genial to him; and on the whole his tendency is to meddle with the polemical as little as he can, to surround himself with books, pictures, and other amenities, and to seek a placid enjoyment in the cultivation of whatever is beautiful. In the case of Mr. Carlyle, on the other hand, this process seems to have been, in some degree, reversed. He began as the devotee of pure literature; he has ended as the most aggressive man of his age.

In this, however, we see but the proper development of his peculiar genius. Even in the original constitution of this extraordinary man as he first appeared on the field of British literature, a large-brained youth from the wilds of Annandale, there must have been something scythian and restless; some craving that no usual mode of activity could satisfy ; some element of moral impatience dooming him to endless antagonism to the world and its ways. It must have been in vain, we should imagine, that

VOL. XIV.

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